I was an isolated child in a rural area. I went to a small town high school. It was worse than Peyton Place. Because of personal experience, I do not have any doubt that horrendous events, covered by the media and ignored by those in power in government, actually took place.
I was very sheltered in grade school and junior high school. By the time I reached the 9th grade I was ready to reject my mother’s orchestration of my isolation. (That is a story for other places and times.)
By mid-sophomore year I had been raped. I had smoked marijuana a couple times before I ended up in a local “distributor’s” room where a lot of people partied. Without understanding what I was getting into, I ended up in his room alone. I was raped.
Needless to say I became suspicious and introspective. I quit partying. I had suicidal ideations. My physician asked my parents to take medical and psychiatric action. It was the worst time of my life.
I still had two years of high school left. I talked to lots of women/girls at school, in summer college programs, and during the first year of college. This is what I saw and heard from my very jaded viewpoint.
- a guidance counselor, a trusted professional who was supposed to be helping me, in whom I confided in began prepping me to be seduced through extending and shaping an inappropriate relationship by improper sharing, questions, comments and the like, throughout the last two years of high school so that when I was 18, within days of graduation, he planned to complete the seduction
- a friend was hidden in a closet by a male friend of hers at a party and guarded her when other men at the party came to grab her and rape her, as they were doing to girl friend of hers who came to the party with her.
- another girl and I went to a “team” house party with a good friend, a guy. He got disgusted by something and left. Within a few minutes I had been guided to another room, a bedroom, by a cute guy that I did not know. Then the guy we came to the party with, came back to the house and forcibly removed us from the rooms where we were and took us home. I did not realize for a while that this wonderful boy had probably saved us from gang rape by his team buddies.
- Junior year in the summer before Senior year I went to an honors program at a university in the southern part of my state. One of the girls, all high schoolers aged 16 and 17, who lived on my dorm’s floor had “pulled a train.” I did not know what that meant at the time. I now know that means she was gang raped when in an incapacitated state.
- I remember a woman in my humanities class freshman year of college suddenly seemed depressed and withdrawn and always on the verge of tears. “The grapevine broadcast that she had been raped in the dorm that was the closest thing to a fraternity vibe” on the campus of the religious college.
These were not “date rapes.” they were vicious planned attacks. So how did adults respond in this culture? Not very well.
There were clearly two standards in the small town. One standard of justice is well illustrated by what happened to two women who both had abortions during high school. One was not well connected socially, and she was kicked out of school for a year. Another was well connected and active in sport and cheer activities. Nothing happened to her after she took one of those extended weekend trips to a nearby state. (This was before abortion became legal medical procedure in all 50 states.)
It did not take a rocket scientist to figure out that you should just keep your nose clean and get the hell out of Dodge as soon as you could. That is what I did for the last two years of high school. I then paired up with a guy, as much for protection as for love, though I hate to admit, from the time I was 18 until I was 30.
There are so many other stories I could share, but these are the major ones involving people I knew well enough to know what they’d been through.
A system of inequity protects the privileged, most often white, men from being dealt with as the criminals they are after they commit violent offenses.
I know that one of the things that kept me from telling my family (brothers) that someone had harmed me was that I was certain my brother recently returned from Vietnam would have killed him. And because he was just a poor boy from a poor family that he would be caught and prosecuted for the murder. There are many reasons that women do not speak up.
Believe the women.