His name was Dave.
I’m not sure how his last name is spelled, so I’ll refer to him by his first name and last initial only. That’s what the German media do when identifying the perpetrator of a crime. And since I am a Bad German, I will identify the perpetrator of a crime against me the same way.
Dave H. was my friend. Or so I thought at the time. Actually, he was just some dude a former boyfriend of mine knew slightly. And I knew him only very slightly myself, as a result. Had I known better, I would never have known him at all.
You see, Dave H. raped me, over 25 years ago.
It started out pretty innocently: I went by his place one evening, just to hang out with him and his roommate, Lionel. I didn’t go alone, but with at least one other friend; I wasn’t the sort of girl who just showed up at a guy’s place all by herself. Especially not a place shared by two guys whom I hardly knew. My parents raised me “better” than that. (You’ll see why I put that word in quotes; they’re always there for a reason.)
So I went there with a couple of friends. And at some point, somebody got the wrong idea about me. No, it wasn’t Dave; it was his roommate, Lionel. He cornered me in the bathroom and pressed a condom into my hand, and tried to push my head down toward his erection. I protested, and raised enough of a ruckus that Dave barged in and intervened. He was completely cool. I had the impression that he’d done something like that before. (Apparently it wasn’t the first time that Lionel had gotten overly enthusiastic about a female friend, and that Dave had had to collar him before he got out of hand.)
He — Dave, not Lionel — probably even apologized to me about that, and I probably said something like don’t worry, it’s no big thing. And then we all forgot about it and went out for beers and dancing at a local pub.
I did what I always did on a night out, and made sure to finish my beers before going to the bathroom, so I wouldn’t have to worry about somebody slipping something in there when I wasn’t looking. I always took a girlfriend along when I went to the bathroom, too; we took turns peeing, and talked through the stall doors. (If you ever wonder why women go to bathrooms in groups, now you know. We’re looking out for each other. Just as our parents taught us to do.)
Later, we all split up. Dave walked me home. As for what happened next, I’ve written about it before, so here’s the relevant bit, in Reader’s Digest condensed form:
On my parents’ own living-room floor he made out with me for a couple of minutes. That was fine; he was a buff, good-looking guy, and I kind of fancied him. But then, without warning, he undid his pants, clambered up over me until he was straddling my neck, and popped his half-masted cock into my mouth.
I was so confused that I didn’t know what to do, other than docilely lie there and let him, so as not to risk offending him and maybe getting myself hurt.
* * *
Perhaps he sensed that there was something ironic and not quite kosher about what he was doing, because after a few half-hearted ins and outs, he stopped, put himself away, and zipped up. He left shortly thereafter. I locked the door behind him.
Then I silently slunk upstairs to bed, bewildered and still a little tipsy, and feeling — not violated or traumatized exactly, but still somehow betrayed. Because he had just a few hours ago saved me from getting raped, and I honestly expected him to know better than to do it himself.
And, get this: He did all that under my parents’ roof. While they slept just above us.
Oh, I’m sure Dave thinks he did nothing wrong that night. I’m sure he thinks so to this day. They all do. And no wonder: Society tells boys to just take whatever they can get, wherever they can get it, from any girl or woman they can get it from. Is it any wonder, then, that men think they should be able to get away with rape, if not murder?
And yes, if Dave had wanted to kill me that night, he could have done so easily enough, simply by sitting his ass down. It was just inches above my neck. That’s why I never fought or struggled. That, and the fact that his blinding speed bewildered me, especially in my beer-blurred state. No permission asked, none given, all advantages taken. If that’s not rape, then what the fuck IS it?
Today, I’m certain that Dave had done that before. How many times? I don’t even want to guess. But nobody gets that fast, or that slick and sneaky, without a lot of practice. This is not something a guy just does on impulse, no matter how much it might look that way to an inexperienced observer (which I was, back then). If Dave raped me so easily, without any fight, he must have known from experience how to do just that: play the good guy where convenient, get enough beers into the victim that she’s comfortable and confused, then take advantage of her when she least suspects anything. And then, before she can register exactly what’s going on and kick up a fuss, get out of there. Plausible deniability accomplished!
So I’m now convinced that not only was I raped, but that my rapist was a serial offender. And if there were victims before me, there may well have been others since me. How many? That’s a question I can’t answer, because I have not seen Dave since that night. But it is one that haunts me whenever I think back to that incident. Because if I didn’t report Dave out of sheer embarrassment, and all the others before me didn’t either — how many more sneaky oral rapes has he committed since then? And suppose he’s escalated, too, and done worse?
On the other hand, that opens up a possibility, a more hopeful one: Maybe Dave got caught. Maybe he got too cocky, too sure of himself. Maybe he messed with the wrong woman. Or maybe he soon will.
I don’t know if that’s happened. Like said, I’m not even sure how his last name is spelled, so I haven’t bothered trying to google him and see if there’s anything on him anywhere. It doesn’t seem worth it, any more than reporting him to the cops was back then. But I will tell you one thing:
If I ever hear from a friend that Dave H. is up on sexual assault charges in our town court, I’m going to find out when the trial is, and I’m going to be there. I won’t go as a witness or a complainant, and I won’t make any fuss. I’ll just be sitting in the gallery, watching, silently boring holes into the defendant with my eyes until he looks up and sees me there. And when that flicker of recognition flits over his face, I will smile at him, all teeth bared, and make a few quick biting motions. Just so he knows how lucky he was, that one time, many years ago, when he got away with it…or thought he did.
It’s a delightful fantasy. I don’t expect it to come true. But if it does, it will be as close to justice as I can ever hope to get.