I’m going to get right to the point here (insofar as there will be one to anything I write on this blog). I am going to do it in a way that is blunt, unfair, and bitter. And I am going to do that because that is, on a basic level, how I feel and how I am. Like I’ve realized so many times over the course of the past eleven months, this is the Wrong Reaction, which is why this is the only place I’m going to show that. This is the only place I am not going to accept generic, bland, well-meaning advice with a humble smile and a “gosh, I really appreciate that, thank you. I feel much better now!”. This is the only place where I am not going to pretend that no, really, it made me a much better person in the end. And this is the only place where I am not going to accept that cheerful quip of “oh, but it’s been nearly a year, it shouldn’t still matter, should it?”.
I promised I’d get right to the point, and here it is.
See that tree in my avatar? Maybe it’s too small for you to see well, but it’s there. That tree is on the northern part of One Of The Most Beautiful College Campuses In The United States. It’s a tradition on our campus that, if you lose your virginity at the school*, you tie together a pair of your tennis shoes (or maybe they don’t have to be yours; I came to college a non-virgin, so I don’t know) and throw them into that tree.
My rapist’s shoes are somewhere in that tree.
There is a building next to the tree – two floors and a basement. He lived in that basement. A single room: overflow housing for the dorm, no RA on the floor, no other signs of life except the laundry room next door. There was one small window mostly blocked out by empty bottles of red wine, an empty bed frame lofted high to support seemingly endless instruments and their cases, and two twin mattresses pushed together on the floor overlooked by a Ludwig Van Beethoven poster and a red and black tapestry. He even had his own bathroom down the hall, though he didn’t keep much in there besides a half-empty jar of pomade and shaving razors.
I don’t know why I care about divulging all that. Maybe it’s just to make him a real person; to show that, no, a rapist is not a person who exists only as a shadowy figure lurking in a bedroom at a frat party or behind the bushes in a ski mask. In my case, a rapist is also a person who occasionally plays D&D with kids from the gaming club, likes telling ghost stories, and helps your best friend with his calculus homework.
I talk about this to remind people that it’s not all black and white.
You know at least one rapist. Statistically speaking, you know several. But you talk yourself out of that nagging, uncomfortable feeling you get about them because, no, nobody you know would do that. They’re just weird/awkward/don’t get boundaries. They just don’t know when to stop drinking. They just don’t Whatever Rationalization You Need To Use. Because they are Real People, and you see them doing Real People things, and Real People would never rape. Because you see someone doing their laundry or opening the door for someone or dropping their textbooks in the stairwell, you lose the ability to see them as capable of doing anything like that.
Two weeks ago, I was told that the Rapist I Know has been expelled. He did not appeal the decision. Case closed. Time to move on.
I am supposed to be happy about this. I am one of the lucky ones. Once I reported, College 1 investigated, took it seriously, made some consequences happen.
Thing is, they investigated too late. But more on that later.
I am supposed to feel that justice has been served. I don’t understand this. How are the two equivalent? How are they even close?
I just don’t see how him losing the ability to attend a college that he was already academically suspended from is supposed to be enough for me. I don’t see how that could ever be the equivalent of everything he left his two known victims with.
What I do see is how angry I still am.
I am not a good person. I have not said with a twinkle in my eye that, it’s alright, it all turned out okay in the end. I have not forgiven him, I do not wish him the best.
This is the most recent in my series of Wrong Reactions to this whole situation. These are the things I want to talk about. I can’t give you a good reason why.
*Let’s call it “College 1”. I’m going to be changing a lot of names in this blog. Some will be subtle, some will not.