My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook (and All I Got Was This Lousy Article)

The hour-long phone conversation with the man who raped me that was more helpful than 1,000 hours of therapy.

May 16, 2011 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

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One of the either great/horrible things about Facebook is that it’s hard to lose track of anyone. I’ve been friended by the dude who threw my glasses over the fence in elementary school (now a Jesus-freak), friends of my mother’s who know weird stuff about me and leave comments on random photos buried deeply in my albums and even estranged relatives.

Oh yeah, and the architect of my adolescent rape. As one benefit of that long-ago trauma, I sometimes have difficult accessing and identifying emotions, so I’d describe my feelings upon seeing his friend request in my inbox as sort of “hurt-y?” With a side of “can’t breathe.”

When his face and username popped up in my inbox, my first impulse was to immediately close the browser window, shut down my computer, leave my house and quietly relocate somewhere in the desert where there are no virtual means for people who have deeply hurt you to invade your now fairly stable life.

It had taken me a decade of alternately blaming and doubting myself to actually start sifting through my memories in therapy, even longer to admit that what had happened to me was assault. This was partially due to the hazy, spotty nature of the my recollections -- the brain has a beautiful way of blacking out things that are too horrible to remember. I decided I had to know once and for all what had really happened to me.

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Now seized by the desire to know the truth, I immediately wrote an email to D****, telling him what I remembered and asking him to clarify some things. He responded that he really felt we needed to talk on the phone. (My guess is there are some admissions you don’t want in writing.) 

Sending an email was one thing, but could I actually stand to pick up the phone and speak to D**** without the more impersonal technological buffer of a computer? I felt comforted by the fact that like everyone I've reconnected with on Facebook, he'd gotten fat, and by the banality of his listed interests like "Bob Marley" and "Scrubs." He was a monster in my memory, but on Facebook, he was just a man. I called him.

Our hour-long conversation, part of which is transcribed below, while upsetting, actually did more to help me process and get over being raped than the thousands of hours I’ve spent discussing it with mental professionals.  (But I never accepted his friend request.)

Me: Hello?

D: Hi. Wow, this is weird.

Me: Yeah, how long has it been?

D: At least 12, 13 years. I’ve followed your stuff on line. Your video series is hilarious.

[extraneous small talk, including him quoting several lines from my video series, hearing about his family, etc.]

Me: You know, I got sober a couple years back—

D: Congratulations.

Me: And I have these memories, but a lot of it is hazy and there are pieces that are missing and some new pieces have come back to me since I got sober. And about this incident in particular with you and M*** and C*** and a group of guys who forced me to do some things.

D: So what do you want from me?

Me: I just want to know if all this really happened. Cause sometime s it feels like I’m going crazy.

D: OK. I remember. You’re not going insane. You’re not delusional. It happened. I remember. I was there.

Me: Thank you.

D: I don’t know how much you want to hear…

Me: It's OK. Just tell me whatever you remember.

D: OK.  You must have just turned about 14…it was like ’97. C*** and M*** were supposed to smoke everybody out. We were in this warehouse—

Me: Yes! It was a warehouse? That’s real?

D: Yes, it was like a half a warehouse that C***’s dad owned with a huge open area, horrible shag carpets, paneling and then the warehouse area with boxes … all dusty with cobwebs.

Me: I can’t believe we were really in a warehouse…that was one of the things that I could never explain. Because I pictured a warehouse but I thought, “Why would we have been in a warehouse?”

D: It was a warehouse.

Me: Oh my god.

D: I was in the far corner from the door. Somebody told me that you wanted to come over and hang out. It was me and you and M*** and C***, J***. and S***.  I was in the far corner from the door. I associate the song “Stupid Girl” by Garbage with the scene, so maybe it was playing.  Somebody brought you over and told me you were going to give me head. I thought you were hitting on me. I had no idea there was anything non-consensual going on. After you left, they all gave me shit about it. Said I was hogging all the head.

Me: I remember handcuffs, do you remember that?

D: I don’t remember handcuffs. I remember a collar and a leash.

Me: [crying] Oh my god.

D: For any part that I played in this, I am so fucking sorry.

Me: I remember handcuffs.There could have been a collar and leash too. I also remember…I see myself with the handcuffs on and M*** and C*** circling around me. And M*** said, “You’re going to give us all head now, one at a time, and no ‘penguin head’ either.” And C*** tried to give me a drag of his cigarette and he was like, “Don’t give her that. She doesn’t deserve anything.” He was really mean and threatening. Does that ring true to you?

D: I can totally 100% see M*** saying that and C*** going along with it. M*** had been in a similar situation … some really shady shit with one of our friend’ sisters. He spent an amount of time in a boy’s home. He would manipulate, lie, cheat, steal. And C*** was just a flunky who would go along with whatever he said.

Me: Wow. So that would have been in character for him?

D: Completely. If you told me that you were forced, coerced, used, abused, threatened, I would totally buy it.

[more discusion, followed by a long silence]

D: So, there’s something else.

Me: Uh-huh.

D: That you…after you left I heard some rumors.

Me: OK.

D: You remember that we had sex, right?

Me: Yes, I do, D*****. It was my first time. And to tell you the truth, I don’t remember that being entirely consensual either.

D: Ok. Cause after you left, I heard from some people that you were going around telling people that I raped you.

Me: [deep breath] Well, first of all, I didn’t “go around and tell anybody anything.” I maybe told C******. 

D: Who probably told everybody.

Me: Yeah.

D: I actually tried to get in touch with you a couple years ago about that. Because when I heard you were saying that, I kind of beat myself up wondering if I actually raped you.  But the idea that it was non-consensual never crossed my mind.

Me: I remember saying no, D****.

D: At least at one point, you said, ‘No, let’s stop.’ Maybe a couple of times. But then everything would be OK. I remember afterward you were really emotionally unresponsive, not talking. You left in a hurry. When I heard that you were in a bad place, that’s the first thing I kind of thought of.

Me: Well, yeah.

D: I do want you to know that I am so fucking sorry for any pain I caused you. I did like you. There was no disrespect or … I never saw you as a piece of meat or some bitch. You were a fucked up little girl and I can see that more clearly now.

Me: Well, I was…and my background contributed….I craved that sexual attention and put myself in bad situations. And I didn’t know how to … I said no, but I didn’t scream or bite or kick because that’s not what I knew how to do. I just asked you nicely to stop.

D: Yeah, if you had done any of that stuff, I would have stopped right away. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t do it.

Me: I do appreciate you talking to me about this.

D: And if you ever need anything…if you just need someone to bitch to or you have more questions, I’m totally available. I work in the evenings but I’m around any other time.  I want to help in any way I can.

Me: Thank you. Just take care of your daughters. Just love them so they value themselves. And teach your son, too. That no means no.

D: I will.