When Sex Is A Weapon: Surviving Date Rape

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Date Rape
Her rapist is dead, but new revelations about his life re-open a victim's wounds.

I just found out that my rapist is dead. Not only is he dead, but he ended up killing a lot of women. I always wondered if he would rape again, but I never thought he would graduate to murder. 

I was 15 when I met him. It was at a friend's birthday party, and he was from another school, a friend of a friend or a cousin of a friend. We played ping-pong and pool, and he said he liked that I was not one of those girls who sat and watched the boys play, hoping to be noticed.

He was tall and strong looking, handsome and clean cut with a quick wit and ready smile. He was the kind of guy that never, ever noticed me. When he entered the room, everyone—girls and boys alike—turned to look him over.

I was outgoing, independent, athletic and a good student—traits not valued by the boys in my high school. I never had a boyfriend and was used to guys approaching me only to ask about my friends, who were beautiful, knew how to act just-not-smart-enough and had boys calling them all the time. I and everyone else at the party was surprised when he picked me to talk to, to laugh with, to charm. When he asked me for my phone number, I never expected him to call.

We went on three dates—the first to the movies, where we were surrounded by several of our friends. The second was to my house, where he met my family and watched football with my father. It was a few days before Christmas, and we exchanged gifts in my parents' kitchen. I gave him a red and white wool button-down shirt and a cassette tape of a band he said he liked. He gave me a beautiful gold chain-link bracelet that he placed on my wrist, his big hands deftly working the delicate clasp.

On our third date, we went to his cousin's house where I was supposed to meet his parents and aunt and uncle, but when we got there, no one was home. He wore the shirt I gave him for Christmas and, instead of introducing me to his family, he raped me.

To tell or not to tell? You ask yourself this even when you are just a kid, in shock, looking at the outside of your own house like you've never seen it before, feeling ashamed, sick and dirty. I had nothing to compare it to, so I had no idea what my parents would do. Would they call the police? Would he go to jail? Would my father try to hurt him? Could I be pregnant? Would everyone at school find out? How could I go in there when everything had changed?

I stood perfectly still while snowflakes fell around me, making it seem even quieter than it really was. My father opened the door before I could move, and I immediately noticed that he looked sad. Did he already know? My mother looked like she had been crying too, and so did my sisters. How could they possibly know? But within seconds I realized that they knew of a different tragedy. While I was out being raped, my grandfather had died.

My grandfather's death and his wake and funeral provided the perfect cover for my tortured emotions. It was my secret shame that I cried for myself and not for him. My inability to sleep or eat and my unwillingness to talk to my friends or go out seemed normal under the circumstances. Most importantly, my parents let me stay home from school for days.

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