Now that I work 9-5, I don’t see The View anymore. Yesterday, I learned through brave posts by my friend Nic about Whoopi’s dismissive remarks of Polanski’s charges. Nic is a very courageous rape survivor and I support her and everything she’s written about this 100%. Written here is my account of what it’s like to not be raped. Just so maybe we can get a sense of what Whoopi was getting at… Call me devil’s advocate.
I wasn’t raped once.
I also wasn’t molested at nine either. Well, not molested, molested anyway.
I was lucky. I got away.
On not being molested, molested:
He was someone I should have been able to trust; the father of my babysitter. He lived at the top of my street. He was a father of 9 kids. Grandfather too.
That summer day when he ‘stumbled across’ my friends and I playing in a wooded area near our homes, he was with his youngest son and I wasn’t afraid. He was nice. He was very friendly. He offered me a boost up to the branch we were all trying to swing from. I innocently accepted. His idea of a boost was different than mine.
I still remember the feeling of his entire palm and gruff fingers on my crotch. I was wearing flimsy little shorts that day.
I was instantly uncomfortable. I also remember feeling bad for feeling that way.
He’s a grown up and he’s not a stranger. Surely, it was an innocent accident.
I sheepishly allowed him to give me another boost up when my turn came around again, hoping he’d pick me up under my arms like I expected the first time. I was wrong. And this time I felt he lingered. I kicked his hand away and went home.
I still felt guilty about feeling violated. I was only nine; I didn’t have the words to explain what happened. So I kept my mouth shut. Besides, even if I did say something, it’s not like he actually did anything. Right? Right, Whoopi? Surely there’s no charge to file against a man who touched a clothed 9yo crotch while helping her climb a tree? Plus I knew him, it was broad daylight, there were other kids around, it could have been an accident, I.let.him.do.it.twice.
I soon found out it wasn’t an accident. The stalking over the next 5 years proved it wasn’t at all an accident.
When I was 10, I got a paper route. One morning at about 5am while collecting and sorting my papers, I saw him out walking… with his 2yo grand daughter. I know now that she was a decoy. He crossed the street to talk to me. “Hello” quickly turned into “I’ve missed you”, and a bold as balls offer of money, candy and more playing in the woods whenever I wanted to. Terrified, I said no, ran like hell and quit my paper route the next day. I still didn’t tell anyone.
For the next few summers he’d ride his bike around our block over and over again and slow down and stare as my friend and I played out in the front yard. He did this almost every day. It didn’t matter if we were playing with Barbies or were splashing on my friend’s Slip ‘n Slide. I started playing elsewhere. I still told no one. He still managed to be everywhere, but he kept his distance.
When I was 14 there was a truck fire on the street. My friends and I all stood around and watched. I felt a hand on my shoulder, squeezing. Then his voice in my ear behind me whispered, “hello Karen, I haven’t seen you in a long time”… At first I froze. Then I turned to see him, wrestled his hand away, shouted “stay away from me!” and ran away as fast as my legs could carry me. After that, I told my best friend. I also told my mother. I told her everything. He stopped following me that day and I never saw him again. If only he knew that my mother stuck up for him. She told me I probably over reacted. She said it was probably nothing. She said he didn’t actually do anything.
On not being raped:
I was 15. He was a stranger I allowed myself to trust in a vulnerable moment. I’m not ready to tell this whole story yet, it’s very painful for me.
I escaped though.
I wasn’t raped.
I was pinned beneath him, my arms held down. He shoved his tounge in my mouth. He tried to smother me when I screamed. He tried to choke me. Said he’d 'go after my people’ if I didn’t co-operate. He fondled me through my clothes. He said he had a knife. I didn’t see it. He probably lied. I thought I was about to die. I fought like hell. I wasn’t going to die easily.
I can only imagine that I tired him. That he chickened out. Because all at once he just stopped and let me go. He said he was sorry.
I can still feel how violently I trembled after running away.
I wasn’t raped.
Since I felt I put myself in a bad position by trusting this person, I felt I’d be told I was at fault. I’d be told that he didn’t actually do anything.
So I didn’t tell anyone.
I carry immense survivor guilt or at least what I feel is a form of survivor guilt. I can’t help but feel that my silence could have led to others being violated by these monsters. Really molested. Really raped. Or worse. Especially with my non-rape… I feel I could have been the first he attempted. A dry run. A lesson learned maybe to be prepared for a fight. Like anything, I'm sure rape, rape takes a little practice.
These two pieces of my past are major contributing factors to my panic disorder and agoraphobia. My therapist thinks I have PTSD. And yet, nothing really happened to me.
So yeah Whoopi, I see your point. Rape, rape is really bad. Really inexcusable. Almost rape / statutory rape, you know not rape, rape is different somehow and clearly a grey area. (And I watched the footage - no one can tell me this was just you 'being clear on the charges").
Whoopi, as a woman, grandmother and human being, I think you need to recoil your comments from the other day. Unless you were aiming to be a tool, because if that's the case, you totally nailed it.