Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Stories: Purple Cried

Purple Cried, The (Second Edition) Book of
Our Stories
is now out.
K-State Students telling their own stories of assault and trauma.

The Leadership Studies students who have been working with me on getting the second edition out have entitled it,
Purple Cried
You will be able to get one at Noon on Bosco Plaza Monday, October 25.

Three of Our Stories:

Thoughts After a Class About Rape

The last couple weeks of class have been very emotional for me and at times, a little hard to digest. Although I myself have been in less than desirable sexual situations, I feel that now more than ever, I will never be able to fully understand the wide array of feelings that a victim experienced after this crime has violated them. I have friends and friends of friends that have dealt with this, but I still don’t feel that I will ever be able to know their whole story because of all they have had to deal with.
My friends and I have been dealing with a lot this semester.

One of my very close friends was raped a year ago at a party and after much support and consideration, she has decided to push forward with legal proceedings. It feels as if he has infiltrated our lives, our social circle, and the way that we view others around us. He is there at Pat’s, Rusty’s, or Tubby’s. He is sitting around drinking a beer with his ignorant buddies and laughing about something that I’m sure isn’t that funny. He is stalking unsuspecting women with his eyes as they walk past his table unknowingly. They have no idea the amount of pain and destruction he is capable of. But we know.

We have seen the wreckage and damage that he has left behind as a personal calling card on our very dear friend. We feel the rage bubbling up inside when we see his smug face or hear of another woman’s story.
It is as if we too have a relationship with him that will just never go away.
If I ever see him again, which I know that I will, I will not be able to just walk by not knowing what he is.
The unseen aspect of rape’s aftermath has become a part of my every day life.
I will never know the pain that my friend, his victim, feels on a regular basis. Or the possible fear that invades her heart and mind when we call her and tell her that we saw him out, yet again. I don’t know that I will ever be able to help her ease that pain, but at the same time I don’t know if it’s my place.
She must find that comfort within herself to face those demons and then leave them behind. She transferred to an east coast school. I’m not sure how healing will happen for her. I suspect that for some women, it never does happen. -M.H.

Ali Kemp

“I Wish I Was There,
In a Wonderful Place
Where No One Knows the Word “Hate.”

I Wish I Was There,
In a Wonderful Place
Where Everyone Knows the Word “Love.”

These phenomenal words, written in a poem by the late Ali Kemp, rang in my ears during my PEERS class today. I have personally known Ali since I was three years old and her murder and attempted rape for some reason came flooding back to me. I’m not exactly sure why this poem by Ali came into my head and rang so true. I guess I have just never taken the time to let it affect me.
Who are these men who think they have the power to do these horrific things to other humans? How is it possible?

Golden light pierced the depths, filtering like a glittering haze into the surrounding reefs. Silvery air bubbles swiftly darted to the oceans foamy surface as they systematically escaped the confines of the two divers below. A strong, knowing hand led her deeper, where the daylight shimmered against the paleness of the white sand.

Rainbow fish, of many colors and many varieties circled, spun, and fled around the pair as they continued downward. The sea was at her fingertips. One of the world’s most magnificent coral reefs, teeming with life, grew miles in every direction. There were nooks and crannies simply craving discovery.

Reaching the depth of the instructor’s discretion, they stopped amid a school of angel fish. Artificial flippers patted the sand into small whirlpools as she stepped onto the ocean floor for the very first time. Arms flung out, she spun in a circle, using the toe of her flipper to twist her body once, enjoying the feel of nothing but water in every directions- like flying, only beneath the waves.

Swimming up next to her, the man rested an understanding hand on her bare shoulder as they both stared, half standing, half floating in the blue. His fingers tread lightly through her floating hair tendrils, and eventually come to rest on her spine, massaging the small of her back.

Bristling, her eyes darted sideways, attempting to glimpse the man in her impaired peripheral vision. The black plastic of her mask and another firm hand planted against her cheek prevented any further inspection or movement. Heart speeding a touch, she tried to casually swim forward, away from the harsh hand on her face, and the soft touch on her back. Managing only inches, she roughly found herself pulled backwards by two hands, now no longer familiar.

Her mind raced. It’s okay, he’s just playing. You’ll tease him about it later. Grabbing her by the waist now, he floated her around and reeled her in until they were mask to mask. Using his feet expertly, he kicked off his flippers and removed hers while leaning forward until the lead on their weight belts pulled them down, gravity causing them to drift gently into the sand. When she tried to move, another thought kicked in. HE knows what he’s doing. You’re fifty point three freaking feet underwater, and he has the knife and the know-how, she thought,

eyeing the sharp net cutting blade strapped to his calf.

No longer wanting

or caring

to view his face, she looked away, her baby blues coming to rest on any number of fish as the thought of all the things she should have done, could have done… but didn’t. Jesus. Come on, kid, get a hold of yourself. It will be quick; you’ll tell the police and be done with this nonsense.

Before she could chastise herself any further, she realized that the lower half of her two piece had been slipped off, and one of his hands parade inside of her as if she were some sort of novelty. She felt tears, and knew how absurd they were as they began fogging up the plastic pane of her mask. No more thoughts came after he climbed on top. Both of her arms were held stiffly against the sand while her lower half was pushed repeatedly down. She no longer had the will or the guts to fight back.

Pain. Pain down there, worse than anything she had felt in her life. What will I tell Mom? What will Mom tell Dad? Her thoughts wandered. A brief sense of turmoil, then as if time had stopped,… nothing. Am I dead? No… he wasn’t there. Lifting herself from the sand, she blindly felt around. Her flippers had been shoved beneath her spread eagle legs. Going by feel, she slipped them on, and ignoring the burning below, she slowly kicked towards the surface.

Upon feeling the gentle, salty breeze on her cheek, she removed the worthless, foggy mask and swam the diving ship’s hill where she beat the side- the sign for the work boy to pull her up.

Grabbing the line thrown in, the boy pulled her up.
His eyes widened in surprise
as she crashed to the wood deck wearing only half of her bathing suit.

Taking the nearest towel,
she kicked off the flippers and dropped the tank off her back, allowing it to hit the ship deck with a loud clatter.

Slowly, an understanding of her indecency occurred and she quickly wrapped the towel about her waist, covering her shaking legs.
“Dear?” a voice called calmly.

“Coming, Mom…” she staggered forward, ignoring the boy as he laughed.

They sat across from each other: she rested on the crumbling brick wall, he sat in the grass at her feet.
“So you trust them?” he arched an eyebrow. Curious.

“Yes, and it’s really weird, because I always said I’d never be caught dead with a guy while I was alone.” Rocking back on the cold, smooth brick, she hugged her knees to her chest, nearly blushing. “But these are good guys, I think.”

“Well, you’re here alone with me, aren’t you?” he jibed.

She stared, her cheeks pulling back in a grin. “But you’re gay.”

A long, long pause presided. “Well, yes… this is true,” he smiled, understanding.
“I’ve never met guys like this. They really are nice. Granted, all they ever talk about concerns engineering, or computers, or sometimes operating systems, but all that aside,” she shrugged visibly, “They’re good people. I trust them.”
“Glad you’ve finally met some straight guys. I was beginning to worry.” He stood up, spinning a twig between his fingertips. “So tell me, any projected futures with these so called men?”

Her face turned serious again. “You know I’m not ready for that.”

“It’s all good, kid,” he planted himself down next to her and they both sat watching the sun slowly sink beneath the horizon.

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