When people talk about date rape and revenge porn, I have something of a wince inside because I have been there and done that. In the immediate aftermath, I constantly blamed myself. I would wake up in the night shouting and reliving the experience. Perhaps I should have known better than to assume that a seemingly quiet person cannot be a bad boy?
There was always something dangerous about Craig but he hid it very well unless you were observant. I admit that I was not observant and I paid a price for my error of omission. He worked in the IT department but was hardly the soul of the party. Later on I learnt to my cost that the Craig in office was very different from the Craig at home. At work he was calm, efficient and friendly. I could even describe him as being essentially harmless.
That is what attracted me to him in the first place. He was the handsome geek who you could show off to your friends without feeling kinky. Of course I harbored no pretensions about him being marriage material. I just thought we could have thing fling and he would be a safe bet. Most of the men in my office are absolute Neanderthals when it comes to dating. There used to be a joke about their “pump and dump” approach to dating. Craig seemed like an angel by contrast.
I Make My Move
I am not one of these women that wait to be asked. If I want something, I go for it. It had never landed me in trouble so far so I so no reason to tinker with a winning system. Craig must have thought all his Christmases had come in a single day. Here was the head of the business support team (a senior post in the company), essentially giving him hints that she was available. How foolish could I have been? Anyway, he seemed so normal with his glasses and quiet demeanor.
Craig immediately got the message and asked me out. I said yes. Our first date was at a Pizza house. I found it rather charming that he wanted me to see him in his normal state rather than showing off. When we got there, I was amazed at the transformation. Craig who seemed so diffident at work was now the man of the day. He had countless of friends. They all seemed to want to say hi to him. After a few of them, he noticed that I was getting a bit irritated so he signaled to them to leave us alone. I was slightly taken aback by how much control he had over them.
I would not have described him as being charismatic but on that night Craig showed me a totally different side to him. He was almost like a cult leader. The next dates were much better and more private. He seemed to be upping his game with time. As a lover, Craig was insightful. It was almost like he was a master engineer who constructed the lovemaking process with precision. Everything was as it should and I had no complaints whatsoever. Actually I became a little bit addicted to him.
The Day of My Miseducation
It had been a long night after a concert but I woke up feeling very sick. I did not remember much apart from when Craig brought me a drink. It was coming to the end of the festival and I was rather drunk so he said we should have one more drink and get home. This festival had been the pizza Craig all over again. His friends were all there and they were even more to add to the mix. One thing that kind of disturbed me was that there was not a single girl amongst them. They all seemed to be single men.
Anyway the next day I was weak. I asked Craig what had happened and he told me that I had collapsed from being drunk. He had brought me back home. There was something hollow in my body as if I had been doing lots of physical activity. I had a suspicion that we had had sex but I could not remember anything. When I asked Craig, he said yes but he was rather hurt that I did not seem to remember. I told him that this has never happened to me. Even when I was drunk, I could remember things. It was a nudging feeling but I kept trying to come up with my own explanations for the inconsistencies.
Craig looked sheepish but that was all. It was the weekend so at least I had the Sunday to relax. Things went as usual and a week passed. One day I came into the office and people had strange looks on them. Some were malicious while others were sympathetic. I asked what was wrong but nobody would tell me. Sheila from accounts said she wanted to have lunch with me. I said yes. She was a great girl. I thought she might even tell me what was going on.
Shock and Horror!
“I am so sorry about what happened. We all know it is not your fault.” I looked at her inquiringly. “What happened”. Then the answer came: “Haven’t you seen? Oh no…it is on the internet. Brian saw it and everybody has now seen it”. The next part of that day is a haze to me even to this day. I checked the computer and the horror struck me like a dagger. I could not quite believe what was happening. It was an outer body experience. Then followed a series of mechanical things that I had to do. Police procedures, STD tests, a statement, my lawyer, Craig arrested and 6 other men arrested. I was given 3 months of work as a victim of crime and went into therapy.
The long and short of it was that I was raped. Not just raped by six strangers but also my boyfriend. They had filmed it all for their own private amusement. Then one of them had the brilliant idea of posting it up on his web page as a boast. I had been the dare that Craig had won landing on his plate like a fool. He was supposed to seduce one of his bosses so that they could share. The fact that the story was reported in the local press was bad enough but some people could put two and two together even if the names had been hidden.
It was the pity and sympathy that I could not deal with. Everybody pretty much agreed that I had been a fool. Even I agreed with that assessment. Craig was a worthless criminal and I had fallen right into his trap without even asking. He must have been surprised at how easy it was when I came onto him. The prosecutor decided to go for the date rape rather than focusing on the revenge porn stuff. Apparently that would save me from the trauma since Craig denied the charge of recording and distributing the video. He had only intended that they gang rape me, as if that was any comfort to me.
The Trial that Never Was
I did not want to attend the trial. I could not bring myself to look into Craig’s eyes. The man I had been intimate with for the best part of two months had betrayed me in the worst possible way. The victim’s counselor had warned me that if we went to trial, I would be subjected to a very hard cross examination and “nothing was off the table”. I knew exactly what he meant. Someone I knew had been raped and the trial was just horrendous. They did not even get a conviction which left her feeling and looking like a fool for bringing the case in the first place.
Craig admitted rape and his friends admitted rape as well as invasion of privacy. This was in the early days when revenge porn was new to the prosecutors. Drugged and abused in such a way? I do not think I will be dating any time soon. Some people tell me that at least I do not remember the experience. The problem is that I know the video exists and at some point it will be used by some nasty in order to get back at me. Apparently the gang had used it as part of an “amateur porn” submission but it was taken down when they were arrested. Craig was dismissed from the company and eventually was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
I hope he never comes out but I know that at some point they are going to release him. I decided to change state and get out of the work scene for a year. The stress was too much. I do not want to engage with or interact with anyone from my old life. Maybe someday I will be able to show my face in public without feeling as if all eyes are on me.