Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perpetrators and Victim Alike?

A Letter To A Tampered Soul

Hey man I understand what you been through,
Even as I sit with this pencil,
I know it hurts when you’re shunned and neglected,
Walked over, frowned upon self-esteem contested,
So now you want to show that you are,
A man in a sense but you’re mentally scarred,
Going out, looking for your victims,
When you should be searching for some wisdom,
Don’t HATE! Don’t RAPE! Don’t convince them,
Only thinking bout how you gonna fix them,
Instead get a friend, talk to them, and get it out your system,

It’s time to just LISTEN!
Those people that you think you are fixing,
Is put inside of a traumatizing position,
They won’t feel the strength of a man,
They will only see a Perp with demands,
Right now it’s time to make a stand,
It’s time for you to truly understand,
Choosing Violence, Rape as a plan,
Will Never Ever make a distressed fella, a MAN!

Marc Rainey

This letter by Marc touched on so many key points in the issues of sexual assault!

*** Keep in mind this is a message by a man to another. A message to a perpetrator that was once a victim and is still a victim in different circumstances.

So there are some questions that arised from Mr Rainey's letter to this troubled man which are: Are you or should you be considered a man if you committed or thought of committing a sexual assault against another? Do perpetrators and victims share commonality in their struggles to heal?



Become involved! Email us at We currently have an immediate need for:

* A skilled technician with software to make jpeg files to post letters of support on the tracker
* A graphic arts designer to help our website designer
* Skilled media savvy persons to chronicle CUNY's progress for the students on campus blogs, radio and television.
* Organizations and individuals to endorse our cause (willing to sign a letter of support)
* Organizations and individuals to join Students for a Greater CUNY as a member

THE FACE OF SURVIVAL: A personal account of memories

*TRIGGER WARNING- This material may trigger traumatic experiences. Proceed with caution and indulge in great positive, supportive, self-care.*

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

I have a hard time finishing that song almost every time I sing it. It's still hard to hear. We used to sing that song day in and day out during my stay in the Fresh Air Fund camp. God how I hated that song.

"You make me hap-py when skies are gray..."

It was sung in the morning during mess hall. Oy, mess hall... where everyone within the camp congregated three times a day- breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner... day in and day out. They gave us bullshit lines about counselors and campers gathering to bond.

"You'll never know dear, how much I love youuuu..."

Bond my ass.

Was it bonding when the counselors gave the campers unnatural stares? What about the communal prison like shower room that left no room for privacy and for a number of assaults to happen?


I didn't mean to leave her. We were the last few in the shower room. How was I to know those girls would come back? Erika said it was ok for me to go even though it was late and we were in trouble for not being back to bunk in time for curfew. She said it was ok....

They intercepted our letters. They sounded the horn when we organized an escape. "The boys camp, it's just across the lake", I said. How were we to know our plan would be thwarted and a tale spun to make us all liars to the camp Director?

"Please don't take my sunshine away..."

Erika was broken for telling. We all thought justice would prevail if we told. Once loads of fun, bright and beautiful, Erika was reduced to a swollen face and genitals.

The face of telling.

What the hell can I do? Mommy, why aren't you taking me seriously when I say something is terribly wrong and you need to come get me! This is not a co-ed camp! They lied to you! To US! As soon as we got here they split us- boys on one side of hundreds of acres separated by a large lake and backwoods, girls on the other. They sounded the sirens on us. They had effin' flood lights and a search team to find us.


He was a Junior when I was a Freshmen. All of the girls seemed to think he was cute. Tall, cute, Varsity bball team, why wouldn't I go out with him?

I felt the twinge that something was awry but I shoved that feeling aside. He was cute and status was all that mattered. So the first hit was kept secret. Besides, I didn't just stand there and take it, right? I hit his ass back!

He'd laugh at me.

I found myself wearing the clothes he said he liked, the colors he liked, wearing my hair the way he liked. No, I'm not controlled, after all, he didn't come in my house and make me do it, right?

He just strongly suggested.

I remember being in Spanish class with my new hair cut. Nina told me I looked cute. I got lots of compliments. Even Shawn and Maleek said so. And then he came in.

I didn't realize how nervous I was until someone pointed out to me that I looked sick.

He ignored me at first. What would he say? I didn't tell him that I would get it cut. That wouldn't be a problem right?

I got sassy with him in front of the entire class. Fuck you! I look good and I don't have to consult you to get my hair cut, who do you think you are? People were so happy for me.

Until he started choking me as we waited for the next period bell. It took Shawn and Maleek a considerable amount of time to get him off me.

I dumped him not long after that. Jamel told me I was strong. He said it was all over now. Not to worry.

Until my ex started his sweet talk again.

Wait, what the hell, isn't this supposed to be over?

I'd erased being trapped in the boys locker room after his practice... he told me to wait outside. Why the fuck did I believe him when he said he was alone in the locker room? I was so paralyzed I almost pissed my pants. They said they liked what they saw and that he was a lucky dude.

I never did get to thank the coach for yelling from the top of the stairs down into the locker room for his team taking too long to get their asses back to the gym for a talk. Did he know? Craig was outside the door and heard my screams. I think he told.

Thanks Craig.

Wait, shit, I wasn't supposed to remember that. He was still sweet. Like it was when he courted me, when I was the envy of a lot of girls. Just a Freshmen. How could I get such attention from a Junior?!

That summer he raped me.

I moved on, new boyfriend. Maleek was a sweetie. Surely he understands how to treat me?

Until the ex assaulted me again and Maleek said it was my fault for allowing him to follow me on my way back to class, the ex was his friend, and he KNOWS that I must've done something to make him think he could attempt to take what's his.


Maleek much later had a heart attack, or something like that. Changed his life and how he saw me. He said so himself.


What the fuck, a stalker?! Boy, I sure know how to pick 'em.

All I did was go to class with this dude! It was summer school for cryin' out loud. I didn't even like him! What kind of signal was I possibly giving off for me to get an "I LOVE YOU" card within 2 weeks of having class with this nitwit? "WE'LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER." Excuse me, WHAT?!

Oh grrreat, he's an ex-Marine. I told you those mofo's were crazier than a mad hatter!

"JEEEEEESUS keep, me NEEEEEAAAAR the crrrooosss..."

I never did get to properly thank Jepson for letting me ride the train downtown with him and making sure I crossed the platform at Park Place and that crazy mad hatter dude wasn't on the train waiting for me.

Thanks Jepson.


Oh fuck... remember the days when me and Bubbles had to divise plans to get away from overly aggressive X dudes?


She didn't get a day in the life of me until we had to run for our lives one night and got stalked by pimps a few times that followed us in their expensive cars.

Sigh. Life as a teen.


Well hell, what about when Re would have to drive me home from school because every time he left me in a particular spot, it would take me much longer to get home than anticipated because I had to lose a few unwanted followers.

Sigh. In that case, I should say life as a woman!


I'm finally at the place I'm supposed to be. The BA-MA Forensic Psych program was what I'd been looking for without knowing it. A BA in my beloved field? SCORE!

He was a cool dude. Funny as all hell, charming. Everybody liked him. Real people oriented kinda guy. Wildly impressive resume. How could somebody be that young and accomplish so much?

It started with comments. Awkward moments kept between me and him. Then he got comfortable with my group of homies... loved their presence as much as I did. Thought me and my home girl could take the playfulness. We were strong Black women right? Clearly we'd know he was just playing, right?

And then one day we talked about how inappropriate he was. We made all sorts of excuses. We DARED NOT to label it as sexual harassment. He was just playing. He didn't know better. He was young, a baby still.

I told the guy that I was crazy in love with as a friend. He's a good dude, great head on his shoulders. When I first met him, I told him he was going to go far. So far, my predictions have come true. I'm quite sure he'll make it to Harvard law. He told me it wasn't right. I knew he was right. I toiled over how to address the issue. WTF, my homegirl says she doesn't look at it that way. So why should I? I told him all about how he grabbed my ass one day, how he slid his hands up my thigh, how he wanted me to "show" him things. I told him how he told me that everybody knows he's not that kind of guy. I told him how he had it in for my little brother. He told me I was right to protect him, that WE must protect him.

I had enough. I was abusing myself by holding it in and advocating on behalf of others that had experienced what I was freshly going through. I can't stand liars, how can I be one by living a lie? I've got to tell, I've got to tell, I've got to tell...

It started with an email. The Administrator took it seriously, he knew something was wrong. I had just been in his and his boss' office the week prior and had a break down. His boss looked unsympathetically at me and said "Elischia, I don't want to EVER see you like this again. Just apologize to him. Do the unexpected. You two used to be close." I couldn't stop crying. He was lying on me because he knew I was fed up. I'd told him so...

When I told the Administrator what happened, he was red with anger. Maybe embarrassed that he was talking with my attacker about having some sort of joint venture between their non-profits and didn't know what kind of guy he was?

The Administrator's boss never said a word to me about it. She was angry when I became Chief Justice. Maybe because she saw what was coming down the pipeline?

Heh. I did.

My homegirl said she'd support me a hundred percent, that I was right to file a complaint. My little brother said he'd testify. My lovely friend told me I was brave and that he loved me. My other little brother was shocked but left decisions up to me. I warned them all of the possible consequences. I loved them, why wouldn't I?

My homegirl started acting funny. So did my little brother. My lovely friend appeared neutral but there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on....

They still kept in contact with him. As my case went on, they grew distant.

My homegirl looked remorseful. We took a DV intensive training and as we walked from 23rd-59th street, we debriefed. She told me she realized she was wrong for victim blaming. That it was hard to grapple with. She divulged and connected with me. We shared. My spirits were lifted.

The investigator said my homegirl didn't answer her calls. She said my lovely friend didn't get back to her. I chewed him out. He told me the investigator was lying. I believed him. After all, it had been 7 months and my case dragged. My Administrators that once vowed not to ever let an unjust thing befall on me waned in responses. Pretty soon I no longer had VIP access, I had to make an appointment.

Oh, excusssse me.

My lovely friend and I had a chat on aim. He finally admitted what I couldn't quite put my finger on. He said hurtful things. I thought he understood. He said he loved me. Well, I guess I can't be shocked, this is what I work against in the field right? My homegirl said she loved me and treated me like crap some days. I took it because I understood. We had connected on those walks to 59th street.

I told my lovely friend that I was saving the im. In it, he admitted my complaint was valid. Surely that's enough to prove my case along with other evidence of emails from my attacker?

I fought. HARD. My grades fell, my appearance waned and I still kept up my massive projects. On paper my life was great.

My tight circle knew how I really felt. Some outside the circle found out because I was a bursting balloon at times.

Boy was I pissed... someone in my org told me that at some point, I'd have to get over it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She'd vowed to help me, I'd asked for help, and some tried. Listening is not what I needed most, I had my tight circle for that. What I needed was people in their positions to mobilize help for me to fight the system. You know, what they claim they actually do?

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I won't even go there.

11 months later my case was closed. The Administrator had a heart to heart with me. He said that I already know how it is. It's the good 'ol boys club.

My attacker got off scott free and I was left with damaged relationships.

The crew died ever more quickly after that. My lovely friend still resented me, he was going to do great things with my attacker and he was forced to leave him alone because of appearances. I know he struggled with how everything went down. It bothered him. He doesn't like unresolved issues.

Poor Taurus.

My lovely friend went on to fulfill a dream that I helped him achieve more than any other human. I loved him, so why wouldn't I? I knew he struggled with how it all went down. I knew he resented me. But I helped him for the love of him and what he could be. That's what friends do, right?

Except the more I helped, the more he acted out. Just like my little brother had months before, just not as overtly.

My homegirl and I grew so distant that she didn't realize I'd known for months her intentions with my lovely friend. I worked hard to prepare him.

He didn't get it.

My homegirl worked hard to milk me on his vices.

She underestimated my loyalty to him.

Later, my lovely friend and I parted ways, he months and months prior to the close of my case and I, the summer after he fulfilled his dream.

He never thanked me, just showed me his ass as the old folks would say. "Di bwoy too big fo 'e britches nuh?"

He took for granted my ability to cover his indiscretions. I still did it long after we parted ways. Took hits for his seeming naivete. I knew better, but I was hoping the inner him I saw would push through.

Anyone in my close circle knows how this story proceeds....


What to do now?

Pick up the pieces. Laugh. Cry. Use the anger for the greater good.

I sure hope I'm living the survival life I want to project. I want people to feel empowered, emboldened by my presence. Always.


That was cathartic.

Become involved! Email us at We currently have an immediate need for:

* A skilled technician with software to make jpeg files to post letters of support on the tracker
* A graphic arts designer to help our website designer
* Skilled media savvy persons to chronicle CUNY's progress for the students on campus blogs, radio and television.
* Organizations and individuals to endorse our cause (willing to sign a letter of support)
* Organizations and individuals to join Students for a Greater CUNY as a member

Monday, July 13, 2009

1 in 6

Researchers have stated one in 6 men are victims of sexual assault before the age of 16 (1 in Such statistics are low since they do not include men who have had noncontact experiences that might be as damaging. Rather than getting into a research-methodology based debate, which is important, it is more important to remember that these statistics represent real people. Real people with real experiences who live with us and among us.

There are many debates on sexual assault that frame men as perpetrators and women as victims; but, rarely do we hear of a story of a male who has been sexually abused by a female. Even if such stories are rare to hear about, males who are victims of sexual assault are not rare. Here are a few stories of males from all walks of life who are victims of sexual abuse.

works as a television journalist. He is a senior political reporter, and the host of Inside City Hall, a show on NY1, and an author of the book, No Mama's Boy. In the book he speaks about his childhood where he was sexually abused by his mother.

Chris is a 20 year old construction worker who was sexually abused by his coach at age 8.

Juan is a 22 year old college student who raped him from ages 8-12.

Mohammed is a 30 year old insurance salesman whose step-father performed oral sex at the age of thirteen.

George is a 56 year old man who is an independent contractor. His minister had introduced him to oral sex and porn at the age of 13.

Jamal is a 27 year old medical student who had three baby sitters who had sexual contact with his from the ages of 6 to 9(

These six sentences represent the stories of six men. Six men who were abused as boys at the hands of loved ones and care takers. We should remember that no person's story can be summarized in one sentence. A few words cannot capture the journey of hardships that survivors of sexual abuse have endured. In addition we have not spoken about the family members or the friends who are also impacted.

Therefore one in 6 steps that we can take as CUNY students is to work on spreading information about the CUNY wide prevention based sexual assault policy. In spreading information, students may begin a dialogue on sexual assault, which in turn can begin to create a safe space for men, women, transgender, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to begin a dialogue. A dialogue that may serve as a piece of the healing process for survivors, their loved ones and family members. More importantly us as a CUNY community, we can say to the famous statistic of 1 in 6 men that we are working on the 1 in 6 steps to counter sexual assault.

Become involved! Email us at We currently have an immediate need for:

* A skilled technician with software to make jpeg files to post letters of support on the tracker
* A graphic arts designer to help our website designer
* Skilled media savvy persons to chronicle CUNY's progress for the students on campus blogs, radio and television.
* Organizations and individuals to endorse our cause (willing to sign a letter of support)
* Organizations and individuals to join Students for a Greater CUNY as a member