||I am ashamed to admit that a relationship I was part of when I was 20 years old and a junior in college was almost purely sexual. I was a very naive and stupid twenty year old who believed she was mature enough to have a relationship with a thirty-nine year old man. As I came to painfully realize, this was not the case. Throughout our short three month relationship, there were many sexually explicit emails sent between the two of us. After one night where I did consensually pose for still photographs, I sent an email to the perpetrator, D. J. informing him that I would pose any time he
wanted. A huge mistake.
When I decided to terminate the relationship with Mr. J over-the-phone, he became extremely angry and informed me repeatedly that "you don't fuck with someone who has pictures of you." Yes, I know it was stupid for me to ever have agreed to have them taken and I most assuredly regret having ever agreed to pose for them. By the end of the conversation, he no longer appeared angry and told me that if I wanted them back I would have to go to his house to pick them up that evening. I agreed to meet him as I was worried about what would happen to the pictures and I was even more naive about what would happen to me. I really thought he would hand the pictures over and that would be that. He had never hurt me previously and I really did not expect anything bad to happen.
Instead, when I arrived at his place I was told to take off my clothes - which I did. Yes, I know my action was stupid in hindsight, but I had never been in a situation before like that and I did what I was told. He then took my clothes away and blind-folded me, which had never happened in any of our encounters before. He led me upstairs and handcuffed me to the wall, which had also never happened before. The first thing that happened to me was that my back was burnt with a little bit of wax - not enough to leave a mark but enough for me to know that he could inflict pain. He also took a Polaroid of me when I was naked, handcuffed and blindfolded. He then had intercourse with me.
I remember at one point after he freed my handcuffs from the wall I attempted to choke him with the handcuffs. I remember this part of the evening because there was such a difference in our strengths. I was a 120 pound, naked, bound female while he was a very fit man who had full movement. I also regret that I did not verbally say no during this encounter. For some reason I never thought that saying no was an option based on our conversation earlier that day.
It took me about four months before I told anyone what happened. I did not tell my confidant that what happened to me was rape because I really felt that I was to blame. I replayed in my head over and over again what I should have done. I never should have gone to his house. I should never have taken my clothes off. I should have said no. I should have fought. I should have done something; anything and I didn't. I blamed myself for that and I didn't place the blame with the person who organized the handcuffs, blindfold, and wax. I rationalized everything and believed that I was to blame. I tried to pretend that everything was okay and I did maintain limited contact with the perpetrator because I just wanted more than anything for things to be, or at least seem, "okay."
I first told my campus safety about what had occurred that fall and they were very supportive of me. They brought me down to Connecticut where I made my first statement to the state police. I was asked to return to the barracks a second time for more questions the police had for me. I went through my story a second time as I remembered it. I have very little recollection of what happened that evening and I had told the police I spent the time lying on my back. At least I thought I did. Trooper S., the Officer assigned to my case, then said to me "What would you say if we said that we have the whole thing on videotape and it shows you actively participating." I am not quite sure what I said at this point but he then said to me "it is a very serious thing to bring charges like this against someone." He also informed me that there were a lot more photographs of me than I remembered having posed for.
At this point I felt like I was being accused of bringing false charges. Molly, a volunteer at the Susan B. Anthony Project which helps women who have suffered domestic violence and sexual assault, was informed by Trooper S. before the interview began that she could not speak with me during the interview. She had accompanied to provide emotional support. After Trooper S. informed me of the video Molly attempted to remind me of something and he threatened to throw her out of the room. I was extremely scared and nauseous at this point and I decided to say that I did not want the police to pursue their investigation. I wanted nothing more than to be out of the barracks. Throughout this experience dealing with the police I was suffering from anxiety attacks and finding out from the police in this fashion that a tape existed was more than I could bear. Once home, I regretted that I had retracted my statement and contacted the police to let them know I wanted the investigation continued. They then informed me that they were going to continue the investigation anyway. While I had previously viewed the police in a positive light, I felt victimized by my experience dealing with them as I felt I was treated like I was a criminal.
I was not allowed to see any of these photographs or the videotape even though the police and state's attorney used the videotape to decide not to prosecute based on the video "evidence." They believed that the activity on the tape appeared consensual. It did not seem to matter that I had been handcuffed and burned before any of the sexual activity occurred!
In addition, I was informed by the police that the video is legal custody of Mr. J because I did not have an expectation of privacy because of the sexual activity involved. I believe the reasoning is that a person is not guaranteed privacy from a person they are intimate with. I had no right to see this videotape during the investigation because the police were using it in their investigation, and I had no right to see it after the police finished their investigation because it was the property of the perpetrator. Trooper S. did inform me though that if Mr. J ever attempted to publish any of the materials then he could be prosecuted.
I am at a point in my life now where I am no longer experiencing anxiety attacks and I am beginning to work through the shame I have felt about my own actions. That shame is now gradually being replaced with anger towards the perpetrator. For the first time in two years, I went online last night to find out what the perpetrator is up to and it appears that (his career) is doing well and he has received an award. It pains me to know that while my life was shattered by his behavior, he seems to doing just fine. Now I am trying to figure out what it is I need to do to continue my healing and also ensure that he does not hurt anyone else.