Decades After a Campus Rape

It’s hard not to wonder now, from my perch of more than a quarter century later, staring at the pinched look on my face in the photos from that rainy graduation morning, why there hadn’t been a third option besides either pressing charges or doing nothing, neither of which felt like an appropriate reaction to what had happened to me in that bed. 

I did not want my date rapist to go to jail for what had happened between us. …I didn’t even want him not to graduate. I wanted to confront him in a safe place in front of others. I wanted him to understand that what he did to me  penetration against my will  was wrong, really wrong! I wanted him to express remorse for having crossed a moral and legal line, so that if and when he ever raised a son, he could teach him not to cross it.

 From Deborah Copaken, “Entering the Mind of My Rapist: An Exercise in Extreme Empathy,”, May 15, 2015.