Adrienne #61

    Years ago, when I still lived in Oakland, California, I heard about a woman in our punk scene that had been raped by her ex-boyfriend. It happened during a party when she had gone to her room to pass out drunk. She woke up with the guy on top of her, raping her. I knew the woman that it had happened to, although I was never very close to her. I also knew the guy that had done it, although I had never been very close to him either. There was no question and no denial of the rape. It had happened and everyone was trying to deal with it. Some people gathered at one of the punk houses and the guy was brought to the house. He was confronted with what he had done. Someone had brought a knife and wanted to kill him. Another person wanted to talk to him. Some people were just there waiting for a chance to beat his ass. I think he did get beat up. Beat up and told that he could never return to Oakland or else the person with the knife would get to take their turn. Of course, the people who had wanted to just talk to the rapist were upset that he got beat up because they didn't feel that violence was the solution to the problem. The person with the knife was upset because only getting beat up wasn't enough punishment. Personally, the way that I feel in regards to rape, I would have definitely been in the camp of giving the guy a severe, brutal, and complete beat down. Cause some permanent damage. This guy had seriously damaged the mind and soul of another human being and talking about it wasn't going to change that. Beating the guy up wasn't going to change that either, but at least it leaves more of an impact.
    Since I wasn't at the house when everyone had the meeting with the rapist, I didn't get to have any sense of having dealt with what had happened to this woman and to our scene. I didn't want to approach the woman and just start talking to her about what had happened because I wasn't close with her. It's a difficult enough subject to bring up with someone that you are really fucking close with, let alone someone that you've just hung out with at shows or parties. If she wasn't going to talk about it with me, I was most definitely going to respect that and not broach the subject with her. But I wanted to do something because this woman had always been really nice and sweet to me. I thought long and hard about what I could do. I just didn't want her to feel alone with her pain and her hurt. I wanted her to know that she had support and love and friendship from everyone, not just me. I considered writing her a card, but I didn't want her to feel that she had to approach me and thank me for it or anything. Plus what would it say? Sorry you were raped and hope you feel better? There's absolutely nothing you can say. Nothing makes it go away. So I was out driving in my car heading home after band practice and the windows were rolled down because it was a beautiful spring night. The air was full with the scent of flowers and everything felt clean and fresh and alive. That's when I realized what I could do.
     I went home, grabbed a big pair of scissors and a couple of paper grocery bags. I jumped back into my car, and headed over to the part of town that I'd just been traveling through. Parking on a dark street, I began to casually walk around and started checking out people's front lawns. Within a couple of houses, I spotted some amazing rose bushes. I looked around at the deserted street and then sleuthed my way over to the bush. Keeping as quiet as possible, I opened up my bag, took out the scissors, and cut a few of the biggest and most blooming and vibrant flowers off of the bush. I threw them into the bag, tip toed out onto the sidewalk again, and then proceeded to casually walk further down the sidewalk. I pillaged and plundered each front yard I saw that had any kind of flower. I picked small daisies, roses, big chunks of flowering tree limbs ... anything that looked alive and smelled alive. I filled both of the bags until they were spilling flowers behind me. I raced back to my car, not caring if anyone saw me anymore. I was laughing and full of this intense feeling of power because I knew exactly what to do with those flowers. I knew the way that I wanted to help this woman heal. Jumping into my car, I raced over to her house and parked a couple of doors down. I looked at her house and saw that everything was dark inside so I knew that nobody was up and about. Quietly, I took the bags of blossoms and I walked in the shadows over to her front door. Very carefully and quietly, I took each flower out and arranged them on her front steps. She had three front steps that led directly to her front door, and I filled each step with flowers that were arranged just so. They cascaded down her steps, filled the doorway, and the scent made me feel giddy. I stepped back and looked at what I'd done and it was magic. It was a bountiful gift that I wanted to give to her. To show her beauty. To let her know that people cared. I went back to my car and pulled out a piece of paper and wrote something along the lines of "We are here for you". I didn't sign my name. I didn't need to sign my name. Doing this for her wasn't about taking credit. It was about showing love and support. I took one last look at the card and the flowers and I knew that I had done the right thing.
    I don't have any great, big, moral ending to what happened and what I did. She never found out that it was from me, but I know that she saw the flowers and I was told that she was moved. I don't know if it made her happy or if it brought her sadness. But if anything of what I was feeling that night reached out and touched her in any way, then I know that she got a rush of feelings that were positive and good. That's what I hope. I wanted to give her something that would make her feel powerful. I didn't want her to feel as if all eyes were on her everywhere she went since everyone knew what had happened. I didn't want her to feel awkward and uncomfortable and watched and judged. I just wanted her to have one pure moment of wonderment and surprise. That was the gift I wanted to give to help her to heal.
     Endnote:  I finally have a computer. My work was going to get rid of their old one and instead, they gave it to me! Free computers are cool. So now I've finally got e-mail. If you want, write me at: NO-EXS@JUNO.COM
    I will respond to all e-mail sent. Or you can still write me a letter, which I would much rather receive then e-mail. My address will be at the bottom of this column. I also went to Wisconsin for the Old Barn Festival and I need to send out some thanks. My biggest thank you goes out to Felix Von Havoc for picking me up at the airport, giving me a place to stay, and driving my tired ass back to Minneapolis after the festival. Also big thanks to Mandy and her beautiful roommates. They gave my drunk ass a place to crash a few nights in a row and did an awesome job of putting together this festival. And thanks to my favorite band at the festival and the most insane people you will ever meet, Spasm 15 1. And, of course, my heart goes out to Dave, Eric, Corey, and Matt of Aus Rotten. I was so happy to be able to play with all of you in Wisconsin. Thank you so much for that intense experience. Peace/Equality, Adrienne