ENOUGH: Crime and Composure

By

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 runs every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.

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Crime and Composure
Natalie Eilbert

I was raped in October 2018. It happened in the midst of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s mounting accusations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which made my ordeal feel more like an object lesson than a violence. I had been newly angry about the evergreen dialogues around sexual assault, surprised and not at all around the Trump-led blitzkrieg calling out the “callous women” who wanted nothing more than to “ruin” all these good, God-fearing men. The right accused the left of a witch hunt, per usual. I prefaced all my tweets with, “As a survivor…” and considered the possibility that I was a translator, applying the decades of internalized victim-blaming and years of cognitive behavioral therapy into something of use for the general public. October was, in addition to this monumental voting decision, a kaleidoscope of fuckery. The United Nations issued a statement that climate change would cause irrevocable environmental catastrophe by 2040, a report that signaled parallels with our treatments of one another in crisis: Children languished in cages apart from their parents, who languished in separate cages. October was hell.

The rhetoric surrounding Dr. Blasey Ford’s imminent testimony sent Twitter ablaze. #MeToo stories erupted, tweet threads unspooled, and partisan vitriol, in the midst of midterm elections, undergirded every survivor story for or against Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment. In the midst of the imbroglio, Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to Trump, confessed to her own sexual assault but implied that Kavanaugh was being treated like the #MeToo movement’s whipping boy. “I’m a victim of sexual assault,” she told CNN. “I don’t expect Brett Kavanaugh… to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct.” To the spate of women on Twitter coming out with their stories of assault, Conway located herself in the equation as a victim-blaming partisan politician who, pulling at her Saint Laurent bootstraps, completely missed the point. Kavanaugh represented, and continues to represent, the slimy privilege of upper-middle-class white boys, a man cut from the school-uniformed cloth who, in the spirit of good ol’ tomfoolery, received not a reprimand but an enthusiastic clap on the back. Conway implored us not to treat Kavanaugh as a monolith of those accusations during the nomination process. For what reason, though, should someone up for the highest court in the land not be viewed as a monolith of righteousness?

Days and weeks before the night of my rape, my old wounds had already opened. The possibility of a hearing inspired in me something like hope as it also reminded me of the uncomfortable chairs I’d sat in at police precincts to report past assaults. No one who comes forward is treated with the dignity, let alone the care, of being the victim of a heinous crime. You are careless, trouble, a nuisance to the legal system. You endanger yourself when you make the moment that ruptured you into a scene. I contributed to the Twitter conversations for this very reason: It scared the shit out of me. It hurt to have to offer my stories of abuse in a series of tweets and to know this pain was candy for retweets. This action by itself jolted me into a familiarly vicious paradox: Isn’t this pain what I wanted? Wasn’t it all just to seek attention? I convinced myself, however, that victims should saturate their feeds with stories that were messy, imprecise, and not always consistent, because rape is messy, imprecise, and inconsistent. For this reason, the legal system cannot make sense of this brand of victim-as-witness: often, we don’t know how or why it happened, and sometimes, we don’t know the extent to which it even happened. We see this blinkering violence thrown into agonized relief in Jon Krakauer’s Missoula, when character witnesses of the defendant (as well as the sentencing itself) outweigh the preponderance of evidence on the part of the victim. Krakauer observed the legal system’s methods of deference and offered this quote from Judith Lewis Herman’s towering book, Trauma and Recovery:

The US legal system is organized as an adversarial contest: in civil cases, between two citizens; in criminal cases, between a citizen and the state. Physical violence and intimidation are not allowed in court, whereas aggressive argument, selective presentation of the facts, and psychological attack are permitted, with the presumption that this ritualized, hostile encounter offers the best method of arriving at the truth. Constitutional limits on this kind of conflict are designed to protect criminal defendants from the superior power of the state, but not to protect individual citizens from one another…. All citizens are presumed to enter the legal arena on an equal footing, regardless of the real advantages that one of the parties may enjoy. The Constitution, therefore, offers strong guarantees for the rights of the accused, but no corresponding protection for the rights of crime victims. As a result, victims who choose to seek justice may face serious obstacles and risks to their health, safety, and mental health.

In an effort to impart a more bipartisan stance, one of the headlines in the New York Times’s The Lede read, “Will Dr. Blasey Be a Credible Witness and Maintain Her Composure?”1 This was days before the testimony. Within the first paragraph, there seemed a running bet whether she would crack amid this wallop of a sentence: “Since she came forward, Dr. Blasey and her family have received death threats and were forced to move out of their house.”2 You could almost hear the dry palms of men rubbing together, chips thrown in the pot, watching for the change in her disposition.

The call to be composed relies on the health of the patriarchy. This desire for composure isn’t too far removed from the need to perform hysterectomies and lobotomies on women to calm them for good. A cutting out of the womb or frontal lobe served everyone but the excised women. Similarly, a modicum of composure serves everyone but the deeply triggered—and yet, look at how often the deeply triggered show up, ready to seat their nerves into a look of comportment? In the fourteenth century, the words “compose” and “compound” shared similar meanings: something produced by the combination of two or more elements; mixed or blended items. The shared definition is not lost on me. Composure, then, must mean to endure the extraordinary and still have the wherewithal to remain unperturbed, neutral despite the counteractive elements. The oppression moves only below the surface.

 

In the ongoing aftermath of assault, this is one dance, should you choose it. Composure through death threats in an unending chorus of we don’t believe you. Recall Judith Lewis Herman’s koan that the presumption of “ritualized, hostile encounter offers the best method of arriving at the truth” in a court of law. You are not to snap under the pressure despite the real possibility that you will die at the feet of your abuser[s]’s [un]shaken victories. The other dance is a safer one (though you’ll still die the same way): To sit it out entirely. And, perhaps if you like your family and you like your house, you are none the more honorable for choosing that route.

When I was raped in October, I responded as quickly as I could. It took nearly twenty-four hours after the assault for me to reach out to my closest group of friends (all of whom live far away from me), describe the events in gruesome detail to my therapist, call a good local friend, find out which hospital in Madison had SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) workers on duty, receive counsel from a forensic nurse and a sexual assault advocate, determine the steps I would be comfortable taking with the rapist, and have a rape kit collected. I was asked over and over again about the events of the evening. Did I want to press charges? Did I want a restraining order? Should I start the paper trail without sharing his name and see if further violence forces the issue? I didn’t have to answer right away; I had a generous five-day window to “choose to seek justice” and “face serious obstacles and risks to [my] health, safety, and mental health.”3  They gave me a paper cup of water for the prophylaxis. The nurse took photos of my bruised vagina for police records, and described the lacerations studding my flesh as “crescent moons.” It’s a signature shape from the perpetrator’s fingernails, she clarified. Afterwards, I ate tacos.

 

Tinder was new to me. After being in a six-year relationship, all dating apps were new. I told friends that exploring such apps was like walking on the moon, only instead of aliens, out of its craters were men brandishing trout, crouching over tranquilized leopards, and smiling in tuxedos with the caption, “I clean up real good :).” I could idly swipe left during my office hours, while my pasta cooked, before bed. On rare occasions, I swiped right, although I was too shy to play the game past this point. Still, I spoke with a few all-too-eager men who would, infuriatingly, keep repeating my name in every new sentence to me. I’d teach my classes, go to yoga, make dinner, grade; sometimes I’d masturbate if depression hadn’t completely depleted me. I refused to open Tinder, especially when I got a new message. In lieu of throwing my phone across the room with embarrassment (which I had done on a number of occasions at first), I would take a good selfie and post it to Instagram for validation. Tinder offered me nothing but animal shame; I could seek positive vibes elsewhere. Eventually, though, the need for human touch caught up with me and I found myself checking my calendar and typing to one of the right-swept men languishing in my messages, “Friday night sounds good!”

I had a bad feeling right away, based on our interactions. It was too formulaic for my taste: our night was a copy-paste job from other plans with other women. The pre-meeting small talk bored me for this same reason. In fact, I canceled our first Friday night plans and then our rain-checked date following that. On the third attempt at a date, two weeks later, he was still interested in meeting. I applied eyeliner and blotted my lipstick. I dressed with purpose—a classy outfit that displayed my good curves—and did not cancel. I found him in a bustling bar at happy hour and we spent an hour talking. His values somewhat aligned with mine, and at some point, he signaled that he was a feminist, at least on the basic level of gender equality. After a cheese plate and a bottle of wine, he suggested we head to another bar. I looked at my phone: It was still early. I wanted to keep the night just that way, but still, another bar wouldn’t hurt. The moment we walked out of the bar, however, he pulled me in for a kiss and shoved his hand down my pants. I pulled it out and suggested we keep walking, but it switched some primordial desire in him all the way on. He continued to jam his hand in my pants as we walked, smelling his fingers with glee, and shoving his hand back in my pants after I, again, removed it from my waist band and suggested, again, we keep on going to the next bar. It was almost Halloween. Children were out with their parents in ladybug and Harry Potter costumes. Never once did he ask for nor did I offer permission for his hand to reach down my pants, but I’m so used to this form of humiliation. I’ve been losing the battle of unwanted hands down my pants since I was nine.

If that were the end of the ordeal, I would have chalked it up as a bad date. But now we were in his apartment (internal questions: How did we get there? Why did I let it progress to this? I have legs, don’t I?) and things were heating up, at least for him. At the critical point of nudity, I asked if he could put a condom on. I was not into this, it was very clear, but at least we should be safe. He sighed and, disappointingly, opened a nightstand drawer and rolled the condom on. Midway through, he took it off as if it were causing him physical distress. I looked at it, a limp fish on the sheets. I asked him if he could please put another condom on. I was so polite about it, I worry that it was this passivity that made it seem less dire, more a game of attrition. He smirked, said “Okay,” and flipped me on my stomach, putting his whole weight on my 122-pound frame. Without a condom on, a stranger was pushing inside me. I kept muttering “Wait” and “Stop” though my heart was in my throat. I remember thinking, “Oh, I’m getting raped now.” This was the literal thought that kept coming to me. “Oh,” the manner in which one might utter a noise upon seeing a crooked picture frame on a wall. There was little I could do, afraid that fighting back would only make it a more painful experience than it was. This went on for an hour, him raping me and me occasionally saying “no” and “wait” as it happened, him occasionally putting his hand over my mouth or around my throat. Eventually I gave up. I told myself it would be better to enjoy it, or at least pretend to enjoy it. As the violations continued, I focused on the room: I spotted two water glasses by his nightstand and wondered how many women this week he had done this to. I tried to remember as many details as I could. A deflated basketball in the corner of his bedroom. Bare walls, except for a watercolor map of Prague, where he supposedly lived for a year.

Afterwards, I limped to the bathroom and pissed blood. He was standing by the bathroom when I came out, begging me to stay the night, wrapping his leg and arms around me like a needy child while I stood in the bathroom dizzy. Who rapes someone and then wants them to stay over? Someone who doesn’t think they raped someone. I insisted I needed to go home. He refused to let me walk home alone (concerned of my safety?) so he ushered me there. My whole body swelled with pain as we walked. He kissed me goodnight and said he had a great time. He texted me the morning after with a smiling emoji. He texted again a few days later. A gentleman.

 

When I close my eyes, it often surprises me that I can willingly see nothing. There are times when I can simply be, and there is hope in entering this human verb. Growing up, I believed more often than not that I was being watched. I envisioned a red palm over my eyes or that the dots that danced around my vision when dizzy or studded by light were celestial entities. I didn’t believe in God, but believed I was illusory, some character in a story being read aloud in some nicer elsewhere. My life never felt especially interesting even after I determined it was my own, and yet I felt shackled to keen events on loop, shackled not just by the feedback of these loops but the disinterest these loops inspired. These were nothing memories for a long time, but then why was I so obsessed by their ongoingness, to borrow a perfect term from Sarah Manguso. I minimized the violence of these memories because I had a false understanding of assault. I minimize them still, and still, there they are.

The morning after my assault, I learned that eleven Jews had been gunned down at the Squirrel Hill Synagogue in Pittsburgh. After the massacre, the shooter, Robert Bowers, surrendered and is still alive now, in custody. My body hurt and my heart hurt for my people. Who was I to complain? I was alive. The rapist didn’t mean anything by it but pleasure.

 

A friend informed me a few days later of a term for what the rapist did to initiate the rape: “stealthing.” In stealthing, a man will secretly take off his condom and continue to fuck the person without their immediate knowledge and, certainly, without their permission. “Nonconsensual condom removal” is a more legal term for this, according to litigator and National Women’s Law Center staffer Alexandra Brodsky. It is a common enough act that columnists have called it “rape adjacent.” In fact, when I studied the term, “rape adjacent” was one of the first phrases associated with it. Brodsky’s article, called “‘Rape-Adjacent’: Imagining Legal Responses to Nonconsensual Condom Removal” is as apt a title as it is indicative of the violence’s dismissal. The operative verb here is “imagining.” As a gerund, it conveys an active thought experiment and it doubles as shrewd commentary toward action. Imagine that! A real legal response! The duplicitous nature of stealthing is posed as more psychological than physical: “In this way, survivors describe nonconsensual condom removal as a threat to their bodily agency and as a dignitary harm. You have no right to make your own sexual decisions, they are told. You are not worthy of my consideration.4

I don’t know what mental gymnastics need to happen for clear penetrative violation to be deemed anything but rape. Intercourse is an agreement, and like all agreements, there are conditions. If you fail to meet those conditions, the intercourse is no longer an agreement. Intercourse, from the fifteenth century: “communication to and fro.” Exchange. Commerce. Trade. There is nothing hard about this. And yet, hundreds of forums and threads espouse the wild debate behind stealthing’s violence to biological determinism. Many men in these forums agree with the act of stealthing, with asinine defenses such as, “If she wants the guy’s dick, she has to take his load!” and “Yes they deserve it” and “It’s a man’s instinct to shoot his load into a woman’s pussy. He should never be denied that right.”5 Condoms suck, right?

 

On December 11, 2018, a police officer in Germany was found guilty of “stealthing” on a woman. It was the first ruling of its kind, although it did not carry the punishment of rape. The victim told the court that she “explicitly requested” the man to wear a condom and gave no consent to sexual intercourse without protection. Only when the man ejaculated did she realized he had not been wearing a condom, according to Berlin’s chief court spokeswoman Lisa Jani. A rape sentence would have meant at least two years in prison, the statutory minimum sentencing; instead, he received an eight-month suspended jail sentence and was fined £3,000 in damages as well as £96 to pay for a sexual health test for the victim. The courts consider this a “gray area.” A compounding of elements towards composure.

Whenever I’m proactive about assault, which has only been in recent years, I find myself in the days following the violence suffering the part of a fool. Did I overreact? Had I been stealthed? The word conveyed something closer to getting punk’d than assaulted. Was this hellfire experience merely someone else’s punchline? A joke, a fistbump, a man’s God-given right? Late at night, I’d browse HIV forums on the subject of stealthing, trying to weigh the possibility that I might have been exposed to HIV. One woman said that after she discovered her new partner had removed the condom and demanded he get tested, he told her “I’m clean… you’re so paranoid… you have some intrinsic issues you need to deal with … I don’t understand why you don’t believe me.” He ended up being positive. Days after I received the antibiotics at the hospital, I realized I was not given PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV, although I thought it was included with the fistful of horse pills I swallowed. I was no longer in the 72-hour window for PEP. I cried into a pillow and decided it would be best to quarantine myself after talking to a nurse over the phone who told me, in her chewiest Midwestern accent, that you can’t effectively be tested until three months following the incident. (Upon further research, I learned this was not the case.) I told myself I would not engage with anybody in a romantic sense until my tests came back. Why would I want to and what would be the point? I deleted the dating apps. Nothing about them inspired funny metaphors now. Every profile, every message, every flame icon, a violence. I looked at people holding hands on the street like I was watching the world burn.

The morning after my assault, I had twenty unread text messages from my BFF group chat. By the time I had reached out to my friends in the middle of the night, everyone had been asleep. Once awake, my friend M. called and I told her what happened. She was crying, furious. I had not cried much, so it was strange to hear her reaction. Sometimes when I tell friends about violences that have happened to me, they tear up and reach for my hand. It is hard for me to accept this affection or empathy because I am perpetually talking through it, unsettled, inconclusive. But I welcomed her outrage. I needed it more than I knew. With M., I had not used the word “rape.” She did. “We keep talking around this,” she said, anger huffing her voice. “But he raped you, Natalie. You were raped.” I agreed, although my psychic hand wished to retreat under the table. It isn’t that the action is less true if I avoid the word, but it’s the word itself that troubles narrative. The word rape reveals a cinematic reel of struggle, a woman screaming, a foaming at the mouth to entrap or to escape, a figure with a malicious erection waiting in the bushes to tear your clothes off. Because there were consensual aspects of the night, I held on to the possibility that this was just a big misunderstanding. I could have been clearer, after all.

 

Prior to Judith Lewis Herman’s Trauma and Recovery, she presented a groundbreaking paper on “complex” PTSD, published in 1992 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.6 Here, she offers a new report on PTSD as it relates to repeated traumas. She introduces her findings with the following disclaimer: “The current diagnostic formulation of PTSD derives primarily from observations of survivors of relatively circumscribed traumatic events: combat, disaster, and rape. It has been suggested that this formulation fails to capture the protean sequelae of prolonged, repeated trauma.”7 Ultimately, she breaks down this sequelae of prolonged trauma into three categories: somatic, dissociative, and affective. In a letter to the editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, one psychologist, whom Herman referred to only as Kolb, writes of the “heterogeneity of PTSD.” He goes on to say, “PTSD is to psychiatry as syphilis was to medicine. At one time or another PTSD may appear to mimic every personality disorder.”8

Trauma has not always been identifiable for psychiatric diagnoses. Only recently did the disorders that surfaced from trauma serve as definitive evidence of PTSD. This means that for countless years, those affected by post-traumatic events were forced into the rigor of composure, or risk forever being misunderstood. Sometimes, a friend will announce on social media that they have officially been diagnosed with PTSD, and it has the effect—for good reason—of victory. One might survive the hegemony this way. If we know anything of power, it is that power will always bury away the voices of mental illness, event and recovery, and the ugly fits in between from being released. Let’s not forget that to even be diagnosed with PTSD, you must exhibit its signs and/or intimate an explicitly circumscribed traumatic event. Sometimes, the traumatized don’t even know they are traumatized. The pain is a black yolk in an otherwise normal-looking egg that, to access, is to shatter the facade. The shell that keeps us whole. Trauma is the result of remembering without reconciliation or conclusion, that which can only repeat itself and be contained within that repetition. More than anything, trauma is a tautology through which no one can heal. In such a tautological framework, we can’t help it: We compose ourselves for the crowd.

 

It has been months since I have looked at this essay. I have wondered, since originally writing it on the night of Christmas Eve, whether it was worth revisiting, or if the writing itself could heal me of some of the starker pain from this experience. It did. Today, I spent time with Ellena Savage’s Yellow City, a new chapbook publishing with my press. It’s an essay about when she was sexually assaulted while abroad in Lisbon. No, it’s about the aftermath of the assault. It’s about the undermining power of the law when your assailants are young, white, cis-het men. In a reckoning moment, a detective working on the case excuses the men because they don’t “look like monsters.” Trust me, he tells her, “I’ve seen my fair share of monsters.” Ellena internally responds, “To this day, I have never met a monster.” I gasped reading this sentence. I decided that this will be the pull-quote that represents the ethos of the essay. I moved text around to feature this line as the frontispiece of the chapbook. I designed geometric lines and placed the text in an elegant typeface. It looked pretty.

Later, I went to a coffee shop. My outfit was cute and I thought I would venture to the spot in town that had equally cute locals. I walked in to a few tables of white people with Warby Parker glasses, knit caps, tattoos. I ordered a drink and turned around to find an empty table. Then, he walked past me. It happened so fast, such that we locked eyes for one nanosecond too long. How does one describe these moments? The face flashes green, the mind’s aperture always working. There, his face. Then, gone. A look of recognition. A glimpse of knowing. He looked like so many patrons here: tall, handsome, Bose headphones wrung around his neck. I located a table with a calm I have always had, his face searing into me. I have always held a superficial composure, but my whole body shakes when embraced. A man I’ve been dating noted that I am always shaking and I joked that I’m a chihuahua frightened of the world’s constant dangers. My therapist told me recently that many trauma survivors hold their breath and their bodies tightly, bracing themselves for whatever is coming next. “Staying alert for years, “she tells me, “takes a toll.”

Without a clear alternative, I sat down for moment. I remained composed; inside of me, something produced by the combination of two or more elements. An admixture of elements: his violence on me, my flattening out as victim, his flattening out as rapist. On the surface, neither shakes upon contact, neither rapes upon contact. Then, like a root jutting up the sidewalk, I stood. I abandoned my cup of coffee and ran out of the coffee shop, my legs pumping faster and faster despite the thick layer of ice on the ground. To get to my car, I had to cross Johnson Avenue, one of the central arteries that cuts through the isthmus. The thought of him being behind me pushed my body into traffic. Cars careened near my running body, honking and braking; I ran in beat-up boots meant for dry, smooth surfaces and not the frozen potholes and ice sheets of Wisconsin. All I thought was Make it, make it, make it. I was sure I was being pursued, but no one was near except for a worried neighbor watching the scene in horror. I slammed the car door shut, locked the doors, hit the ignition, and sped as fast as I could, once again, out of the vicinity.

 

To this day, I have never met a monster.

Trauma cannot show others the enormity of our experiences. We don’t get to show the world from which we run, because it is our memories that incubate the beast. Few perpetrators wait behind a tree for us. They are clean-cut, make funny puns on their Tinder profiles, have a savings account, an insurance plan, a 401K. They believe in intersectional feminism, Black Lives Matter, the resistance to Trump. Perhaps they’ll even shed a tear for the children in cages on the border. They are conscientious of the environment, aware that 2040 sits like a barricade against future imaginings. They may have watched Dr. Ford’s testimony with tears filling their eyes. They may have told the women around them, “I believe you.” Such virtue signals attenuate our typical reservations. They can walk into any space and meet our gaze because they have convinced themselves that we are the crazy ones, composed monsters out for vengeance. What must it have looked like for him, to watch the woman he certainly did not rape flee a coffee shop, her mug of coffee still steaming on the table?

The man who raped me lives on a street one block away from my apartment. This street is like so many streets in Madison. Kale grows in bunches in front yards, squirrels scamper over dried leaves listening for the wriggling below, neighbors greet you as they click their car fobs. Part of why I moved back to Madison had so much to do with this Thornton Wilder provinciality. The setting nurtures the type of writing I’m more and more invested in: slow writing that accrues in meaning and thought over time. Here, large bodies of water freeze and thaw. The cold aches in my bones until spring and then the green bursts everything into blossoms. It’s a green so full it has moved me to tears. Over the summer, I loved running up and down my street, toward the Yahara River, up Morrison Street so I could jog against the glistening arc of Lake Monona. It is a street I once associated with potlucks and bunnies.

When he walked me home on this street I’ve always loved, he held my hand hard, as if in an effort to force the event into something approximating romance. My fingers, crushed in the interlacing, could not curl toward his even if I’d wanted them to. He walked me to my door and then he walked the same path, presumably, back. It must have been a satisfying, romantic walk for him.

The strangest part of the day following the assault was that I drove myself to the hospital to receive a rape kit. Like I was running an errand. My friend accompanied me and I answered the questions like an eager student, but nothing beyond that. I used a tissue to blow my congested nose. I kept the tissue crumpled in my hand, waiting for a breakdown that never came. In the days following, I would wrap my scarf around my neck and zip up to go outside, not thinking about violation. I would step into my shoes, check that my phone was in my pocket, and lock the door behind me, not thinking about violation. Sometimes, when no one is there, the street is like any other street I do not need: mere geography and distance, a flattening of mixtures. In these desolate periods, I pass without conscious thought. The second I’m on foot, however, and see a biker, a jogger, a pedestrian, or even a vehicle braked at a stop sign, my blood stills and I am outnumbered, out of control. In these moments, I keep my head down and cross the street, staring at my shoes. I focus on them marshaling me forward, but, like a child who, when scared, shuts their eyes to the unimaginable, I blank out. Like that child with red palms pressed against their eyes and like the woman two decades later running for her life, I pray that I can make it to the other side unscathed.

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1. The Lede via The New York Times. “Will Dr. Blasey Be a Credible Witness and Maintain Her Composure?” October 2018.

2. Ibid.

3. Judith Herman, quoted in Krakauer’s Missoula.

4. Brodsky, Alexandra. “Rape-Adjacent: Imagining Legal Responses to Non-Consensual Condom Removal.” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 2017.

5. Ibid.

6. Herman, Judith. “Complex PTSD: A Syndrome in Survivors of Prolonged and Repeated Trauma.” The Journal of Traumatic Stress. Plenum Publishing Corporation. 1992.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

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Rumpus original logo art by Luna Adler.

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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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