Why, Hello There, Old Rapist In My Facebook Newsfeed



Sometimes I complain, loudly and to myself, about the things that pass through the newsfeed on Facebook. I can’t stand the political bickering. Enough with the selfies. And what’s with every single female person posing for photos with one hand on a hip, elbow jutted out, like they’re reciting “I’m a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle, here is my spout”?

But what really chaps my hide is when someone posts pictures of a party they attended, and as I’m taking a totally non-stalkery look at them to see if I recognize anyone I say to myself, “Huh. There’s the guy who raped me in high school.”

Yeah. The rapist trumps the political yammering.

It was a long time ago. We’re talking decades (I am not as young as I think, you know). Thirty years ago, to be a bit more specific. To borrow from Will Smith, okay…here’s the situation. My friend’s parents went away on a week’s vacation. So she had a kegger. Her parties were insane, y’all. Like, sweaty mob insane. Lots of booze. So, so much booze. And pot. Pineapple Express amounts of pot. We smoked a lot of weed in the 80’s.

Oh, and there was always sex. The established couples who’d make out in corners, hands squeezing Levi-clad butts, the drunken hookups stumbling into dark basements in search of a couch on which to hump the night away, the flirty glances and not so subtle come ons.

I was a virgin. And I was drunk. Tenth or eleventh grade, not sure which, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It was all so long ago. Little details like that have devolved into meaningless dreck. I was already damaged goods, what with my parent’s nasty divorce and an abusive step parent, but I’d managed to make it that far without surrendering my purity. That’s not typical for girls like the girl I was back then…girls like that tended to be promiscuous party girls, looking for love any way they could, anywhere they could.

Not me. I partied, yes oh my gosh yes, I partied. Partied hard and partied often. And I wasn’t chaste all the way through. I did my fair share of making out, groping and rubbing and all of that fumbling teenage exploration-phase stuff. But I was well on my way to developing the thick shield of armor, the armor I’d find myself still bearing dozens of years later. “If you don’t let anyone in, there’s no way they can hurt you!” was my motto. Still is, unfortunately.

Let’s get back to the party, shall we? Where was I? Oh yes. The drunk virgin. I remember seeking out my friend, the hostess-with-the-mostest, and telling her that I was feeling crappy. Telling her I needed a place to lie down for a while. She led me down a short hallway, and opened the door to her parent’s bedroom. “Sleep in here.” she said to me. “You can lay in here as long as you want!” were her parting words as she left to get back to the fun.

I don’t remember what grade I was in, but this I do recall: I remember the moonlight shining in through thin curtains. The comforter on the bed was one of those cheap nylon jobs, the kind that would catch the tiniest hangnail. I remember there were several pillows on the bed, one had a rough fabric cover, with ridges on it…like corrugated cardboard. I remember I could hear the muffled noises of a Saturday night keg party through the door: laughter and yelling and Def Leppard.

At some point, I must have slipped into that boozy limbo between passing out and falling asleep. I also must have slipped off the cheap nylon comforter and onto the floor, because when the guys walked into the room that’s where I was. On the floor, wedged between the bed and a wall.

There were two of them. At first I thought they had made a mistake, walked into a room that wasn’t the room they were looking for.

Then they shut the door.

I heard them whispering, and I remember trying to be still and quiet. Something in me went on high alert, my hackles were raised and suddenly I wasn’t quite so drunk. I was scared.

One of them appeared in front of me, standing there by the end of the bed, simultaneously spotting me and blocking my exit.

Here she is!” he whispered.

The other one materialized next to him, and that’s when I saw who they were. I knew them, but we weren’t friends. They were older than me, two best friends with twin reputations of good ol’ boy naughtiness. One of them fair, the other dark, they stood there for a moment. They might have talked to me, this is the point where I think I shut down because from then on all I have are tiny soundbites and seconds-long snippets of film. They play on an endless loop when I let them. When something reminds me.

Like when I saw one of them, older as we all are, smiling at me from the screen of my laptop.

My rapist. One of my rapists.

I wondered, as I looked at his now paunchy face…I wondered if he remembers. Does he remember me struggling to get up from that coffin-like space? Does he remember how shocked I looked when his friend pulled me up and threw me on the bed? Does he remember me trying to escape, and how he and his buddy grabbed an arm and a leg, working together to keep their prey still?

Does he remember me yelling out, “NO!” and “STOP!” and “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?“?

I do. I remember all of that and I also remember when the fair one pulled his pants down and I glimpsed, for the first time in my young damaged life, an erect penis. Funny how, even now with all those years stacked up between that moment and this one, I can still see it bobbing in front of me. It was shiny. I was surprised to see how shiny it was. I’d always imagined them to be more dull, or leathery, like elephant skin.

He pushed his shiny penis at my mouth, parting my lips with that spongy round tip and batting it against my teeth.

What was the other one doing during this unveiling of the member? During what was to become my first experience with fellatio? That’s another memory gone.

I do know that when the fair one realized he and his shiny dick weren’t going to get a satisfying blow job from me, the dark one was there to help him get my jeans off. They were an efficient team, those two, because all of a sudden I felt that awful cheap slippery nylon fabric on my bare legs. My bare ass.

The soundtrack of my rape was that loud thumping music, the cacophony of teenagers partying. The smells of youth: night air, stale beer, bootleg booze, smoke from cigarettes and bongs intermingling with all of it.

One of them climbed on top of me, and began forcing my legs apart. Jabbing with his hard on, trying to force himself into me while his friend stood guard at the door.

Mirror in the bathroom. Mirror in the bathroom. It was The English Beat and they were singing Mirror In The Bathroom while the futile attempts to penetrate me continued.

That is where my memories end. The song, the nylon comforter, the shiny penis…all of it ends there, at least in my head. Someone knocked on the door and that’s when my rapists left me. They left me alone, sans pants, sitting on a bed wondering what in the hell had just happened. I can’t tell you when, or even if, I went back out to the party.

I told a friend about it, some time later. “Those guys are such assholes!” she said. She also told me that technically, I was still a virgin. I agreed, and that was the last we spoke of it.

A few weeks afterward, I turned a corner at school. And there he was, the dark one. Cowboy boots, jeans, and a leer. The shame that washed over me was hot, searingly so. Burning. I think part of me had decided what went down in that bedroom was my fault. Wasn’t it always my fault? I was drunk, I was alone, I didn’t fight back hard enough, I didn’t scream loud enough. I didn’t just lie there and let it happen. Maybe they liked me? Maybe they both really liked me and I was supposed to enjoy it?

Funny how the teenage brain works, isn’t it? In their minds it was okay to hurt me, and in my mind it was okay for me to take the blame. My teenage brain also figured out a way to bury it, to take that night and all that transpired and tuck it away like an ugly holiday decoration.

I’m writing this down but I don’t know that I’ll publish it. I’m not out to ruin anyone with a dusty allegation, a weak cry from a half-broken girl who drank too much at a kegger a million years ago. Truth be told, I doubt the smiling paunchy guy in the picture even knows who I am, or who I was. I might have been the first of many, the last of a few or maybe the Dynamic Duo only performed one tag-team rape and I was the one who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I certainly can’t message that effer on facebook, right? Hey! I don’t know if you remember, but you and your friend did a bad thing to me. That wasn’t very nice!

I have a daughter, though. And I have sons. I don’t want to try and imagine this happening to my girl and I cannot imagine this being done by my boys.

But. But we all know this happens. It happened in the past and it happens now and as sorry as it makes me to say this, it’s going to happen in the future. How many of us are out there, carrying around this same shitty filmstrip in our minds? How many of us have felt cheap comforters or expensive sheets or carpeting or dirt beneath us as someone does unspeakably cruel things on top of us? How many times has it happened and nothing, absolutely nothing is done about it?

Too many times. Too many women, too many girls can tell their own versions of this nightmarish tale. Surely I can’t be the only one who has peered at a picture on Facebook and thought, “Huh. There’s the guy who raped me.”

Can I?

Related post: 7 Warning Signs For Date Rape


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  1. 1

    Christina says

    I can’t wrap my head around the courage it must’ve taken you to post that online, or the restraint it must require not to do something drastic. I don’t know how you cope with it. My ideal self is the one that accepts life’s situations and moves on, learning to forgive along the way no matter how hard. But here’s the truth of it for me-

    If that ever happened to me I would hunt every one of those motherfuckers down and keep them chained in a hidden cabin for years on end while I torture them by every means I (and every horror movie on Netflix) can think up. And if I couldn’t get away with that, I’d hire the best hacker I know and fuck them every which way online to where they can’t get a bank account, drivers’ license, passport, or job.

    …And now that you know how to find them, it’s not like you can’t.

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    • 2

      Christina says

      Oh, and I’d get said hacker to put them and their families on the terrorist watch list, destroy their entire online reputation and drain every investment and retirement account they possess of its last dime.

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  2. 3

    Vannah says

    You are not the only one. My family is careful not to post pictures of him, or to make them invisible. But really, he’s the man who married my mother, the father of my half brother. My heart stops every time I see him smirking at the camera and then begins racing too hard as seven years of rape at his hands comes racing back. It’s been eight years since I was last face to face with him and his picture still gives me the nightmare film strip memories. Safe hugs to you.

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    • 10


      My abusive ex did that same thing to me. Tracked me down 10 years after I left that relationship – when I was finally starting to forget and move on – to write a half assed non-apology on my fb. Of all the shitty things he did, including rape, it was that last act of cruelty that makes me hate him the most. I bet now he thinks he’s absolved of any wrong doing a** f**cker cause ‘hey man I said sorry’. I’ve blocked him now but it stills creeps me the hell out thinking that he might have looked through my profile and seen pics of my daughter etc.

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    • 13

      Angela says

      Mine sent me a private FB message also. It took every ounce of restraint I had not to reply. He wanted absolution…for me to know he was “changed”, that he had a wife and a daughter. Man, did I want to tell him how much he had changed me and turned my world upside down. What most upset me was that he felt he had the right to speak to me. He had no idea where or when I would read the message. I was at work and I almost lost it, my heart was racing and I was near panic just from him inserting himself in my life again (5 years later). It was a major violation of my space and the distance I had put between us.

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  3. 14

    Leigh says

    You are not the only one. It wasn’t your fault and it’s over. And that is what I tell myself too, and it’s been almost 30 years. I let it go the best I can because anger is a punishment I can only give to myself. I pray my daughters don’t ever relate to a post like this. But I do. And you, no, you not alone.

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  4. 27


    1:3 women are sexually assaulted or raped. I doubt 1:3 men are rapists or guilty of sexual assault. The ones that do it, keep doing it and scar many women until they are caught.

    Women get scared to go forward though. They’re afraid of what people will say, afraid people will call them hoes and the sad thing about that is they’re justified in those fears. I wish it weren’t that way but men get away with this too too much.

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    • 28


      That’s the thing I don’t get. Is there any guess as to how many men are rapists? I think one of the reasons we can’t know that is lots of male rapists don’t think they’re rapists. They don’t understand consent. They think, for whatever reason, a girl wants it or a girl owes them. They think a passed out girl is a willing participant. It’s disgusting. And when I look at men I know, I have a hard time identifying which ones could do such a horrible thing. I want to know! I don’t want to associate with a rapist or let any female near them. :'(

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      • 29

        Z says

        There’s not much need to “guess” the prevalence of rapists. People study these things. The average rapist has raped about 7 women. The prevalence of rapists in the US is about 5%-7% of men. Which, math-wise, works out: if we had 100 men and women, with 5 men being rapists, and they each raped 7 women…. a bit over 1/3 of women would be raped. This isn’t quite the case, since the same men end up raping the same women (overlap), due to lifestyle factors, community issues, and just plain bad luck. 90+% of these rapes were by someone the survivor knew. Most are in their home or the home of a friend.

        But yes, know this: if you hold a party with 50 guys in it, you should assume that 2-5 of them are potential rapists. Does that impact your event planning? It should. I have held and attended my share of parties, and I have stopped some situations that were getting bad or have strong potential to get bad. Even if you are there to just “have a good time,” you need to also wear your hat of “good human being” and keep an eye out.

        Boiling this down, here are my list of warning signs:
        1. Following the weak: Across multiple contexts, a person takes extra interest (e.g., talks up, follows around) in people who are unable to consent (e.g., too drunk, minors).

        2. Divide-and-conquer: Attempts to separate people from their safety nets and groups. Can be temporary (e.g., ‘ending’ a party, but only ushering out the other men) or long-term (boyfriend drives away friends and family support system).

        3. Negating consent: Bragging/planning about using intoxicants, lies, or other tricks to get someone to act against their wishes. The warning sign here is that these are not used to persuade (e.g., change their mind permanently), but to negate. A trademark phrase for this is: “All girls want it, but can’t admit it except when…”. This is the idea that female desire is temporary and state-dependent, so it is not important that they are unwilling before or after.

        4. Entitlement: Expressing the opinion of being “owed” sex. Degrading people who reject them. Huge red flag.

        5. Over-persistence: Not taking no for an answer. Deflecting multiple rejections as unimportant.

        6. Goal-orientation: Sees sex as the goal, rather than as being part of any larger relation between people. This is not about the type of sex (some people place a high value of getting to know many people through one-night stands), but as the reason for the sex in the first place. Power, self-centeredness (e..g, ‘getting off’), and peer approval goals are red flags.

        7. Obsession: Any very strong goal that uses sex as a means to an end can be dangerous. Some people just have crazy non-sense goals (e.g., if I can make her sleep with me, then she’ll love me).

        They come in different forms and contexts. I’ve noted the red flags that I feel like are most representative to look out for (WARNING: Triggers abound):
        A. Too drunk guy who misunderstood/missed-the-boat on cues with a girl (1, 2, ?4, ~7): This guy may have had a shot with a girl earlier in the night. They are now both wasted, and she is nearly (or entirely) passed out. This guy may very well rape her, and not even recognize it. This one is listed first because, while it may not be the most common, it’s the most preventable.
        Takeaway: Safety in numbers. Don’t let people pass out alone. If it can be done safely (e.g., no DUI’s), ferry too-drunk people home.

        B. Rape groups/communities (1-6): Dens of guys who accept that some of their members are rapists, and will condone or enable it. Not-so-fun-fact: Rapists are more likely to hang out with other rapists. How many colleges have a “rape(y) frat?” That’s the biggest US example, but these are all over the world (some sports teams, political movements, you name it). I know why they still exist: most of the guys aren’t rapists. However, they are based on a culture of funneling booze/drugs into women and then sweeping them up to their rooms. If a person is plastered, they may not get much choice which room they end up in: maybe it’s the nice econ major who wants to kiss and get coffee tomorrow, maybe it’s his twin brother who won’t take no for an answer. The only way to know for sure is to get in the room and close the door. And once you are there, nobody (not even the “nice” guys who don’t rape) will help you if you guessed wrong. That is the key difference: in other places, people will step in to self-police if they feel someone is in danger (even from their own ingroup). If no one will step in to help you, then you are in a rape group culture.
        Takeaways: Look for warning signs. These places will generally be very inviting initially (especially to women), with lots of free booze. However, at some point, they will do their best to force out other guys and break up female social groups. They will encourage others to drink more, while possibly drinking less themselves. They may use social pressure to make people feel like they are owed sex. They will make excuses for bad behavior of other guys in the group.

        3. Family (1, 6?, 7?): Particularly step-family, uncles, and grandparents. I’d love to say that I know strategies for preventing this, but I do not. Most of these happen when people are <18, and have nowhere else to live. Maybe the major takeaway is to only have pairs of people look after your kids, but that's no real defense, since it only takes 10-20 minutes unattended.
        Takeaway: If anyone you let take care of your kids doesn't follow the "rule of three" (e.g., always 3 people in a room at one time), there is risk. Teaching kids to fight probably makes sense, rather than freeze, because defensive wounds will be evidence. But in preventative terms, I don't know any good way to protect someone from family who lives in your home, nor how to find useful warning signs. If anyone knows more, I am all ears.

        4. Disturbed exes/boyfriends (2, 4, 5, 7): This one is simple. If they wanted to control you and ignore your wishes in the relationship, they're dangerous. Regrettably, most people stuck in such relationships have trouble abandoning them. Worse, as an outsider, it's almost impossible to directly influence matters of the heart.
        Takeaway: When you leave, leave. Avoid break-up/make-up cycles that where you may be put in a position where they "deserve" things (in their eyes). Have your friends help prevent you from backsliding, as they'll almost certainly hate the guy. Advocates and organizations (e.g., women's shelters) are also great resources.

        5. Violent criminals (3, 4, 6): Not shockingly at all, people who do other violent crimes are much more likely to rape. While for most of us, not hanging out with gangs and loan sharks is probably second nature, that's because you live in communities where less than 1/3 of guys have been convicted of some crime. If a guy is willing to beat another guy for money that he's owed…. well, he might feel he's owed other things.
        Takeaway: Bad guys do bad things. Bad guys who feel entitled or vengeful can get bad quick..

        6. Hide-in-the-bushes TV rapist: The kind that every self-defense class is preparing you for. The kind that is rare in real life. Over 90% of people raped knew the attacker to some degree.
        Takeaway: Don't walk through dangerous alleys, unattended parking lots, or parks. No news there. If this was the solution to rape, RoboCop would have solved it in the 80's.

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    • 30


      I did nothing after it happened to me. But when it happened to my daughter. She fought back. Scum got barely a year but she is such a strong strong person and has dealt so well A lot stronger than me. Sadly each perpetrator was a “friend” of the same person who is no longer in out lives because he refuses to believe it – among other reasons

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    • 31

      Christina says

      I can’t wrap my head around the courage it must’ve taken you to post that online, or the restraint it must require not to do something drastic. I don’t know how you cope with it. My ideal self is the one that accepts life’s situations and moves on, learning to forgive along the way no matter how hard. But here’s the truth of it for me-

      If that ever happened to me I would hunt every one of those motherfuckers down and keep them chained in a hidden cabin for years on end while I torture them by every means I (and every horror movie on Netflix) can think up.

      And if I couldn’t get away with that, I’d hire the best hacker I can find and fuck them every which way online to where they can’t get a bank account, drivers’ license, passport, or job. I’d get said hacker to put them and their families on the terrorist watch list, destroy their entire online reputation and drain every investment and retirement account they possess of its last dime.

      …And now that you know how to find them, it’s not like you can’t. One way or the other, there are a hundred creative ways one could think up to drag these monsters over the coals until they wish they were never born, and the glory of the information age is there are a hundred more ways not to get caught. I may sound like I’m exaggerating, but I know what damage rage can do especially if it’s justified. It is outrageous that the only way justice happens in rape cases is if you take the law into your own hands. Women should never be victims of the law after being victims of the crime.

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    • 32


      I came forward and all he got was probation. I was the third one to come forward about him. I was also called a whore and damaged goods and whatever other cruel words people could think of to call me. My “friends” were the worst ones of all. I refuse to let people treat me badly anymore because I deserve better than that. My daughters will grow up knowing how strong their mother is because they are who I’ve done it all for. Eventually I became strong for me, but it started out as someone has to say something for the ones who are too scared to talk.

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    • 36


      My mothers boyfriend molested me every weekend for at least a year when I was around 10 and the bitch knew and let it happen. I regret waiting 12 years to tell my family but when I told her she confirmed what I knew all along by having NO emotional reaction whatsoever. I feel your desire for revenge. But I don’t think it heals the pain in your heart, and plotting the revenge will not make the memories go away. I only wish I had reported him to protect other girls he might have gotten to after me. I don’t believe there is a statue of limitations on this but I just don’t feel like making the effort. The pain of the possibility of him getting away with it even if I prosecute would be too much. I am proud of myself for being a survivor and try to comfort myself with the thought that everything happens for a reason and even though I think he ruined my life, I am who I was meant to be and that experience was a part of making me who I am. It helps a lot but is also heartbreaking to know just how many other women in the world are victims of sexual assault too, probably more are survivors than not.

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    • 37


      I did cut my mom out of my life permanently last year though after she tried to hurt my son. After years of fighting with her to come clean and admit she knew, I accepted I would never get closure from her and she would take her lies to the grave. I just wish I had done it sooner. I have improved so much with my depression since I cut that bitch off. At least I’m getting my justice in some way that she will never see her precious grandson for the rest of her miserable life.

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    • 39


      I also experienced sexual assault at a young age by a person married to a relative. And recently, VOILA his stupid sneering face appeared via that same relatives FB post, right into my facebook feed. Really not awesome at all.

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    • 40


      I also experienced sexual assault when I was young by someone very close to me.. I’ve never told anyone and I don’t think ill ever have the courage to tell anyone.. That person is still a part of my life,.. I am married and have two beautiful boys.. I could’ve never asked for a better husband in my life. Much happier. I’ve told myself to forget about everything that happened but memories still haunt sometimes.

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    • 41


      I am so very sorry this has happened to each of you. I commend each of you for being so strong and I truly wish you all the happiness in the world to erase that pain. Do you have any advice for those of us with young daughters so that if they were ever in this situation that they would be able to tell someone what was happening?

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    • 42


      yeh, this is a horrible way to have a childhood. Mine was my grandfather…. I lived with this absolute guilt and depression, I was miserable,,, then when I was 34, my Mother and I were talking and she said she thought I gave that SOBs middle name to my daughter as her middle name. I said if I had known that I would not have done that, as far as I am concerned he is rotting in hell…. she calmly says, I know honey he did it to all of us. I said you knew he was like that and called him to babysit me when you wanted to go out and drink. She knew she was putting me in harms way and didn’t care… I packed up my suit case and ended my visit short, what a horrible thing to do to your child. I will never understand and don’t care to. after many years of therapy and anti depressants, I am doin much better. I have a family of my own a boy and two girls. I made sure they never had the same thing happen to them… many talks and warnings were given to them growing up… and to this day nobody takes advantage of them to any extent.. they are all very strong and well adjusted, and I feel good that I did everything in my power to protect them from the monsters that prey on small children.

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    • 43


      I also experienced sexual assault when I was a young child, too. I don’t remember if it was my father or my father’s friend, but it wasn’t done at home is what I do remember. My father also used to stalk me during the night at home (like walk up and down the hallways to make sure I was sleeping). I used to have to lock my bedroom door at night because I was so afraid of him, I was only in high school and didn’t live in an area where the town had anywhere I could go and hide at or anything away from him (we lived in a very woodsy town at the time) and I wasn’t old enough to have a cellphone… he used to disconnect the phones when my mom and him were going through their divorce. I never told anyone, because I was just so afraid. My heart goes out to you, and everyone else who has had to deal with something like this from a relative (or not a relative because I have been through it with both related and not related, sick sick people). <3

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