A powerful beginning makes half of the formula for a riveting tale. It is deemed essential for establishing the context of a story that if missing, the narrative is incomplete – useless even. Try reading just a page of an essay or a chapter of a book, and I bet you would find yourself browsing through the previous pages.
I guess we have been programmed that way – to go back from the start and read on until the great finish so we could make sense of what is or what isn’t.
But the rape of Dustin has no beginning.
The days preceding the night of the assault might’ve served as an interlude before his tragedy, but they are not the great force that introduced the element of rape into his story. A few steps backward followed by a left turn and the story might’ve changed, but he is never to blame for the nightmare he faced.
In his nightmare, Dustin woke up to a sting. It sent a surge of pain down his spine, but the pain subsided not more than a few seconds later. “I was startled, yet I felt light-headed and numb. I could not move my body,” Dustin explained.
His eyes searched everywhere, only to find darkness and figures of men towering over him. He counted 6, with one having a familiar friendly face. It was his lover, if lovers were what they had been. A 40-year-old discreet gay and a lawyer by trade, he took the then 17-year-old runaway Dustin under his wing with a promise of a place he can call his new home and support for his schooling.
Before his slumber, his lover invited a few buddies over for drinks. “Most of them were in their 30’s and 40’s, I guess. At the time, he was 40,” Dustin recounted. A light drinker, Dustin left the party early and slept instead. But as he woke up that night, his lover and his buddies were on top of him, preparing to feast on his young body.
“I was there. I was just there… and I could not do anything.”
“I watched them silently… because there was nothing else I could do.”
“I watched as they took off their clothes…”
“I watched as they started putting their hands on me…” Dustin recounted, and his voice cracked. He replayed the nightmare in his head, and again he was in agony. He tried to remember as much as he could, and again he was in pain.
“I did not remember what happened after that. The next time I came to my senses, I could feel my body sore. There was pain coming from my behind, and it was excruciating. I knew I was fucked.”
“I did not know if they used condoms or not. I did not know if they shot their loads inside me.” It was his first time getting penetrated, and he did not have an inkling of what had happened. All he knew was his virginity was stolen, taken by force, while he’s passed out.
More precisely, he was raped.
The rape continued for more nights than he could remember and in each night, he would always wake up to a sting. Being young, powerless, and afraid, he was forced to accept his fate. “What else could I have done? I was 17, and he’s a lawyer. Nobody would believe me. And he knows how to defend himself.
Once this chapter came to a close, he tried his best to pick up what was left of him and moved on to another chapter. But just as there is no prelude to this tragedy, the rape of Dustin neither has an ending. The assault might have already ended, but it still haunts him ‘til this very day.
The memory visits him as he sleeps. He would wake up in the dead of the night with a jolt, and the searing pain of the injection was vivid once more. He would close his eyes to push the memory away, yet the horror and pain always refrain from being cast away. They would linger in the air, keeping him company throughout his slumber.
Only a handful of people know about the horror Dustin went through. When someone asks about his time away from home, he would gladly narrate the beginning and the end. But his tragedy will never be part of the conversation. It’s a chapter of the story he only keeps to himself. “I’m afraid of telling my story to people because they might say I had it coming,” Dustin explained. He blamed himself for what had happened, and he doesn’t want the world to join him.
For you see, in every rape story, people would clamor for details of the assault. Then they would ask, “How did you end up getting raped?”, “Where were you?”, and “Why were you with him?” It’s as if they’re trying to make sense of why the rape happened. It’s as if they’re trying to justify rape. It’s as if they’re trying to figure out where to point their fingers. And in every rape story, more fingers are pointed to the victim than to the accused.
So today, only a chapter of Dustin’s narrative is available for the taking. There would be no beginning and no end. Today, people will only learn about his rape.