Stalking the Bogeyman
July 8, 2004 10:39 AM   Subscribe

"The entry is dated June 1981, and while I have no memory of writing it, the penmanship is unmistakably my own. There, between accounts of my grandfather dying and a game-winning double I hit in Little League, is an account of my being raped three years before. I concluded the entry by wondering what I would do if I ever met the man who'd raped me on the street once I myself was a grown man." Original article is a few months old but the follow up (here) is fresh. [romenesko]
posted by dobbs (19 comments total)
Sorry, dobbs.
posted by password at 10:53 AM on July 8, 2004

Oops, didn't read the whole thing & missed that this was a follow up. My apologies. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
posted by password at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2004

The last update came out today password, and details how the arrest went and how charges were dropped.
posted by mathowie at 10:58 AM on July 8, 2004

Arrgh. I hate the damn search feature. :(

But yeah, my follow link is written by the original writer whereas the earlier post is someone else writing about it.

On preview...
posted by dobbs at 10:59 AM on July 8, 2004

Well, in a case where there could be no justice, this turned out not badly.
posted by orange swan at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2004

Thanks, dobbs.

They changed the name of the school where I was assaulted to the name of the man who assaulted me (its long-time principal).

And let me tell you that there's nothing nicer than being asked, "Where'd you go to [early grades]?" and having to answer "[My Assaulter's Name] School."

It's interesting to me that many--if not all--of the men I know or have encountered who were sexually assaulted or abused as children feel, like this man, an urge to physically harm or kill the abuser. I have never personally met or encountered a woman who was a survivor of childhood sexual assault or abuse who expressed similar feelings.

I don't know what, if anything, that reflects.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2004

Also, here's the link to Romenesko proper.
posted by soyjoy at 11:39 AM on July 8, 2004

Thanks for the update. What a trooper that guy is.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2004

never personally met or encountered a woman...who expressed similar feelings.

So what do women feel, if not vindictive? Just curious how the other half copes.
posted by piskycritter at 2:13 PM on July 8, 2004

Sidhedevil: first off, that's unimaginably shitty about your school.

Second, to further your point: most guys I know would have equally homicidal thoughts if their daughter were assaulted -- even if the daughter didn't share them. Personally, anyone who rapes my daughter better wear a bulletproof vest for the rest of their life.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:30 PM on July 8, 2004

As I say, this is just based on my own experience and I would hesitate to suggest that it represents any kind of broad-based psychological insight.

However, most of the women I have personally encountered who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or assault have turned their anger inward and taken it out on themselves through self-injury, eating disorders, putting themselves at physical risk, etc.

Which is not to say we're not angry. Oh, there's plenty of anger. But I have never spoken one-on-one or in a group setting with a woman who said "I'm going to get a gun and shoot him/her," or "I'm going to beat him/her up", or even "I'm going to vandalize his/her property" about their abuser or assaulter.

(Again, I know that my personal experience of having these conversations reflects only a few dozen women--100 at most--and maybe a couple of dozen men, which is hardly a statistically significant sample.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:52 PM on July 8, 2004

Why stop at vandalism when you can cut his balls off? Sounds logical to me, that way they won't be compelled to commit the act again.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:03 PM on July 8, 2004

Women tend to internalize and men tend to externalize.

In a rape situation the man will blame the victim and the victim may blame herself, she is being punished for something she did but doesn't know what, for example.

See the movie Rashomon for a good insight on this topic which is how 5 different people saw the same murder/rape in 5 different ways. Which is true/right? They all are.
posted by stbalbach at 3:56 PM on July 8, 2004

I think that if a man were molested by a woman, they would probably not want to kill them. As bad as this sounds, I belive the diffrences is probably due to homophobia.
posted by delmoi at 5:10 PM on July 8, 2004

I have never spoken one-on-one or in a group setting with a woman who said "I'm going to get a gun and shoot him/her," or "I'm going to beat him/her up", or even "I'm going to vandalize his/her property" about their abuser or assaulter.

I have. It was more along the lines of taking him out into the desert and torturing him to death, but, same idea.
posted by majcher at 6:08 PM on July 8, 2004

So what do women feel, if not vindictive? Just curious how the other half copes.

From the article:

"After the article came out, my mom, who still lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where the rape occurred, and from whom I inherited my taste for vendetta, mailed copies of the cover story to everyone in the man's neighborhood, along with a signed note identifying him as the unnamed molester in the story. She was a one-woman sexual-predator notification program.

The same night I sent him my letter, she also called the guy, bombarded him with fury, and, when he asked her what he could do to make up for what he had done, she told him, 'Cease to exist.' "

One might reasonably conclude lack of proximity and a suitable weapon were the difference between venom and a homicide here.

And then a man from Louisiana writes me about how four years ago he tracked down his Pee Wee football coach, who did it to him twenty years ago, when he was ten. The former coach is old now, and fat, and he found him working as a clerk at a grocery store in their mutual home town. He walked up, asked the coach if he remembered him, and when the coach said no, he beat the old, fat man within an inch of his life, screaming his name into the molester's bloody face.

This is a bit sad for me. The most powerful thing about the original story was the lesson of potential redemption here: both for the victim and perpetrator. I think it's good, too, to get followups like these and see that there's a whole host of realities that don't simply go away because of a moment of perspective and some release. Maybe the guy who beat up the coach went intending only confrontation, but just couldn't keep it in. Maybe Mr. C was afraid of the same thing.
posted by weston at 8:17 PM on July 8, 2004

Hmm. For me the "satisfaction" in such a "story" would indeed - be its violent conclusion

Not some .. redemption
posted by firestorm at 9:43 PM on July 8, 2004

I've felt anger towards those that abused me (three different people at three different times when I was a child), but never entertained the idea of injuring or killing them. That may be because I was little and they weren't. I knew I couldn't hurt them and so it probably never occurred to me.

As mentioned above, it's all been internalized. I hurt myself because I can't hurt them, I guess.
posted by deborah at 10:53 PM on July 8, 2004

firestorm: if it was just redemption for the predators, I might not be so impressed with the idea. But it's not: this is also very much about release as well as justice for the victim. See my comment here.
posted by weston at 11:40 PM on July 10, 2004

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