Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 8 No. 2 | Summer 1986 (Seattle) /// Issue 16 of 24 /// Master# 64 of 73

was stunned. She went blank. Her daughter was raped. Raped. I tried to assure her that the rape part was the best part ... comparatively. At least my life was safe then ... the weapons were down ... but rape ... I don’t remember flying back to school. I was worried. I had to call the health center and get checked out. I had to say, “Hello. I was raped,” to a stranger. “Hello. I need to make an appointment because I was just raped.” It took all my courage. I remember thinking the doctor was mean. I remember feeling that he thought I was dirty. Scuzzy. Guilty. I ran into a good friend in the waiting room. I told her the story. I told everyone the story. No one knew how to react. I’m sure they were sorry they asked. It was so uncomfortable. And my body shook with every telling. But I kept telling the story. Over and over again. Maybe someone would have the magic words to give this thing the proper perspective. Then I could scream, sigh, and move on. But no one knew how to react. Not at all. Carol didn’t want the story out. She was angry at my openness. John, on the other hand, just hid. He rarely spoke for a year. Everyone assured everyone that there was certainly nothing anyone could have done to prevent this. It was certainly not a situation that warranted heroics, considering the weaponry involved. For God’s sake, I certainly was not harboring any resentment that John, the Man involved, had not been able to prevent this. But John ... he stopped talking. He stopped laughing. John. I felt for John. I, on the other hand, didn’t know what I thought. I had a psychology-majoring, bearded boyfriend who believed he held the capacity to crack every mystery of the mind ... within a week ... with utter ease. He warned me that if I did not seek immediate psychiatric help, I would wake up one morning, very soon, a complete and maniacal wreck. He was sure of it. And I sat there ... shaking ... letting his warnings glide swiftly through one ear and out the other. I knew the victims of violent crime, such as I was now, tended to shrivel, shriek, and withdraw. And that everybody said they needed professional help. They needed help to deal with these horrors or they would never be the same. But I thought I would be okay. If I just told the story. If I found some meanings ... humor ... ironies ... politics. I searched for all the significance. Yes, I knew my mind would take care of me. I knew it. And anyway, there was always the cosmic interpretation. Why should I want to be the same? Maybe I was chosen for this ... maybe I needed this jolt to take me somewhere I needed to go. It would all take care of itself. I just knew it. But my body. My body was a different story. It was harder to ignore. If a male person put his arm around me, I shook. If any kind of sexual energy was in the air, I shook. My mind would stand back, intrigued, but my body shook. And I was scaring everybody away. So I decided I needed to go on a sex spree ... to somehow neutralize this experience ... trivialize it. I thought I would be able to effect some sort of balance ... with a spree. And'l went on one, explaining to everyone that my sexual nonchalance was for a purpose. And what that purpose was. Neutralization. Trivialization. A mathematical restoration of balance. And after about a year, the shaking did subside. Fine, I thought. I am fine. X# mind is a violence inty us cotdout. dt is dis' imagination yimessin^r bad against de pressure o f read//'. d t seemsr, im d e to-do to id oarsef-preseroation', and dot, no- doud, M adu/' de toords', /tefs us to /toe our Zines'. ” Carol, my co-rapee, has frantically implored for 11 years now that the story of our rape never be told to anyone, no way, no how. And that she has absolutely nothing to say to me or anyone else on the topic. Consequently, we have never discussed it. John has said nothing, one way or the other. He seems embarrassed and bothered, and his blocks are impervious. I, on the other hand, thrive on the talking. I love analysis. Quirky experience. I live to figure out why. And as different rape analyses began to run rampant ... those psychological, pop-modern theories which make wonderful amusement for lovers of analysis ... I began to try to figure out why ... and what ... hard. Most of the rape theorizers were loudly asserting that rape terror simply could not settle correctly within one’s consciousness. It had to be dealt with ... officially prodded out ... lest it lump up somewhere between levels of awareness ... infectious. There was certainly no learned digestive process to call upon to effectively move this experience through my system. It was too dramatic. Cinematic. Television- atic. Within two minutes of my release from the captors, I no longer felt like I owned the experience at all. It was a story. Just a wild story. But I wanted to grab onto one of those new theories, and like working a puzzle, I wanted to peruse ... think ... struggle ... sweat ... figure out this Baja experience, fit it all together with tidy design ... and put it away. It would be neat, fun, and over. But, I thought, would it really help? I mean really. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how this wild, exotic story that included sabres at my neck, anonymous loss of virginity, and a confused 19-year-old college girl was going to go down. Was there an ugly blemish that had radically altered my postBaja life? I didn’t know. And until a year ago, I didn’t want to know. But then suddenly ... / had to. What could I blame on that fateful day in Baja? Compulsive behavior? Mental chaos? Fear of the dark? Relationship failures? Yeast infections? Cynicism? Guardedness? Did I hate men? Fear them? Desire vengeance? Was I riddled with scar tissue? Did I hate sex? Suddenly I needed to know it all. And I was wondering until my head ached with exhaustion. Yes, I decided, I had been expecting sex to be violence-tinged. Yes. I had been expecting men to be mean, overpowering, spiritsnuffing. Yes. I had been accepting the imposition of male aggression as if it were a given way of the world. Yes. And I’d been choosing very male men to be involved with ... men who could effectively penetrate my body .. . but not my mind. Yes. It began to fit beautifully. I was reliving the rape over and over again ... symbolically. Physicair offense by the man/over- active mental defense by the woman. Neat. Clean. Modern. But where does the sabre fit in? And is release really the child of awareness? I would love a tidy wrap-up for this story, but I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I knew what really to make of this experience I once had. I just don’t know who can be trusted when it comes to prescriptions for mental process. I am not sure if I am wounded, and that is Truth. I am not sure if I have blocked, projected, sublimated, healed. I have never had a dream about Baja. I never shake anymore. I didn’t shake, cry, or in any way seem to freak out while writing this story. I seem to feel wounded a lot in my relationships with men, but then so does most everyone else. Eleven years ago I lost my virginity through rape at sabre point in Baja, California, by two 16-year- old Mexicans in black ski masks. Now I live in Portland, Oregon, and I hope for revivals, revolutions, and much more romance. The loudest part of my mind is so removed from this experience that I have to keep pinching my memory to remind myself that I didn’t make it up. That it really happened to me. But I am goddamn tired of worrying about Baja. I am tired of wondering about the propriety of my responses then ... and now. I have perhaps catharted myself by writing this. I may have found the rhythm ... and the release. I don’t know. I don’t know. But Baja, baby, you are OLD. I must now proclaim you over and move on. Bye Bye Baja ... Bye Bye. I choose to blame you for nothing. West Coast Conference on Socialism & Activism: Progressive Politics in a Conservative Era July 25-27 University of California, Berkeley Wheeler Auditorium Featured speakers Include: Bernie Sanders, Socialist Mayor of Burlington, Vt. Jack O'Dell, Leading strategist of the National Rainbow Coalition Barbara Ehrenreich, Co-Chair — Democratic Socialists of America Anne Braden, Southern Organizing Committee Sponsored by The Guardian, The Progressive, Socialist Review. Plexus, El Tecolote, Coming Upl Registration: $15 Advance ($20 at the door) $10 Students, Unemployed Mell to: Conference, 7 Aztec SI., San Francisco, CA 94110 10 Clinton St. Quarterly Imagine this is your car. Don't wait until there's a major breakdown to pull in for your gynecological checkup. Consistent, preventive healthcare is the key to a long running life. Call us today. 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