She was innocent, naive for her age...
slow to develop
the last in her group to show off her bra at a slumber party
She was last to be kissed
and that first kiss was orchestrated
orchestrated by friends who pushed her against a boy who thought she was cute.
She was surprised by how soft and warm his lips were
In high school boys took serious note of her
She never went past second base
she was learning about power over the opposite sex
She learned to tease without making promises
On her 18th birthday she met a boy who was innocent too
together they learned to please and be pleasured
She thought they would always be
a war had another plan
One day she met a man
a grown up man
his eyes twinkled when he looked at her
she teased and played as she had always done
look but don't touch...or not too much
She danced until he grabbed her
grabbed her from behind
suddenly the game felt deadly serious
and when she screamed he went into a rage
she didn't know if she would live or not
he ripped her clothes and pulled her by her hair
pushed her hard to the floor
he shut up her screams
he pressing his knee against her throat
unzipped his pants
then there was no room to scream
he stabbed his weapon
tried to rip her apart
and when she cried
whispered please don't
she saw his eyes filled with hate and it went on and on and on......
that was my experience
this hate crime was my experience
and as much work as I've done around it my anger still rises up
he took something from me I've never had returned
but the rape was just the beginning
I don't remember much between the time he stopped and I escaped...and it was an escape
I remember the kindness of a couple who comforted me and called the police
I remember being given a woman prisoners dress to wear
I remember them putting my torn clothes in an evidence bag
I remember the rape test
I remember the dr. saying my ribs were broken and that was why I couldn't breathe without pain
I remember being in a small room with a police woman who took pictures of the bruises on me
she asked me to run my fingers through my hair
she wanted to see how much came out in my hand
Days later I was given a lie detector test, which I passed, I remember feeling like I had done something wrong
Days later I went before the grand jury for testimony, I remember feeling like I was the one on trial for my freedom
the jury listened
they wanted to go to trial
I remember being followed by a private investigator working for the defense
he took my picture
Months later I was called to the District Attorney's office.
He was assured as he spoke to me
leaned back in his chair
told me that I had indeed been raped
all evidence was in my favor
but there was a little problem
he told me
well, its like this
we had to consider this
you aren't a virgin
you weren't a virgin
you are a hippie
you are not the most sympathetic rape victim
you've had boyfriends
He is a father
He is a husband
He is a business man
He goes to church
So in spite of the assault on you
we don't think we can win the case
he plead guilty to gross assault and battery
I'm sorry for this.
Don't take it personally.
I barely made it to the elevator...
I remember that
I couldn't see from behind my tears
I felt so small
One out of four women is raped
age doesn't matter...
it's a crime of hate and control...
it's used as a weapon in the war against women
it is a weapon of war
I think of that...all the women and children who are being raped......
you probably all know someone who has been raped...
might even be the one you sleep with each night
or your mother, sister, or daughter
we don't always tell you know
telling can be a second assault
and if there are so many raped victims out there
I think there must be an awful lot of rapists out there too
Your father, brother, uncle, or son maybe.
You neighbor, the school bus driver, the teacher, the guy standing in line with you at the bank, or sitting next to you in the theater...
maybe even your next date...or your daughters.
I'm not a man hater...some of my favorite people are men...
but there has always been something I wonder...
and the other day I heard a Ted Talk given by a sort of tough guys life coach and I was heartened...
here was a man
a big tough looking guy
with a tough talk about rape
saying all rape is forcible
and wondering the same thing I have wondered.
He wanted to know when the men were going to stand up and say no more?
He wanted to know where the leaders were?
The coaches, the ministers, the teachers, the rabbis, the doctors, the troop leaders, the celebrities, the politicians..
He wanted to know who was going to teach the boys that rape is not acceptable, EVER
He wanted to know when we were going to stop teaching girls not to get raped and start teaching boys not to rape
He wanted to know how they would learn and break the cycle if leaders didn't step up and teach them right from wrong
He wanted to know why men weren't talking about violence against women among each other
He wanted to know why they weren't saying NO MORE!
He wanted to know where the outrage was?
He wanted to know why good men were so silent about this weapon of mass destruction.
Just sayin'...I wonder too.
E l i Z a t u r a n s k i
: P h o t o g r a p h y :
: : : 415 702 0354