UA student recounts years of abuse, rape

All students, staff, and faculty:

It may seem strange to see this in the 'Cat, but since this is Rape Awareness Week, well, I thought a personal story might just bring this whole issue home for you.

Let me tell you who I am. Many of you know me as (Jon) Solomon's TA for the Greek Mythology course. I'm 6 feet tall, weigh 297, run a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, and I bench close to 350, without training. I am also, however, a rape victim. No, I've never been to prison, so you can shove your little jokes. Believe me, it's not funny.

It's difficult to write this, for I've never discussed this publicly. My parents don't even know, although they are going to now. Over the course of three years or so, I was repeatedly sodomized, forced into oral sex, beaten, and forced to use every drug used on the street at the time by a group of three people, including one family member (who was not one of my parents). It could seem hard to believe, given who I am now and what I look like, but that only goes to prove how possible it is to not understand because of assumption. I was three or four when this started; I can't remember exactly, for there is a large part of my mind that I can't get into, because it is too painful. To make the picture very clear, imagine someone with their dick in a kindergartener's ass. Does that help you? If that disgusts you, you have it easy. Try being the kid. I was.

It took almost 20 years before I finally started dealing with this shit 20 years of pure anger, failed relationships, the complete removal of my family, suicide attempts, you name it. I've been lucky. Over the last couple of years I've started well on my way in the healing process. There will always be a scar, though one that will never go away, one that makes me generally mistrustful of anyone at first. To be honest, I don't trust God, if there is one. If this was all part of a greater plan, well, the plan sucks and I want nothing to do with it.

I understand the anger so many people have anger that my parents didn't protect me, society didn't protect me, no one did; and to top it off, I was made to feel that somehow, all of this stuff that happened to me was my own fault. Yea, a five-year-old asked to be repeatedly raped. I deserved it. Does any of this sound familiar to any of you?

Rape has always been a huge factor in my life. One of my best friends from junior high was kidnapped, raped, and killed. The perpetrator was never found. A cousin was taken for her car on a Phoenix highway, raped and killed. Same story; the perpetrator was never found. So many of you take your safety for granted that you can't understand what all of this anger surrounding rape is about. Are you starting to get a clue?

Rape is not a sex crime. Calling rape a sex crime is like calling the Holocaust an exercise in population downsizing. Rape can (and often does) strip away all meaning to life, and leaves only pain, anger, and a bloodlust for vengeance behind. It's still there for me at times. One of my rapists was killed in an automobile accident; I felt no pity for the asshole. One's whereabouts I don't know; the third, well, I don't want to kill him anymore, but I can't help but to want to remove one of his body parts, and believe me, it wouldn't go where anyone would find it.

I know with time and the help of the friends I have now that these absolute feelings will fade. They will turn into something more positive. I've been lucky. I'm a survivor. I went to Hell, kicked Satan's ass, and I'm moving on. Far too many don't. Too many die, too many never recover. One victim is too many. I guess I'm hoping that some of you will read this through a crack in your microcosms of bar jokes, rude remarks, and mindless dominating mentalities and change your perspectives, become more considerate, and try to change the way we do things so that maybe one day we will all feel safer.

Thomas E. Tolley

Classics Senior

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