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By Carol Bartholdi
About 6:30 one night last November, a
17-year-old Houston high-school girl was
attacked and raped as she walked to her
home in the Rice University area.
Rose was relatively lucky, though. She
was not killed or seriously injured. And a
few weeks later, she identified her attacker and called police in time to catch
The man Rose says raped her was
arrested and charged last month. Bond
originally was set at $20,000, then it was
reduced to $10,000. Finally, within 24
hours, he was released on his own recognizance.
Rose recently told Breakthrough of
her feelings and thoughts concerning the
crime of rape and her own traumatic experience. At her request, Breakthrough is
using the name Rose.
"I was very paranoid that night," she
said, "I saw two men who appeared to be
following me. They were whistling at me
and that kind of stuff. I began walking
faster and I kept them in mind."
The two men eventually turned down
another street and Rose felt more at ease.
She came to a corner across from the
Rice University campus and had to stop
to wait for cars to pass.
"On the other side of the street, when
I looked to the left, a man was standing
on the corner. He did not really seem to
be looking at me, so I did not really
"While I was waiting for the cars to go
by I decided to cut through campus, because of all things, I thought it would be
safer than walking down a dark tree-lined
The man, who was in his late twenties,
crossed the street and began heading in
the same direction as Rose.
"When I saw we were walking in the
same direction, I knew he was going to
attack me. But he began to go in another
direction and my defenses went down. He
said, "Hi," and I said, "Hi," and then he
jumped on me and hit me on the back of
Rose said the man grabbed her around
the neck, told her "Shut your mouth!"
and pulled her into the bushes.
"He tried to knock me out, I think,
but I was not unconscious," Rose said.
"Down with 'em!" he ordered, referring
to her pants.
Rose said she tried everything she
could to outwit the man during the next
20 minutes. When she screamed, he
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Page 10 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH March 1978
slapped her and he kept his hands
wrapped tightly around her neck. She
said he repeatedly told her that he would
break her neck. Rose said survival was her
"It is amazing what goes through your
mind when you are in such a situation,"
Rose said. "You realize that your mind
stores everything somewhere. A string of
knowledge comes to you-I remembered
an article I had read two years before in
Cosmopolitan about how to say 'no' to a
rapist and survive."
During those 20 minutes, Rose said
she talked often, but that the man said
little. She told him she did not have any
contraceptive, that they could go to her
house which was not far away. "To me
my house meant lights, people and traffic.
"At one point, I said I was scared that
I would get pregnant. He said, 'I'm scared
too, because they'll put me in a penitentiary."'
Rose told him she was not a virgin,
then she told him she was a virgin.
"Don't say you are a virgin," Rose
said. "That is a rapist's dream. What better thing than to defile a person and have
it be her first time? What could be better?
"I asked him if he would do this to his
sister or mother and he told me to shut
up. He did not listen and he did not want
to be manipulated. A rapist is degrading
you to bring himself up. He wanted
everything that he could make me give
him," she said.
During 20 minutes, Rose said the man
raped her twice, forced her to have oral
sex with him, threatened her life and left.
As he walked away he looked back at her
and said, "I'll find you again."
"After the rape," Rose said, "I got
dressed, but I could not find my shoes
anywhere. I was still not sure the guy had
left. He might have been hiding in the
bushes. I started walking out of the
bushes and I saw a woman walking her
dog. I yelled to her and she did not hear
me. I yelled that I had been raped. The
more the woman did not see me, the
more desperate I felt. I ran towards her,
and-how was she to know I was not a
rapist-she sicked her dog on me."
The rest of the evening was spent filing
reports with the Rice Campus Security
and the police department and being
treated at Hermann Hospital. At 2 a.m.
she began a two-hour therapy session.
During the following two months,
Rose thought she saw her assailant on the
street several times.
"The police have been wonderful," she
said. "I had had a couple of false alarms
when I thought I had seen the guy. One
time I was sure I had seen him just a few
blocks from my neighborhood. I waited
until I was at school, until almost two
hours had passed before I called the police. They sent someone out who took me
back. We looked for him—but we could
not find him. The policeman told me that
if I ever saw him again to go to the first
place I could and make a phone call to
the police department."
Two months later, Rose was driving
home at about 5:30 p.m. and she saw the
man who had raped her standing at a bus
stop. She drove by another time to make
sure he was the one.
"He was even wearing the very same
clothes he had worn that night," she said.
She stopped at a nearby house, asked to
use the phone and called the police.
Rose had looked at mug shots but
never was absolutely sure if the pictures
matched the person. "Intellectually you
can look at mug shots and not realize
which was him," she said. "But when you
see him in person, your body remembers.
When I saw him at the bus stop, I had the
same feeling I had when he hit me. It was
exactly like something hit me. It was a
gut reaction, the feeling was the same."
"Every minute I took calling the police meant that he might get on a bus and
get away," Rose said.
When she had finished calling three
different police departments and walked
outside, there were five squad cars at the
bus stop, Rose said. She said she walked
up to the man and laughed.
"It was a very satisfying feeling," Rose
said. "I felt a surge of anger, but it was
scary because I was confronted with the
whole experience again.
"I was scared, angry, happy, nervous
and desperate all at the same time."
What Rose did not know was the man
would be back on the streets the very
When Breakthrough went to press, the
man was out of jail on bond, his trial date