Dear Son: Mom Was Raped

Dear Son,

What I’m going to tell you is going to make you uncomfortable, but you’re a teenager now and I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you.  

I have lain on my back staring at the swirls on a lampshade trying to figure out what I did to deserve being pinned down, sweated on, and told to shut the fuck up.  I have wiped fresh blood from between my legs while crying in the bathroom.  I have watched the trash truck drive away with the dress, the shoes, the underwear. 

Your mother was raped.

***

“You want to share a cab?” said Mike, as he signed his name on the receipt for our bar tab in an odd cursive-print combination.   

Mike was cute.  Mike laughed at my jokes.  Mike said I had nice hands.

“Sure, why not.”  I’m a lightweight.  I always have been. Two beers and I’m drunk.  Three and I make bad decisions.  On this night I’d had four beers.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror of the bathroom.  The band was playing “Tempted (by the fruit of another)” and the singer was flat on the high notes, which made me cock my head and squint every time he got to the word “another.”  I looked good, I thought.  The world was moving a little too fast for me to track, but I knew at least I felt good. Really good.  Reborn, actually.  I was freshly divorced and still vibrating from the power of saying “I want out!”

We made out in the cab all the way from Chelsea to almost 110th Street.  The driver had a lead foot and slammed on the brake way too late for the stop lights.  Mike kept trying to run his hand through my hair, but I wore my hair curly then.  It took a lot of products to keep it from frizzing into a cotton candy bouffant.  I thought about stopping him, but he was so into it, and I didn’t want to kill the mood. 

“Do you want to come in?  I’ve got chocolate cake my sister made,” he asked.

“Um, well…”

“Come on, you’ll love it.  The frosting is to die for,” he said, kissing me again.

When we got to his apartment I noticed right away how tidy it was.  I hadn’t ever been inside a tidy guy’s apartment. Actually, I hadn’t been inside any guy’s apartment in years.  My marriage was a little like being on a grand jury.  Other people might have thought it was cool and interesting, but I just felt sequestered and eager for it to be over.

It was a nice place, for a studio apartment.  Windows that looked out onto something besides a brick wall, a couch, a four-poster bed, and a kitchenette with all the standard things: fridge, coffee pot, knife block.

“Do you want some coffee?” he asked.

“No, coffee gives me insomnia.” I instantly realized how stupid that sounded at two o’clock in the morning.

The cake was stale, but I ate it anyway while he had a Miller Lite he got from the vegetable crisper.

His bathroom was small, with a window that looked painted shut.  In the full-length mirror I noticed that my hair had frizzed and my lipstick was smeared under my nose.  Why hadn’t he at least told me?

When I came out of the bathroom he was no longer on the couch.  His beer sat empty on the nightstand.  The lamp was off.

“Hey there, gorgeous,” he said, patting the white cotton sheet.  His clothing, underwear, and shoes were lying in a pile on the floor.

I lay down.  With my clothes on. 

He took them off.

I let him. He was really into it.  Into me.

“One second,” he said, and slipped a condom from his wallet.

He unwrapped it.

He put it on.

He got on top of me.

“Wait.” I said.

“What?” he said, continuing to kiss my neck.

“I …”  I pushed his hand out of my hair and scooted myself backward toward the headboard, trying to feel less pinned.

“What’s wrong? What’s the problem?” His voice was flat, like the singer in the band.

“I’m… just.”  I tried to move left.

“Are you kidding me?” He rolled off of me, slapping the bed hard with his right hand. I could tell he was pissed. I could tell he felt cheated. I pulled the sheets up to my chin and sat all the way up.  I couldn’t remember the last time I blinked.

“God dammit!”  He ran his hand through his hair and wiped the sweat from his upper lip.

I gripped the side of the bed. “I’m sorry.”

He stomped into the bathroom and slammed the door. I put my clothes back on and let myself out.

***

Son, your Mom was raped, but not by Mike.  I’m not saying Mike did all the right things.  He shouldn’t have had so much to drink.  He should definitely not have tried to take home a very obviously drunk person.  He could have controlled his frustration better.  But, when Mike finally figured out that I was not into it?  He stopped.

Mike stopped and I NEED YOU TO STOP TOO. 

I don’t give a shit about how horny you are, how hot she is, or how long it’s been.  The minute you get the slightest inkling she’s hesitant, you stop.  It’s that simple.  No woman, NO WOMAN, deserves to lie there under you hoping it will be over soon and wondering what she could have done to keep it from happening. Blaming herself for something that is 100% not her fault.

I cannot be un-raped. Neither can the six hundred people who are raped every day in this country. One person every two minutes.  EVERY TWO MINUTES.

Don’t be that guy, son.  Be better.  Just stop. 

Love, Mom


Special thanks to Rowan Grigsby, Managing Editor at Yeah Write.
Image: “Rape of Persephone” by Simone Pignone

31 thoughts on “Dear Son: Mom Was Raped

    1. Thank you, Ann. This was EXTREMELY difficult to write. The subject matter was incredibly triggering, so I had to take it s-l-o-w-l-y, which is NOT my usual way. Thank you for reading.

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  1. Ugh, pressed the reply button too soon! I wish you didn’t have to write this. At the same time, this was so powerful, I’m sure it was cathartic. I really hope it was. Virtual hugs!

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    1. I don’t know. It was hard and emotional and confusing and triggering. And important for me to do. I really do not know how people write entire books about the things that cause them to have to remember the events in such crystalline detail for the reader. I really don’t.

      Thanks for reading, H. I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy Guacamole – first, I am so sorry you had the personal experiences to draw upon for this, but bravo to you for not only exceptional mom moment where you sacrifice yourself to make your son a better man, but also the flawless writing. You sucked me in, and then made a pivotal turn where your message was so amazing. It’s sickening it needs to be said but thank you for saying it!

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  3. I just wish that people would stop talking about rape but it’s such a harsh reality and crtainly not a game that’s being played so thanks for that simple lesson of life..I hope your son gets the lesson. Greatly written

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  4. I am so glad you let this grow into the version you’ve shown us today. The message is so strong and meaningful. I’m sorry you had to go through so much! Your son is incredibly blessed to have you as his mother. Xx

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    1. Yes. Thank you for your help on it too. I’ve lost track of all the folks who have read it and when. It was a hard story to tell. Not as hard as what I allude to, but still. Not happy times. I need to go write about something optimistic now.

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  5. This is incredibly powerful, Lisa. You are a wonderful mother and person – it shows in the details you give to us. I’m incredibly sorry that you had to experience this, but also incredibly grateful for your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa, such power in your words! I love the way you took one of the weakest moments a woman can feel and turned it into a positive power gift for your son. The pain you feel is so apparent in the opening lines. I am so sorry you had to experience this, well done in the sharing of this burden.

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  7. Lisa, if only more men had mothers like you. I think telling the story that you did, rather than the one you allude to is even more powerful because it says men have options and they CAN stop, even if they don’t want to. You are brilliant when talking about the uncomfortable.

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  8. Few stories tell us about when “no” is heard and it is just as important to share in teaching young men. “No” may be frustrating, difficult, even painful, but it must be heard and respected; it must be honored and revered. Thanks for writing this.

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  9. whoa.

    (pause)

    that was intense. powerful. such a strong message to your son, from two various experiences, one being traumatic.

    first, i’m sorry that you experienced such trauma. =( thanks for being open and vulnerable in sharing this. you write with such conviction- i haven’t been on yeah write in awhile but i’m glad i decided to read my subscriptions today because your writing… the writing that stems from your heart, from the depths of your pain-it’s SO COMPELLING.

    keep writing, press on, no matter how difficult it may be.

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  10. Your writing is terrific — riveting, powerful, and a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for using your talent to share such a difficult message with us. I haven’t been reading your blog long enough to comment on your past, but I recognize the pain and fury rolling through it. And I can’t call it a story, because I know too many threads of truth are woven into it.

    Keep being strong.

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  11. I saw this posted on Yahoo that linked to another site. I read this story early in the morning and was confused. I understood the message you was sending to your son but for the life of me I couldn’t understand the very beginning of an obvious rape that occurred and the situation with Mike that didn’t lead to rape (thank goodness). I saw a link to your blog and I thought maybe your blog could fill in the missing details or maybe the publication site omitted your story.
    I ended up spending the entire day at work reading your previous blog posts to the newest one and wow, I am such a huge fan. I love love love love your writing style. You are hilarious when needed and have the incredible ability to take my breath away at the painful situations you endured. I held my breath and felt my chest tighten with stories that moved me to tears and used tears of laughter for the hilarious post. You are such a great storyteller and you do so without being lengthy (unlike my comment). I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog that was so great in over 3 years so thank you Lisa. I appreciate your writing and you have just earned another fan.
    PS. I now totally get this post and I’m so glad I was confused because if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t of led me to your wonderful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment with such kind words. This really could not have come at a better time. This weekend I’m writing for a competition and I’m all nervous and twisted up about it. LOL. I need all the confidence boosting I can get, so MANY THANKS for stopping by and being so supportive. -Lisa

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  12. I am now a huge fan, just discovered your blog and so many of the stories have me sitting at my desk literally laughing out loud but this one really hit home bravo to you for sharing this and for trying to raise a true gentleman this day in time. You’re a rock star!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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