To the Editor:
I cannot begin to express my gratitude for Jessica Bennett’s May 2 Opinion essay, “Questions Not to Ask a Rape Accuser.”
I didn’t scream when I regained consciousness while being raped by a boy who was part of a group of exchange students newly arrived in southern Vermont.
I had offered them a ride to their dorm from the Brattleboro bar where I worked, and as thanks, they invited me in for a glass of the wine they’d brought from their native country.
I didn’t scream when the room began to spin. Awakening, pinned, I didn’t scream when I heard other boys pounding on the door. “They want their turn,” the boy on top of me said. I didn’t scream: To protect myself from further rape, I told him I liked him best and wanted only him.
I didn’t scream as dawn finally broke and I cautiously collected my clothes to walk naked through the snow to my car. I didn’t scream when my gynecologist noted vaginal abrasions.
I didn’t scream when a cop I considered my friend told me not to bother to report the rape — that I’d be the one scrutinized. Instead I wrote a letter to the head of the exchange program, concerned for the families that these boys were about to join.
I didn’t scream upon receiving his elegantly worded response, alluding to the boys’ “completely inexcusable” behavior. I didn’t scream when I cashed the $40 check he’d drawn on the program’s account to reimburse me for medical expenses. He earmarked it “entertainment.”
A half-century has gone by, and I have never stopped screaming — inside.
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