I was sixteen and working at a dry cleaners. The man I had worked for was like a father to me, but he was transferred to another shop and the owner gave his job to his nephew who was late twenties, early thirties, I’m guessing. I was struggling and pregnant. I wasn’t married yet and the burdon of my pregnancy was still a secret. I cried at work one day and my new boss took this opportunity to draw me into a supposedly friendship. His name was Richard Cohen. He asked if I’d like to a movie that evening and I said yes. I don’t remember everything but I remember he parked his car across the street in a store parking lot. I remember he drove to a motel and said it had get something and asked me to come it. I can’t believe how naive I was. Inside he wanted me to sit on his lap. Someone knocked at the door and he told me to hide in the bathroom. He made up some story. I didn’t really get it. I knew I shouldn’t have been there and I wanted to go, but it was so hard for me to assert mysel. He was my employer. We had to leave the motel and perhaps that was a blessing in some way but when he brought me back to the street I lived on, he raped me in the car by forcing me to commit oral sex. He was strong and insistent and I kept saying, no, but he forced me.
I was humiliated. I felt ashamed. I didn’t tell anyone for five years. Meanwhile he stole everything of value at his uncle’s dry cleaners and took off. He was arrested for raping another young woman, younger than me, I think some place out in the Midwest, I think. He’d been stealing money right along, I found out late, and blamed me for it. I don’t know what became of him. I hope he’s dead.
Years past before I got counseling for this issue–decades. For a long while I worked on a story, autobiographical fiction, I guess you could call it. Someone helped me with it, and that did make a big difference though I never worked too hard to see it in print. The experience still creates a cold spot in my gut when it comes up.
I’m sixty-four now. I’ve had lots of unpleasant experiences from the time I was a girl. I have other stories, but I’m only going to write about one of them because I think it’s important and it’s worse than rape in my mind.
I had a painful cyst on my left ovary about twelve years ago. I didn’t know that’s what it was. I was awfully nervous about it . I went to a Rhode Island surgeon and he insisted I sign a document agreeing to have surgery at a teaching hospital. This is a very prominent recommended oncological surgeon.
A radical hysterectomy was performed. I was stitched up badly. They removed my uterus, tubes, ovaries, everything. There was nothing wrong with me but a benign cyst on my left ovary.
Afterward I had issues with pain and sexual function The doctor made fun of me, tried to humiliate me and did virtually nothing to help me.
This changed my life and not in any good way.
There are all kinds of rape.