How reality is always stranger than fiction…

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.

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25 Responses to How reality is always stranger than fiction…

  1. This is HORRIBLE! What are her parents thinking? They are unwittingly inciting her to take a drastic measure out of frustration. And why should it be HER fault she got raped? Because she's a woman? Is wanting to look nice for a change a crime? And those two assholes should be hung by their ankles and publicly whipped!I don't think (and neither will anyone else) that it was your fault this sad incident occurred. If we apply the same logic as applied by your Uncle and Aunt, then 80% of the world's female population deserves to get raped. I mean, c'mon! Just 'cause a girl trusted (albeit stupidly) a guy who she thought loved her, doesn't make her a whore. I'm totally disgusted by the stand her parents have taken. I'm with you and your poor cousin, Ana. You seem to be her only support system now. Take care of her, don't let her blame herself for all this.P.S: Even though I'm a border-line atheist, I'll be sure to pray for her and for you too. 🙂

  2. heidenkind says:

    What a horrible situation! 😦 I imagine both you and your cousin feel very powerless right now. I hope she has the opportunity to move out of her village soon (college?) so that at least she doesn't have to see those scumbags when she leaves the house. At least she knows you're there for her.

  3. Anachronist says:

    Thanks for your comments *hug*.Absie, the problem is her parents don't think at all. I really can't understand their stance. How can they do something like that to their own child? Perhaps blaming her they are trying to alleviate their own sense of guilt? My dad told me that he would give them a day or two and would try to talk to them again. I only hope they will change their mind soon – if my cousin doesn't take a grip on herself she might fail her A levels and every chance for a college will be gone. Thanks for the prayers, I suppose those coming from an atheist are twice as effective!Heidenkind – the situation is indeed completely nightmarish and it threw all my family for a loop. I've heard about such things but I never ever imagined it might affect me personally. Her ex-bf did seem a nice guy.

  4. I believe your cousin. Even a prostitute has the right to say no. Even a woman walking naked down the street has the right to say no. Whatever went on that night it was not sex. Sex was used as an instrument to humiliate and assert power over your cousin.I worked as a counsellor at a rape crisis centre and, while we would support a woman's decision to go the the police, we rarely advised it. The legal system is not at all supportive of rape victims. It usually amounts to a second violation. The best thing you can do for your cousin is let her know that you believe her and support her in whatever choice she makes.

  5. carol says:

    My heart breaks for your cousin. First to be raped and then to have her family blame her, how terrible. I think you're doing the best you can, offering your support. And of course it was in no way your fault, or hers, no matter what she was wearing she still has the right to say no and to have that be respected.

  6. Anachronist says:

    Thanks The Red Witch, it means a lot hearing it from you. I also believe that a woman has a right to say no no matter what she wears and how she behaves. Nothing can justify using of force and nobody on earth will persuade me that force wasn't used in case of my poor cousin. I saw her in pain, I saw her tears, I saw her torn dress for heaven's sake. On the other hand rapes happen even in Muslim countries where a woman in public is usually covered from head to toes…When you talk about testifying before police officers…I know it can be very bad for a victim but I pushed that issue mainly because in my country it is the only way to get a prescription for the 'morning after' pill. To tell you the truth I think my cousin would feel a bit better if she could be sure that there would be no unplanned pregnancy waiting for her in the near future. I would feel relieved as well. If you don't report a rape no doctor will believe you.

  7. Anachronist says:

    Thanks carol I just wish other people thought the same…more often than not women are blamed for horrible things that happen to them here.

  8. It's not only your country that blames women Ana. We have been blamed by the bible itself! And hypocrisy is a trait intimately associated with mankind. So whatever the case, it is supposed to be the woman's fault. Hell, ppl still believe the gender of a child is decided by a woman! People are that idiotic. Someone needs to shove some sense into your relatives' brains before it's too late. Hope your Dad talks to them soon.

  9. Aurian says:

    Hi Ana, what a horrible story! I cannot imagine what you or your cousin is going through at the moment. And how your aunt and uncle can behave like that, unbelievable. Their daughter needs them now, more than ever. I hope you can take your cousin to the police, a doctor and whatever else is needed. Perhaps take her with you? Or your parents?My thoughts are with you both. Please post more news if you have some.How such an anticipated event turned into such horror.

  10. Anachronist says:

    ppl still believe the gender of a child is decided by a woman!Never underestimate the extend of human stupidity…how can anybody believe that?

  11. Anachronist says:

    I hope you can take your cousin to the police, a doctor and whatever else is needed. Perhaps take her with you? Or your parents?I would gladly do that, Aurian, if only she asked me to do so…She is an adult, I can't and shouldn't force her to take that decision. It's definitely up to her now and I am very well aware of the fact that it might cause her further emotional pain.

  12. Oh Ana! How horrible! How grotesquely horrible! It happens all the time, the victim is blamed. It doesn't matter the age, and someone as young as 18 years….that's so young, incredibly young to be abused and used this way. And it sounds like she's been sheltered, living in a small town, with small town values. After suffering from such a crime, she's mentally broken, she no longer knows the right thing to do, which would be to prosecute those two animals to the fullest extent of the law. Her parents blame her (and by extension, you) for what has been perpetrated against her. You were only trying show her what a special night it could be, to dress up for a night, you did NOTHING wrong, and neither did SHE. Her parents allowed her to go out with this man, and he is a man, he raped her, he deserves to own up to his crime and be prosecuted like a man.These two are walking around, claiming it was her. I'm sorry, I can't see it that way. Even if it started out as a maybe… the woman ALWAYS reserves the right to say "NO". And I don't think it was a maybe or yes to sex. She was without experience, there's no way she going to choose her first time this way, giving herself not only to a boyfriend, but his brother too. I'm sorry, it doesn't happen that way. They are rapist, abusers, their whole community should be made aware of what they've done. It wasn't her fault.Since her parents blame her, she's going to see it as her fault until she gets medical help. She'll become more depressed and afraid to be alone with men. I know I would, and that's no way to live. You've helped and are helping her, and I know she's afraid, but she needs medical help and she needs to go to the police, even if it's days or weeks later. What if those creeps decide to snatch a younger girl, rape her, hurt her in a way that can never be made better, and she could have stopped them by reporting them to the police?? Can she live with that possibility?? Will she want to try?? Even if the police do nothing about her case, those animals will think carefully about raping and brutalizing someone else. Small town politics being what they are, it's going to be hard for her either way, sadly.This is one of those time I wish the world was smaller instead of spread across the oceans. No one should have to endure a crime of his nature, especially alone.(((hugs to you and your cousin)))Dottie

  13. Jenn says:

    This is such a horrible, sad situation. Your cousin had the right to say no and should not be blamed for what those men did to her. I'm sure that she feels ashamed (though again, nothing was her fault), depressed and possibly still in shock. I hope she is able to overcome those feelings to be able to seek proper medical help and enable her to perhaps go to college or some other means to escape her family.Is it possible for someone to speak to the police on her behalf and for them to ask her questions or for a statement? That may cause her further pain, but it may also help her begin to heal if those men answer for what they've done. I'm sorry that you're getting the brunt of this, as well. It isn't fair and you've done nothing wrong. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look beautiful at a ball that celebrates one's accomplishments. This should be a wonderfully happy time in both of your lives. I wish that it had turned out that way. I wish I could hug you both.

  14. Anachronist says:

    Thanks Dottie, it was a long, wonderful comment. As sad as the whole situation makes me, I will try to think firstly and foremostly about helping the victim, not punishing the perpetrators. I know they should be reported. I know they deserve being punished. I am pretty sure they won't. That's the reality. Yes, you are perfectly right, they might rape somebody else in the future and my cousin might feel very guilty about it but right now I really don't think she is strong enough to shoulder any investigation.

  15. Anachronist says:

    Thanks Jenn!Unfortunately nobody can speak on her behalf. Her father might be the one reporting the crime but afterwards she would be asked to testify on her own. To tell you the truth I would rather she spoke to a good psychologist or to a doctor, preferably also a woman.

  16. Blodeuedd says:

    It's always the victim that is blamed :/ I can't tell you how many stories I have read where an entire village or town has ganged up on a poor girl just because she said that something happened (there was this rather famous Swedish case). Because no one could believe the guy did it. And I really do not understand the mentality of people. That ended with her family moving away, but at least there her family believed her.For the first thing, you can walk out naked if you so choose so and that is not an invite that you want to have sex or get raped. Does a man who wears shorts want to get raped? Then why would a woman? I do fear that our stupid stagnated society never will change and it makes me angry.I also heard on the radio yesterday that it was first in the 90s that a law was passed here that said that if a man now rapes his wife, it is rape. Before that he could rape her every day if he so wanted. I really thought better of this country but I guess not.I am so sorry for your cousin, and I am so sorry for you. You are not the one to be blamed and neither is she. All blame should fall on those assholes and why damn it not all can see that makes me just plain sad and angry.

  17. Anachronist says:

    Thanks Blodeuedd!For the first thing, you can walk out naked if you so choose so and that is not an invite that you want to have sex or get raped. Does a man who wears shorts want to get raped? Then why would a woman? I do fear that our stupid stagnated society never will change and it makes me angry.Double standards are the bane of my life. I also heard on the radio yesterday that it was first in the 90s that a law was passed here that said that if a man now rapes his wife, it is rape.There are still plenty of people in my country who think that you can't rape your own wife or a prostitute because they simply exist just to service their husband or customer 24/7 if there is such a need.

  18. There was a time in the middle ages where it went both ways: the man did not have a legal right to refuse his wife.We have a long way to go but we have come a long way too. What is depressing is seeing conservative pressures world wide to roll back the clock on women.

  19. Tracy says:

    I was so saddened and so angry when I read your post, Anachronist. And whilst preventing these bastards from ever being able to treat another woman the same way is important, I agree with you that the number one priority is helping your cousin to recover, and the two may be mutually-exclusive.Rape of this kind is so common it has it's own name – date-rape. And as police and community attitudes have finally changed to domestic violence, so they will gradually change to this crime.

  20. Anachronist says:

    Oh I am so pleased you made it here Tracy! Thanks for your comment. Date-rapes are increasingly common at my place, my poor cousin being not an exception. Guys simply think that, as soon as the girl agrees to visit them, she simply cannot change her mind. It is also very difficult to find any witnesses so the court cases drag on like forever, one side blaming the other, and it is usually one word against the other word. Not to mentiont that the victim must suffer a lot being interviewed publicly.

  21. Anachronist says:

    When it comes to the rights of women, who are also HUMAN BEINGS, the conservatives have a lot to answer for.

  22. Anonymous says:

    late to this post, and new to your site… so sad to read about this, but I hope something positive has happened in the ensuing weeks.

  23. Anachronist says:

    Hi Anon, thanks for your comment. Positive things? Yes, fortunately there were some. She is not pregnant. She hasn't caught any nasty STD (but she will have to repeat the tests once again just to be sure).Negative things? Such an experience leaves scars. How deep they are it remains to be seen.

  24. Aurian says:

    Thanks for the update Ana, I have been thinking about this every now and then.

  25. Anachronist says:

    Aurian I don't want to bore anyone with my personal problems here, in fact this entry reminds me of very painful moments so I was toying with the idea of deleting it, but thanks for your thoughts! Very appreciated!

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