Filling in the Blanks

Have been feeling a bit “numb” for the past couple of days. My EMDR therapist says I am in and out a dissociative state. Blah! Yesterday was another surprising Microscopic Monday on the purple couch. I swear, I went in there thinking I was wearing waterproof mascara in vain. That it wouldn’t be necessary. Yet once again I found myself free associating with whatever we were talking about. She remarks once again that it’s a miracle I’m sitting on her couch. She’s holding The List in her hands, shaking her head. Saying “You are just remarkable.”I imagine myself with black marker scribbles on my face, remarkable.

Hmmmm. I don’t know what to say about things like that. I suppose I’m in denial. Everybody has secrets. We all have a story that would make you cry. Just because someone has been through 3 things and another 30 things doesn’t make their pain any more or less. But I do realize I may have a lot of sludge to wade through. Anyway, I thought we might talk about something pleasant, like how do I get rid of this pain in my body, or how can I unblock myself creatively. Yet, she handed me something called “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” And wouldn’t you know,  I wound up going into That Night on Sunset Blvd. The night I gave the world of prostitution another last chance. Umm, Oh. I’d like to mean LAST chance. But before the internet there were newspapers and if placing ads for “benefactors” in the local meet up section counts, well, that went on for a while. What can I say. I gave myself lots of rope with which to hang myself. Plenty of reasons not to get to this very moment where I am typing this. Remarkable.

But the Sunset strip story is one I’ve shrugged my shoulders at so many times thinking “Eh, I’m over it. Whatever.” But then try to sit yourself down, with these tones playing in your ears and buzzers in your hands, eyes closed….and go back there. Not only to re-imagine the scene, but to recreate it. Re-frame it. I can still see the look of shock on ET’s face as I started to tell the story. (Hadn’t she studied The List before the appointment?) It was like, lady, you don’t even know the half of it. I am one of the lucky ones. I ran and I ran and I ran fast. And then I hid. And it would be years later I’d be faced with the even uglier underground world of rich people, organized crime and abuse. Sigh. I’ll write about it tomorrow. Wednesday Wallows. No wallows actually. Just chronicles. I suppose it’s good for me to just get it out once and for all.

With that, I leave you with “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” From Readings for Diversity and Social Justice – Anonymous

The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner which would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following example, a holdup victim is asked questions similar in form to those usually asked a victim of rape.

“Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of 16th and Locust?”
“Did you struggle with the robber?”
“Why not?”
“He was armed.”
“Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than to resist?”
“Did you scream? Cry out?”
“No. I was afraid.”
“I see. Have you ever been held up before?”
“Have you ever given money away?”
“Yes, of course–”
“And did you do so willingly?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given away money in the past–in fact, you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can we be sure that you weren’t contriving to have your money taken from you by force?”
“Listen, if I wanted–”
“Never mind. What time did this holdup take place, Mr. Smith?”
“About 11 p.m.”
“You were out on the streets at 11 p.m.? Doing what?”
“Just walking.”
“Just walking? You know it’s dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?”
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?”
“Let’s see. A suit. Yes, a suit.”
“An expensive suit?”
“In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?”
“Look, can’t we talkin about the past history of the guy who did this to me?”
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Smith. I don’t think you would want to violate his rights, now, would you?”

Naturally, the line of questioning, the innuendo, is ludicrous – as well as inadmissible as any sort of cross-examination – unless we are talking about parallel questions in a rape case. The time of night, the victim’s previous history of “giving away”that was taken by force, the clothing – all these are held against the victim. Society’s posture on rape, and the manifestation of that posture in the courts, help account for the fact that so few rapes are reported.

~ by kissingthecockroach on March 21, 2012.

10 Responses to “Filling in the Blanks”

  1. Wow… so your creativity doesn’t just stop at words. Your painting is so beautiful. You are very talented.

    I read that extract a couple of days ago on Facebook – someone had posted it. Very interesting and sadly, way too true.

    I applaud you for your continued work with your therapists. You are strong. I often sit and read your blog in awe because I certainly couldn’t imagine myself ever being willing enough to “go there” with such openness and honesty like you do. That is scary and takes guts. You’ve got guts, girl!

  2. So true about the treatment of rape and abuse victims.

    It’s a little different with sexual abuse victims, at least in my experience–more implying that your memories are made up than victim blaming, but it’s the same idea. Our culture, particularly law enforcement, don’t want to face or deal with the realities of sex crimes.

    I can’t wrap my head around exactly why, but I imagine it has something to do with power dynamics. It’s sad, though, because the need to dominate I’ve experienced with law enforcement officers is very similar to abusers’ need to dominate. They just reinforce the abuse.

    • I know. It’s like one of those evils in life that Just Is. No real way to remedy it unless we speak and educate those who might listen. Thanks for reading!!
      The Cockroach

  3. Good Job…. Keep healing…

  4. […] she hands me an article, “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” We read it out loud and I ask if I can keep my copy. I have adjusted in the purple couch […]

  5. yay fellow artist!! beautiful ❤

  6. That story is perfect illustration of the way victims are blamed for the crimes perpetrated upon them. You are a fine artist, and a strong woman. I wish you all the best on your road to healing.

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