ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women and non-binary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
The series will run every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.
Nikèl Bussolati: My rapist has no idea he raped me.
Though this statement may sound absurd to some people, the gravity of that truth—that he is unaware of what he did—speaks directly to the heart of our national discourse about consent.
But it’s more than simply an intellectual conversation for me. The reality that I know and he doesn’t deeply affects all levels of my life—my professional relationships, strains my friendships, it weighs on my casual conversations with strangers. That what he did doesn’t even register with people like my rapist, is profoundly disturbing.
I am an educator of high school students and adults, and at a recent conference, I was painfully reminded how the greater world of education needs to reckon with its own participation in rape culture. As I led a roundtable discussion about teaching consent, rape, and rape culture in the classroom, I was troubled by the behavior of the few men at the table. In the middle of the discussion, three of them stood up and left without speaking. Only one man stayed and contributed. Whether intentional or not, their decision to walk away, especially in aggregate, communicated that they too, have no idea.
They should have stayed seated at the table; they are part of the problem. Because men need to be willing to listen and learn how to hold themselves and others accountable to the clear definition of consent. As Crissle West says, “words mean things,” and consent means “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” Consent does not mean assuming. Consent does not meant asking four or five times until your partner says yes. Consent does not mean that you were both drunk and you do not recall what happened. Consent does not mean silence. The necessity of having men at the table, to not just hear survivors’ and advocates’ voices and stories, but to also internalize those stories in an effort to unlearn toxic behaviors and philosophies, is imperative.
Brendan Kiely: I attended the same educational conference as Nikèl, and when I later met her, and heard about the men who left the table, it seemed vital, especially as a man, and fellow educator and writer, to listen to Nikèl’s story—because Nikèl’s truth is one I have to swallow. All too often in my life a pestering voice spoke from deep within me telling me I didn’t need to read another article about rape or rape culture—but it is precisely that voice speaking in me, that inclination to dodge direct conversation, that nurtures my ignorance, and worse, makes me complicit in the culture that enables and empowers Nikèl’s rapist in the first place.
I need to sit here and listen. I need to remain at the table to face the hardest question: Am I indicted in this conversation? The answer, without a doubt, is yes, and so I have to acknowledge and expose my shame and regret in order to address my accountability in this story.
It is my responsibility to participate in cultivating an environment that nurtures and empowers Nikèl, not one that attacks, belittles, ignores, or silences her. I add my words here as a complement, to bear witness, to actively listen and affirm that all of this is true. I am sitting at this metaphorical table, and I will not get up and walk away.
Bussolati: I know my rapist does not know he raped me because I am certain my rapist does not understand consent. Had he understood consent, he would have asked for it.
My rapist does not know he raped me because while I was traumatized, he had no idea that anything had changed. It took me weeks to admit to myself that I had been raped, and, during that time, I continued to see him and spend time alone with him. I did my best to act as normal as possible—not for him but for myself. I could not reconcile the language I use with my students about consent with the reality of what I had experienced.
I went from being an educator and an advocate to needing an advocate, someone to echo my lessons and words back to me. When I began to finally come to terms with the reality of my rape, I stopped talking to my rapist. I am confident that my rapist doesn’t know he raped me, because he still doesn’t understand why I don’t talk to him anymore. When we occupy the same space, which unfortunately still happens from time to time, he seeks me out to tell me that I should text him sometime. Because he still doesn’t know.
Ironically, I supervised a screening of The Hunting Ground for about three hundred high school students, gave a seminar on rape culture, and assisted with a seminar on consent within the week following my rape. Through all of those things I kept telling myself: “It didn’t happen. You’re fine. It was okay.” What happened had to be okay because I had “allowed” it to happen. If I “allowed” it to happen, then I must have somehow been responsible for it happening, right? The fallacy in this thought process is obvious. I was unaware of what he was going to do until he did it, and I did not give permission.
I have a reputation for being loud and abrasive. People describe me as “strong” and “confident.” Yet when I found myself in that vulnerable position, I froze. I didn’t know what to do because I was incapable of properly processing the events that were unfolding. My body responded the way bodies tend to, but my consciousness seemed to be experiencing an error in the server. My mind went blank. I became numb.
I know now that one of the most troubling and damaging mythologies in rape culture is that only the weak are victims of rape. I very distinctly remember telling a friend what happened to me, and the response was: “That doesn’t sound like you.” I was baffled by my friend’s words. But then I realized the implication of their statement. They were really saying: “Strong women do not allow themselves to be raped or harassed.” This false narrative only serves to perpetuate the idea that the survivor somehow deserves what happened to them, and their rape is a result of a defect in their character, not a defect in the character of their rapist.
Kiely: This false narrative wields frightening power over our entire culture. Not only does it redirect blame in a destructive way, it can then perpetuate another false narrative that I’ve heard all too many men share with me: some variation of “it was her fault.” Victim blaming is not listening, and the more we allow it, the harder for survivors to speak up.
Recently I found myself in a conversation with a stranger at a literary event. He asked me about my first novel, The Gospel of Winter, a story about a sixteen-year-old boy who has been abused by his priest. This stranger was much older than me and he shared with me that he’d gone to Catholic boys’ school and one of the priests used to wait for the boys to bend forward and then stick his hand down their loosely billowing shirts and fondle their chests.
I think for many of us, we don’t want to believe these kinds of things happen. Stories like these scare us, or disgust us, and we don’t even want to think about why and how they happen. We might rather believe they don’t happen. It’s easier to believe stories like these are exaggerations or fabrications. While researching my novel, however, I read vast numbers of letters to Boston-area Catholic dioceses from families pleading their cases. The stories were of abusive priests and church authorities who routinely gaslighted and silenced the families. I spoke with men who’d been abused as children and listened to their stories. And so, I was inclined to immediately accept and believe the stranger’s anecdote about his time at Catholic school. Because if I dismiss the possibility of the story being true for the sake of my own comfort, I am dismissing the survivors’ reality and in effect, dismissing them. Gaslighting, telling him “what you think is true, I know to be not true,” when, actually, it is the inverse. He’s the one to know the truth and I’d be the one too afraid to accept it. Gaslighting, like victim blaming, is just another form of silencing a survivor.
And yet, to my utter shock, as we continued this conversation and it drifted to #MeToo, this man proceeded to dismiss the movement and the women speaking out because, as he put it, “women use their sexual power to advance themselves professionally all the time.”
His vitriol for women speaking out about their rapes, though not the same as Nikèl’s discussion about the false narrative of “strong” versus “weak” women, arrives at the same end because it diverts all attention and accountability away from the men abusing their power, and instead blames their targets.
When I pushed back, and told the man I didn’t agree with him, he looked at me incredulously. “We know this,” he said with condescending self-assurance. “You don’t have to be PC with me.” We were stuck in a moment of awkward silence. How often had he leaned in and found a sympathetic ear for those assumptions? How many other men had, over time, offered him that sympathetic ear?
I also wondered what he did for a living, what women he worked with, who reported to whom in the hierarchy of the institution? What, with this premise as the lens through which he viewed all his interactions with coworkers, were his professional relationships with women?
Bussolati: When I got to a place of greater psychological safety, I became willing to acknowledge and name what happened to me as rape, and I told a few people I trusted most. I received a variety of responses, some helpful, many not. More than one person asked me if my rapist realized that he raped me, and others wondered if I should tell him that he raped me: “Don’t you think he should know?”
Expecting survivors to educate their own rapists means that we are holding survivors accountable for their own rapes. It was not my responsibility to educate my rapist about consent and rape. Yet, I think about this suggestion regularly because I am an educator who routinely engages adults and children alike on rape and rape culture. As a result, I began to feel that it was my responsibility to educate him—not because I owed him something, but because I owed other women he may encounter something that I was never given. I am not the person who can lead that discussion for him, but I want my rapist to sit at the table and discuss these issues with someone and learn these lessons and model accountability in a way that he has not before. I need others to help me, and I need other men to model accountability for him so that when he looks around that table, it’s not just the marginalized staring back at him but also his peers.
Kiely: I’m rarely in a conversation with a group of men speaking about misogyny. If it does come up, it’s usually a woman who brings it up first, and even those of us who nod along in agreement need to ask ourselves, how often do we start discussions about misogyny in a room full of men?
This is how misogyny thrives: the people who benefit from it either pretend it doesn’t exist, or acknowledge it in the wider world but seem perpetually blind to it in their own lives—or worse, see it and do nothing.
I’m just as much to blame as too many other men I know. I need to do much better. Recently, I was at a business dinner in St. Louis, and I looked over at a poster on the wall of the restaurant with disgust, but did not choose to leave and take my money elsewhere. It was an illustration of a young boy lifting the hem of a woman’s dress to stare up between her legs. The caption read “Seeing is Believing.” Seeing is believing, and seeing this image hanging in a family restaurant in St. Louis is as sure a beacon as any that misogyny and rape culture are pervasive in our country. Had anyone complained about that poster being on the wall? And who, if they had complained, had been told to “lighten up”?
All the tacitly accepting gestures and winks and nods to rape culture lead to rape culture, are rape culture, and our lives in the United States are deep in, and sick with, it.
But why didn’t I say anything? Why did I tell myself it wasn’t worth the effort to speak up about it? Whatever excuse I used to justify remaining silent, I let it supersede this thought: is there anyone else in the room who thinks this is disgusting—or worse, is there anyone in the room who feels threatened by this poster? I wish I had said something. I wish I had asked to speak with a manager. If I’d found something I considered a health hazard in my food, I would have. If I’d found a patron or employee doing something that could potentially harm someone in the room, I would have. I should have found a manager to explain why I thought the poster was harmful, too.
Bussolati: One of the reasons that my rape was so difficult to reconcile was that I felt I had done everything “right.” My rapist is well-known in my professional and personal community, and we have several mutual friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and students. When he began to show interest in me, I asked people about him, and most people reinforced all of the good things I wanted to be true.
The people with whom he was so close, and who spoke so highly of him, were people that I held dear in many ways, so when he told me the next day that he had already told one of those people that “we hooked up,” I was stunned and embarrassed: “Did you really tell him that? Why?” My rapist just shrugged and said, “Well, yeah, I told him before we hung out that I was going to fuck you, and I did. Thought he should know I followed through.” Again, I was surprised: “What did he say?” “He said ‘Nice job!,’ and he also said I should try to sleep with that cute Social Studies teacher, too…”
I could not believe that the man I knew and worked with was the same man who seemingly patted my rapist on the back for a job well done, and presumably gave him a thumbs up, then allegedly encouraged him to have sex with other colleagues. This double betrayal was a difficult pill to swallow. I knew our mutual friend as a kind, warm hearted man who seemed to see the value in everyone. My “friend” would not have been permissive of someone, much less taken part in, diminishing and dismissing both myself—Nikèl, the human being he had worked with and collaborated with—and another woman, would he?
He needs a place at the table as well, because he didn’t rape me, but he is an active participant in a culture that persists in dehumanizing and objectifying others. He has his own lessons to learn about what it means to be a bystander and an ally and the power and privilege that position can hold.
Kiely: All too often, instead of being an ally, we create situation after situation where the survivor must stand up on their own, while we create comfortable codes of silence around them.
Years before I became an author, before I was an educator, too, I worked in book publishing. I remember a meeting in which I sat next to one of my superiors. We were two of the very few men in a room of mostly women. He leaned in close to me and nodded to a woman taking a seat at the other side of the table. “Look at the rack on her, huh?” he said in my ear in a low voice.
I burned with embarrassment but said nothing. I didn’t know what to do. He nudged me later, during the same meeting, and instinctually, without him saying anything, I knew he was directing my attention somewhere else in the room, to another woman, while she was speaking. He wasn’t asking me to listen to her; he was asking me to judge her appearance—something we could discuss later. We didn’t. After the meeting, I escaped down the hall as quickly as I could, distancing myself from him. I didn’t laugh with him, I didn’t “compare notes,” but I also didn’t do anything. I didn’t confront him; I didn’t ask anyone for advice. I don’t even think I told anyone about it, then or later.
What I imagine now, though I can’t know for sure, is that every woman in the room knew exactly how he was looking at them. And they probably assumed the same of me. I don’t blame them. I did nothing to deter, change, or diffuse the hostility of the environment. In the moment, I should have made a face, indicated clearly my disgust with his action. And later, after the meeting, instead of fleeing, I should have found a private moment to let him know I never wanted to be party to those kinds of comments or behavior. It’s hard to speak up to a superior—the fear of blowback is real—but in hindsight, if I was uncomfortable around him, so too were many women. My male privilege protects me in a way that the women in the room were not protected. That’s exactly why I needed to say something to him, and find time to build other professional bridges elsewhere to bolster my career.
Bussolati: In the weeks following my rape, I displayed classic survivor behavior: I was depressed, I did my best to disassociate from what happened (and also from those closest to me), and I was in denial. I hurt people who I knew I needed to rely on in my recovery by behaving in ways that were corrosive to the relationships. When I began to feel like I was in danger of losing one of the most important people in my life, I knew it was time to acknowledge and begin to psychologically heal from my rape. I decided that I needed to tell this person what had happened.
That conversation did not go as well as I had hoped. I was hoping my friend would look at me and say: “It’s going to be okay. I believe you, and I love you, and I’m sorry that happened to you. What do you need me to do to help you?”
Instead, my friend said, “But why couldn’t you tell me? I’m not just anybody.” He prioritized his own pain of feeling neglected over my pain in the experience I related to him. Why did it have to matter more to him that I didn’t tell him right away? Why was that more important than prioritizing support for me when I needed it most? “Well, you made your choices,” he also said, in other words, victim blaming.
Even though I was incredibly hurt and frustrated by his initial reaction, I was able to gain enough clarity to realize that he was ill-equipped to handle this information. He had no training on how to be an advocate or an ally, and the emotions and pain he felt were real. I also know that my friend’s emotions and pain were not just due to the ways in which he felt I had slighted him but also due to having me, someone he loved, experience a trauma he could not properly help me overcome.
We need to be at the table, not just for the survivors that are already in our lives, but also for the ones we will someday be called upon to support. We need to be ready and able to be there when we are necessary.
In the documentary The Mask You Live In, Dr. Caroline Heldman says:
I call what we do to our little boys and men “the great setup.” We raise boys to become men whose very identity is based on rejecting the feminine and then we’re surprised when they don’t see women as being fully human. So we set them up. We set boys up to grow into men who disrespect women at a fundamental level and then we wonder why we have the culture that we have.
I agree with Dr. Heldman that the origin of rape culture is through how we socially construct gender. I’ve spent the past two years grasping for answers and understanding in the wake of my rape, and I can see a very clear and distinct line between what our society teaches us about gender and the effects of those constructs on behavior.
Fortunately, my friend cares enough about me and this issue that he has taken the time to have these conversations and educate himself more thoroughly on rape, consent, rape culture, gender, and privilege. I have an amazing advocate and ally because he chose to have a seat and listen and learn.
Kiely: The older men in my life have always been modeling manhood for me. I went to a private, all-boys Catholic high school. As a freshman, we had a guest lecture in one of our humanities classes. His job was to teach us how to study more efficiently and effectively.
He proceeded to tell a story about a family that asked him to help their son improve his study habits. The son did his homework every day at the same time, up in his room, while looking out his window and watching a girls’ cross country team run by. The guest lecturer—also one of the school guidance counselors, also the man who would be assigned to be my college advisor—acted it out for us. He portrayed the young man, eyes bulged like a cartoon character. And then he grossly pantomimed the teenager watching the girls’ breasts bounce as they ran by. We all laughed, all twenty or so fourteen-year-old boys in the room. He laughed along with us. What’s odd is that I remember feeling uncomfortable with the joke, but there wasn’t an older man there to tell me why—the older men were the ones making the jokes. We were supposed to be learning better study habits; they were teaching us to objectify women.
It’s no surprise, then, that when I was in math class that same year, a class taught by a woman, one of my fellow students spent nearly an entire class drawing a sexually suggestive cartoon of her, and that when she found the drawing and yelled at him in class, he broke down in tears. He couldn’t cope with the idea that he’d been caught, and yet as he cried in front of all of us, what was also clear was that he knew he was wrong. We all did. We all knew, and yet none of us had stopped him. Worse, we all encouraged him—even if only through our silence.
Most men are sick with this kind of deeply embedded misogyny. I’m sick with it too; I’m not a man operating outside the bounds of how I’ve been taught to be a man. Without actively working against misogyny, I enable it, perpetuate it, and therefore continue to support the culture that blatantly harms women. I have to listen in order to learn about misogyny, then I have to notice it, and then, I have to speak up about it to let other men know what I see. All of us men must do a better job modeling this kind of behavior for boys, because collectively, how are we men currently modeling masculinity for all the boys who are out there watching us?
Bussolati: We know that gender is not strictly binary; gender identity and presentation are fluid. However, our culture continues to insist on reinforcing deeply harmful and constrictive codes of conduct by which men and women “should” behave. If we continue to promote (whether consciously or unconsciously) a narrative that casts men as dominant, assertive, and entitled, and women as submissive, timid, and lacking autonomy, we continue to perpetuate a dangerous narrative. The only way we can begin to dismantle this culture is through everyone actively examining these roles and constructs and taking responsibility for our actions, for the ideas we have perpetuated, and possibly even the crimes we have perpetrated, if we ever hope to completely address the issue. This is difficult and potentially painful work.
How do ingrained binary narratives about masculinity and femininity influence our understanding of consent? In seminars I lead with both high school students and adults, it’s difficult for people to accept the fundamental definition of consent: an affirmative “yes” articulated by a person free from the influence of substances and the intimidation/coercion from a partner. Many people have a hard time internalizing this definition, because upon reflection, they have to grapple with the fact that they may have engaged in sexual encounters without giving or receiving consent. That is a difficult truth for many of us to face. As Danielle Butler explains in her piece “The Conversation About Aziz Ansari Is an Uncomfortable Mess, Which Is Why We Need to Have It”: Hardly anyone is willing to admit they have been abusive or predatory, and, despite what some may have you believe, no one wants to actually be a victim.
In examining how these constructs have influenced me, I have had to hold myself accountable to the fact that I have unknowingly contributed to rape culture by the ways in which I have shamed other women and men for their sexual activity or lack of activity. I have also demonstrated coercive behaviors by asking “but why not?” when told by a partner that they did not want to have sex. At that time, being a man, at least to me, meant always wanting to have sex, and I am disgusted and ashamed that I have contributed in any way to a culture that denies autonomy and choice to all genders. In examining my role and place in this narrative, I have come to a greater understanding of what autonomy, choice, and consent really are, and how our ideas of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman impact our perceptions and actions.
If I ask a room full of high school students to list what we deem to be a masculine or feminine or what it means to be a man or a woman in this country, they have no trouble engaging in this discussion. Furthermore, they can articulate very clearly that men are supposed to have sex early and often, while women are supposed to be sexy without having sex. A woman who has sex early and often is a “slut.” Children can also easily identify that traditionally in this country, men are dominant and women are submissive. Women are supposed to be polite. Women are supposed to go along with what they’re told to do or play hard to get. What do those gender constructs mean for our understandings of rape and consent? Our culture teaches children that “no” really means “try harder.” We teach children that sex is an embarrassing or shameful topic, and they become adults who have no idea how to actually discuss sex with their partner in a healthy way.
Much of the burden of this work of dismantling these constructs has fallen heavily on the shoulders of the marginalized; the privileged rarely see the value in examining their own privilege and what it excuses and affords. I have seen this firsthand when men have elected to leave or avoid discussions on this topic or when men have dismissed my examples of microaggressions by saying I was “too sensitive.”
Throughout my career as an educator, I have heard more than one male colleague trivialize rape or make a rape joke while their female counterparts sat in silence. I have heard teachers call students a “slut” or a “whore”—both in front of and behind the backs of children. I have heard administrators laugh as they recount stories where students are being sexually harassed by other students. I have been told of a male colleague that said of a female student, “I hate to think what the frat guys are going to do to her in college… I only mean to say, I hope we fix her before she leaves.” These statements indicate a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to rape culture and consent, and they most assuredly are not examples of what it means to be an ally or an advocate.
We adults need to better model accountability for young people. For example, we have to use the word “rape” instead of a phrase like “nonconsensual sex.” And we have to use “rapist” instead of other words that hide, protect, or excuse the rapist of the rape, because when we use words that mask the true experience, we maintain rape culture and contribute to an environment that excuses rape and makes rapists more acceptable.
In the classroom, all teachers, women and men, must be informed about the depth and power of rape culture and be equipped to speak about it. If the professionals and parents responsible for mentoring and educating children are not intentional enough and knowledgeable enough to assess how they are complicit in rape culture, we cannot expect our students to be.
Kiely: We need to be at the table, we need to listen (without a wall of counterarguments built up in front of us), because if we aren’t, then we are perpetuating the factors that enable rape culture, and if we are enabling rape culture, we are perpetuating a culture that does not listen (or hear) no means no. If we can’t hear no, than we can’t get to a place where yes means yes—and that is the kind of world we should live in. Consent is yes means yes.
I read and participate in this conversation to stand with and beside Nikèl—to not run away from the word rape. I, too, have been hesitant to use the word because my instinct for too long has been to reserve it for the most extreme cases, instead of using it as it influences the violence and inequity and injustice in our misogynistic culture—our rape culture.
On some level, it’s ironic that my participation in this discussion brings a new voice to the conversation—that, by virtue of being a man who is a public figure, there is the possibility that more people want to read this—what does he have to say—but that is part of the problem. I often think about this in the context of my whiteness. When folks of color are telling me stories of their personal experience, stories in which they share an emotional truth, stories that highlight how they’ve been disrespected, demeaned, outright slandered, physically threatened, or simply ignored by a white person, my gut reaction cannot be to deny the reality of that story, or excuse it, or assume there was some miscommunicated “good” intent. Instead, my gut reaction has to be one of trusting the person of color telling me this story. Choosing to listen. Choosing to believe. Likewise, as a man, it’s incumbent upon me to listen to women’s stories, to choose to believe them. To sit and participate as an active and supportive listener, and then to help amplify those stories.
When I come to the table, because men do need to be at the table, my first job, as a man, is to listen, truly listen, not with an avalanche of “buts” tumbling through my mind (but this is a one- case scenario, but maybe she courts this kind of danger, but the boys weren’t really being serious, but it was only joke, etc.). Without these built-in counterarguments, if I truly listen, it might be easier for me to believe the stories, because my second and essential job is to believe what I’m hearing. They are people’s truths. Emotional truths, experiential truths: they are true without need for qualification. Once we listen, once we choose to believe, we will begin to see it more often on our own, without a woman having to tell us. We’ll see it in the break rooms at work, we’ll see it in the way we create hierarchies (the “best” kinds of movies, the “best” writing and novels), and we’ll see it more clearly in ourselves—which is where the work and the action needs to begin. Because too often, not only do we not step up and try to affect change in the moment, we don’t even first begin to work to change ourselves. Before I can speak truth to power, I must first be able to speak truth to myself. Before I can affect necessary change in society, I must first be willing to change myself.
I must take a seat at the table.
Bussolati: We need everyone, and especially anyone who has been previously reluctant to join, at the table so they can learn what it means to be an active bystander, advocate, and ally. People need to gain the confidence and security to speak up when required. We need everyone at the table so that a survivor doesn’t need to explain to their friend, teacher, coach, principal, or family members how their assault was assault or their harassment was harassment. People need to understand these concepts to avoid increasing the stress and anxiety experienced by a survivor who chooses to speak out. The onus of educating others should not be on the traumatized—the resources already exist. We need people, especially men, at the table so that they can learn these lessons in a safe space. As a friend of mine, who is a person of color, says in the context of dismantling white supremacy, we need everyone at the table so that their “aha!” moment is not at the expense of our pain.
I am aware that there is a very distinct possibility that there are individuals who may read this and recognize themselves in these words and on these pages. On this I want to make myself very clear: I have no interest in absolving anyone of any guilt they feel, and I have no interest in confirming or denying anyone’s place in this narrative. If you recognize yourself in these words and on these pages in any way, then you clearly have some work to do. We all have work to do. My challenge to you would be to have a seat at the table. There is an empty chair waiting for you.
Nikèl Bussolati is an educator, most recently of tenth graders. Brendan Kiely is an author of young adult novels, most recently Tradition.
Rumpus original logo art by Luna Adler.
ENOUGH is a Rumpus original series devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We believe that while this subject matter is especially timely now, it is also timeless. We want to make sure that this conversation doesn’t stop—not until our laws and societal norms reflect real change. You can submit to ENOUGH here.
Many names appearing in these stories have been changed.
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