Friday, February 2, 2018

Asking For It by Paul Michael Dubal

A rape victim channels her anger towards the judge who let her assailant go free; by Paul Michael Dubal.

He said I was asking for it. In the way I dressed. Too provocative, Judge Parker said as he stared down from his perch like some old schoolmaster giving his pupil a condescending and unwanted lecture.

As if I was the one on trial here. It was my fault that I got raped.

I was too promiscuous, he cried, an old bible bashing preacher casting fire and brimstone on his sinful flock.

Ye shall face the wrath of God - and he is a vengeful God!

Men are prone to temptation. They are weak and can't always help themselves. What do you expect if you dress in short skirts and high heels? You are offering it to them. You can't blame them if they if they misread the signals.

So Billy got off. I remember his smug expression as they released his handcuffs and he hugged his family, the whole damned redneck crew there to greet him like some sick family day out.

He smiled over at me and offered a victory salute. I had to hang around the courtroom for over an hour as it emptied to make sure Billy and his entourage had disappeared. Knowing that twisted sociopath, he would have stayed around to gloat and taunt me.

These days of course, you don't have to be present in person to be attacked. There's always social media. In fact, much more effective. It's not unlike the school playground, when you are being taunted by the school bully and everyone is around you in a circle, hemming you in. They are cheering him on, and you feel like the whole world is against you. Just because you can't see them, it doesn't mean they don't exist. Those trolls are everywhere, logging on so they can satiate themselves with the misery of others.

The judge lifted the ban on keeping the identity of the parties secret, which meant the press was free to publish all the salacious facts. It wasn't the verdict or the judge's comments that drove me over the edge. It was seeing my name splashed across the local papers the next day. They questioned my morals and delved into my sexual history. They had even tracked down some of my former boyfriends who delighted in telling them about my unusual carnal habits. All fiction of course, but when it's in print and the person is not there to defend themselves, it has to be true, right?

When I opened up my Facebook account, I could not believe the number of messages I received. Some of them expressed sympathy, but it was in a condescending way - "Girl you did something bad but you didn't deserve that."

I didn't want that kind of sympathy. But those were the kind messages. The rest ranged from scathing to downright vicious. They accused me of doing things I had never done or even thought about doing. It's easy to attack when you are sitting in a darkened room alone, able to spout your evil lies from the anonymity of a phone or screen. There is no consequence. Nobody ever comes looking for you to challenge what you said, and you don't have to see the hurt your comments have caused. But it does hurt. It hurts a lot.

What they don't know about me is that before Billy attacked me, I was a virgin. Yes I had boyfriends before, and yes I loved to dress up so that people noticed me. I'm an eighteen year-old girl for heaven's sake. I never did anything that the media claimed I did. I'm not a nymphomaniac or a slut or any of the other terrible names they called me. It was all lies. Why did I feel I was on trial? I had already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. These so called moral guardians had not bothered to check the facts, but then that's typical these days isn't it? We even have a President across the pond who does that.

I wasn't asking for it. I never did. That was a lie. That's why I did what I did.

I won't deny that all the terrible things people said nearly drove me to suicide. I cut myself a lot in those few weeks after. Do you want to see? I was too scared to go out, too scared to even log on to see what other hateful things the trolls had said about me. All the while Billy was out drinking and partying with his mates. Of course I hated him. But it was the slap in the face afterwards that hurt as much as the physical and emotional pain of someone violating your body. My peace, my self esteem had been violated, and not just by Billy. There was another culprit. I went from sad to angry until a burning rage became so obsessive that I knew I would have to tame it or I would be consumed. There was only one remedy, so I hatched a plan.

It took a while before I had the courage to use the Internet again, but I needed it to carry out my plan.

It was quite easy to find his address. In our world nothing is private. Of course he lived in a big house in a posh suburb. That didn't surprise me. My anger taught me a lot of things. I studied how to break into a secure house. I even found some people to show me the tricks. Call them mentors if you will. No I'm not about to give up those secrets so please don't ask.

All you need to know is that I got in. I did my research. I knew he was a huge gun enthusiast. I knew where he likely kept those guns. I also knew he was on his own that night. I chose my time carefully. When you are as angry as I am you learn to be patient so you don't screw up your opportunity. His wife was out of town and his kids had left home years before. The housekeeper gone for the night. He would be on his own, curled up in his luxurious four poster bed after dispensing his perverted justice, letting off the real criminals and criminalizing the innocent.

Can't you see why I hated him?

It was way past midnight when I padded silently along the street, sticking to the shadows. I was dressed head to toe in black. Black gloves, black shirt, even black ski mask. It seemed appropriate for what I was about to do. There was no one else around. It was not the type of neighbourhood where people came and went at all hours. This was a posh community alright, beautiful Georgian mansions high up on a hill overlooking the city. The right side of town. Everyone barricaded in for the night, their expensive security systems turned on, alarms ready to go. So I stuck to the shadows, avoiding the security cameras until I found my target house.

I broke in and disabled the alarm system as I had been taught. You wouldn't believe how easy it is when you know how. Quiet as a mouse I went straight to his study, and there in a glass cabinet I found his collection. He made it too easy. The cabinet wasn't even locked.

He had a nice range. A nice Ruger Blackhawk air rifle, a high calibre Russian shotgun, and plenty more. But the one that really caught my eye was the Beretta Pico .380. Nice, small handgun, fits snugly into my small hands, with little recoil. Shame it didn't have a silencer, but you can't have everything.

Of course it wasn't loaded. That would be really irresponsible, but I knew the bullets would be somewhere. It took me a while but I had plenty of time.

It was past two when I crept up the wooden, curving stairs. A floorboard squeaked and I stopped dead, listening hard, senses on fire. There was no sound at all. Absolute silence, like I had never heard before. Nothing. Have you ever tried to find a place that is absolutely silent? I mean, not the slightest squeak. It was like that here. Everything was still, and quite dark. The onIy light was from a small night light on the landing.

His bedroom door looked closed but it wasn't quite. It had not been pushed shut, so I just had to nudge it open a little and I was in. The lumpy shape in the bed had a tuft of white hair sticking out from above the covers, and the silence was at last broken by the deep rumble of his snoring. He was sound asleep, and I knew this was going to be easy.

I didn't want to make it too easy for myself however. Yes I could have done it there and then and be out of the house in thirty seconds. But that wasn't the point. I needed to convey a message.

I crept over to the bed and raised the gun. I hesitated, thinking carefully about my next move. Then I decided. I wrenched the covers off him and as he stirred I gave him a rude awakening. I smashed the butt of the gun hard on his temple. He cried out and fell out of the bed, the scarlet gash staining his luxurious satin sheets. He didn't recognize me at first. I was just another faceless person he had looked down on from his pedestal in court.

The fear in his eyes was what really got to me. His lofty status taken from him, he was like a frightened animal. I remember when Billy was raping me in that stinking basement, I happened to glance at my reflection in a cracked mirror lying nearby. I had the same look in my eyes. I knew real fear too. Instead of empathizing and understanding his fear, it heightened my fury. I felt nothing but contempt and hatred.

He was on the floor and I kicked him with all the strength I could muster. I'm not that strong. Billy had overpowered me easily. But I wore leather jackboots and I knew I had hurt him. He whimpered in pain, curled up like a little child, begging for mercy. I had no mercy left in my soul. Billy had shown no mercy. He took away so many of my feelings, leaving me a scarred, empty shell. I had become numb.

I shouted at him to get up as he cowered, sobbing hard. "Take anything in the house, it's yours just take it and leave!" he pleaded. I screamed again and with trembling hands I pointed the gun at his face. In his cowering fear he still didn't recognize me.

Waving the gun, I shouted at him to get up. He did so heavily and I ordered him downstairs. Still sobbing, hands raised, the judge, looking more like the hobos I used to see hanging around our street corner on the rough side of town, staggered down the curving staircase. He paused on the ground floor but I screamed at him. "Basement!"

He looked really scared then. As well he might. He had probably enough criminal cases to know that when someone broke into your house and forced you into the basement it wasn't to check the furnace.

His basement was much nicer than Billy's. That had been more like a cellar: Dim light, just a threadbare light bulb piercing the gloom, a ratty old mattress in the corner and his dirty work clothes. Stacks of ancient beer bottles and cans lying everywhere, and piles of porno mags. A broken mirror and a dirty old shovel. Not the nicest place to lose your virginity.

Judge Parker's basement was much nicer. It didn't seem fair. I wanted him to feel like I did when Billy dragged me to his basement where my humiliation had become complete. Like I was being taken to a satanic hellhole. This basement was brightly lit, all soft lighting, a pool table in one corner and a beautifully stacked bar, seventy-inch curved TV surrounded by plush cinema chairs. Probably entertained a lot of guests here at his elite parties. Now there was just me and him. No party here.

It didn't seem right how some people live. The haves and the have nots. I wanted to make him suffer. He was still whimpering and pleading for mercy, but what really enraged me at that point was that he still didn't recognize me. I was just some random burglar to him, even as I made him kneel with his hands on his head.

"Ask me to shoot you," I yelled at him.

"What?" he choked, utterly bewildered, not sure if he heard me correctly.

But he did.

"You heard me! Ask me to shoot you!"

"Jesus please I can't do that!"

"If you don't I will shoot you in the head this second. Do it!"

"For God's sake -"

"Do it!"

"Oh God... shoot me," he sobbed.

"You were asking for it."

He suddenly stopped his sobbing and looked at me oddly, as if a switch had suddenly come on inside his head. Yes you self-righteous Judge, you got it right. Judgment day for you.

I shot him in the leg and he howled like a wounded animal caught in a bear trap. But I was not finished.

"You remember me now don't you," I snarled, my shoulder still aching from the recoil of the smoking Beretta. It was more powerful than I thought.

Blood poured from the wounded leg, running into the woven fabric of the plush ochre carpet like a trickling red river. I watched him as he desperately tried to stem the flow, gripping the wound so that the blood bubbled out from his fingers. I was tempted just to watch him bleed out.

"You make as bad a doctor as you do judge," I taunted him.

"Please, I need medical attention," he gasped, his breath coming in short, sharp waves.

"And I needed some compassion, some understanding of what I had been through. What you said and did made my suffering ten times worse." I wanted to shoot him in the head but I needed him to hear me out. "You made me sound like a slut. You said I was asking for it. The press picked that up and portrayed me as some sort of slapper who entrapped that rapist. My reputation was destroyed and I was disgraced on social media. None of my friends wanted to be associated with me. They cut me off, thinking that I had brought this upon myself. Can you imagine how lonely I was? Even my own family thought I had brought shame on them. I was already broken but you ripped me apart."

"I didn't mean it that way," he sobbed. "I was wrong. I should have been clearer. Please I need help." The blood flow was not stopping and he was visibly weakening.

For a split second I felt some sympathy for him but then I remembered how little sympathy he had shown me. I pointed the gun at his head this time. "Ask for it."

By now he was sobbing uncontrollably. He probably knew what I was going to do next. He hesitated, wailing like a child who lost favourite toy. It just made me more angry. "Ask me to shoot you again!"

The gun was inches from his head and my hands were shaking. Was I really going to shoot him? I wanted him to feel the suffering, the degradation and the rough justice I had endured. I had achieved that surely, but I needed to hear him say it again. He was asking for it I would tell the court, and they would understand, just like they understood that getting raped was my fault. You know what boys are like. If you give them the come on, if you wear those clothes, you can hardly blame them if they rape you. Yes you were asking for it.

He wouldn't say it so I hollered at him again. "Ask for it!" In that flicker of a moment I was ready to blow his perverted legal mind into a sticky mass against his flawless basement wall. I released the safety catch on the revolver and braced myself for the recoil.

Then it all happened very quickly. The door was literally flung inwards and the Special Ops team were in yelling at me to put the gun down. The shock slowed my reactions for the merest second, and that was enough. Three of them were on me, choking me, wrenching the gun from my hands and forcing them behind me, leaving me chewing the bloodstained carpet. It was over for the judge, but just beginning for me. So here I am. Still looking for justice.



"Interview terminated at 3.47 a.m. Present with the defendant are DC Daniel Miller and DC Lisa Samuels. Suspect has been read her rights and remains in custody pending formal charges."

9 comments:

  1. This story raises so many important issues. Thank you,
    Ceinwen

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  2. this is certainly a powerful story with the perfect ending. all life´s injustices are magnified in the modern media age making it hardly surprising when the wronged see revenge as their only way of salvaging their self esteem. Well done
    Mike McC

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  3. This is written in such a way that the reader sees the red through the young woman's eyes, feels the intensity of her shame and disgust. As Mike says, too often the wronged are left seeing revenge as their only hope toward justice, toward peeling off some of the weight of the injustice they've been served. Nicely done.

    Jim

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  4. A timely, well-written story. I like how it interweaves a variety of contemporary issues. This revenge certainly wasn’t served cold!

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  5. "Ask me to shoot you" - I did NOT see that coming. Excellent. A timely piece that taps into a lot of current issues.

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  6. Superbly written and compelling reading.

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  7. Thank you all for your insightful comments. It is an important issue and I hope to have done it justice in the way I delivered it through the raw feelings of a person badly let down by society.

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  8. I can see how someone could be pushed over the edge in a situation like that. You painted that whole scenario in a realistic and very scary way. And thank you for calling D. Trump out on his BS. I'm in the U.S. and I can't even bring myself to call him "president." Attitudes and perspectives really have to change. It goes the other way for men, too. Men are subject to violence from women and domestic violence, but they're shamed into not talking about it, laughed at, and FORGET reporting it. Thanks for giving us a look into what could happen--and has happened--when age-old beliefs and rigid perspectives fail to budge and/or evolve. Sad and terrifying!

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  9. Great work Paul! I deeply felt the rape victim's vengeful thirst and her repudiation of everything the unfair judge represented... A great spin on a distressing story...Very poignant!

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