I have had a very bad week and, as a result, my blogging activity was rather limited. The reality got to me big time, leaving me more depressed, angry and befuddled than usually. I know I also have been acting rather weird, sometimes overreacting, sometimes not reacting at all. After clearing my head a bit and thinking the whole issue over time and again I decided my guests here deserve at least some rudimentary explanation. It won’t hurt any of the interested parties (no one knows English) and it might help me tackle the whole issue. It will be rather personal. If you are already bored – feel free to leave this site, I will understand.
First a bit of a backstory just in case. In my country young people finishing their secondary education (it concerns only those who decide to take the equivalent of British A levels called the maturity examination or matura) have a ball organized for them by their school. It usually takes place about 100 days before the exam, in the middle of the carnival season. Such balls have had a long tradition – they are also treated as a kind of coming-of-age celebration. I think they are similar to American Senior Prom balls or formal dances held before school-leaving exams. Anyway, my cousin attended such a ball this year. It didn’t end well.
In short, when the ball finished she went with her boyfriend to his house, driven there by his brother, a designated driver. They were supposed to take her home but she allegedly agreed to stop by and have a drink or two. After the drinks she was raped by both of them. That’s of course her side of the story. In order to be fair I also phoned the b****** in question to find out more. He ( let’s call him an ex-boyfriend for the clarity’s sake) claimed that yes, they had sex, but my cousin was a willing participant and even the initiator, not a victim. Very convincing, especially that it was her first time and my cousin is not that mouthy teen girl who loves breaking rules (expecially if her parents forbid her to do so). Both her ex-bf and his bro are older, more experienced guys. Perhaps my cousin did make a mistake or two but I am sure she didn’t deserve that. A real ordeal, however, started when she returned home (on foot, neither of men bothered to give her a lift).
As soon as my aunt called me I talked to my cousin on the phone. She was so depressed it was hard to get one word out of her so I decided to go to the village they live and speak with her in person. My cousin was very downcast, crying all the time, very afraid, very humiliated and completely at loss what to do next.
When I asked my uncle whether he had gone to the police he told me that they weren’t planning to press charges because…there was no point. It made me first surprised and then completely mad. It turned out, after the initial shock, my aunt and uncle started to blame my cousin for all of this. In their opinion she behaved badly, made them the laughing stock of the village. Did she have to wear such a short red dress? Did she have to wear those black stilettos with red soles? Did she have to wear so much make-up like a common whore? Apart from that she should have returned straight home, what was she thinking, getting into a car with two older men… I admit, here they finally said something sensible but when I reminded them that they knew who she had gone to the ball with and they approved I was told to mind my business.
After a while I got sick, literally nauseatic, listening to such drivel – and they were completely serious. When I tried to defend my cousin, indicating that first and foremost she is a very young and very scared victim of a sex crime, in need of professional help, not reproach, they asked me to shut up or leave, using rather foul language. I left. Since then I’ve been communicating with my cousin only via Skype and mails as her mobile phone has been confiscated by her parents – their idea of a punishment. No, she hasn’t got an appointment with a gynaecologist or a doctor, and of course she is not going to have any kind of psychological therapy any time soon. On the other hand, although she undoubtedly got the main blast, as a result I was also affected – her parents have given me the honorific title of the black sheep. It turned out I somehow share the blame.
You see, I made her long chandelier earrings. It was me who helped her to choose and buy the said devilish red dress and those horrible shoes straight from a brothel; yes, I booked her a visit at a beauty salon (something unheard-of in the village where she lives) to have a nice, professional make-up applied for the occasion; yes, I found a nice hairdresser to give her a special hairdo. I knew she was looking forward to that ball. I tried to help. Instead, at least according to my aunt and uncle, I doomed her. I know they are wrong but still I feel bitter as their accusations hurt like hell. It also hurts that my hands are tied.
My cousin is officially a consenting adult. Being 18+ she should have gone to the police herself or accompanied by her parents. Without charging that a***** of her ex-bf with a rape she basically admits there was no foul play, more or less confirming his version of events. Add to that the fact that his brother, who took an active part in the rape, started spreading false gossip about my cousin and she lives in a small, close-knit community where you can learn on the grapevine pretty much everything, and you get a recipe for a disaster. The outcome is such: both criminals are free and they walk with their heads kept high (according to them it shows they have a clean conscience). Their victim is highly traumatized and unsure what will happen to her for a change. A pregnancy? An STD? (she told me none of the perpetrators bothered with a condom – they told her she should have bought it herself if she really cared). Will she be able to pass her exams and study at all? What about her psychological condition?
I do hope she will find her inner strength. I told her to contact me if she decides to visit a doctor or a shrink or just feels like chatting at all. Meanwhile I am suffering the torments of somebody who meant well and now is being punished for it. The worst thing is that you can’t help anybody if the victim refuses your services because he/she is too afraid to face the truth. That’s the beginning and the end of my woes. Thanks for reading till the very end.