A woman looks back on how a rape 15 years earlier still affects her life, her relationships with others, and the way she feels about herself. The event itself is recounted piecemeal throughout the story as the narrator describes the dissolution of her relationship with Lenny, whom she was seeing at the time of the rape, and compares her experience to the gang rape of an acquaintance. She compares Lenny with her husband, Dan, and the ways they dealt differently with the event; Lenny was helpless and passive, her husband, strong and protective. The narrator is caught between the desire to strike back and the need to submit to the mercy of others in order to stay alive.


While the topic of violence toward women is increasingly common in medical education and practice, the discussion usually focuses on immediate diagnosis and treatment. This story, with its effective interdigitation of past and current events, illustrates how the trauma of rape never completely recedes into the past, but continues to affect the thoughts and behaviors of the victim years later.


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Primary Source



Northwestern University

Place Published

Evanston, Ill.



Page Count