Warning : This post may be a trigger for anyone who has been raped.
Sperm Donor (SD) and I decided to move into a small apartment with his Great Aunt in the early spring of 1984. I was employed at a retail store in Chicago part-time and SD was unemployed. He moved all our belongings to his Aunt’s while I was at work.
At the end of my shift, SD met me outside of my job, and we walked the short distance to the new apartment we now shared between three of us. At that time, most people had pagers and that was the form of communication when someone wanted to reach you.
SD’s pager was beeping repeatedly while walking to his Aunt’s. I asked him, “who keeps paging you?” He told me it was his friend Carlton. As soon as we arrived at our apartment, we greeted SD’s Aunt and I sat at the kitchen table visiting with her. SD grabbed the cordless phone and went outside to return Carlton’s page. When he came back into the apartment he told me he was leaving with Carlton and going to Indiana. I asked him, “Why are you going to Indiana?” He did not want to talk to me in front of his Aunt, and told me to come into our bedroom. SD said, “I need to make some money. I can make a couple thousand dollars and I will be back in two days.”
I was angry and I told SD that I knew what he was up to with his drug dealing friend Carlton. It was our first day moving in with his Aunt and now he was taking off to Indiana. I didn’t want to stay with his Aunt by myself. I barely knew his Aunt, or anyone in Chicago for that matter. Most of my friends had abandoned our friendship because I had made so many bad choices in the previous year, and they were afraid of SD. The abuse had already started without me even being aware. He was beginning to revel in the fact that I had no one but him. I was only 22 years old.
SD threw his clothes, toiletries, and drug paraphernalia into a bag and hugged and kissed his Aunt goodbye and told her he had business to take care of and would be back in two or three days. He looked at me and said, “You better be here when I return, and tell your asshole boss if I call the store you better be able to talk.” No hug, no goodbye, just the usual demands.
He closed the door and locked the deadbolt on the gate. Most apartments in the heart of Chicago had a barred gate outside the main door to the apartment. His Aunt called out and said, “Honey come in here and sit on the bed and watch a movie with me.” His Aunt, who was actually his great-Aunt, was in her late 60s. She told me how much she liked me, and that I was good for SD. She said, “Becki I have never liked white people, they can’t be trusted, but I like you a lot.”
The next morning I walked from the apartment to work. SD never called. I felt a sense of relief that he didn’t bother me at work. I walked back to the apartment and his Aunt had made dinner and we chatted again until I fell asleep on her bed. Sometime in the middle of the night/early morning hours SD called. His Aunt handed me the phone. He questioned everything I had been doing since he left for Indiana. He told me he was going to be back the next evening and after work I needed to go straight to Carlton’s house.
I asked him if he could pick me up since Carlton had a car and we did not and he said no. He told me to just walk. It would not be that late when I got off work and no one would mess with me because everyone knew I was his girl. I thought, really, the whole city of Chicago would not mess with me because of you?
I got off work and called Carlton’s house. His girlfriend Angie answered and said she had just talked to Carlton and he and SD were about 20 minutes away. Angie said she had picked up some fresh catfish fillets and was making dinner. She asked if I could stop and buy some hot sauce and potatoes to make some homemade fries. The grocery store was along my walk to her apartment and I told her I would stop.
I arrived at Carlton and Angie’s apartment around 6pm. It was a Friday. I saw Carlton’s car parked on the street so I knew SD was back. I climbed the dark staircase to the 3rd floor of the apartment. As soon as I was ready to knock on the door a friend of SD’s opened the door to leave. We greeted each other and I walked in.
There were roaches crawling everywhere, but it was at least warm inside. I had just walked in 20 degree weather. When I entered Carlton and Angie’s children ran and latched on to me hugging my legs and asking me to pick them up. I took off my wool coat and sat on the couch while they jumped on my lap. They kissed me and showed me the artwork they had drawn at preschool that day. Angie was only 19 years old and had a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter.
Angie came out of the kitchen where I could smell catfish frying and said, “My kids sure do love white people.” She said, “I think it’s your long silky hair” (remember this is 1984). I gave her the potatoes and hot sauce and she started walking back into the kitchen. I asked where Carlton and SD were?
She said they were in the bedroom. I got off the couch and knocked on the bedroom door. Carlton snapped, “who is it?” I answered. He said, “open da’ door.” I opened the door and there sat SD and Carlton on the bed. They had a broken piece of glass from a mirror that I remembered once seeing on the outside of Angie’s closet. Mounds of cocaine were piled on the mirror.
I just stood there and said, “Hi.” He said, “What’s up? Why do you look so angry?” I told him I wasn’t angry, just surprised. He snapped back at me and said, “What because I am testing the product we are gonna sell?” He continued, “I gotsta test it.” I said, “You promised you would never do that again.”
I turned and walked out of the bedroom and into the kitchen with Angie who was cooking the catfish. I remember standing there with the children once again clamoring at my feet, thinking how in the hell did I get from where I was growing up to this? I asked Angie if I could help her with the dinner. She asked if I could get the kids in their PJs and ready for bed. I took the kids to the old claw foot bathtub, drew the kids fresh water, and gave them a bath.
After the bath we went back into the living room and Carlton and SD were there at the coffee table drinking Hennesy. I asked SD if he wanted a plate of food. He said yes, and I went into the kitchen and made him a plate. When I came back with his plate of catfish and fries he asked me why I was being such a bitch. I ignored him and put the plate on the table. SD said he wanted to talk to me outside. I asked if I could get my coat. He grabbed my coat and threw it at me.
We went outside on the landing on the metal stairs and talked. He asked me why I was not happy to see him. I asked about the $2,000 he said he was going to make in Indiana. He said, “Bitch, its coming from the coke we got. We have 5k to split and I will have the money!” He asked what the fuck did I care because we had a roof over our heads at his Aunt’s. SD said, “Why don’t you just get the fuck out of here, and go to my Aunt’s! I am trying to have fun, and you are being a bitch.” I told him I was leaving, and I left.
I had to walk. I went down the stairs, through the gang way, and up about 3 miles to Halstead in the freezing cold. I made a right onto Halstead, and headed to 72nd street to go to SD’s Aunt’s. As soon as I made the right a really nice blue car pulled up beside me on the street next to the sidewalk. The driver yelled out, “Hey what the heck are you doing walking down this street by yourself?”
I was super naive and answered back while I kept walking, “My boyfriend has made me really angry and I am just trying to walk it off and go home.” He said, “Why would someone make such a beautiful girl so angry?” I said, “He just has issues,” and kept walking. The driver said, “where are you trying to get to?” I answered, “72nd and Halstead.” He kept driving slow next to me and then said, “You can’t be out here this time of night being a beautiful white girl and all. Something will happen to you.”
The driver offered to take me to SD’s Aunt’s house.” I said no, and he insisted. He said, “No, come on. I want you safe and not hurt.” I finally said ok. The nice blue car was a 4-door, and the man in the back seat behind the driver opened the door stepped out on the sidewalk. I got in the car and moved to the center. There was another man on the other side. They asked me again where I needed to go, and I told them. I thought it was strange that there was no one in the front passenger seat.
I began to get a bit worried when the driver was turning in the opposite direction of where SD’s Aunt lived. My heart started to race and I was panicked. The male that let me in the car was rubbing my left leg. I was scared to death and pulling back. At that moment the thought raced through my head, “I am dead.” I just knew this was the end. How the hell could I just get into a car with complete strangers in Chicago? I trusted too much. What was I thinking?
The next thing I knew the guy on the other side of me said, “Bitch, what the fuck are you doing walking down Halstead this time of night? Who is your pimp?” I answered, “Pimp what pimp?” Then I was bashed in the head with I have no idea what, but something hard and heavy. The next thing I knew the car was driving down an alley and then pulled up to a garage. The driver got out and opened the garage. It was dark, cold, and damp. The guy behind the driver said, “You white trash bitch, stand up and get the fuck out the car.”
I stumbled out half-dazed knowing this was it and I was going to die. My mind raced with thoughts of my family, my daughter, and wondering if anyone would ever find me. My head was slammed against the back of the car onto the trunk. I was looking down. My mind left my body, only focused on the license plate number, over and over, repeating it in my head, just in case I was dumped somewhere and lived.
I hurt. I wanted to puke. I wanted to die. I wanted to etch that license plate number on my body so the police would find these evil bastards. I removed myself spiritually and mentally from my body just like I did when my mother beat me. There was no pain. I was gone. It was just the hollow shell that I was certain would be buried in a grave in the city of Chicago, never to be discovered or cared about.
I finally threw up all over the car trunk and on my wool knee length coat my head was laying on, the one that SD’s grandma bought me for Christmas. They had torn it off me. I could smell the perfume that I sprayed on myself at work that day. I kept smelling the fragrance and thinking of how much I loved the scent while I was being raped over and over by these vicious racist punks I had trusted to take me to SD’s Aunt’s house. I was in and out of consciousness. I just wanted it to end…it seemed like an eternity.
I remembered over and over in my mind SD’s mother telling me, “Don’t you ever walk to the store by yourself. Something could happen to you.” Why did I leave Carlton and Angie’s apartment? Why didn’t SD follow me knowing I was going into the darkness with at least a 5 mile walk? Normally he would never let me out of his clenches, but this time he had too much cocaine to care about me walking home in the dark. It was all about the drugs and his high.
The rape ended. I don’t remember how or why, but it was over. I remember the voice of the driver arguing with one of the guys in the back seat, about what to do with me. One guy from the back seat said, “Just off the white bitch.” The driver said no. They argued. I remember a fist to my eye and these bastards screaming at each other, and the next thing I remembered was ringing the doorbell at SD’s Aunts house.
I have no idea how I walked up the stairs to her apartment. I don’t remember the rapists dropping me off. All I had told them when I got in the car was I lived around 72nd and Halstead. Maybe they dumped me on the corner. I just don’t remember.
SD’s Aunt answered the door and I collapsed. She asked me what happened to me and I told her I was raped. She said, “Oh no, you are bleeding all over my porch.” I remember saying I was sorry, and the next thing I remember is being in an ambulance on the way to Englewood hospital.
I arrived at the hospital and when I woke up I was in a hospital gown and SD was standing next to me. I was so angry. The nurse said some detectives wanted to speak with me. I said that was ok and then I asked why SD was there. The nurse said she thought he was my husband. I said, “Bullshit! He is not a not my husband.” I tried to reach at him to punch him, scratch him, or bite him. I wanted him out of there, but the nurse restrained me.
The detectives came in and asked me questions. They were very nice, but typical slicked-back hair, white racist cops. I thought it was going to go nowhere, that they would hate me because SD was black and I was raped by 3 black men. I thought they were just going through the formalities of the Chicago cop requirements.
I was wrong. The cops actually did care. They asked me about the car. I told them I remembered the license plate number, that I repeated it over and over in my head while being raped. I gave them the plate number and one of them left the hospital room. The other detective stayed with me.
I gazed out the window thinking, how in the fuck did I go from my childhood to being raped by three men? And what was really fucked up is I knew no one cared. The nurse asked me for my parent’s phone number as a contact and I said, “Are you kidding me? They don’t give a fuck about me.” The nurse said, “Honey, when things like this happen, it brings families together and you need your family.” I screamed at her, “I HAVE NO FAMILY!”
The nurse gave me a sedative and told me to calm down. I went to sleep. I woke up the next day to a case worker sitting beside me and a female detective. The detective told me they had the owner of the car that matched the license plate I gave the previous detectives, and they wanted to show me some pictures. She showed me several and the rapist was one of them. I touched the photo and turned away. She left the room. The case worker asked me where my home was. I told her I was living with SD’s Aunt and I did not want to go back.
The case worker asked me if I would consider a woman’s shelter, she tried to comfort me and tell me how wonderful it was. I said I would rather go to a shelter then back to SD. Then she dropped the bomb. She said do you know you are pregnant? I sat straight up in that hospital bed and said, “say what?” She stuttered and clarified, “No, not by the rapists. You are about two months pregnant.” She said, “You have a choice right now. You can keep the baby or you can abort. I curled over on my side and said I could never abort a baby.
I left the hospital with a woman’s advocate and went to the shelter in Evanston, Illinois. It was very nice. I had my own room, a counselor, and doctors. The rapist that owned the car turned on the other two that raped me and all three were in custody. The detectives said when they arrested one of the bastards they had my ID and social security card on them. They told me the driver was actually married and his wife had the purse I was carrying when I was raped. They pleaded guilty and I never had to enter a court room. The DA’s office took my statement and the detectives visited me at the shelter and said all was taken care of, that they were going to prison, and that one of the bastards had a rape charge from another woman that he was on parole for.
That was a turning point of anger and revenge in my life. I now had been beaten as a child, abused, and raped by three horrible human beings. It would take years before I would snap out of pure hatred for anyone. For the next four or five years, I didn’t care who I hurt or how I hurt anyone. I wanted revenge on the world. This would not be the end of my relationship with SD. As sick as it seemed he was the only person in the world I had. Healthy or un-healthy there was no one else.
During my stay at the shelter, a counselor convinced me to give it a try and call my biological father’s house and see if I could go back home. My step mother Nancy answered the phone and the counselor talked to Nancy while I sat in the chair. Nancy said no, I would not be unable to come live at their house. The counselor asked that when my Dad returned home, he would call the number that the counselor gave Nancy. I stayed in shelter for a month and there was never a returned call from my Dad. They didn’t want me. No one in my family wanted me never when I was young, even after I was raped.
A childhood of violent beatings and victimization, a rape in her teens, and a murderous attack in her twenties are not what nearly killed Becki Duckworth. It was the destruction of her family that those events triggered. Becki Duckworth survived a murderous attack and so much more. Her family did not.