Photo by Wikipedia.org (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
Rape Victims' Relationship to Their Rapists
Rape Victims' Relationship to Their Rapists

This is my story. This is not a story about Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, or any other public figures accused of rape. I do not know if he/they are guilty or not, and I do not feel I have the right to be the judge or jury regarding the accusations. I am suspicious of anyone who is sure Mr. Kavanaugh must be innocent or guilty. None of us could possibly know the truth, except for the people involved.

I've Been A Regular Nutrition (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge Screen Shot) I've Been A Regular Nutrition "Expert" on CNN and Other National News Programs Who Have Sought Me Out For My Analysis of Diet and Nutrition Issues for 20+ Years

But, I believe, concerning any case of rape, how long ago it happened -  or the age of the rapist - should not be an excuse to dismiss it. Raping is no better than murdering. A difference is that the male or female rape victim often goes on living and reliving the assault's trauma (in the case of murder or a violent death, this happens to the family left behind); which is characteristic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is a source of a host of mental illnesses, phobias, fear, mistrust, humiliation, chronic pain, self-blame/hatred, anxiety, and depression. That kind of trauma can change the course of a person's life from the incident forward.

Compared with non-rapists, rapists are "measurably more angry at women and more motivated by a desire to dominate and control them. They're more compulsive, disinhibited, anti-social, hypermasculine and less empathetic," according to a report describing male rapists by the Civic Research Institute. I would assume a female rapist possesses similar traits (men are not the only rapists). Since I'm skeptical that a person could change these personality characterics, I believe they should be held accountable for their behavior, even 30 years - or more - later, especially if there is no admission or remorse (as long as there is evidence that is beyond a reasonable doubt). But I would be open to scientific research on the issue, and willing to analyze on a case-by-case basis.

My friend, Cindy, Around the Time I Told Her of My Attack (Photo by: The Defunct Washington Woman) My friend, Cindy, Around the Time I Told Her of My Attack

Then there is the question: "Why didn't the rape victim (male or female) report the incident?" This, of course, insinuates that the person is lying. The evidence shows there are many reasons why the majority of rape victims do not come forward. A primary reason is shame. Because being violated and victimized is humiliating and dehumanizing, disclosing it can be too painful. Feelings of helplessness can take hold; the person feels there is nowhere to turn, feels hopeless and gives up. And because rapists are usually people we know or are close to, it could seem like the victim was "asking for it," being manipulative, vindictive, or a gold-digger. Perhaps they were dressing too sexually, they were flirtatious, or being too friendly. Maybe they had been drinking, attending a party, maybe they allowed the rapist into their home or went into the home or office of the rapist. Then there is the dread of criticism, repercussions, fear of losing a job, of seeming weak, of being perceived as promiscuous, or having poor judgement.

In college, I experienced a violent date rape by two men (would this be considered a "gang rape?"). One was a seemingly respectable guy I went out with a couple of times: a Yale and Columbia graduate with an honorable vocation, who loved sports, and who adored his mother. The other was his friend who tagged along with us. For all of the reasons I've mentioned, I never told anyone except my good friend, Cindy, four years later ... until now.

I Finally Published my book: (Photo by: Viggy Parr) I Finally Published my book: "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" (LifeLine Press)

When this happened to me, I visited a psychotherapist at Walter Reed Medical Center (I was a military dependent, and please do not misunderstand. I believe Walter Reed is a wonderful place to heal). The doctor recommended I attend group psychotherapy there. In the group, after I described the incident, one female group member became hostile toward me, pointed a finger at me, called me a "slut," and shrieked that I deserved it. No other group members, nor the therapist, defended me (giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they were stunned by this woman's violent outburst). I doubled over in pain; I felt sick and disoriented. It was a shocking blow. I never returned to the group, even though the therapist repeatedly reached out, apologizing and claiming it would be therapeutic to address my situation and face my attacker. I always felt guilty about not returning. It was hard letting go of that woman's accusations. I felt ill and nauseous just thinking about the whole situation. In retrospect, after many years of self-reflection, I realize I made the right decision to not return.

There is a stigma with rape, even if you are the victim.

I made an hilarious appearance on a Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) I made an hilarious appearance on a Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment

Of course, I was ultimately able to move on and make a success of my life, though at the time it was devastating. Honestly, I still feel queasy thinking about the rape, and the second attack in group "therapy." I have avoided facing it - at all costs - until recent public discussions unfortunately brought those old feelings flooding over me. If this man, Tim (I forgot his buddy's name), ever became a public - or private - figure in charge of the health or well-being of others, I would feel obligated to speak out, even though this is something I would loathe talking about - privately or publicly. Perhaps I'd be received skeptically, negatively, even violently, and subject to death threats, as Christine Ford, Mr. Kavanaugh's accusor, has been, whether her accusations are true or not.

It is unfortunate that I did not have enough self worth to report the rape when it happened, forcing the perpetrators to be accountable for their actions - and probably also giving me some closure at an earlier stage of my life. I was naive and inexperienced with men. It was unexpected that something so horrible could happen. I was raised to trust people.

An Award-Winning Columnist for Restaurants & Institutions Magazine, I've been a columnist (and am still a contributor) in The Washington Post, Shape Magazine, The Vegetarian Times, and others (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge Screen Shot) An Award-Winning Columnist for Restaurants & Institutions Magazine, I've been a columnist (and am still a contributor) in The Washington Post, Shape Magazine, The Vegetarian Times, and others

Thank you for reading my story. I’ve received wonderful support from most of you. I’ve even been told that sharing my experience has helped some. But not everyone appreciates it.  This kind of candor elicits anger in some who politicize the pain of many who have gone through similar barbarity. But I believe this is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue. I’ve always been told that if you stick your neck out, there’s always the chance that you’ll get egg on your face. I’ve been sticking my neck out for decades, trying to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. But when you’re an activist (activist with a little “a” in any case), that is a risk you take. And I’ve always decided that risk is worth it! I'd love to hear your thoughts...

I'm Passionate about Counseling and Teaching People of All Ages, Races, Cultures & Levels of Education. From Presidential Cabinet Members, National Politicians, Journalists & Corporate Executives, to Impoverished Homeless, Recovering Drug Addicts & Convicts... On How to Make Their Lives Healthy and Happy! (Photo by: Lyndia Grant & Associates) I'm Passionate about Counseling and Teaching People of All Ages, Races, Cultures & Levels of Education. From Presidential Cabinet Members, National Politicians, Journalists & Corporate Executives, to Impoverished Homeless, Recovering Drug Addicts & Convicts... On How to Make Their Lives Healthy and Happy!

It Feels Good to Face Your Demons. Meditating, Good Health, and Exercising Helps (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge Neighbor) It Feels Good to Face Your Demons. Meditating, Good Health, and Exercising Helps

One of my Favorite Past Times: Stand-Up-Paddle-Boarding (Photo by: Robert Arnold) One of my Favorite Past Times: Stand-Up-Paddle-Boarding

Please share my story if it could help anyone out there!

1 Comment For This Article

vicki Johnson

I greatly appreciate the article and Candor in which you discuss your rape. I too was sexually assaulted several years ago and although I shared it with my family I never went to the police for a countless number of reasons. Although it was not rape, but a sexual but yeah assault. it violated me in such a way but it was equally as painful to move past and forward, but it does not define who you are and who you can be.