You heard him. You sort of believed him. But you knew him – or so you thought – so you filed it away mentally. I mean, he’s been your boss and friend and –
It was something he did as a kid. We all do dumb things as kids. And he’s a guy. Guys do oppressive, sick things to small creatures – frogs, lizards, cockroaches.
Bunnies – well, maybe not so much but he’s not killing them now.
It was just a phase from a time when there wasn’t enough to do after school. So he went into a field by the shopping mall and hunted rabbits and – but he’s not doing it now. Time to get back to work.
Been decades since he was in junior high. No worries.
Only, as it turns out, the bunnies turned into people. Little ones, big ones, girl ones, guy ones. And one day it’s your turn to be his victim.
You didn’t see it coming. You two were no longer the on again off again item you once were. You were just two friends going to dinner and a movie to celebrate your birthdays that were one week apart. You’d done that for several years in a row now. No biggie. No worries.
But this night was different. The vibe was different. You ignored it. You decided to just be polite and understanding. Probably some carryover from his workday. Then on the way home from the movie it started.
He wants to come over for a while. You’re not really feeling it and you don’t want it to go “there” because that’s not where things are at anymore.
He gets more insistent, coaxing you. You consider it. Your daughter’s at a friend’s overnight. You’re not involved with anyone else. So, for old time’s sake, and because it’s been awhile, you say ‘yes’.
Yes. The legal definition of consensual sex. Except what started as consensual took a sudden, dark turn. The familiar became fear-filled and heinous. You closed the living room curtains so the neighbors could no longer look across into the prelude of your private moment, and the very next moment became you being assaulted by a now former friend, boss and professional collaborator. Hands, large hands, went where they should never have gone. And when they came out, you could never be the same again – about him or any guy.
You could say it was the bunnies that did it. That they were a gateway indicator of what was to become who he was. But it’s also about impulses and triggers that can’t be controlled or confessed to. Impulses and triggers created from targeted social abuse from others that then become sexual assaults and eventually – if unapprehended – murders.
Where’s a kid to go for help? Confessing such things could lead to rejection by family and friends. When a kid is already the bullied outsider at school, who can he talk to or get help from? Where else can the rage go? Living things becoming dead ones are the only release he’s known. Until sex.
This is not sympathy for the perpetrator. This is a real question of what do we do and how do we change and retrain a perpetrator’s impulses before he becomes criminal and/or deadly? Lives are altered and diminished, loved ones suddenly become strangers and the only consistent response to it all is to lock away the perpetrator long after it’s too late to change his behavior, and address his impulses – or, for that matter, the impulses of his social abusers who created and ultimately own his rage and his antisocial social triggers.
When we mistreat each other, the rage has to go somewhere. And especially those who are targeted and mistreated over and over again. My perpetrator was such a person. I forgive the bunny killer, regret losing a friend but, having said that, know there were others victimized by him – and most likely in ways a few didn’t walk away from. Under the radar? Not so much.
His cousin knew and tried to let me know without calling out her cousin as the rapist he was.
It was a family thing. She didn’t want to lose more family. Already down by one brother who’d joined the Children of God, she didn’t want to lose her cousin to prison. So she kept silent with just a vague hint that if I went out with him, he might not be able to help certain behaviors. For whatever reason, I didn’t take the conversation as a rape warning.
Yet other things preceded growing intimate with him. Signs of aberrant behavior that, because societally we accept certain choices as banal and harmless – like nudie magazines and porn flicks – I didn’t pick up on them. But for some, as it turns out, porn and nudie magazines are not harmless pursuits. They’re assuagers of rage and predictors of random, irrevocable alliances.
Watch for “My ‘#Me Too Story: Forgive the Bunny Killer, Part 2”.