Moving forward | Inquirer Opinion
Young Blood

Moving forward

/ 11:33 PM August 07, 2013

Recently I read an essay written by a bad man who had raped my friend.

As a law student, I should say “the bad man who had allegedly raped my friend.” He has never been tried by any competent court, and thus has the constitutional presumption of innocence. My friend did not press charges against him, and until now, she does not say why. I think she merely wants to forget that a man forced his way into her life, through her door, through her hymen, after she made the innocent mistake of befriending him. She did not seek help from anyone other than her peers, the Gender Office of our university, and later, the doctors who discreetly treated her STD (sexually transmitted disease).

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My friend and I have since graduated from college. We both tried our hand at law school, but she has given up on it, and I now pursue it in a Catholic institution. And although she pretends that she has forgotten, although she represses the trauma so deeply that it no longer shows on her face when we meet, I do not forget.

I remember the fear on her face when she told us about the bad man hammering on her door, jamming her locks, forcing his way into her. I remember accompanying her to the Gender Office, where we learned that the bad man had supposedly raped others before her, gullible girls who liked to hang around in the library. I remember my friend crying, afraid to tell her mother what had transpired. I remember her hiding in another friend’s house for months, because the bad man still pursued her. And finally, I remember my own anger at that bad man in her life… and how he reminded me of a bad man in my life.

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My bad man did not force his way into my life. I let him in. He was charismatic and eloquent, and I was young and naive. I allowed him to take me in his strong arms, to caress me, and finally to undress me. I said no, and although he deigned to understand, he hurt me instead. He burned my notebooks, forbade me from befriending others, threw knives at the door, and looked me in the eye and said words that should never be spoken to a human being. He made me choke on his manhood. And then he apologized, spoke soft words in my ear, begged my forgiveness, before the vicious cycle of burning notebooks started again.

I endured him for five years, and until now I do not know how or why it took me so long to leave him. Maybe I am not so different from my friend, who trusted a bad man so much and paid a terrible price, although hers was an infinitely more terrible ordeal. Maybe we were very young, innocent, and virginal then, eager to trust just about anybody, even those who had hurt us. Maybe we believed that even bad men deserve to be loved, despite proving themselves incapable of love or respect. And maybe I was just an idiot who believed that my bad man would change for the better, and finally give me the love and respect I am due.

Sometimes I think that I should press charges against the bad men who ruined our college years and robbed us of our innocence, and that I should talk my friend into doing it before prescription sets in. But that would be near futile, not to mention painfully arduous and expensive. And so I tell myself that the two of us have moved on and forward, two brilliant and strong women finally free of the bad men who tried to break us.

And maybe that’s not such a bad thing, after all.

“Mary,” 23, is a graduate of the premier state university and a sophomore student at a prominent Catholic law school.

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TAGS: Catholic institution, Rape, Sexually Transmitted Disease, trauma
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