"Extreme Emotional Disturbance"
A Short Tale of Unspeakable Violation
"Short of homicide, Rape is the '[U]ltimate violation of self'." — Byron R. White
By Jordan Adorno
Part I – Repression
In the eyes of Courtney Amos
I hate the male gender. I always have and I always will. No form of therapy can rectify this; I am the most extreme feminist. I do not believe it is at all wrong to blame men for society’s downfalls. Society has always been male-dominated, has it not? I may be "biased", you feel because of my preconceived ideas regarding the male gender (for currently unknown reasons that I will soon illuminate, and which may also sizzlingly intrigue you to feel somehow different too, no less) but this matter is factually proven, and in an obvious of most manners, too. After all, even if no further add-ons grasped my staunch 'anti-male' position (and many do, for sheer clarification purposes), it takes but one clear, transparent look around at our world to see the damages of having had a patriarchally-built society. Nevertheless, as I now am approaching my departure from this life, I have chosen to elaborately recollect my hidden past which shall explain my certain, well, ill “subjectivities” (let's just say, hm?) towards men. When I have alas passed on and the lovely women in my life, most namely including my daughter, come across this detailed personal account, I hope the missing puzzles pieces to my strange held whole-world perspective in life come together and grant those dear to me closure.
My story begins when I was eleven. My mother had married a lawyer; I had never known my birth father and my mother and I had barely made it by on our own, it having been much harder back in the 1920's. Women were still treated terribly in the workforce and my mother’s wages barely fed us. But my mother took advantage of her beauty and dazzled James Sanders. We were poor, but my mother was an excellent opportunist and a great thinker. They were wed in six months.
Both my mother and I took his last name. At that time, I as Courtney Sanders, my mother as the respective Mrs. Samantha Sanders (a name she'd forever kept),without any doubt henceforth were living a life refreshed and transformed for the utmost, surreal better. Our social status completely changed …. We moved into his large, lavish home in the richest district of town with him and his son. Never in my wildest dream had I imagined we would have progressed from our poverty to such privileged lifestyle. I felt beyond blessed.
At first, I was euphoric. I had my own bedroom, I went to a private school, and my mother now stayed home with me, never having to work again. And in the beginning, I found my stepbrother (who was sixteen at the time), a kind boy, and I was sure he would be a great older brother who would look after me always. I was naive, naturally, barely eleven after all; I have never blamed myself for him at the very start of this unimaginable horrible mess coming to confront and overpower me. And I never shall. And yet, the pain shall never disintegrate. No. In turn, a sole subsequent fact apparently serves as an amazing true, heart-collapsing matter for some (at least basing from what gathered experience has made noticed the more I've shared my story with different audiences, that is) —
Seventy-five years later, chills still run adamantly through my bones every time I reminisce upon the traumatic event, as if inconceivably its horror had transpired but yesterday.
I remember the day it began clearly. It was the start of autumn, and it was oddly cold and windy. My mother and stepfather had gone out shopping and I had stayed in my room most of the day, having woken up quite late. I had done nothing but read a schoolbook and take notes. It was an hour or two before dusk when my not-so-dear stepbrother, the devil Alan Sanders, asked me to join him in his room to talk, as he was experiencing boredom without any of friends, who he said had all been quite busy, had no time that day for leisure, and he of course could not go fishing with his father today. Innocently, I complied – I, too, had begun to feel lonely after all.
We talked casually for some time. He spoke of his approaching birthday; how he was excited he was receiving a new radio. He also mentioned how his father had hinted that perhaps next year he would grant him a car – Which, at the time, was a much larger luxury than it was today. I wasn’t surprised at all, though. My stepfather loved us both. He treated me like his own, and I always thought it was in his nature to grant us with all the gifts we so desired. Alan and I continued talking cheerfully …. It had all seem so dull; there had been nothing to really be suspicious about.
And then he began directing the conversation slowly but surely into territory I was certain my mother would find inappropriate. He spoke of my body, which he ever so gently had said was ‘just beginning its bloom into womanhood’. At the time I asked why he would want to speak of this, as I thought it must be a strange topic of conversation for an older brother to have with his younger sister, but he simply said he loved me, and it was all right for us to hold secrets together. Thus forth, he needed to silence me, so sneaking himself into my manipulatable mind (being that of a defenseless little girl's notably), in that way he slipped me right into his forbidden courtyard's cement of sexually perverse fortresses; each a fortress which in it he left me voiceless and thereby served equally terrifying for me at then my feebled tender age, he'd used their eery undiscoverable, individualized dark hidden space to emulate his full compass of mentally-summoned, pedophilic obscenity. He called it natural, and every time he encouraged me to relax as he begun touching me in ways that I, a little girl, hadn't understood never should be (‘Surely your mother wouldn’t understand today’s generation of adolescents!’), he'd so laughed it all off, my different looks full of horribleness, sounding so casual. I believed in his sincerity. He began talking to me about my growing breasts, the hips I would get, how he’dprotect me from boys with bad intentions …
Oh, how I had been easily manipulated by his false attitude of "gentle touch", his faked demeanor's seemly care for me.
I shall not haunt my loved ones senseless by granting details of the incident; it was terrible. It was not anything minor, something that one could say I misconstrued. I never was quite the same after that first experience. I wasn’t the Courtney so happy to be with her new family – I quickly had become a shaken, confused child.
I wondered whether to confide in my mother, but reasonably I was taken aback by this idea and very frightened. My mother had such dear love for my stepfather. At the time I completely doubted she would believe me – And I would only cause tension and chaos to fill our household. It was my reason at the time as a child, and Alan knew I’d feel this way. Having to see him every day after it happened only manipulated me further, and I was left puzzled and lost. And so I remained silenced.
The abuse continued until I was fourteen. I was not so ignorant no, I hadn’t conformed to social stigmas of gender roles, and I independently went beyond my normal studies. I was on the road to success. Alan had seen this growth when I had begun my upper studies at my new school, and the abuse had stopped early into my studies. I truly thought it was over for some time, but of course it wasn’t, it couldn’t be. But the next time he came to me again it was the inexplicable last time, and it brought imminent change.
It so started as such: He came to my bedroom, and this time he was meticulously cautious, offering me assistance in my schooling, asking if I wanted a drink or a snack. I was no fool anymore, however. In case of an emergency, I had hid a chef’s knife under my bed. Ironically, I had done this after the abuse had stopped for a bit – I was so relieved, and I knew I would relapse horribly if it began again. And thank God I was ready.
I watched him slowly moving closer to me, and I just waited. He was in touching distance soon, and I was very frightened even though I had my defense. This young man had abused me for three years. But I kept my composure, and as he took a moment to pull me up from my bed, and was about to place his hands on my breasts, I squatted down hastily and pulled the knife from under my bed. I looked at him directly in the eye and lunged the knife athis groin, somehow having enough control in myself to miss his trouser by an inch. He screamed and charged out without a moment's waste, stunned and stupefied; suddenly HE was the one that was small and enfeebled, suddenly HE was the one that apparently was defenseless.
“YOU’LL NEVER TOUCH A HAIR ON MY SKIN AGAIN! IF YOU COME WITHIN THREE FEET OF ME EVER AGAIN, I’LL MURDER YOU YOUR SLEEP AND BURY YOUR BODY! MARK MY WORDS!” I screamed with all my might and rage. At the time, I do not believe I was bluffing. I truly believe I may have actually felt this way.
Needless to say, the abuse therein ended and never again repeated.
I left home at eighteen, unwed, and never looked back. It was so disgraceful at the time, and perhaps I wouldn’t have done it had it not been for Alan, who stilled lived at home while he attended college. I knew my life could have been better as I lived for several months in poverty, suppressed by the sexism of society, and at that very time it also marked the beginning of the Great Depression.
I was an opportunist like my mother, and I chose a path that elevated me. I met a very rich businessman who was clearly unaffected by the Depression. He was quite old, and he had no wife. I seduced him and like my mother, made him fall in love with me. He married me, and I kept him pleased, unpleasantly, and I prayed for the day he would pass on and I could inherit his fortune. I felt no remorse; he was a man, and as a woman I was forced to do such acts because of the cruelty pressed on women by men. He died within two years, and I inherited his mighty fortune.
I would never have had to work again, and naturally that very lifestyle as enticing. I chose not to. I wanted to show the world a woman could dominate, and I began by aiding the poor during the rest of the Great Depression. As the men set off to the war in Europe, I took part in various jobs that many of the soldiers had had to leave behind. I was pleased, partially,because of these doings, though I still trusted no one and remained lonesome. So when a wealthy family I had good relations with had a pregnant daughter out of wedlock, I offered to take the baby. They gladly agreed, and my daughter, Torina, became the center of my life.
Now that I had my daughter, I abandoned my late husband’s name and took up the surname Amos, and I used all the energy in me to forget my traumatic childhood, and give Torina the best life I could.
Forgive me, Torina. You are the true adoration of my life. I fear, still, after so many years of your marriage to Henry Loss that he may someday mistreat you. But he has not ever given me any clues to this, and perhaps in my last moments before I depart from this world to the next, I can rest assured of your safety...
Perhaps I shall have more time to live than I anticipate. How is it, at eighty-six-years-old, I have never once forgotten the name of my family and friends? No memories of the abuse have left; none of the joyous ones as I raised my loving daughter; none of the immoral marriage I suffered through; none of the drive I put into women’s rights in the second half of the century when so many chances arose. It’s all there.
But yet my body is too frail to leave from my bedrest most of the day. My dearest assistant, Eliza, keeps me jovial nonetheless. She began working for me fifteen years ago, and yet she is my family more than a worker. I give her board in my home, and her continuous presence neverleaves me lonesome to rot as so many of the elderly endure. I have enjoyed happiness in mylatter years – Torina and her family visit me, Eliza is here, and I worry not of money. If Godexists, I thank the being for this. But that is not all, my loves, I have one lost confession I must divulge.
Alan Sanders, whom I shall no longer refer to as my stepbrother was imprisoned for the remainder of his life in 1965 for molesting four girls all under the age of eight in a daycare he was employed in. The possibility of manipulation and deception among children did leave room for what perhaps may have been reasonable doubt, but his ex-wife, Kendra Simons, reported he sexually assaulted her twice after their separation. And forty-four years after he began his abuse on me, justice was appointed. Surely I should be rejoicing this? Of course not!
I am responsible for the attacks on those five victims. Had I simply spoken when that devil had attacked me while he was still a youth, when perhaps I had been his only victim, at least five other victims would never have been touched. But no, I had been afraid my loving mother wouldn’t have believed me. I have dealt with this guilt for thirty one years since he was imprisoned.
I don’t see that fact that I was eleven as an excuse. I was much beyond the age of reason, and all of the four girls had been under eight and had come forward. But I had not been strong enough. I had never thought of Alan striking again. To me, it had ended when I had personally confronted him. I had never thought of future victims.
The guilt remains in me forever. I shall not ask you, my loves, to forgive me.
Part II – Violation
In the eyes of Billy Englund
The night of the incident had been a night like any other. I worked at the desk until dusk, I ate a light dinner, and my good friends and I enjoyed some drinks together, discussing casual matters among ourselves. Johnny took a young lady home, Charlie’s wife called him in early, and I left the bar with a familiar smile on my face. All was well...
Or so it seemed, anyway: I hadn't any idea this thus far pleasant evening was only but at its inconspicuous beginning, unseemly enough; and no idea either that it'd culminate so very regretfully, as hands-down the most unforgettable, unimaginably terrifying and surreal night of my whole life, to be just exact.
So as I made my way to the subway, pondering a bit, and the fact that I ran into a pretty girl didn’t bother me in the slightest. She was no older than I, perhaps twenty two. She was thin, and equipped with a tall, feminine body that would dazzle any man’s eyes. She had long, dark curls and sharp facial features. Her eyes shone like green grass, and when she approached me, looking almost bashful, I was shocked she’d have any interest in me. I wasn’t bad – I had a boyish face and sparkly blue eyes myself – But my bony body and messy hair was nowhere near enticing as she was.
“Hello, sir,” she said. Her voice was calm, but vulnerable – It was girlish and small. “It’s mighty chilly tonight.”
This was true. It was the Christmas season, and snow dropped mercilessly as the temperatures chilled great. I, myself, loathed the cold New England weather. My career move in advertising had forced a move to colder weather, but I had enjoyed the mild temperatures of South Carolina.
“Quite true, ma’am,” I agreed. “Where would you be headed?”
“Home,” she said, dispirited. “I’ve seen you around. You live in Core Square?”
“Yes,” I remarked, surprised at the coincidence. "I’ve been here for a year now. Have you been here long?”
“No, only four weeks!” she said cheerfully. “It’s good I found you, I believe I’m lost!”
She seemed so kind and innocent. We walked and chattered as a guided our way to the subway, grabbing cocoa before making our departure. She told me how she had been in foster care as a child and had difficulty adjusting to adulthood. She had come to town to avoid the memories and start anew. She liked it so far, but she was lonely. I felt her swift flirtations, and I countered by speaking of Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth went into the armed services,” I mused. “I love her so dearly. She serves three ore months, and then she is to join me here afterwards. Naturally, I’m thrilled.”
As I continued to speak of my first and only love, she seemed too gleeful for me. I couldn’t help but be flattered. I was tempted, but my love for Elizabeth overruled all. As I conclude my speech on Elizabeth, knowing this girl knew I had no interest in pursuing her, I spoke to her of my line in work in advertisement.
“How interesting! Is it you who sends us to those fast food joints?” she laughed heartily.
“Ha, I wish. Much more pay,” I said evenly, smiling at her humor. “But my local work does do well. I’m guessing you’re in school?”
“Yes, Oakridge College in downtown. I’m studying criminal justice, but I’m joining the police academy soon. I just want the degree,” she explained, trying to make herself seem brilliant quite obviously.
“I didn’t catch your name,” I said, surprised. “I’m Billy Englund.”
“Erika Bradshaw,” she said cordially, shaking my hand. “Pleasure.”
She asked me to walk her home after we got off the subway. I agreed – It was late.
Her apartment was two blocks away, as we lived in the same housing of both condos and apartments. I lived on the condo side, but the walk was very short. I admit as e passed my house many fantasies and desires crossed me, but once again, my adoration for Elizabeth overcame to the everyday, manly desires.
As she unlocked the door to her apartment, she told she wanted to show me how she had decorated profusely as she had had extra time on her hands as she hadn’t made friends. I felt in control, and at that point, my urges had settled down, so I complied. My ego felt inflated, I couldn’t wait to tell my buddies tomorrow. Hell, I’d introduce her to my sultry, dear friend Johnny and they’d have a good old time. He would owe forever. And as I smiled at the thought...All was well.
The interior design of her small apartment was admittedly impressive, and had it been a different circumstance, it would have seemed quite normal and understandable for her to want to enjoy the privilege of showing her pretty home off. It was small, as I noted a little living room with nice Asian design, complete with tapestries and incense; a tiny, perfectly organized kitchen; a small square-frame room with windows as wall next to the living room she made into a study, and by the kitchen, the door leading her bedroom.
I was so amused! I felt it’d be easy to resist at this point. I felt so flattered. I felt bad not to accept such a desperate invitation, but I thought of Elizabeth. As I stood there, a slight headache instantaneously came to me and I sat down for a moment on the sofa. She joined me. “...Headache,” I said casually, in an amused voice that didn’t reflect how I felt.
“Ah, I have aspirin,” she offered kindly. She got me a drink of juice and two aspirins. I took them quickly, and forced a placebo effect in me to minimize the pain. I forgot how much I had had to drink … It hadn’t been a stressful Monday night, it was Friday. I wasn’t drunk, no … But I had consumed much more alcohol in the shorter time span I spent with my friends than I normally would. I wasn’t too worried. I’d sit for a moment, wish her a good night, and be on my way.
Again... All was well.
“Where were you tonight?” I asked casually. “You were out late.”
“I didn’t have school or work, which is rare, so I decided to explore downtown a bit more. I have an awful sense of direction, unfortunately. Regardless, it was fun. There are lots of good shops,” she explained, getting comfortable on the seat by me. She was watching me closely, almost studying me. I scooted a bit on the couch away from her. I could tell she noticed. But I wasn’t intimidated.
“What a coincidence we met,” I said, with a slight laugh. I would learn later that there was no coincidence, but at the time, I was ignorant to this. “A pleasure to make a friend so near to me.”
She smiled. “Yes, it’s been so lonely! Did it take you long to make friends here, too?” she asked curiously.
I shook my head. “Everyone’s pretty tight at my job. I just happened to fit right in. My boys and I have a good time, but I know what you’re staying. I was worried, too,” I said sympathetically. At this point she smiled and got up. She went to the kitchen and grabbed a soda for herself. She then sat down on the sofa opposite me, respecting my space. I felt at ease. Nothing was going to happen. I didn’t mind a pleasant conversation.
“Ha! Well, there are some interesting people in my classes, but as class is so busy …” she began. She went on a bit; talking about her variety of classes, the tedious schoolwork, her job … I don’t remember when I began droning out. But I remember truly believing I had died.
Her words just faded out, and my vision blurred. I felt sharp pains run through my whole body, particularly my stomach. The feeling of nausea erupted through me. I tried to shut my eyes and stay still as I let out a deep breath to relieve the pain, but it didn’t go away. I wanted to die in those painful moments just to make the pain go away. I felt as though the agony would only go on forever …
I began groaning. As the peak of the pain drifted, I squinted my eyes, taking deep, shallow breaths. As I tried to properly look around, all was wrong. The world almost seemed to be on a tilt and then it would shake like a pendulum. I felt so sick and frightened. In the heat of the confusion, I barely knew who I as or where I was. I knew only survival. I screamed, I simply couldn’t compose myself. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
I didn’t know if it was just me …. Well, yes, surely it was. But how? And why? This was no effect of alcohol … And I felt a cold, outstretched hand pull my hand up, and thus I cooperated. It was Erika. She said something on the lines of lying down, and I moved along with her until I heard her push a door open. I wasn’t like it now, though, I was losing my mind in a stranger’s house and I was completely vulnerable. I was too weak and drowsy to make protests, though.
Next, I felt myself pushed onto a bed, and I groaned. I just hoped for a moment of relaxation against the cozy bed, but I never got it. The pain remained with me. And now I was really scared. I wanted to run home but I didn’t even have energy to get back up. And then I heard Erika laugh, though I hadn’t a clue what could be funny ….
And then I understood. She had done this to me. What was she planning? I was suffering enough as it was. I felt her pull on my left arm and I felt a strong force wrap around my wrist, and then I heard a click. I pulled on my arm, and I realized she had restrained me. I screamed for my life. She gave me no mercy as she handcuffed my other wrist. I wanted this to be a nightmare and for me to wake up in my own bed, safe and sound ….
“Let me go, please,” I begged, suddenly growing rapidly lethargic. She laughed. She hopped on top of my legs, putting considerable force on my knees. I told her she had to stop, and she told me to beg all I want; that she was in control. I wondered what I had possibly done to deserve this. I didn’t want it to happen … She had no right.
But it did. She pulled my trousers off, and there I was, exposed to a stranger. She was beautiful, but I hadn’t, and didn’t, want her. I thought of Elizabeth, where she was, what she was doing, if she was thinking of me. I wanted to die.
Even if I had wanted it, I was in no physical state to perform. I was dizzy, fatigued, my vision was blurred, and I felt as if all my insides were going to crawl out of me. She had planned this all, she was pure evil. She knew I wouldn’t be with her, and she took matters into her own hands.
She stimulated me manually first, causing the needed physical reaction. It wasn’t as if I could help it, my body was reacting to her touching. But I felt strangely guilty because of this. And as she accomplished her awful deed, I felt responsible to the max. I let a woman overpower me. But as she finished and slapped me in the face with a laughed, I felt myself drifting out again, the world twisted around me, and an exhaustion poured over me.
I recall being unable to stay awake even though I had an urge to stay conscious. It was a task impossible, and I was out cold in seconds. I’m not sure in the entirety what happened the rest of that night to me.
My next recollection was opening my eyes and being outside in the cold, shivering horribly, feeling dizzier than before, and I felt moistness under me. It was dawn and it was so cold …. I need to get up … And then I realized the evil woman had in some way sodomized me and I was bleeding. I was going to bleed to death …. I screamed again and again. I distantly heard people talking …. A blaring noise … More talking … And I passed out again. I woke up in a hospital bed, and according to doctors who had attended to me, I had lost a lot of bed. I was lucky to be alive, and of course the worst part came: the inquiry.
How could I possibly admit I had been overpowered by a woman? How could anyone believe me? Why would they believe a woman raped, drugged, and sodomized me? I’m not sure how I did it, but I suppose it was all the anger it me. I told the doctor everything. I suppose it was easier because it was a female doctor in her thirties, and she looked very sympathetic. She listened. I didn’t think she believed me though, and I didn’t think anyone else would. I was horrified at the humiliation, at the disbelief I’d face, at all the negative attention, and meanwhile the pain …. I regretted talking the moment I said everything.
It seemed she consulted the other doctors and it seemed they believed me. I suppose all the medical injuries definitely assisted my case. It was a relief, obviously, but it wasn’t easily from there. I felt socially humiliated in degrees indescribable. I had to face detectives who were all men, and all skeptical, and were extremely patronizing. It was terrible. But I had to keep going; I just told the truth.
The detectives had probable cause and within hours had a warrant to search her home – Before she had time to clean up the mess. The strap-on she had roughly penetrated me with to near murder had my DNA, and was found with her in the bathroom, where she had been casually washing up. The handcuffs were still there; GHB was found in her medicine cabinets.
To top it off, an eyewitness claimed to have seen her leave me outside my home, and it was credible as the witness had been the first to approach me and call for help. She had been foolish, and she had been arrested. She hadn’t seemed to realize how much damage she had caused; she was shocked when the District Attorney threatened to charge her with attempted murder if she didn’t plead guilty. And of course she did. She is currently serving fifteen years in state prison. Imagine if I hadn’t come forward— Perhaps more men would have become victims. It wasn’t easy going through the worst humiliation of my life, and it only became worse upon media’s coverage on such a strange case. I had to fly back to South Carolina for a bit. When Elizabeth and I rejoined each other after some time and returned to our home in New England, we both faced depression.
But by God’s miraculous grace perhaps (although it was for a grand-totaling obvious reason, then again), however noteworthy, none of society’s stigmas could have overruled the indisputable, callousing guilt of Erika Bradshaw.
Part III – Secret
In the eyes of Martha Sand, Trauma-Specializing Psychiatrist
One of the most fascinating clients I have ever encountered was Courtney Amos and Billy Englund. Never had I met a rarer pair – Courtney was eighty-seven, in a wheelchair,but somehow so vibrant, and Billy was twenty-three, youthful but at the time so directionless. At my greatest source of intrigued amazement, one could say, I soon understood why. Courtney Amos and Billy Englund were both victims of one of the most traumatic events that could ever surface into anyone’s lives: Rape. It is the greatest violation of the human body, of the human mind, perhaps. Rape – Perhaps the most horrid and oldest of crimes in our world. I had dealt with many rape victims before, but this was sufficiently different. I welcome the challenge, however, if I could in any way aid my clients towards recovery, it being the ultimate goal.
Courtney revealed her testimony first of the sexual abuse she had faced as a pre-teenager from her stepbrother. According to her, she was a happy person now, and though she hated her stepbrother infinitely, she wasn’t there for the counseling on the trauma she had experiences so many years ago – But of the guilt she felt for not reporting her rape, and in result, her stepbrother sexually assaulted at least five others. I listened so intently. On my very first meeting, however, I was a listener, not yet a responder. Billy begun his tale next, somewhat reluctantly, often not looking at me directly, blushing horribly, and then putting his hands over his face in shame. As politically incorrect as it was of me, I was skeptical about Billy, profoundly interested as I was, though unsure of what to expect. As he begun to story, though, I felt such profound sympathy for him – My objectivity was in danger of being overrun. I had never dealt with a male rape victim; in fact, I am now ashamed to admit I hadn’t learned much about it previous to Billy as it was so uncommon for a male victim to come forward, and therefore I felt the knowledge was small. Point-blank, regardless for better or worse I'd most likely never use it, would find it to be ill-adviced I do think.
Billy was a good man who relocated to New England from Florida for a decent job and still stayed strong. He fit in well thankfully, but he wouldn’t have felt properly settled until his fiancée in the marines returned from overseas to be with him. But someone destroyed him from inside – A young woman posing as a shy but a friendly person and in need of a walk home in such late hours. She knew he was living in her neighborhood. She tracked him, attempted to seduce him, but Billy felt, and I agree, she had premeditated the whole ordeal and she had planned to make him suffer. She invited him into her home for a brief moment, gave him a common date rape drug instead of aspirin. She guided him to her bed in the peak of the symptoms of the intoxication, handcuffed him to her bed, and raped him. As he concluded, I was shaken at the thought of how many other men were victims of rape, and perhaps by the same perpetrator, yet too ashamed to come forward.
I asked them how they had come to meet, and Courtney revealed she saw the unusual case in the newspaper, in natural curiosity and it sent her to tears, as she questioned all in the obvious truth this man had revealed.She had had a complete hatred towards men before Billy; she openly admitted that. This is a far too common result of sexually assaulted women, but it is quite understandable, and unfortunately, often quite difficult to treat. She had lived with that for nearly her entire life; I found it astounding personally, as she detailed me many of her life events in future sessions, the many steps she ruthlessly took to repress men ... Most of all, her admittance of manipulating an old man into marrying her with plans to inherit his fortune upon his death –
Which she did. But, it seemed as though her newborn friendship with Billy Englund had made her question her life of hatred towards me, weighing even more guilt on her shoulders. When his rapist was convicted through a plea bargain, Courtney was overwhelmed with retrospection.
“I questioned my past. I realized that women are not always the victim. I saw aninnocent, traumatized man in Billy. It did not take me long to track him, and now … hell, thereare quite a few amends I would make,” she told me in a tearful voice that was hard to understand. “But when I was young it made sense to me that men were the enemy as a whole, and I wish I could take that back.”
She would never forgive herself, and maybe even rightfully here in this case. Perhaps she deserved to live with the guilt of her animosity towards men. As for her not having the bravery to come forward as a pre-teenager, I adamantly counseled her.
“You did nothing wrong. Nothing! Sixty percent of rape goes unreported,” I explained deliberately and carefully. “You are brave to face this now. You’re braver than most victims. You were intimidated by a manipulative, sick, stronger man. The man will never leave prison now.”
I prescribed her a well-known anti-depressant; I felt she deserved to live her last days in as much relaxation as possible. I prescribed Billy a similar medication with a very precise dosage. The medication would not cure the trauma, no, but I have strong belief it would give Billy an extra weapon to leave the depression behind.
I knew he could do it. He was still strong and potent; with each session I saw him recover a bit more. I suppose after Courtney came to the sixth session, revealing the medication’s mild success and parted me for a final time, I could have referred Billy to a crisis counselor. But I didn’t, as I suspected he, too, would no longer be seeing me soon enough. It was saddening, yes, but it was necessary. I would miss him.
Sure enough, I was correct. Two sessions later, his improvement had doubled, with his fiancée, Elizabeth, as a witness. He was once again enjoying work again, as he had done so before, he was socializing, and he was smiling. “The trauma’s always there,” he said before he left. “But I will not allow it to dictate me ever again.”
I was proud, so very proud. I’ll never forget Courtney Amos or Billy Englund, the two clients I learned more from than any other. Courtney realized her mistakes in her past and Billy was climbing the ladder of recovering beautifully.
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." – James Addison.