Sunday, 10 July 2011 02:30
By Dr. Jerry Simon
Antigua St John's - Some months ago, I wrote an article entitled, "Wounds that do not heal - the plight of a rape victim." Several comments I received quite correctly pointed out that rapists themselves often have been or are victims. And hence, to understand rape and hopefully be a part of the solution, we must understand the rapist.
This article does not seek in any way, shape, or form to make light of the plight of rape victims. Neither is it designed to make an excuse for or condone the actions of any rapist. Rather, it is written for us to better understand the anatomy of a rape, with an end to transform our society into one that offers more respect for an individual's right to their own body.
Therefore, today I will focus on the story of a rapist. And it is my hope that we all learn something that would enable us to better understand this scourge on our moral landscape and take positive actions to reduce it and its negative impact. However, at the end I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
We meet Fabian several years after he was released from prison for raping a young woman. He is now in his 30s, and at a point where he can begin to talk about that event and the demons that have been torturing his own life. But obviously, his story did not start there.
As a toddler, he lost both parents and went to live with an aunt (not necessarily biological) in another country. He explained that he was treated very well by his aunt and her family, and he had a very happy childhood. But at about age 10 or 11, all that changed.
About a year before that, his aunt and her husband separated, and it seemed that she had a difficult time dealing with it. At first, she still managed to keep things together and cared well for him and her own two children (who were younger than him). But then she started to act on an unhealthy attraction she had for her adopted son.
She would take him into the bathroom and have him rub soap all over her naked body, followed by them taking a shower together. Afterward, he was forced to cream or oil just about every inch of her bare skin and then lie on her, both of them totally nude. Other times she would hold his hand and rub it over her breast and then back and forth over her genitals until she had an orgasm. Or she would play some sensual piece of music and sexually gyrate her naked body against his.
In Fabian's own words, "I did not know what to think or to feel. But one day it felt kind of good when she played with my penis and I had an orgasm for the first time. After that we regularly would have sexual intercourse."
He continued, "For several years, all my waking moments were spent thinking about her and having sex with her. It was like a comfort zone, a safe place where I felt that I was experiencing what other boys my age were only 'wet-dreaming' of. Sure they were experimenting, but while they had to settle for little girls, I had a real woman. Girls my age had puny bodies, I had a big mama."
Then one day he noticed that her body was feeling different and that she was puking in the morning. She no longer wanted him to touch her. He figured that she was pregnant, but is not sure whether she had a natural or induced abortion.
After that, the sex stopped and she totally resented and rejected him being near her.
He in turn became angry and developed a love-hate relationship toward women . He saw them as sex objects, loving the female body, but being unable to relate in a healthy way. He would go out with girls, and whoever gave it up he would take it, with no particular feeling here or there.
In spite of his tortured existence, he was very intelligent and managed to do well in school. In college, he met a girl that he found very attractive (not just sexually). For the first time in his life, he actually felt something like love for a woman.
To his surprise, he found that it was not hard for him to talk to her, and they started dating. One night while in her room, they started kissing. Then he said a feeling came over him that to this day he cannot explain.
Up to that time, although he had had sex so many times, he had never kissed a woman. After they kissed and he looked into her eyes, he felt nothing but contempt for her. He started hitting her about her head, face, and body. He then ripped her clothes off and raped her.
He said, "This whole episode still haunts and tortures me up to this day, because I know she willingly would have had sex with me. It is like the first time I felt true intimacy, I became intimidated by it. It was like when I had sex with my [adopted] mom; this situation is out of my control. Something in me sapped and told me - you have to take control this time."
With tears in his eyes, he said, "What I can't explain is, why her. The only woman I have ever loved, and the only woman I felt actually loved me. Can you explain to me why? I don't have an answer."
When I listened to Fabian's story, I could not help but think of the many boys and men who carry with them the almost eternal weight of shame, self-assigned guilt, and misunderstandings that go with the territory of being sexually molested or raped during childhood. I think of the many choir boys who are raped by their priests, and grow up to be rapist themselves.
I think of Leopold and Loeb, who were molested by their nanny, and the demons that drove them to commit the so-called crime of the (20th) century. Two intelligent young men, who were at the time the youngest to graduate from Harvard, committed a senseless murder as part of a sick game in their sick, twisted world. By that time, they were involved in a homosexual and violent relationship and functionally imbeciles.
Many sexually assaulted boys grow up to be locked up in the world of their circumstances that is even more confining that any concrete wall, iron gate or barbed wire fence. Is it a topic that we have even started to address? We have to talk about it and do something about it.
We teach our boys to be strong, and emotionless; not to feel or fear pain; to be men. But can we prevent the pain they feel when they are sexually violated and are too scared to tell anyone, for fear they will never really ever be men?
Regardless of a man's past, there can never be an excuse for him raping anyone. And not every rapist can claim a history of sexual assault against him. But if we do not understand (or at least try to understand) his story, we as a society may be forever locked in the vicious cycle of the victim raping the victim.
Dr Jerry Simon (NSA Medical Surgical Rehab Centre, 268 462 0631,