Rape

All posts tagged Rape

On the problem with remembering things.

Published August 3, 2017 by mandileighbean

If you’ve been reading this blog, or even if it’s your first time ever reading this blog (let me be brutally honest here), you’re probably able to tell that I’m a bit of an idiot. Luckily, I’m a loveable idiot who does no real harm and my friends only feign impatience for comedic effect. For example, I thought today was Tuesday but it’s Wednesday. I’ve been posting on my social media outlets about my upcoming Writer’s Wednesday, trying to hype it up which has obviously been quite ineffective because today is Wednesday. Today is Writer’s Wednesday. It’s 11:51 pm on Writer’s Wednesday, and I am now just sitting down to write.

But at least I have interesting things to share (which may or may not be thinly veiled excuses as to why I am late in updating this beloved blog AGAIN).

Yesterday was an AWESOME day. I received TWO requests for more material (the first three chapters of my completed manuscript and the entire completed manuscript) from two literary agencies! It feels SO GOOD not to be rejected outright, regardless of whether or not something comes from these requests. It’s also nice to know my query letter is effective. Oh, The Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency (that I think I mentioned last time) wrote me to tell me they received my sample chapters, so hopefully I hear something from them soon. AND a perfect stranger commented on my blog with the sweetest, most inspirational, and wonderfully kind message about my writing and what it meant to her. What writer could ask for anything more?

I met some of the neighborhood kids yesterday. I was reading and writing on my back porch, and they were friendly. They kept stopping to say hello once they’d reached the top of these large mounds of dirt on their bikes right behind my house (they appeared out of nowhere, but I think there’s plans to build a house on the vacant lot behind mine) and could see me properly. I went inside to eat dinner, and the kids knocked on my door. They asked for water, but I didn’t have any water bottles, so I gave them cans of soda (at least they were diet, right? Unless that’s worse; it’s impossible to tell anymore). They were very polite and gracious and kept telling me how nice I was. From the mouths of babes, right? They came back for a third can of soda for another friend, and the one kid really wanted to ask me for a band aid – weird – but the supposedly injured kid was decidedly against it, either because he wasn’t cut or he was embarrassed. Either way, it felt good to be a good person. I remember reading on Facebook one time that it’s important to smile at and be kind to children because it helps them keep their faith in humanity.

I kept the good deeds rolling today; I spent five hours cleaning my grandma’s house from top to bottom. She passed away on the last Monday in June, and it really knocked me on my ass. I know death and grief has that effect on most people, but I really thought I was prepared. She had Alzheimer’s, so we all knew what was coming, but it’s still so … sad. It’s just sad. We have to liquidate all her assets to start executing the will, so we have to sell her house. All the furniture’s been emptied out and given to family in need, and gone are all her personal effects. My entrance into her home was marked by a melancholy echo. Everything reverberated in the empty space and I needed a few moments to catch my breath, to blink back tears. It was so surreal to see it vacant and unlived in, like all my memories of that house could be as easily removed from existence. I dusted and wiped and vacuumed and scrubbed and swept and scoured in that small, dark space for hours, literally eliminating any trace that my grandma – or anyone for that matter – had ever been there. What a strange concept.

My grandma’s home is in an adult retirement community. I feel like I should mention that to better explain why her house was small. Also, it’s dark because since her death, no one’s been in the home and bulbs burn out unnoticed. That’s all well and good, but while I was cleaning, a wicked thunder storm rolled through and made everything darker, my mood included.

At one point, I halted what I was doing and stood to stretch. My back and arms were sore from more cleaning than I’d ever done in my life. I looked out the window in the former dining room and saw sunlight streaming in my grandma’s backyard. There were splashes of sun on the formidable hill directly behind her house, visible through the window, but it was raining and I could hear the thunder in the distance as it crept closer, its growl low and menacing.

I couldn’t have invented a better metaphor. I guess that admission doesn’t bode well for this week’s blog post, eh? Well, it’s been a disaster from the start, honestly; I don’t even know what day it is. I hope you read and comment and share and enjoy anyway. I should mention that this week’s writing prompt proved very challenging. It tackles an exceedingly sensitive subject, and I did my best to keep that in mind throughout my writing.

WEEKLY WRITING PROMPT #5.2017: A woman is raped by her husband.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that humans do their best thinking in the shower. More than that, it’s scientific; being engaged in a mindless task (like shampooing and conditioning and sudsing up) in a relaxed environment (what’s more relaxing than a steamy shower?) sort of shuts down the brain’s prefrontal cortex, thus allowing the brain to consider creative and unconventional solutions to problems. Unfortunately for Chloe, her fingers were grossly wrinkled and the water was turning cold, but she still hadn’t been able to figure out why she was crying or why her stomach kept flipping over. She was seated on the shower floor directly under the showerhead with her knees pulled up to her chin and with her arms wrapped around her legs.

Chloe was trying to hold herself together.

She had started falling apart, had sunk into the pathetic posture of her current state, once she noticed the pinkish hue of the water circling the drain; blood. It was evidence something bad had happened last night.

It wasn’t the only evidence, either. The uneasy feeling exacerbated by the tiny rivers of previously dried blood that briefly streamed down her legs and arms had manifested when Chloe climbed from the bed exceedingly sore – even in places she didn’t know could ache – and undressed to find bruises. Dark, brutal-looking spots marred the skin on her thighs, upper arms, and chest. She ran trembling fingers over them, pressing to feel the pain, to make sure they were just what she thought they were.

Something bad had happened. The question was what.

Chloe’s reflection had given nothing away. Smeared makeup and puffy, swollen eyes were par for the course when she drank, and she had gotten loaded last night. She and Paul both had gotten loaded to celebrate … celebrate something Chloe couldn’t exactly recall, which meant it had been Paul’s affair, Paul’s idea. Had he been promoted? It was something predictable and clichéd like that, but they had gone overboard, partying like the newly rich, like they were young and dumb.

Chloe remembered stumbling into a blessedly empty ladies’ room in the thick of things. She staggered over to the sink, slow and stupid, and caught a glimpse of herself. She knew she needed to slow down, maybe something of a premonition of the bad thing to come. Naturally Chloe’s resolve completely dissipated when she returned to Paul, to their private party.

But she remembered saying no, and doing so firmly, loudly. Chloe remembered wanting to stop. Was that at the restaurant? At any one of the many bars that followed? In the car?

Chloe gasped. She remembered a fight in the bedroom. They had been fooling around on the bed, half in the bag and half undressed, and Chloe wanted to stop. It was like that when she drank. She’d suddenly have to put herself to bed or else the room would spin and she’s vomit. Chloe had tried to explain this to Paul, which was weird because her husband knew her inside and out and should be familiar with her warning signs, but Paul wouldn’t listen. Paul just wanted to keep feeling good and wasn’t taking no for an answer.

But that couldn’t be right. With the shuddering sobs passing through her bruised body, Chloe was trying to be rational. They were drunk and things got out of hand. Paul loved her and she loved Paul, and they were husband and wife, happily married.

People don’t rape the people they love. Husbands can’t rape their wives.

How could Chloe even think of the r-word? That wasn’t Paul; he was a good man and an amazing husband. He only got a little “handsy” when he drank.

But there was blood. And there were bruises. And Chloe had said no.

Chloe had been raped by her husband. And she was going to stay in the shower until she knew what that really meant or she drowned.

She was hoping for the latter.

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OH! And you should read A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby if you need to get out of an emotional funk or want to cry happy tears or both. The movie is just as fantastic.

 

On horrible realizations.

Published September 7, 2014 by mandileighbean

A new academic year has started, but I am mostly unsure as to how this makes me feel.  I’m excited for the return to normalcy and to see coworkers and students on a regular basis.  However, I am sure I will miss lounging and will soon loathe the stress the school year inevitably brings.  However, my friend is reading a book all about mind set, which emphasizes the axiom that life is 10% what happens to an individual, and 90% how the individual reacts to events and circumstances and whatnot.  I’ve been a notoriously awful “over-reactor.”  Perhaps a resolution for the academic year should be to stay positive and patient.

 

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WEEKLY WRITING PROMPT #18: “A lawyer discovers that his client is guilty of the horrible crime for which he was just found innocent.”

 

Eliot Edwards (there was always something inherently to be respected about a man with two first names) rose beside his client as the honorable judge had instructed, as both men prepared for the verdict.  Eliot was cool, calm, and collected; his breath did not hitch as it entered and exited the two air sacks called lungs.  His hands did not tremble as he loosely clasped them in front.  He looked poised and professional, just as he always did.  Remarkably, the same could be said of the man beside, the supposed delinquent known as Harvey Miller.  For just about a month, Eliot and Harvey had been seated behind an elongated wooden table, listening to eyewitness testimony, and the coroner’s findings, and statements from detectives that seemed to prove that Harvey had brutally raped and then murdered four-year-old Lindsey Morris.  The state would have a member of the jury believe that Harvey pulled alongside the little girl’s front yard in his work van, casually rolled down the window, and called out her.  Merrily, happily, the beautiful, innocent girl skipped over and politely listened as Harvey explained that he was lost, and that his poor, poor puppy in the back was sick and needed a doctor and special medicine.  In her opening statement, the prosecutor took care to meticulously describe the way the little girl’s face most likely trembled with concern for the puppy and was consumed with an overwhelming – and irresponsible – desire to help.  Willingly, with minimal coercing because Lindsey came from a nice neighborhood with respectable, hard-working families living and loving in modest ranch-style homes, she would have climbed inside.  Most likely, she jabbered somewhat incoherently to Harvey, asking about the puppy and what was wrong and where he was from and what kind of car she was in.  As a result, Lindsey would have been woefully unprepared when she was led into the woods, holding onto a hand for comfort and reassurance and safety, knocked down, stripped and violated.

It was an unspeakable crime, and thinking over the lurid details often turned Eliot’s stomach.  He would look at Harvey, try to bore into the other man’s soul, to evaluate whether or not he was truly guilty.  Eliot didn’t think any human being could be capable of such apathy, of such inhumanity, but these things happened.  Harvey wasn’t overly altruistic, but he wasn’t irrational or unkempt or anything like a madman.  He seemed normal and even-keeled.  Sure, he had some dark moments in his past – an aggressive and physical altercation with his high school principal, and questionable accusations from several ex-girlfriends – but nothing that would precede such monstrosity as the rape and murder of an innocent child.  Eliot would not invite Harvey out for drinks or into his home, but a slightly uneasy feeling did not make someone guilty of murder.

As Harvey and Eliot stood, awaiting Harvey’s fate, Eliot felt fairly confident the jury would agree.  Most of the evidence had been circumstantial and there was no DNA evidence to speak of.  Granted Harvey had not been able to provide an airtight alibi for afternoon and evening in question, but the defense readily admitted Harvey was no saint and liked to tip the bottle back more of than not.  As such, memory lapses were common.  The jury foreman began reading the verdict sheet and Eliot knew his mind should be in the present, willing the juror to say “not guilty,” but he was troubled by a fact which had troubled just about everyone else involved in the case, cop and victim and lawyer alike.  Despite a thorough canvas of the crime scene and sweep of Harvey’s van and essentially ransacking Lindsey’s home, no one had been able to find her beloved turtle pin.  Lindsey had received the pin from her oldest brother, and he had bought it especially for Lindsey from the zoo during a class trip.  Lindsey was never without the pin – even wore it to bed when her mother’s typically watchful eye missed it.  Everyone believed whoever had the pin now must be the murderer, keeping it as a sick memento.  The pin seemed to be the key to the case and –

“…find the defendant not guilty,” the foreman read.  Eliot snapped to attention as Harvey clapped him heartily on the shoulder.  Eliot smiled and turned to shake Harvey’s hand.  Those behind them, and on the other side of the courtroom, dissolved into weeping and wailing.  They were family members of Lindsey, devastated by the outcome because they had all been so sure of Harvey’s guilt.  Eliot felt for them and his eyes ran over their downturned faces, their red-rimmed eyes, and their expressions of misery.  Eliot’s smile diminished.  He released Harvey’s hand so he could turn to hug his mother, the only supporter of Harvey’s, present for every single day of testimony.  She threw her beefy arms around her boy and Harvey was nearly being pulled over the wooden, glossy barricade that separated the audience from the members of the judicial process.  Harvey was pulled onto his tippy toes and with his body elongated, and bent at a rather awkward angle, the pocket of his button-down Oxford shirt hung low so that the tiny metallic object that had been residing within clamored to the tile floor.

Eliot saw it fall out of the corner of his eye.  He did not know what it was, but bent to retrieve it.  As he did so, he noticed it was a pin in the shape of the turtle.

All the wind seemed to be knocked from him.  Eliot dropped to his knees, breathing deeply through his nose to keep from vomiting.  He could feel eyes upon him, knew instinctively the eyes belonged to Harvey, and was suddenly terrified.

Eliot Edwards had sent a depraved lunatic free.

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On urine-stained keys.

Published July 13, 2012 by mandileighbean

Despite Murphy’s Law almost taking effect, I think the second interview today went well.  This morning, I was printing out 16 pictures for my mock lesson – two copies each of eight pictures dealing with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in some aspect.  Although I love my printer and think it’s completely awesome that is has the ability to print photo-quality pictures, the process is incredibly time consuming.  I only had time to print twelve and my lesson plan before I rushed out the door.

I stopped at Dunkin Donuts before I hit the parkway for an iced French Vanilla coffee, but it was disgusting so I didn’t finish it.  I have no one to blame but myself; I still don’t know how to properly order coffee.  I’d much rather just make it myself.  Because it was iced and because it was hot outside and because my car does not have air conditioning, the plastic cup condensated severely, to the point where it left a puddle in the cup holder.  It was a very small puddle, but still a force to be reckoned with apparently, because I set my iPod in the cup holder during my mock lesson and it now has water damage.  It’s stuck in the “locked” position and won’t stop playing.  I hope it’ll dry out and right itself.

I was about 30 minutes into my drive when I realized I still had Jimmy’s carseat in the back of my truck from yesterday.  Spank me hard; Mom totally needed it to take Jimmy to the store with her today because she needed to buy supplies for Mikey since he is going to Boy Scout Summer Camp. I wasn’t going to get home until the afternoon, so she went anyway, strapping Jimmy into the seatbelt and praying she didn’t get a ticket.  Thankfully, everything turned out just fine.

Before I got to the high school, I stopped at a Walgreen’s nearby to use the restroom.  I wasn’t buying anything, so the only item I brought in with me was my car key, which is a single key.  It used to be on a little key chain, but I took it off and I cannot remember why.  Anyway, I didn’t have any pockets in my dress and didn’t have my purse with me, so while I was gathering toilet paper, I put the key in my mouth for safe keeping.  I didn’t swallow it or anything, but left it dangling precariously between my lips so that it fell into the toilet.  I’m not proud of the fact that I retrieved my one and only car key from a public toilet, but it needed to be done.

When I got to the interview, everything went surprisingly well.  The woman said my lesson went very, very well.  She wanted me to meet with the principal but he was in Trenton, so I’m journeying back tomorrow.  To make it even more worthwhile, I’m going to meet Raina for lunch.

She also asked for a writing sample.  I had two choices: a prompt from the AP test, or writing about a time I dealt with a difficult and/or challenging student.  I haven’t (knock on wood) had a truly difficult and/or challenging student, so I went to with the prompt from the AP test.  You had to pick a novel from the list and discuss and analyze how symbolism is used in the novel.  You also had to come up with a catchy title.  I saw Invisible Man and thought of Ralph Ellison’s novel.  I also remembered the light bulbs in his basement apartment.  I thought they symbolized his desire to be noticed and in the spotlight, his desire to be separate from his race and seen as a human being rather than be negelected for being a black man, and that fact that the electricity was stolen showed his bitterness and anger turned into a form of rebellion.  Wikipedia says the symbolism is that the light is the truth.  Ooops.  It has also dawned on me that the novel could have been The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.  Damnit.

And it isn’t even Friday the 13th. Wow.

The prompt for today has three parts to it, so I’m going to break it down and make it last over three days. Enjoy!

PROMPT: “You accidentally overhear a conversation between two people you’ve never met. The topic of the conversation shocks and dismays you. Write about these conversations and describe how you respond to the content:

  • 1. A conversation between two stockbrokers
  • 2. A conversation between a priest and a member of his parish
  • 3. A conversation between a woman and the man with whom she’s been cheating on her husband

PIECE (#1): I was sitting at the local Starbucks minding my own business, just trying to fit in and be trendy – reading a copy of The New York Times and sipping on an iced coffee.  I was perusing the Arts and Literature section, hoping some beautiful and brilliant stranger would notice and comment, and then whisk me off my feet with wonderful conversation.  As that had yet to happen, I was susceptible to distractions and more often than not, the word “rape” serves as a ginormous distraction.  The word had been uttered in a painful-sounding whisper emitted from a pale and trembling young man.  He was sweaty and shaky, but wearing a suit.  The contradiction was intriguing, and as discreetly as possible, I began to listen to the unfolding discussion.

“I don’t know, Pete,” the shaky man gulped.  “I think we should tell someone about it.  I saw her, man.  She looked rough; like she’d been in the ring for ten rounds.  That’s not right.”  At the end of his speaking, he looked down at his trembling hands.

“Are you seriously thinking about going to the cops?” Pete asked, clearly shocked and appalled at the mere idea of involving the proper authorities in whatever mess they were talking about.  “What will happen to us, Tom?  What about our careers?  What about our futures?  If we blow the whistle, every accounting firm in the city will blacklist us as squealers and tattletales.  We didn’t rape anyone, so why should we be punished?”

My eyes were wide behind my paper.  There had been a rape?  These two knew about it, and hadn’t done anything about it?

Tom looked up with a pained expression, moving closer to Pete and dropping his voice even lower.  “What about her, Pete?  What about the girl?”

“What about her?” Pete shot back.  “She can go to the authorities.  It’s not our affair to be involved in.  All we did was attend a party, all right?”

Tears welled in Tom’s eyes.  “What if she comes to us for help?  What if she needs us to be witnesses and to speak up?  What would you say, Pete?”  Despite the fact that Tom was clearly depressed and unsure of himself, his question was more challenging than it was rhetorical.

It was now Pete’s turn to drop his gaze.  He leaned back in his chair, and his cheeks reddened with shame.  He spoke through gritted teeth with a hand almost covering his mouth.  “I’m not going to say anything, Tom.  You won’t either, if you know what’s good for you.”

I had heard enough.  Slowly, I stood.  I folded my paper neatly and placed it on the tabletop, beside my unfinished coffee.  I turned to my left and walked just a few paces until I was standing in front of Pete.  I pulled my hand back and slapped the bastard as hard as I could across the face.  Tom jumped to his feet, surprised but not knowing what to do.  I leaned forward, nearly spitting in Pete’s face and said, “You’re a monster.”

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