Patricia Jackson – “Anti-Rape Squad #38″ (with audio)
Click below to hear Patricia Jackson reading “Anti-Rape Squad #38″ at our Special Community Event on October 13, 2011:
During the ’70s, I lived in approximately a dozen lesbian collective households. I reveled in being surrounded with so many sisters, as I was raised an only child. After several months of living together, we noticed that we synchronized our menstrual periods. We shared teas and sympathies, along with other remedies, and for that time of the month, our houses got a thorough cleaning!
An invisible thread wove its way into all our women collectives—other women drawn to the vortex of energy emanating from our houses. One day a young, straight woman arrived at our Berkeley lesbian household and described her rape by a bunch of jocks at a bachelor party. She had heard or read about us and requested our help with some sort of retaliation against the bachelor and his party partners. We concocted a scheme of revenge and like all good strategists planned at least two fronts. We would find out where the bachelor lived and paint “rapist” on his sidewalk and post leaflets detailing his crime around the neighborhood. We signed the leaflet, The Women’s Anti-Rape squad #38, so people would envision hordes of angry women avengers roaming the streets.
The second phase required more complex details. The wedding party scheduled a full, formal event in Stockton. We intended to show up in the best dresses we could locate. For dykes, donning dresses represented a supreme sacrifice. We had sworn off dresses, owned no dresses, and had not worn one in recent memory. Probably, we could not compare with the best of drag queens, and forget about those high heels. However, we were committed to avenging our sister. We dressed up and drove off to Stockton in our auction-purchased police car still etched with faint traces of the familiar California Highway Patrol markings.
As we abandoned Berkeley and approached our destination, our bluster dissipated. We entered another reality, Stockton, an oppressive town for anyone not like all the other Stocktonians.
We hoped to enter the church and act as attendees of the wedding. At that crucial moment as the minister declared, “Does anyone have any objections as to why this union should not take place?” We planned to jump up together shouting, “Yes, the groom is a rapist!” and pass out our leaflets. The scheme however, altered in the parking lot.
As we pulled up to the church, we spotted the groom’s football player friends standing guard. We eyed each other like leering animals sizing up for an attack. Not even the best dressed among us had a prayer of getting past these guys and fooling any one that we were invited guests. Suddenly, a young girl, no doubt drawn by our unusual appearance, approached us and began talking. We asked her if she would do us a favor and pass out these leaflets inside the wedding. The assignment of such an important task thrilled her. The football team had not noticed her; little girls were not on their radar. The players huddled and decided to split into two flanks, one to protect the groom and the other to neutralize us.
We leapt into our car and prepared for a high-speed get away. I drove and maneuvered well in spite of my dress and heels, until I careened down a one-way street in the wrong direction—just short of a parked Stockton Police car. Conjuring up the role of a lost damsel, I slipped from the car, approached the officer and convinced him. “I am so sorry; such a silly mistake, sir.” I held his attention and kept his gaze away from a car full of dykes and continued. “I’m just in a hurry to find my way back to the freeway,” and after a purposeful pause, “officer.” The encounter confused the football player pursuers for a short duration and enough time for the officer to back us out of the one-way street. We pulled into to the nearest gas station, crowded inside the tiny restroom and in a Superman imitation act changed into our dyke clothes ready for fight or flight out of Stockton.
We managed to lose the football team and restored our confidence as defenders of women. On our way home to our safe Berkeley haven, each of us narrated various versions of that young girl passing out our leaflets to unsuspecting wedding guests.
© 2011 Patricia Jackson