Inspired by a recent podcast featuring Sean Faircloth from the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Here is another personal story about a subject that has been taken lightly in the atheist community recently. This is a subject not to ever be taken lightly and it affects more people than you will ever know about. It is a deep emotional scar that most victims keep quiet and to themselves, but that in no way gives anyone the right to make fun or light of rape.
Another person in my life that has been subjected to rape: something I will never forget nor will I forget the look of helplessness, shame, and shock in her eyes.
A woman that I had been dating brought up in conversation the idea of auto-erotic asphyxiation and she wanted to try after setting some ground rules and safe guards.
When it came down to it and actually putting my hands upon her neck, I immediately withdrew. I told her I couldn't do it no matter how safe we thought we were being. It just didn't feel right and made my stomach turn at that moment.
She broke up with me shortly after stating various reasons, one of which was I "was to soft with her and weak." I had no regrets and could walk away with those words no matter how they cut me.
It was the following weekend on a Sunday when I got a call from her brother asking me, "What the hell did you do to her?" I was at a loss and hadn't seen her in 3-4 days. I had no answer that would calm him down but he told me she was in the hospital.
I made it to her room with her brother standing guard. After a slight shoving match in the hall, he finally heard my words, "I hadn't seen her since Monday." It finally sunk in and he let me pass to enter her room.
Inside she was lying there with tears just rolling down her cheeks. She told me she was sorry for calling me weak and now understood my reluctance. After a few minutes she told this horrifying story of what had happened to her.
She and a few girlfriends went out on the town dancing Saturday and she hooked up with a guy. They went to her place where she "talked him into auto-erotic sex" act using a belt around her neck. She thought it was safe but she blacked out before she could say the "safe word" or yell "stop."
She woke up barely remembering what had happened. When she saw the bruises, she immediately went to the hospital. The belt had bruised her neck so badly it looked like a black, blue, and red 3 inch skin tight necklace. She suffered deep contusions right below each ear where her jugulars were. This explained why she blacked out - the belt had acted like a wrestler's sleeper hold.
That was not the worst of it. She had provided condoms at her place. From the medical examination, the doctors had determined from the evidence of fluids and tearing that she had unprotected sex both vaginally and anally. But she didn't remember him being inside her at all - she had passed out and he had his way with her. He probably thought she passed out from the drinks earlier but still that gave him no right to do what he did.
On the Tuesday following, 3 police officers entered my department at work. At first I was confused. As they approached my work area, I grew even more concerned. They walked right past me and stopped 4 stations down. I later found out from one of the guys in that station that he was just bragging about having "erotic sex with this babe" who "wanted him to choke her".
He was charged with rape, unlawful restraint, and reckless endangerment. He pleaded out to rape and confessed. He said that they had consented to sex and the sex act to be performed. He reluctantly agreed to wear the condom. She confirmed that much of the story in her report.
But once she had passed out, he said he "took the condom off and had sex with her any way." "He couldn't feel anything with those things," he said. He said he was "sorry" and "thought she just passed out drunk." He said afterwards he just left and went home, leaving her with the belt still around her neck. Had that belt been a little tighter she might have gotten brain damage or not woken up at all.
There are many lessons above, most of which I never wanted her or anyone else to learn or experience, but hopefully everyone can learn from them.