A man who would do what he had done to her does not just do it to one woman and stop; he knows it, I know it, and she knows it. Rape is about power and he needs to feel that powerful again. - Help Make a Difference TODAY
beaten and raped her, leaving marks inside and out, some of which would heal.
This was his latest piece of work, and I doubt she was his first or will be his
last. If itís true you can know a man by his work, then I know he is an evil
bastard whose art is violence and whose canvas is women.
mentally and physically, embarrassed and desperate to start crawling away from
her collision with horror, she refused to press charges against a man she had
never met before that fateful day. In her refusal she had a lot of unhappy
company, because many other women who are raped do not press charges either.
They bear the oppressive silence of their truth, perhaps as another injury. I
bet he knows that, counts on it, and hides behind it.
A man who
would do what he had done to her does not just do it to one woman and stop; he
knows it, I know it, and she knows it. Rape is about power and he needs to feel
that powerful again. Most of us think rape is about sex, and sometimes it is,
but an act of intimacy turned into an act of violence is perhaps the ultimate
expression of power and control. That is why rape is used in campaigns of
terror on civilian populations in wartime, and against women as a particularly
brutal form of terror. Put a uniform on this man, give him a gun, and he could
be terrorizing Muslim women in Bosnia
or African women in Darfur. Women all over the
world would recognize the type.
they would recognize him, however, because I bet he looks like other men,
sounds like other men, may have a career like other men, and cannot be picked
out of a crowd of guys at the community barbecue. He is anonymous, which is
another tragedy in the making, because he is out there waiting for another
woman and another opportunity. The world is not full of such anonymous men, but
it certainly has its fill of them, putting every woman in jeopardy of meeting
one, dating one, or even marrying one.
It is a
womanís unfair burden to consistently be on guard against such men, for it is a
womanís unguarded moments that he seeks; walking alone somewhere in the
isolating darkness, missing the signals of his need to be in control in their
relationship, drinking a little too much at a party, or being trusting on a
first date. In his twisted mind, any behavior that singles a woman out as a
target of opportunity means she is "asking" for it, and in this he
may find some of his victims to be his miserable "partner"; some
women who are raped think the fault was partly theirs, and their guilt is
another reason for their silence. He probably knows that too.
not know that to his victim I am his shadow when I enter the room to examine
her. She flinches at my presence and my touch because both remind her of him. I
am another man, and one in a position of power touching her in unwelcome ways.
I ask permission, where he did not, I am gentle where he was not, but
everything I do recalls him to her and increases her pain. In this way he makes
me his unwilling partner too, a fact for which I silently loath him even more
as I practice my art, that of healing.
feelings the physician in me cannot forget somewhere in his past he also may
have been a victim, possibly of sexual abuse as a child. That is often the case
with men who abuse and victimize women. My thought about his possible past is
just sterile, clinical acknowledgement of facts, however, and is devoid of
sympathy. It dies of loneliness in my lack of interest in anything about him as
a real human being. His free pass to compassion and understanding as a victim
ran out when he became a victimizer.
is exhaustive and exhausting, especially for the patient but also for health
care providers. Our emotions are drained, because rape abuses everyone it
touches. Hours of work are required, the documentation is lengthy, and, in the
end, it all feels inadequate because we cannot cure the ill that has just been
visited on this woman, and there will be no justice for her or him. She limps
home and the perpetrator walks away, but if there is a God in heaven, the
victim will recover and that rapist will burn in hell. If I could write a
prescription for him to do that, I would.
Erik Steele, D.O., a physician in Bangor, is
chief medical officer of Eastern Maine
Healthcare Systems and is on the staff of several hospital emergency rooms in
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