Letters

You Sleigh Me
Mom said I'd make a good lawyer. Dad said I should have been a hippie. My parole officer said I better straighten up and fly my reindeer right. None of it made sense. I was lost, aimless, foundering in a sea of unfulfilled potential -- until I read Night Crawler by Silke Tudor (Dec. 20). Thanks to you, I now have a purpose in life!

I know what I was born to be -- a marauding Santa!
The thrill of outrunning security guards, the taste of warm malt liquor on a chilly night, the sweet discipline that only a dominatrix Santa-ette can give ... a standoff with the SFPD! These are a few of my favorite things. Please, Silke, you're my only hope. Only you have the impeccable underground connections required to unite me with my people. I must join my brothers and sisters for next year's rampage. If I don't hook up with them, who knows what horrible fate might befall me? I can't go on like this forever! I could spiral downward. I could become a lawyer, for god's sake! If my people contact you about next year's debauchery, please send me any information you can gather. Believe me, it will get you on the "good girl" list for life. (If you'd prefer the "bad girl" list, Santa can arrange that, too.)

Thanks for the great column, and may your stocking always be stuffed.
Hugh Gurin
San Francisco

Lifelong Recovery
When I saw the cover "Calling It Rape" (Dec. 13), I froze in front of the newsrack. Oh my god, I thought, someone found the letter I wrote! Just two days earlier, I had written a letter to the man who raped me 22 years ago. I stood on the sidewalk, oblivious to the Christmas traffic rushing around me, scanning the article for coincidental details. I, too, was a 16-year-old virgin; he, too, was a 24-year-old acquaintance. Our stories diverge from there.

I had run away from home and was sleeping on charcoal bags in the back of a 7-Eleven store, eventually getting sick from exposure and too many chocolate doughnuts. I was taken in by a seemingly kind man who treated me well for a month. During that time, he asked me questions about sex. I explained that I was waiting for the right person with whom I would plan a beautiful ceremony of initiation. I said I knew I would feel a certain way when I was ready and I didn't feel that way yet. "What is 'ready' going to feel like?" he asked. "How will you recognize it if you've never felt it?" I was too naive to recognize his growing impatience. I assumed he was merely curious about my beliefs. I remember saying that I thought sex was private, something you do by yourself. Trying to do such a thing with two bodies would undoubtedly be awkward and wouldn't it make the people burst out laughing? I thought that was funny, but I remember he didn't laugh.

Being raped as a virgin is the worst aspect of my experience. Having rape as my first experience of sex established a terrible imprint that has affected my sex life ever since. I'll never know what my life would have been like if I had been able to choose that first time. Maybe it wouldn't have been as great as I dreamed. But it would have been my choice and my disappointment. I was wrong to trust him, but that doesn't excuse his behavior. I was 16. I had a right to naivetŽ. He could have warned me that others might take advantage of that innocence and warned me that he was tempted to do so himself. When I cried out in horror and objection during my attack, I was told: "All that talk about waiting to be ready was bullshit. You're the kind of girl who would never be ready. You needed someone to force you or you'd never do it. You were living in a fantasy world. This is the real world now. This is what sex is, and you better get used to it."

Those words have haunted my life. Imagine feeling raped every time you had sex. Imagine thinking it was something you were supposed to "get used to." Now imagine the repercussions of that on all your relationships. That's what I lived with for 22 years. I have only recently managed to shake that feeling. Perhaps my rapist was abused as a child himself. Perhaps that's why he had to destroy my dream, as his had been destroyed. To other rape survivors I say: It is possible to recover. It just takes a lifetime.

S.F. Diamond
San Francisco

Something to Talk About
Diane Leibel (Letters, Dec. 20) wonders why Susan Jay, in her account of contacting the man who raped her 22 years ago, ("Calling It Rape") doesn't identify her rapist by his real name. Assuming that Leibel is familiar with the concept of libel suits, she apparently feels that Jay's unwillingness to go through a protracted legal battle at this point in her life makes her a moral coward.

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