I was told from a very young age that I had a “wicked” sense of humor. I blame it on my irish upbringing. The Irish can see the humor in everything from funerals to foreclosures.
In my late twenties, I was coming up as a comic in New York and at my first gig, a producer guy came up to me and said, you have a “wicked” sense of humor and a career was born.
I was also dating. Two times before I thought I met the man I was going to marry, but alas no and now I was resigned to a life of dating, not expecting too much, maybe some conversation, free food and maybe some intimacy. I would have a glorious life in NYC, with an upper east side apartment and my only commitment was to comedy and maybe a pet.
Then I met that guy, that was good with this lifestyle, he was also a comic.
He was funny and dark. I liked the funny, the darkness scared me, but I didn’t listen to that. I ignored it. I heard myself say, this guy is good for you, he won’t commit and he is a comic, he understands you. Who else will understand you?
The chemistry was there, but that too was scary, overwhelming and slippery.
My gut cried out to me, watch out, this isn’t right, he isn’t right, get as far away as you can.
I didn’t listen. I instead carried on.
I didn’t want to sleep with this guy, I wanted to wait, not sure what I was waiting for, but I wanted to wait, I was clear about that. I even said to the guy, listen you know I don’t want to rush this, I don’t want to sleep with you just yet and he understood.
About 6 weeks in, this changed. We slept together. The problem is, I had no part of it. I was date raped.
The NYC sex crimes unit, said the date rape wasn’t violent enough for them to prosecute.
It wasn’t violent, it happened slyly, with a switch of a hand for his penis, no protection, no warning, when I said, I didn’t want to have sex then, he said, “You enjoyed it didn’t you?”
That is the thing for a minute it felt good, then I realized, I had no say. You want sex to be consensual, this was sex on his terms, his way, I had no voice.
The DA’s office was no help, they read a page from a book defining rape as a violent act. They said I asked for it, that I lured him into my apartment. We were dating for christ sakes. For their Law and Order drama they wanted me pushed against the wall, with him forcing his way into me. Beaten.
I was duped with his small slight of hand, that screwed with my head, made me distrust the world, hate sex, men and there was certainly nothing funny. I started to become suicidal. I remember standing at the walk way on the east river by 86th street, saying to myself, you could end it right here. I confessed this to my therapist and she said, “you have all the signs of a rape victim.”
I hate the word “victim”. It keeps you in the problem, not the solution. It makes you less than, the perpetrator still wins. Survivor is better. I started surviving by going back on stage. Actually doing comedy again, saved my life. Even when I ran into this asshole. I successfully did my set in front of him twice. He would pull me aside and ask if we could be friends. That I was overreacting. The second time, I said, “You are goddamn lucky you are still standing here. I am not the only girl, I know that.” I still wonder about those other girls. I got off easy, I know that. It could have been so much worse.
This happened almost 20 years ago. Today, would he be prosecuted? Who knows? Do I want him to pay for what he did? I did at first, but the more and more I got on stage I healed a little bit more.
Today, luckily I rarely think about it. I am married to a great guy, have two beautiful kids and still make people laugh. I chose to heal through hearing other people’s laughter. I am so honored that I am doing the AWBW benefit, because if someone can heal any trauma through art, comedy, music, dance, theatre etc. there is so much good in the world, that diminishes the darkness just for a minute, that turns into a day, a year and for a lifetime. As I healed, I became whole and my voice returned. Now no one can shut me up. Trust me.
****A Window Between Worlds, (AWBW.org) benefit, August 15, 2015, Laugh A Latte at Hot Java, 2101 East Broadway, Long Beach. 7pm Art Project, 8pm Show. $5 donation.