Chapter 2: The Rape and Its Aftermath
Living in or even near a bad section of town is a bad idea, and people who do so usually do so involuntarily and have many reasons to live elsewhere. Visiting in or near a bad section of town is also a bad idea, and people who do so often find out why it is a bad idea.
Late one evening as the evening turned into night, shortly after leaving a subway Martina heard a sound coming from an alley. The sound was that of a child crying “Mommy! Mommy!” Always a Good Samaritan, Martina went deep into the alley to find and help the child.
She had a good motive, but it had bad consequences.
When Martina was deep into the alley, a man jumped out from behind a dumpster. In his hand was an old-fashioned cassette player, and on the cassette was the sound of a child crying, “Mommy! Mommy!”
Another man who now stood behind Martina grabbed her arms and held them tightly, while a third stuffed a dirty rag in her mouth and then wrapped duct tape around her head and across her mouth to make sure that she could not spit out the rag and cry for help. They also used duct tape to bind her hands behind her. The first man shut off the tape recorder. Then they took turns raping her.
They threw her on the ground of the alley, and one man held her arms and sat on her head. Another man lifted her dress and pulled off her underwear, then penetrated her first with his fingers and then with his penis. The third man kept watch for police and pedestrians. When a pedestrian appeared, the man simply showed himself, stared at the pedestrian, and looked dangerous, and the pedestrian crossed the street, never being near enough to hear any suspicious sounds coming from the alley. When a police car appeared, the man simply hid himself in the alley and called a low warning to the other men. When one man finished raping Martina, they rotated. Not all the men ejaculated. One man tried very hard to, thrusting with all his strength into her, but failed to achieve orgasm, possibly due to alcohol and illegal drugs and bad health.
Martina thought, This cannot be happening to me, but it is happening to me. I am a good person. I don’t deserve this. No one deserves this.
The rape itself was unpleasant, to use a weak word for a strong sensation that cannot be accurately put in words, and unpleasant were the other sensations Martina endured. The weight on her head caused her to have a headache, and she wondered if she had a concussion. She had a slight cold, and breathing through her nose was not giving her enough oxygen. In fact, snot was running down from her nose and her snot made noises as she tried to breathe. Also, the man currently sitting on her head did not use toilet paper well enough. And when he switched positions with the man who had raped her first, he farted in her face.
While Martina was being raped, she kept telling herself in her head, I am not my body. I am not my body. As much as she could, she experienced the sensation of being out of her body, and she drifted in and out of her body. As much as she could, she told herself, This is not happening to the real me. It is happening only to my body.
She did not struggle. She had had no time to scream or attempt to flee before being grabbed by a man much stronger than her, and she knew that each of the three men was much stronger than her. She vaguely hoped that not struggling would save her life by not angering the men raping her.
She also did not try to see the men’s faces or to memorize discriminating details about them, again vaguely hoping that this might save her life. Instead, she concentrated on not being her body.
Still, when the men rotated and a man got off her head, she got glimpses of the men. One man had a dragon tattoo on his neck, and later, after the rape, Martina wondered how stupid a criminal must be to get a permanent identifying mark such as a highly visible, highly distinctive tattoo. She wondered if prison guards encouraged tattooing among the prisoners as a way to more easily identify them when they committed new crimes after they got out of prison.
Martina also noticed that the men were wearing condoms. They must be half-smart, she thought. I know that they aren’t wearing condoms out of respect for me. They simply don’t want to leave that kind of DNA behind.
Once the rapes were over, the taunting began. The man with the dragon tattoo on her neck enjoyed dominating others, including the two men with him, in various ways. Martina began to think of him as Dragonneck and the others as Bignose — the size of his nose was the only thing distinctive about him — and Fartypants. One way Dragonneck kept his victims afraid and got what he wanted was through sudden changes in personality, such as becoming angry in an instant after seeming to be friendly. He also enjoyed sarcasm: saying one thing while meaning the opposite or at least something very different.
Dragonneck inserted his fingers shallowly into Martina, and then he said to her, “I absolutely love and adore you. Your beauty overwhelms me, and I am yours forever. I want to be the white knight who takes you away on his white steed, and I want to take care of you for the rest of your life. I swear that I shall always respect you, and I want you to be aware that I know that No means No, Stop means Stop, and Don’t means Don’t.”
Then his tone changed, and he said, “Of course, you did not say No, you did not say Stop, and you did not say Don’t. Of course, your mouth was gagged, but still….”
Then his tone changed, and he said, “I want you to bear my children, and I want to marry you. We shall be happy together for the rest of our lives.”
Then his tone changed, and he said, “And everyday I will invite my friends over to fist-fuck you.” And as he said the word “fist-fuck,” he also did the action. And yes, there was blood.
Dragonneck used Martina’s underwear to wipe between her legs, and then he said to her, “We know where you live. Don’t go to the police about this, or we shall rape you all over again, and by all over I mean in every hole you have. And this time we won’t allow you to live. After all, being alive is a privilege. By the way, I am keeping your underwear and your juice and your blood as a souvenir.”
The taunting was in some ways worse than the rape, and Martina thought, I don’t want to live. I want to die. If she had not been gagged and Dragonneck had heard these words, he would have immediately thought, This is the happiest day of my life.
Actually, Dragonneck had thought about killing her. But he did not kill her. Instead, he told Martina, “This is your lucky day. You’re going to live, provided that you don’t go to the police. Getting away with rape is a lot easier than getting away with murder.”
Dragonneck then punched her hard in the stomach a few times to ensure that she could not stand up for a while, and then the three men left after first going through her purse and taking her money and cell phone.
Again they were at least half-smart. Dragonneck wore cheap latex gloves as he went through her purse, and he did not keep her cell phone, but instead stepped on it and crushed it. He also was half-smart enough not to keep Martina’s underwear. He simply carried it a few blocks and then threw it away in a trash can.
Fartypants had one final gift for Martina before leaving. He dropped his pants and farted in her face, and Martina felt specks hitting her face.
Then the three men walked away as they talked about sports.
Once she was able to breathe again, Martina cried. She was able to release her hands and the gag in her mouth. She slipped her bound hands under her bottom and over her feet so that her hands were in front of her. Then she cut the duct tape with the sharp edge of a broken board poking out of the dumpster. She did not go to the police, although later she realized that that was a mistake. All she wanted to do was to go home and douche and take a shower and wash her hair, and she did those things. The bleeding had stopped by the time she reached home. She checked three times to make sure that all locks were locked.
No sleep was possible for her that night, although she lay in bed with the top sheet and blankets completely covering her, including the top of her head, except for a hole through which she breathed. She left all the lights in apartment on. Time did not move in a smooth, continuous pattern. She would look at the clock and then an hour later look at it again and see that only a few minutes had passed. Once, she looked at the clock and then after a few minutes had passed she looked at it again and saw that an hour had passed. She wondered if she had fallen asleep, but she did not feel as if she had been asleep. She kept thinking, From talking with friends, I know that lots of women have been raped, and now I am one of them. Everybody knows a woman who has been raped even if they don’t know that she has been raped. Many people don’t have to look outside their immediate family to find a female — often not yet a woman — who has been raped. Raped females are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, and grandmothers. Rape is so common that often articles about it do not make the front pages of newspapers.
All she could think about the rape and how bad she felt.
In the morning she got up and got ready for work. On a morning TV show, a sympathetic celebrity was interviewing a woman who had been raped. The rapist had been tried, the woman had testified against her rapist, and the rapist had been convicted. Because the rapist had been a serial killer, the case had received national and even international attention.
The woman described what had happened: “My boyfriend and I had left a party to get some fresh air. We went down by the railroad tracks. We did not hear the man who approached us from behind. He had a large rock, and he hit my boyfriend on the head. My boyfriend fell to the ground, and I started to scream, but the man held a knife against my throat. He tied my hands behind me, took off my pants, and raped me, and when he was finished, I begged him to put my pants back on me so I wouldn’t be found naked. For some reason, he put my pants back on me. He then hit my head with a rock, knocking me unconscious. He must have thought I was dead because he left. When I regained consciousness, I got to my feet and went to a nearby house, where they called the police and untied me. The man who killed my boyfriend and raped and tried to kill me was a serial killer who was found in another state six months later. All of his other, known victims were dead, and it was up to me to testify against him so he would pay for his crimes.”
The celebrity interviewer praised her, saying, “I know that it took a lot of courage to testify against the attacker, but that is exactly what is needed. Unless women report crimes — including sex crimes — to the police, unless they are willing for evidence to be gathered, and unless they are willing to testify against their attackers, the attackers will simply move on to the next victim and keep on victimizing woman after woman.”
Martina knew that she had done the wrong thing by coming home and taking a shower. She doubted that the three men knew where she lived, although it was possible, and she realized that if she had gone to the police, important evidence — evidence that had flowed down the drain of her shower — could have been gathered. In addition, she could have given the police a good description of her attackers, especially Dragonneck. Going to the police and then to a hospital for the gathering of evidence would been embarrassing, uncomfortable, and time-consuming, but still the right thing to do, even if she had to come home wearing a hospital gown or a cheap sweatshirt and cheap sweatpants because her own clothing was evidence.
Martina was too tired to think much now. She had to go to work. If she was lucky, she would get involved enough in her work — she had a job that she liked and that paid well — to forget the rape for a few minutes.
People respond to grief in different ways. Some people drink and party — often, these people drink and party even when they aren’t feeling great grief. Other people withdraw into themselves and can’t function. And other people — such as Martina — throw themselves into their work in an attempt to distract themselves from their grief.
Martina worked hard all day and stayed at the office late. She was sorry when she felt that she had to leave her office and go home. She knew she would miss the distraction from her rape, but she wanted to get home before dark.
At home, she dumped her mail on the table and then forced herself to eat. Now that she was no longer working, she was rerunning the rape in her mind over and over. She also imagined other rapes happening to her — rapes that had not happened but that could happen. She also imagined taking revenge for the rape: kicking the rapists in the balls, castrating them, making them die slowly, painfully, and bloodily. At times, she punched and kicked the air as she imagined what she wanted to do to the rapists. She also cried out loudly at times. Her cry was sometimes a cry of anger, sometimes a cry of pain, and sometime a loud swear word. She also imagined owning a huge, fierce dog so that she could walk safely at night. She thought, Let guys look at the huge dog and get off the sidewalk and stay away from me. With a dog like that, I would not have to worry about sexual harassment or rape. One difference between men and woman is that most men can walk around at night without fear — many women can’t.
Her mail piled up for a few days until she could bring herself to look at it. One item was a DVD from Netflix. Martina preferred getting DVDs by mail.
She had forgotten which movie was next in her queue, so she opened the envelope. Martina did not mind watching an action movie occasionally as long as the hero was a woman, and this was one of those movies. It was The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster as a woman who becomes a vigilante after her fiancé is murdered and she is raped.
Martina thought, Why not at least take a few steps to be prepared in case of attack?
Martina was a novice when it came to firearms, and she did some research online — a little — before going to a gun shop. She often had revenge fantasies in which she killed rapists, but she had decided to stay as legal as she could. She had thought, No sense in having the police catch me with an illegal gun that I have no concealed-carry permit for. Why should I be punished when the rapists go free? I’ll get the gun legally and get a legal concealed-carry permit. Once that is done, then I will get my revenge if I should have the opportunity — which I probably won’t. If I can, I will try to get away with revenge, and if I don’t get away with it, I will be happy with the knowledge of what I did to the rapists. And who knows, maybe I can get revenge against the rapists legally.
The owner of the gun shop was knowledgeable and was not out simply to make a bunch of bucks. Of course, he was a big believer in the Second Amendment. After Martina approached him, he said, “The Second Amendment says that ‘the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.’ This has always been clear to me, and I don’t know why people have a problem with it.”
Martina thought, That is clear, isn’t it? The government shall not infringe the right of the people to bear arms. Of course, criminals and convicts are people. Should the government give guns to convicts so that their right to bear arms is not infringed? Kindergarteners are people, too. Should public-school teachers give guns to kindergarteners so that their right to bear arms is not infringed? Still, the Second Amendment protects my right to bear arms, and that is something I am in favor of.
The gun-shop owner added, “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s find the right gun for you. What are you going to use the gun for?”
Martina replied, “Self-protection. I would like a gun that will blow a hole clear through a guy.”
The gun-shop owner had heard this before, and he could guess why Martina wanted a gun. He said automatically, “You’re going to need a bigger purse.”
The gun-shop owner spent time educating Martina, who emphasized to him, “I want a gun that I can carry around with me so I will have it if I need it to protect myself.”
The gun-shop owner said, “The main thing you need is a gun that will fit your hand. You don’t necessarily need a big gun. At close range, most small guns will inflict more than enough damage to stop or kill an attacker.”
He also advocated not carrying a gun in a purse, although some specially made purses have compartments for carrying a gun. He said, “In the situations you need a gun for, you don’t want to be looking down inside your purse trying to find your gun in the midst of everything you are carrying in it. You need to keep your head up and your eyes focused on the attacker or attackers. I recommend carrying the gun on your body. Because of concealed-carry laws, lots of manufacturers are starting to make fashionable clothing that will conceal a gun.”
The gun-shop owner also advised Martina, “You really ought to take classes at a firing range and try out a variety of guns there before buying one of your own. For one thing, such classes are mandatory if you want a concealed-carry permit. For another, since I teach some of those courses, I can let you try some of the guns we have available here. That way, you will know you want it before you buy it. But if you want a gun right away, I can show you a few that will meet your needs along with something to use to carry the gun. And, of course, I can help you get the licenses you need.”
Martina appreciated the advice and signed up for one of the classes that the gun-shop owner taught. She got started on a gun permit right away and started taking the class to get the concealed-carry gun license. Even after getting her permits, she took lessons in shooting accurately from the gun-shop owner.
The gun-shop owner taught her, “If you want to stop a guy, shoot him in the chest. That is always a good place to aim because if you miss the chest you are likely to still hit something important. If the shot is low, you may hit him in the stomach. If the shot is high, you may hit him in the head. If the shot is off to the side, you may hit an arm or shoulder. A bullet in any of these places will almost certainly make a man decide to quit attacking you.”
Martina soon realized that he was right. The target was in the shape of a silhouette of a man. She aimed for his chest but once missed and hit him between the eyes. One day, after taking lessons for a while and becoming a good markswoman, she aimed at another part of the target — the part where was located the thing that makes a man a man. She scored several direct hits on the target’s crotch, and the gun-shop owner joked, “I was thinking of asking you for a date, but now I don’t want to.”
Martina smiled for perhaps the first time since the rape.
The gun-shop owner advised Martina to take self-defense lessons in addition to taking lessons in gun handling and gun safety. She did all this, and she got in shape through the exercise in practicing self-defense. Her self-confidence was boosted as she gained knowledge of how to take care of herself, including gaining accuracy in shooting, and as she began to carry around the gun.
A woman named Victoria taught the self-defense class. A main focus here was on prevention, but she also taught more active forms of self-defense. One of the things that Martina learned was that stranger rape such as she had endured was much more rare than date rape. Most women who are raped are raped by people they know.
Victoria’s approach to self-protection was feminist. Much of it involved education and training in disabling men by attacking pressure points that would cause them great pain. Victoria avoided the kinds of self-protection that involved women basically barricading themselves in their homes and never leaving because they are so scared of being raped. She believed in living her life, but also in being prepared if bad people made an appearance in her life.
One self-defense weapon she used in her classes was the Kubotan key chain, which is a hard high-impact plastic rod about 5.5 inches long with a key chain at one end. Sometimes, the other end of the rod is pointed. The Kubotan key chain can be used like a nightstick to strike or stab at an attacker, and it can be carried in a purse. It can be used as a weapon whether the woman is attacked from in front or from behind. Martina bought one and carried it in her purse, and she learned well how to use it for self-defense.
She also learned about reporting a rape because even after self-defense training, a person can be raped: Report the rape immediately. Do not take a bath or a shower. Do not douche. If possible, do not go to the bathroom. And during the rape try to be observant — without being obvious about it — and gather information such as the rapist’s hair color and length, facial hair, odors, race, age, weight, height, clothing, and identifying features such as tattoos, scars, and rings or other jewelry. Often, it is a good idea not to smoke or chew gum.
Although Martina had not reported the rape, she decided to mail an anonymous letter to the police. In the letter, she described the rape and she described the rapists. She described in detail what had happened. She also explained that she had not been thinking well after the rape and had gone home and washed away important evidence. She explained that she did not want to go to the police now because she did not think it would do much good, but she did want the police to have important information and so she was writing this letter. She mailed the letter and hoped that it would do some good.
One other thing she did was to get Red Cross certifications in first aid, CPR, and even water rescue. A person can be too negative, always focusing on negative things such as rape. Being raped is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. Saving a life is one of the best things that a person can do.
With all of her training in self-defense and emergency techniques, Martina felt safe enough to live her life again and even to go out at night alone.
Holly was out late at night, alone, a tourist in a strange city. She had promised her parents not to be out alone at night, but she had disobeyed them so she could see a live professional production of the musical Wicked, an experience she had greatly enjoyed and had thought worth every penny of her very expensive ticket. But now three strange men, one of whom had a dragon tattoo on his neck, were following her.
She got on a subway car; they got on the same subway car. She got off the subway car at a stop; they got off at the next stop. She got on another subway car; they got on the same subway car.
The three men approached her, and the man with the tattoo said to her, “You seem to be lost. May we help? We can take you to where you are going.”
Holly replied, “No, I’m fine. I don’t need any help.”
He was persistent: “The city can be dangerous at night. We can protect you. Let us help you.”
Holly said, “No, I don’t need any help. And quit following me.”
She got off the subway car at the next stop, which was near her hotel, and the three men got off the subway car. The stop was deserted because it was late at night. Holly saw a security camera by the elevator, and she hoped that someone was watching, but she knew that quite possibly no one was watching — in fact, the security camera could even be a fake camera installed simply to make people feel safer because they thought a security camera was there and a security guard was watching.
The elevator doors opened.
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “Get in. Ladies first.”
Holly said, “No. You guys go ahead. I’m meeting someone here.”
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “You’re lying. Get in the elevator.”
Holly was near tears as she said, “No. Stay away from me.”
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “That’s not going to happen.”
The elevator doors closed, and the elevator went up.
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “When the elevator comes back down, get in the elevator.”
Holly said, “No.”
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “Why not?”
Holly was crying with her back against the wall as she said, “You are going to rape me. You are going to rape me and then you are going to kill me.”
The elevator started down.
The man with the dragon tattoo on his neck said, “Sounds good to me. What do you guys think?”
Bignose and Fartypants replied, “Sounds good to us, too.”
The elevator doors opened, and Martina stood there, searching in her purse for some change for a vending machine. She saw immediately that a young woman had her back against a wall and was crying as three men — the same three men who had raped Martina — stood in front of her.
Dragonneck reacted quickly, launching himself toward Martina. But Martina’s fingers were already around her Kubotan key chain, and she hit his face hard with it as she dropped her purse. This stopped him, briefly, but Bignose and Fartypants had time to react, and they came toward Martina as Dragonneck reached out one arm to grab her — his other arm was on his face. But with her other hand Martina had undone the two buttons on her easy-to-open jacket, and she shot the three men one time each in the chest. She was tempted to shoot each of them in the head, but resisted. That would look like an assassination rather than self-defense, and she had no desire to go to prison for killing the three men who had raped her. She put away the gun. Holly was still leaning against the wall, crying hard, and Martina went to her. They put their arms around each other, and then Martina started crying, too. The time it had taken to shoot the three rapists was less than a minute.
Police arrived quickly. The security camera was real and had recorded what had happened, but no one was watching. Fortunately, a security officer who was making her rounds had heard the shots. She had come running and then called police.
Bignose died as soon as he was shot, Fartypants died before the ambulance arrived despite lifesaving efforts by the police (Martina did not help), and Dragonneck died shortly after telling police that Martina had shot him and his two friends for no reason. But Holly told her story, which made it clear that the three men were a threat to her life and to Martina’s life. In addition, Martina told the police about the three men having previously raped her. She also told them about the anonymous letter she had written and mailed to the police. The letter had never been made public, and so the police believed that she had written and mailed it. In addition, the footage recorded by the security camera backed up the stories of Holly and Martina.
The three rapists were dead, killed by Martina in self-defense. Everything Martina had done was legal. She even was able to show the police her concealed-carry permit. No charges were filed.
After a thorough investigation, a police officer told Martina, “You did the right thing. Normally, the best thing to do is to flee, but you could not do that because you were in an elevator. Self-defense laws say that you can use only as much force as is needed to protect yourself — you can’t shoot someone as they are running away from you. In this case, you had no time to shoot a warning shot, and if you had tried to shoot each of the three men in a leg or an arm, chances are that you would have missed and would have ended up dead.”
Later, Martina reflected that the reality of shooting the three rapists was different in many ways from the fantasy versions she had imagined. In most fantasy versions, Bignose died quickly, as he had in real life. Fartypants usually died more painfully than Bignose — and sometimes Martina imagined herself peeing through her underwear onto his head before he died. Most importantly in her fantasy versions, Martina taunted Dragonneck after shooting him in the chest.
Martina had imagined herself saying to Dragonneck as he lay on the floor bleeding from the bullet wound she had given him, “You seem angry. Is there a problem? Have I done anything to upset you? Please, tell me what I have done wrong. I don’t want anything to come between us. Is it something I said?”
Then Martina had imagined herself saying to Dragonneck, “I value our friendship,” just before shooting him first in the crotch and then in the head.