With all of the media attention given to the Bill Cosby rape cases, it’s easy to lose track of what actually constitutes sexual assault and ultimately rape. Most people don’t have a clue about the legal definition of sexual consent. If they did, they probably wouldn’t venture into a bar or club scene to “pick up” on someone.
QUESTION: Was Sally raped?
Read the passage below and see if you think that Sally was raped. Then click on THE BUDDY SYSTEM 2 and see whether or not your answer was correct. I conduct this exercise with my students and then tally their responses. Normally almost ALL of the female students think Sally raped. Only about 50% of the males think it sally was raped. After you evaluate your own response, challenge your friends or colleagues and see if they can get the correct response. I think you will be surprised by their answers.
THE BUDDY SYSTEM
By Robin Chotzinoff
What happened is still a matter of dispute. It took Sally (not her real name) many weeks to decide that she’d been raped. After all, she’d gotten into that bed willingly. Since she had originally agreed to have sex, it’s hard for the courts to decide if and when the line of consent was crossed.
September 13, 1987 promised to be “a long hot, boring night,” Sally says. School hadn’t yet started, and she and a girlfriend were looking for something to do. They wound up at a local bar where they sat with a man from one of the local fraternities.
They were soon joined by two more frat brothers. One was named John, and the other Chris Cox, whom Sally had had a slight crush on two years earlier, when she says, “ He never gave her the time of day.”
He did this night. After a few drinks, Sally, who hates 3.2 beer, says she only managed a few sips, the girls agreed to continue the party at the frat house. “When we got there, they took us on a tour,” Sally says. “I remember them showing us pictures of their ‘little sisters.’ They called it their cookie sheet. I thought that was sexist and jerky, but I let it pass.”
After the tour, Sally’s friend and John disappeared upstairs, Cox went to his room, and Sally continued to talk with the two other men downstairs. When they left, she went upstairs to look for her friend. “She was in the stairwell with John, and it looked as though they may have been kissing,” Sally recalls, “so I went into Chris’s room. He was sitting at his desk. We started talking. . . He said he had a girlfriend back then, but that he didn’t have one now. Now he said, he could be nice to me. And he took this rabbit, a stuffed rabbit, and said, ‘Here, you want this? I’ll even sign it.’ He signed his name on the bunny’s ear. And then he asked me to spend the night with him.”
Sally was tempted, but asked a number of questions before she decided to stay. How was he going to get her home? How would Cox prevent her from getting pregnant? “He said it would be really nice, he would drive me home, he told me he was protected, he said he would make me breakfast in bed in the morning and we would be together in the morning,” she says. “I was bored. I said sure.”
Before her friend went home, Sally assured her she’d be fine, since she already knew Cox. Then she returned to his room. “It was the size of a full-sized bed,” she remembers. “And it was kind of separated from the outer room by an archway. Once you’re in his room, you’re almost in bed.”
We had sex, and it was like. . . hello, did something just happen? And then he asked me for a review. I told him it just didn’t do it for me. He didn’t like that. I said, ‘I like passion.” Sally continues, “Then his friend John came into the outer room. Chris asked John to come in. We were both naked and there were no blankets, just some sheets at the bottom of the bed. I reached down for them so I wouldn’t be naked when John came in, and Chris said, ‘You don’t need those,’ and he pulled me back. I said, ‘I really feel uncomfortable.’ But Chris told John to take his clothes off, and he did, and he got into bed on the other side of me. I said, ‘Hey, I’m not into this.’ I was thinking how I could get out of this, and still keep my dignity. They were so intimidating, and I felt if I tried to resist they would make me do what they wanted, anyway. I said it again, I said, ‘Look, I’m not into this,’ but they acted like I was a prop or something. I said, ‘You guys sure are close,’ and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re fraternity brothers.”
What followed was “a blur,” Sally says, in which the two fraternity brothers had sex with her, most often with Sally on her knees, giving oral sex to one while the other penetrated her. Sally said they honored her request not to ejaculate inside her.
THE victim got more bad news on March 18th, when the DA told Sally he couldn’t prosecute her case. Shortly after Sally’s case was turned down, Sally and her boyfriend broke up. He’d offered her money to pay her tuition, since she’d exhausted her’s on the private investigator; now that option was gone. “I finally decided that if I left school, I would be giving up, but I couldn’t afford school anymore, so I had no choice,” Sally says. “I though suicide was the only statement I cold make. I thought it would say these assholes are guilty. I started carving my arm. I also started writing a letter to my family explaining what had happened. I remember I wrote,” The night they raped me, their souls got inside me, because when you have sex with someone, anyone, a little of them gets inside you.’ And they were still inside me and they were the ones that were killing me.”
. . . “They were talking to each other the whole time,’ she remembers.” It was like I wasn’t even there. They were telling each other what to do to me. . . Chris said something like, ‘She wants passion and I think we could give it to her.”
Sally says she did the only thing she thought was possible, she withdrew emotionally. “The things they were asking me to do, I had done before, so I was trying to detach myself, all I could think about was getting out of there, that at some point it would be over and I could get out.”
But it wasn’t that easy. Another frat brother appeared in the outer room, and Cox told he to give a blow job to the third man. “Then I started to panic, “Sally says. I asked him, ‘Are you going to bring in the whole fraternity before I get out of here?’ And he said, ‘No, just us three.’ And that was when I felt something against my thigh, and it wasn’t flesh, and then I was really scared. I jumped back, and I saw it was a golf club. Now they were talking about things I hadn’t done before, I was thinking they could hurt me. They weren’t going to stop until they hurt me. I was getting scared. I said, ‘No, no foreign objects, absolutely not.’ They put the golf club down, they put it inside the archway. It sounds funny, but I kept thinking about Dune, where it said the only way to feel pain is to get through it . . . but it was getting less easy to think that way. I felt they wouldn’t let me out until they were done with me., and I was afraid they would really be done with me.”
Then Sally heard a voice, that of another frat brother Bill Greene, she says. “I heard Chris saying, ‘Go for it Bill, she’s good.’ “Instead, the four brothers left the room. All I could think of was how tired I was,” Sally says. “I felt, to put it simply, like they had taken a dump on me. People ask me why I didn’t kick them in the balls, or jump up and grab my clothes and get out of there, but it wasn’t like that. None of those things seemed possible.”
Once she was alone, Sally got dressed, but she couldn’t make herself leave the room for several minutes. “I didn’t know what would be waiting for me when I opened the door,” she says. She left the bunny behind- a detail that was to become very important to her. Sally went downstairs and found Cox watching TV “as if nothing ever happened. I don’t know why, but when I went up and sat next to Chris, “she says, “I wanted him to say he was sorry. It was like I was waiting for them to say something. I felt so dirty. Then Chris asked me if I wanted to go home, and he borrowed someone’s car and drove me home. . . He said, ‘I can’t believe that happened!’ He was excited about it. He said, “You fulfilled every guy’s real fantasy tonight, but don’t tell anybody because we’ll never do this again.’ He asked me how I felt. . . I felt awful,” Sally says.
The next morning, Sally decided to put the incident behind her. But certain memories refused to fade. “I had long hair when it happened,” she says. “And John had come all over my face and hair. And somehow I just couldn’t was it out, it felt like it was still there. So I cut it off.”
Certain people wouldn’t let the memories fade. I ran into Chris in the library about a week after it happened,” she says. “He wanted me to sit down and talk to him, and he was very quiet, very sweet. He said, ‘You really didn’t have a good time that night? Really?’ I said no. And he said, ‘Why didn’t you say something?’ I told him I tried but he never listened.”
A FEW WEEKS AFTER HER ENCOUNTER, Sally had reached the same conclusion. A chance meeting with Greene added to this feeling. “He came up to me and said, ‘I wanted to make sure everyone had fun the other night,” Sally remembers. “I told him it wasn’t fun. He said, “Well, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t forced’ I said it was. He said he’d been afraid of that. . . then he said, ‘On behalf of the fraternity, I apologize.’ He said the house had been in shock the next day. He said he hoped I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
To view the answer to this question go to THE BUDDY SYSTEM 2.