I do not remember how I found out that my girlfriend had been raped by a man we both knew, respected, and trusted. I must have deleted that memory from my mind. However, I do remember the intense pain, anger, and confusion I felt.
A counselor at the Rape Crisis Center where we lived explained to me what trust rape is. A person of authority and power typically carries out a trust rape. The victim trusts, often respects, and sometimes even loves the rapist. It can be a boss, coach, teacher, parent, or cleric. These criminals usually rape to overpower, dominate, and humiliate their victims. They get sexual gratification in this sick way. They are not driven to have sex for the reasons normal people are.
A date rape could be classified as a trust rape. The difference is that a trust rape encompasses a broader spectrum of individuals and scenarios.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the event and my confusion about trust rape, I had a lot of trouble believing my girlfriend’s story. This is common, according to the rape counselor I talked with. I felt that our circumstances were not typical, but she said they do happen rather frequently. Here’s the story.
My girlfriend and I were volunteers at a community service organization. The man who raped my girlfriend held a top key position in this organization. All the volunteers knew this charismatic man because he was our boss.
We had broken up several weeks before the rape but had recently started talking by phone. A couple who I had become close friends with through our volunteer work at the organization told me that my girlfriend and this man appeared to be getting “friendly” before the alleged rape.
My girlfriend was a manager at a well-known international hotel chain property. When she learned he (the rapist) was coming to town, she offered to get him a room at a nearby property within the chain.
Here’s how she explained the event to me. She had found out that he was coming to town so she offered to get him a hotel room at a sister property. To get a complimentary (free) room, it had to be her name — according to her (Mistake #1). She checked in and got the room key before he arrived. They had arranged to meet at the hotel so that she could give him the key. When he arrived, he insisted that she escort him to the room so they could talk for a few minutes (Mistake #2). Almost as soon as he had shut and locked the door, he instantly changed into a person she did not recognize. His facial expression turned to a crazy and mean look. His behavior became demanding, forceful, and physically abusive. This quickly led to anal and vaginal rape.
- The fact that the room was in her name would have made it very difficult to prove a rape had occurred in a court of law.
- Agreeing to go to his room when she had no prior experience with him in that type of situation was poor judgment. Being that they were at a hotel, there were several comfortable alternatives.
I was full of rage, confusion, and pain. I wanted to restore her honor. I wanted to protect her. I wanted revenge! I wanted to beat the hell out of this man. There was one problem, however. I had trouble believing her story. So I set out to get the matter settled one way or the other.
The first thing I did was to call the head of the community service organization and report the incident. He refused to take sides and offered no satisfactory resolutions. I then decided to confront the alleged rapist face to face.
I immediately called him to arrange a meeting. I was amazed that he instantly agreed to meet with me. He even agreed to walk across the street to a park so we could talk privately, which really blew me away.
I flew 350 miles on a commercial jet to the community service organization’s headquarters. I arrived ready for anything. I was like an angry, wounded, and extremely determined tiger. I had never been that fired up in my life.
As soon as we got to the park, I turned and walked right up to him, our faces inches apart. Then I launched into a loud tirade with the intention of getting him to break and confess, or provoke a fight. I went all in. At some points, I was pushing my chest and nose against his so forcibly that he had to take a step back.
This man was no cream puff either. Within the organization, he was known as the alpha gorilla. He was several inches taller and outweighed me by at least 70 pounds.
He never broke or lost his temper. He calmly, emphatically, and repeatedly told me that the sex was consensual. Towards the end, he even offered his support to me. Although I left not completely believing him, I was more confused than ever.
I decided to talk with the rape counselor again. She told me that trust rapists and rapists in general often do not see their behavior as rape. They wholeheartedly believe that their actions were encouraged and their approach was not rape.
My girlfriend refused to contact the police because she believed the rape was not provable. Unfortunately, her refusal to do this made me even more suspicious.
My girlfriend and I eventually gained some measure of closure about the rape and continued our relationship. But I never came to fully trust her story, which ate at me, so we eventually parted ways. It may have been true, but I couldn’t come to terms with it. The rape counselor told me early on that because trust rapes are so complicated, many relationships do not survive.
Painful to Write
These memories were extremely painful to recall and write about. I felt compelled to share my story to help those who may be dealing with a similar situation right now. It is also my hope that my story will guide people away from dangerous situations and dangerous relationships.
We learn from each other. Our core purpose in life is to support each other. Have the courage to share your story as it might help someone who is in excruciating emotional pain at this moment.
If you “feel” uncomfortable with any comments or actions by a person who seems usually “attentive” and/or “attracted” to you, “trust” your instincts and leave immediately, end the relationship, and move on. If you’re unsure, talk to someone about it. If you are seriously concerned about a person’s inappropriate behavior or you are a victim, go to a rape crisis center for guidance and support. If you’re living in an area or country without such facilities, call one elsewhere.