This is my story of being raped by two men, in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The events of that day 32 years ago has shaped my life in deep and profound ways. Out of the many scary things that have happened to me, this event was one of the scariest.
This was probably the summer of 1980. I have some problems remembering when some things happened. There is no one left in my life to help me "fact check" and having lost all of my journals and diaries, writings, etc, dates have become even more problematic.
I had runaway to California in summer of 1979 and come back to Saint Louis in Spring of 1980. I was graduated from 8th grade for being such a troublemaker that the principal informed me there was no way they were going to fail me, even though I had attended only 6 weeks of school that year.
(And I use the term "attended" loosely. I mostly showed up to see my friends and score drugs or hang out because I had nothing else to do. I did pretty much the same thing during my first year of 9th grade. The high school flunked me.)
So in either in 1980 or 1981 I moved in with a girl that was a waitress at a Steak n Shake on Manchester in Brentwood. We lived in a coldwater flat that was $40 a month over by what is now the Grove. At the time it was very poor and mostly African- American neighbourhood.
My roommate had been raped by her father since childhood. We didn't really talk about it, but she was always a basket case after any family get together. And I will never forget the way she begged and pleaded and cried when her parents came and tracked her down and made her move away to another city with them. (I think there might have been some sort of petition for emancipated minor and she was denied. I have no idea what became of her.)
She liked me there because I was so tough and street smart (compared to other white, teenage suburban girls), and because men were always following me, including a lot of Maplewood and city cops, which both of us felt kept us safe from other, more dangerous men. (They weren't safer, but we believed that then. My experiences with the police at this age are another story entirely. And for the record, they all knew how old I was and where my grandmother and mother lived.)
I can't remember this girl's name, so I am going to call her Terri, which is what I think her name was. She was 16 and she had a car. She took as many shifts as she could and I often hung out in there waiting for her.
The manager of the Steak n Shake did not like me hanging out in there all day, for obvious reasons, but also, at the time, I had a pet rat or mouse. I used to carry it around with me on the back of my neck. (Yes, it pissed on my neck a lot. What a disgusting pet, but again, another long story on why I thought it was cool.)
On this Saturday afternoon, I think in June, I had ridden into work with her. Someone had given me some new clothes. A silky white blouse, very sophisticated for a junior high girl, and also some white pants, also silky. Terri had done my hair and make-up. I looked great, even to myself.
You see, back then, I really thought I was ugly. Fat and ugly. I had gotten boobs and my period over the summer of 5th and 6th grade. When I say boobs, I mean C-cups. This was pre-implant days and my boobs were bigger than many grown womens'.
The same summer-- between 5th and 6th grade- my mother and sister and I had moved from my grandmother's nice neighbourhood in Webster to HUD housing in low-rent, redneck, Affton.
I had actually preferred Affton. For one thing, all of the boys paid attention to me. And a lot of the men, too. Even though my grandmother and mother and even my little sister warned me about my reputation and letting boys talk to me and try to kiss me, I loved it. All I wanted was male attention.
My father had abandoned us when I was three. He never wrote, never called, never paid child support. My mother was severely mentally ill during my childhood. Also, my grandmother and all of her children were in constant battles and arguments with each other. It was exhausting. I spent most of my childhood fantasizing about my father or some other man "rescuing me". And I was inappropriately precocious.
In my grandmother's nice neighborhood our family really stood out. Even before the boobs and the boys, we were well known and heavily stigmatized. Combine the constant arguing and the unbelievably painful sense of paternal abandonment that I suffered almost every day of my childhood and you had a girl that thought she was completely unlovable and ugly.
In the new neighborhood there were Pentecostals that fell down in the yard in broad daylight, speaking in tongues. Not so different from my mother. And there were drunks that stayed in bed all day sleeping, much like my mother when she was in the "depressed" phase of the manic-depressive cycle.
Also, plenty of "Jerry Springer" fighting and antics in the families. There were a lot of single mothers and grandmothers raising children. Enough people on welfare that it wasn't a complete embarrassment.
At one point my grandmother finally determined that she needed to have a "serious" talk with me about my behavior with boys and men. Her words were something like "you will get a bad reputation if boys know they can come to you for what they want." What do they want? Sex. That was all I heard. How to get boys to pay attention to me.
Sex terrified me only because of pregnancy and that I'd heard it was painful. My first time is actually a whole other story, and another very painful one. I was very publicly and painfully dumped by him, a 16 year old boy with troubles of his own, but I didn't know that then. It just confirmed what I already knew about myself: that I was completely unlovable to any man, and lucky that this "sex" thing was so popular.
From the time I was 12 (my first boyfriend had waited til I was 12 to have sex with me) until summer I was 15, I slept with hundreds of men. Hundreds and hundreds. All of them white. Ranging in age from about 15 to 45, and some that were older. I preferred men close my age, because I was really looking for love. But I chose from what I was offered.
By the time I turned 13 I was an expert at blow jobs. Not once in that entire time did I have an orgasm. Nor did any of my lovers ever ask me if I'd had one when we had sex. (First orgasm, by myself, from reading Cosmopolitan magazine, again, whole other story.)
I just wanted to be near men. To be touched by a man, and held by him. All the other stuff was just for them, so that they would keep looking at me with those awed expressions men get when they have a hard-on.
You see, I thought that look was love. And when they left me or never called me again or pretended they didn't know me when their girlfriends and wives were around, I thought I had done something wrong. Or that they had realized just how worthless I was, like my father must have realized when he left us.
So, let us return now to that summer day, I in my white outfit and fancy blue eyeshadow and lipstick. I hitchhiked everywhere. If I was looking for a ride to a place I would take any person that stopped, male or female. But often I was just looking for men.
On that day I needed a ride. I was going to see these two brothers (Rick and Ralph?). They were small time dope and speed dealers, and they were in the middle of some sort of gang war. (I feel compelled to add again that these were all white guys. And this was the Hill or maybe the suburbs. I can't remember now, although I would recognize the house. You don't forget a place where guns greeted you if you forgot to knock.)
So I went out on Manchester and stuck my thumb out and almost right away an old-time pick up, completely covered in primer, pulled over. It was two men. Both were wearing some kind of overalls. They both had pot bellies and wore glasses.
I was supposed to wear glasses and was very near sighted. But men didn't like glasses and my lifestyle made it difficult for me to hold onto things. So I never wore them
With two ugly men, my near-sightedness made it easier for me. An ugly man you don't look at too closely was better than no man at all. The driver lived in St. Louis and knew roughly where I was headed. They drove me there, but their was no one home at the two brother's house.
I didn't really like these two guys. Not just that they were ugly. They were unemployed, so they didn't have any money. They didn't really flirt or talk to me, just stared at me and asked or answered questions. I think the passenger was from out of town, but somewhere within a few hours driving. He was visiting for the weekend.
They were both 25-30, which was also a bit too old for my preference. They had not offered to buy me food or cigarettes and they had no drugs. So, I told them to just leave me there, I would wait on the porch until someone came home.
They questioned me a bit, I thought to see if there were somewhere else they could take me, but now I realize they were fishing for information. I had no brothers, uncles, and no father. I lied about almost everything. No one ever believed the truth anyhow, and I was so good at making up stories and names for myself. But my stories were usually modeled on some truth. I know now that I was too revealing of my vulnerabilities.
(There are many studies on why people like me are so revealing and open, often because the mentally ill or addicted parent has so exposed the child, and because the state has documented and monitored the family. Back in these days, a social worker came to the house every week to make sure my mother was buying milk with her food stamps and so forth. But this openness is also a hallmark of abused women. The vulnerability becomes the shield, the defense.)
In those days, I usually tried to say that I was at least 17, possibly 19, and probably some people did believe it at first. I was very developed and sexually mature for my age. I honestly can't recall what stories I had told them, but I doubt they believed anything I said.
They offered to take me to a bar nearby, a place where they knew the owner and that they could get me a drink. It would look like a coca-cola, but secretly have alcohol in it. Then they would bring me back over here to see if anyone was home.
I coveted the mask of adulthood. Just the thought of being able to go to a bar and drink with adult men. And the chance that other men would talk to me, and I could find some better companions. I pushed aside my dislike and got back in the truck.
The bar was on Manchester, near Hampton. There were two in close proximity, and either one or both are gone now. At the time I think it was painted grey. The door faced east. It was a big open space with a lot of tables.
It was packed on a Saturday afternoon. Crowds of people, men and women. I knew almost right away that there were no other options open to me. It was the kind of bar where everyone knew each other. And most of the men were like the two I was with. Older, not attractive, and not a lot of money.
I don't know that I even finished one drink. I think there was some aggressive action on the part of a few women there, to get me out of there. Shaming and threatening and questioning. Sometimes my smile and charm could win women over to me, or at least neutralize the hostility, but not in that crowd.
I don't recall if I tried to bring my pet rat in or not. It seems like I did, actually. So that may have played a part. But I could be wrong.
Even with just one drink, I was tipsy. I was so skinny and underfed. It's funny, to remember that I thought I was fat then, because my stomach wasn't perfectly flat, and I had a thumbs width of cellulite across the tops of my thighs, at my ass. I was also terribly embarrassed about my big hips and ass.
The type of men I was dealing with never complimented me. Or if they did I had to dig for it. "What do you like about me?" I would always ask a guy I liked, hoping for some verbal affection. The answers were always along the lines of "you got a nice ass and tits and I like your smile it makes me think of head." Or one guy would say "well your ass is okay but your stomach is too fat."
Which is funny because when I look at pictures now I see that I was skinny, with ribs showing. I just have a big hourglass figure. And I know they all loved it, but these were hideous, awful men and boys. The kind of evil assholes that never give a kind gesture to anyone, especially not a some stupid slut they'd just fucked. (None of them ever passed up the opportunity to comment on what a slut I was, either.)
But anyhow, I couldn't handle liquor well. Other drugs, yes, but not alcohol. It was the hardest to obtain of the big three: tobacco (I smoked about a pack a day), street drugs (never had a problem finding weed, speed, or LSD) and alcohol. Also, alcohol was the most difficult to consume and hide the effects of.
We left the bar, and everything was kind of spinning. I wanted to go back to the Steak n Shake, but somehow they convinced me to go the driver's house. I could use the bathroom there.
Again, things are hazy, but at some point I found myself recounting the last time I was raped. I thought these guys were nice, listening to all my problems. I had a lot of problems with abusive men. To get rid of them I would get men that were more abusive.
I will remember that kitchen and bathroom and bedroom for the rest of my life. Going in thinking how everything had turned out okay, that these guys were actually nice. Then going to the bathroom and coming back to the table to sit down.
And suddenly, I was grabbed by the wrists by both men. They'd obviously been planning it. They dragged me to the bedroom.
I was screaming and crying and pleading. I was repeatedly told to shut up and hit a few times for effect.
What was terrifying me was not the brutality. Many men were cruel to me. But these guys had not offered me any money, or done anything at all for me, other than the ride and drink. And not knowing what was going happen. I'd been raped in California and it had been a similar situation. I recognized the nightmare this time, right away.
And also, because I knew they enjoyed hurting me. Some men don't care why you squeal, they only care that they are making you squeal and scream. Or perhaps, worse, that they only like it when you are crying and afraid. Even before it was announced to me, I knew that they wanted to kill me.
I think that excited him more than his cock being in my mouth.
However, later in life I would encounter real men. Men that wanted to share pleasure. Men that were true lovers. That asshole driver almost ruined oral sex for me. I still have a hard time accepting it, sometimes, because this event will randomly assert itself in my memory. Anal sex, too. I have to be very relaxed and very trusting of my partner.
And again, sometimes still, when a lover, a true lover, says with lust that I am so wet and loving it, I have to push the memory of this rapist and his comments out of my head.
I was actually wet from discharge from trichmoniasis and probably other diseases. No man ever used a condom. I would have severe Pelvic Inflammatory disease within a year, in fact I would pass out while walking down the street, and end up in the Emergency room, hallucinating with a fever.
After the oral sex was over, they took turns in my pussy and even tried fucking me at the same time, one in my ass and one in my pussy.
This guy stopped at a Ho Jo's I think on Hampton. He talked to a guy that came over to the truck and introduced me to his friend in the parking lot, and after his friend left he told me again how he would find me and kill me, and how his friend who was a cop or something had seen me with him, so no one would believe me.
Finally my roommate got off work and she took me home.
I wish I could say my life got better after that. In fact, in some ways it got worse. To get away from the violent angry men I would have to find men that were more violent and angry. Many of my experiences were technically rape, and many were abusive.
However, many of these other encounters have faded from memory. But this one, I probably think about it every day, especially now here, back in Saint Louis. Every time I go past that Steak n Shake, whenever I am over in the Hill, whenever I see a girl hitchhiking or drive past the location of that bar.
Whenever I watch a movie or read a book where someone has to plead for their life. Whenever I see a white man with bad skin and gut and hunched over, and glasses. Whenever I see an old time truck.
Whenever a lover wants to eat my pussy or have anal sex. Or a male lover wants to have a threesome with another man, or asks me if I have ever experienced that.
And for some reason, I am always telling this story, especially to men. I don't know if it is because I want them to know that they can't hurt me-- that their species has already hurt me. Or perhaps to show them that I am tougher than they are-- and the truth is I think all women are tougher than men, and that few men could survive their own gender.
Or perhaps it is how I test what sort of man they are. (Does he want too many details? Is he getting off on it? That took a long time to really learn.)
I was asking for it? Okay then. Now I know what a pig you are.
Now I know that you are the type of man that will never be able to live in a society of sexually sophisticated and powerful women. You need your women weak and inexperienced so that you can tell yourself what a great lover you are. You need your women to be either Mother Madonna, a virgin even when she gave birth to you, or a whore. (That Mary Magdalene was a whore is entirely a fiction of the Catholic Church.)
You are not the kind of man that should be allowed to breed or have daughters. And if you can't handle the demands of your dick without pushing them off on someone else, then you also shouldn't be allowed any power or weapons. You should be barred from politics and legal work altogether.
Because you are the kind of man that cannot relate to 51% of the population as anything more than orifices' for your penis. (Or a womb for "your" offspring.)
And women that would say I was asking for it? Ditto what I said about the men. Remember, ladies, these were your brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends and sons. If you think I was asking for it than you are raising the next generation of rapists. And rape victims.
And when a women says to me "Oh my --lover, brother, father, etc-- could NEVER do that!" I think, well how stupid are you? Because someone's son, lover, brother, father DID do that.
It doesn't impress me when people say "I love my children". Of course you love your children, they look just like you. What would be great is if people loved all children. Where were all the "nice" men of my grandmother's neighbourhood (the ones that weren't fucking me)?
Where were the men that would spend time with me and help me without expecting sex?
There were a few. Mostly bikers. Parents of my girlfriends. Men that had grown up around, and sometimes even married, girls like me. But they were not protection for me. Often not even protection from their own sons.
In the last three years I have found myself telling this story --and others- to almost every man in my life here. I think the problem is that the men of Saint Louis have never listened to me. And nothing was ever done to protect me or girls like me.
And worst, a lot times I am "shushed" because my rape is not polite conversation. "Nice" people don't want to hear about it.
I was having lunch two years ago at the Indian Buffet up at Delmar and 1-70 with a friend from my U City punk rock Loop days.
(There is a line of demarcation in Fall of 1981. I'd had my first orgasm, by myself, a few months earlier, I met a boy who was a communist and I cut off my hair and became a punk rock communist and began hanging out in the Loop. This is when my real life began. This is how I got away from this lifestyle of men and fucking. The Loop had black people and queers and punkers. These macho assholes would not follow me there. So when I say "friend from years back" I mean 1981-85, when I moved to Los Angeles for good.)
I was ranting to my friend about how some of these respectable men and cops that were fucking me when I was 13 and 14 were still around and "respectable" men of St. Louis. Somehow or the other the owner of the restaurant overheard. He told my friend to never bring me back because I talked about such "terrible things."
(And why was he hovering and eavesdropping? There were a lot people in their having noisy loud conversations. The men on either side of us were discussing their legal and business crap.)
My friend did not tell me this. One night, I was at a Noir literary event, where writers were reading stories that were actually less noir than this portion of my life, and this Indian guy was there. I didn't know who he was, but he remembered me.
He told me to never come into his restaurant because I said such terrible things. It was kind of shocking and embarrassing, out of the blue like that. It wasn't until I asked my friend that he explained what had happened.
This is my feeling about most of the men in Saint Louis-- although this man is an immigrant: it is okay for a 14 year old girl to be raped, especially when she is "asking for it", but it is NOT okay for her talk about it in public.
And I think maybe that is why I talk about it so much. Maybe all these "nice" people can only be "nice" when their dirty little secrets aren't aired out in public.
Like back when it was okay be openly racist, and make black people use different bathrooms and schools, but not okay to say "damn" or "hell" in public.
Maybe they know that no matter how tough they are, or successful, no matter how much money they have or guns they buy, they could never live through what one, lone woman has gone through with their gender.
I am going to post this now, unedited, because I wanted to have it up for One Billion Rising event. But I will be adding some photographs of the type of truck, the location of the bar, and maybe a picture of me at that age.
If you live in Saint Louis and you recognize any of the things in this post, please send me an email (laladyrae@gmailcom) or comment below.
If you want to tell me I was asking for it, go ahead. As I said, that tells me who YOU are.
No women is asking for it, EVER, under any circumstances!
EDIT: I pulled this out of the body of the text.
An interesting aspect to this particular event is that I believe I may have come across one of these men recently. In fact, I think we have been in the same room and perhaps even spoken, and I think he knows who I am. All of this I am thinking through my psychic senses, and that can be tricky, especially with this level of history and emotion. I will be covering this aspect in another, later post.
This whole city is a like a haunted house. Not only the ghosts of memory, but sometimes I will find myself in the company of someone that I knew during this time in my life.
And to leave for 25 years and return, and find so many people in the same neighbourhoods (indeed, same houses!), hanging out with the same people and going to the same stores and such, it has occurred to me that I could find at least one of these men.
I would like to find them. Just to see them. Whether they are heads of state or homeless speed addicts, or-- my fondest dream-- fathers of daughters that they love so much they cannot bear the thought of anyone hurting their girls as they hurt me.
I would like to see them and confront them and give them the opportunity for redemption. (Money is my favourite fantasy, but I would also be willing to put on my Dominatrix uniform and get someone to hold them down while I fucked them both up the ass til they pleaded for mercy.)