The evening he dosed me, just the two of us were at the house. He had given me a soda. I didn’t drink much of it before I was too punch-drunk “sleepy” to continue taping the ceiling. I apologized profusely, struggling to keep my eyes open, telling him I feared I was going to fall asleep right there on the ladder. He was so sweet about it, even led me to the bed in the connected master bedroom and told me he had no problem with me taking a nap….
And just like that, I was out.
I was so naïve… I didn’t even piece together what he had done to me until years later, and then what could I do? What proof did I have? Even more, I was ashamed… because he’d convinced me to come over by offering me a few grams of pot in exchange for my help. I remember that next morning, he gave me the baggie, and I told him I would feel bad taking it since I didn’t do any actual painting. He told me he wanted me to have it anyway. At the time, I just thought he was being nice. Now, I see red when I think about it. That motherfucker not only dosed me and then did god-knows-what, but he had the nerve to pay me for it the morning after like I was some cheap whore. So, I kept the rape to myself. I could have reached out when I learned a family member had also been dosed—but she had traumatic memories, able to recall bits and of parts of her rape, and as strange as it sounds, I felt guilty when I considered my horror relative to hers. What would I say to her? I hadn’t a clue, so I decided to say nothing.
To this day, what gets under my skin the most is not knowing what he did to me while I was unconscious. Maybe I’m better off not knowing, but it still eats at me sometimes. I have no memory whatsoever of anything that happened between my head hitting that pillow and my waking up (alone in the bed and fully clothed, of course) the next morning. I’ve fantasized about tracking him down and making him tell me everything he did while I was unconscious… and making him explain why he thought he had the right to do what he pleased with my body—without my consent. What he did had been calculated; normal people don’t keep roofies just lying around.
Even though I don’t remember it, I feel angry and disgusted, and I get even angrier when I think about the fact that he got away with it. How many other women has he done this to? I doubt I’m the only one. If he had served time for raping someone else, I would have felt at least some sense of justice, but I checked to see if the California legal system had his name in their sex offender database, and he came back clean. So, no, he hasn’t paid any price whatsoever for raping anyone.
I can go long stretches without thinking about it at all. I don’t have any traumatic images to flash back to, and it happened over twenty years ago. Sometimes, however, it just comes randomly to the forefront, and I feel that pang of injustice twist into my chest again. Seeing so many recent news reports of rapists pretty much getting away with it has left me so livid I can barely stand to look at any online media right now. My chest is painfully tight just typing this. Why is such injustice being allowed to continue? So much talk… and yet nothing changes.
Let’s talk about white, middle- to upper-class male privilege in its broadest form. Yeah, people have discussed it to death—but that’s because it’s still a problem. Privileged men get so many passes that move them effortlessly ahead in the line, from local political connections and small-town stardom in high school or college sports to the even higher privileged elites: “gentlemen’s C’s”; million-dollar “start-up loans” from Dad; buying their way out of consequences that leave their impoverished counterparts serving years in prison; and so many other perks that come with having “friends in high places.” These privileged people grow up to be entitled, and entitled people cannot seem to comprehend the simple fact that they should have to follow the same rules as everybody else.
But then you have men who weren’t born into money or given an easy ride growing up—and yet they believe they are entitled to anyone they have a strong desire to fuck, regardless of whether that desire is reciprocated. These men grow up either with bad role models or just a general lack of empathy; maybe they’re just born defective. These men are just as dangerous as the ones who can buy their way out of major jail time. They are cut from the same cloth: Either they think the rules don’t apply to them or money and/or status makes it so society’s rules truly don’t apply to them. We let this happen. Society has lost its cohesion. We don’t stand together anymore. We’re too busy arguing over countless other issues that never change—divided, distracted, defeated.
Finally, let’s talk about justice. What is the price tag for an invisible scar like mine? In a fair world, how much time would Brock Turner have served in prison? What do you personally believe would have been a just sentence for my rapist had he been caught in the act?
And, most importantly, how do people like me come to terms with our own injustices when reports all over the place are showing men getting away with similar crimes? No one should have to feel so completely failed by the justice system. Why is this being allowed to continue? I don’t understand how people with such selfish disregard for others can come out on top, time and time again. What happened to integrity? What happened to good prevailing over evil? Do such things exist? Did they ever exist?
I just don’t know what to think anymore. Maybe I should forget about justice and join the complacent, quiet, socially anesthetized masses: Let it mute my voice; let it twist me to believe in the virtue of one-upping the Jonses over the virtue of doing what is right; let it make me believe, and ignore, whatever it wants me to.
And let it make me believe that there is nothing I can do to change any of it.