Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


You know you wanted it

Occasionally, I am truly moved by writing. Sometimes, it is just compelling and you don't want to stop reading, even when the subject matter may be disturbing. You want to see how the story ends.

That was the case with the package of stories by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Joanna Connors. She wrote, in detail, about her rape and the aftermath in a five-part series. I can't begin to give this woman enough props for what she's done. First off, she prosecuted the SOB and sent him to prison. For that alone, I applaud her.

But, she has done more. She put it out there for everyone to see. Everyone, like me, who has been through it and been ashamed. Not really ashamed because it happened to me, but more ashamed because I truly feel like it was my fault because I was stupid.

Thinking about it today - while reading Ms. Connors' articles - it dawned on me that it was 20 years ago this spring when I was raped. And, I'll be damned if I don't still struggle with it - maybe more now than I did then.

I can still feel his breath in my ear and his hand on my throat. Relax. Relax, he said. You know you want it. Yeah, he actually said that, too. You know you do. Relax.

Oddly enough, it is a little hard to relax with your hand on my throat. Relax. I still hate it when people say that to me. Typing this right now, I feel like I'm going to throw up. Joanna Connors not only wrote down the small details, she wrote down almost all of the details. About what it feels like to wonder if you didn't fight enough. About feeling stupid. Embarrassed. Worried about disease.

For me, trust has been a huge issue. I was dating this man. We had gone out and had a great date, came back to my apartment, smooched a bit on my roommate's bed and then I fell asleep in his arms. I've always loved to sleep next to someone. It has been a comfort thing for me. Even my friends growing up, I loved to cuddle up next to them when I slept. Totally creeped out my best friend. :) But, she learned to live with me like that. It was something that made me feel safe, loved and relaxed (oddly enough). So, to fall asleep in his arms was something that made me feel protected.

He was tall and blond. Pretty cute in a dorky sort of way - I always had a thing for different kinds of guys. He was athletic without being a jock. I liked that about him. He reminded me of the elf who wanted to be a dentist on Rudolph. He wasn't threatening at all and I trusted him. He lived in the same apartment complex as me. Waking up with him on top of me, hand on my throat - I thrashed my body, tried to push him off with my arms, but he was stronger and clearly determined to get what he felt he was entitled to.

I don't remember much of what happened after he was done. I think he kissed me on the forehead. Whether he left then or the next morning, I don't remember. I do know he sent me a dozen red roses the next day. I gave them to a neighbor and didn't talk to him again.

I vaguely contemplated telling the police, but I knew what would be said. He's in bed with you, what did you think was going to happen? Earlier that year, a Baylor student visited some politico at his hotel room and she claimed to be raped. She was crucified by our peers and the media. What kind of harlot goes to a man's hotel room and doesn't expect to be sexually assaulted? If they did that to her, I'm certainly getting labeled a whore. So, I never reported it.

Anyway. I didn't intend to bring this up, but reading Connors' stories just brought it all the forefront. She wrote so incredibly about her experience. It was actually reassuring. I knew how she felt - how she feels. It made me feel better to see an educated woman who totally understands how I feel.


  • At 7:22 AM, May 08, 2008, Blogger Submariner said…

    I applaud your courage for posting your experience, AoM. While I can never fully understand what you went through, I kinda get a small taste of what you live with through two events in my life. Having my home invaded once by flood waters and once by burglars. The place you think of as safe is never fully safe again once either of these things happen. When I experience a couple of days of rain, I still get that sick feeling that it just might happen again, and it has been decades.

    Again, thanks for your strength and the warning for our daughters. God bless you and may he give you peace.

  • At 7:42 AM, May 08, 2008, Blogger Jenni said…

    I so completely understand where you're coming from about thinking it's your fault or assuming authorities will blame you if you report it. I too had a date rape scenario in my distant past and the worst part for me is that I figured I deserved it and kept seeing the guy. At least you had the courage to never speak to him again. Good for you!

    Know that you're not alone in this by a long shot. Many many women have been sexually violated in one way or another and a good number of men too.

    Thanks for sharing, sweetie! :)

  • At 8:10 AM, May 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    AOM , know you aren't alone. I too was raped it will be 18 years this August. At times I still feel and hear him...................MOT

  • At 6:48 PM, May 11, 2008, Blogger Mo K said…

    Wow. Thanks for posting this and the link to Connor's article. I was riveted and had to read all 5 parts. What a powerful read. I haven't been through what you and she have (and Jenni + Anon, too) and you have my deepest sympathy and prayers. I hope that by sharing your stories that it is cathartic. You never know how many people will be put on the road to healing by having read what you all wrote. God bless.


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