(TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape)
by Cody Stone
In 1992 I had just graduated high school and had moved out of my parents house. I used to go to a bar which is still in operation today called the Carousel. Back in the day I was doing “drag king” shows and was having a blast. One particular night I had left my cigarettes in my car which was parked in the “pit.” The “pit” was to the left of the bar. You would have to walk about a half block and down a steep grade into a dark “pit” parking lot. It was part of the University of Tennessee parking during the day and therefore it was not lit. I was eighteen and bullet proof and thought nobody could hurt me.
I make the trek to my car, by myself like a dummy. I open my car door and lean in to get my cigarettes. All of sudden someone grabbed me and pulled me out of my car. Two men were on top of me like maniacs on the cold black asphalt. I could feel the concrete digging into my arms and head. They were telling me if this would have been done sooner I would not be at this filthy bar. They were going to give me what I needed. What they felt I needed was a real man. I guess a real man to them meant picking out an innocent person and raping them. Now how in the hell would that make a person want to be with a real man? I do not know but two men later, a broken collar bone, nose, concussion and bleeding from orifices that one should not be bleeding from they did not change my mind.
After the ordeal I slowly made my way up to the front door of the bar. My friend, who was the bouncer, took me to the hospital. Once there I had to wait in the waiting room for three hours which felt like an eternity. When I finally got to go to the back to be seen I then I had the privilege of a rape kit, x-rays, shots and a barrage of questions. Nothing was done and one police officer, which I over heard outside my room, said, “Well what do these kind of people expect to happen to them, they are a bunch of damn freaks.”
Here is the good side, yes there is always a good side. There is no longer a “pit.” They at first blocked it off at night and the university made street parking lots available to be used instead of closing them at night. Then a few years later they built a parking lot which is lit in it’s place. The bar itself began to offer people an escort to and from their cars for everyone’s safety. The city police department began to patrol the area more frequently around the bar. As far as I know there has not been an incident of this magnitude since. Sure there have been the verbal harassing of the drunk homophobic college students as they drive by but all in all it is now safe.
I would go through it again just to be the one to survive to help make these changes and to not let someone else go through this. Maybe they would not be so lucky and be a survivor like me. As an after thought…I am not a man hater because of these ignorant people. I do not hold all men accountable for the actions of a few. I am more careful and pay attention to my surrounding though and I hope reading this you are as well.
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