Meet Jeffrey J. Marsalis. Prosecutors know he raped thirty women and believe there are probably hundreds, though they only decided to charge him with ten. And he was recently acquitted on all of those, because this country is not being run by Dick Wolf. Here is the rub: the girls Jeffrey raped met him on Match.com, liked his (totally fabricated) personality and often came to terms with what he had done to them by dating him anyway. One had a three month relationship with him after he fucked her while she was passed out on their first date. "I guess it was an attempt on my part to regain some of the power," she said. Fuck if I don't know THAT feeling. Although he roofied them, belittled them and lied to them, and a handful of girls who didn't want anything to do with him after the fact, the Philadelphia jury still didn't want to call him "rapist."
The women, to the jurors, were "sour grapes"; they'd been led on by the investigators who contacted them, trolling for victims. "He was a playboy," the juror said, co-opting [defense attorney] Hexstall's language.
Well didn't that just bring me back. I don't want to harp on my date rape, but yeah, it happened to me in Philadelphia, the same summer I was covering some of the city's most gruesome crimes, among them a particularly heinous string of serial rapes, and if the thought had crossed my mind to call the cops on the guy — which it did not — I probably would have abandoned it pretty instantly upon the thought of trying to convince a jury in that town that I was a "rape victim." Fuck, I didn't feel like a rape victim; I felt annoyed.
So yeah, I fought back by talking about it, which is why I don't disapprove of terms like "gray rape" if they enable us to speak more frankly about such douchebags, but then a story comes up like this that is just so horrific and foul and depressing and manifesting of the deep disconnect between what is accepted behavior and what is moral behavior in this country that it makes someone like me, a total know-it-all, think "Fuck, maybe I was wrong." Below, the story's money passage, though you should really read the whole thing, the end especially, because it's fucking fascinating.
Standing in the dark bathroom in her bra and panties, her hand to her mouth, she sobbed. Strange noises came from her, grief unfurling from someplace inside her. And yet, at the same time, her mind was racing. It determined, almost independent of herself, that she must immediately get beyond what had happened. She reasoned that he hadn't threatened her life, hadn't borne a knife or a gun. The city was an unfamiliar place. If she left now, where would she go? What would she do? Most of all, she became instantaneously determined that she would not suffer from this — she would avoid the post-traumatic stress she'd seen firsthand as she studied to become a counselor. She would accomplish this by ignoring, by attempting to discard, the few distinct images that had managed, somehow, to make inroads deep in her mind, into memory.
Her naked feet trod back across the tile. In his bedroom, she pulled back the covers, slid back in bed with him, beside him. ...
In the morning, she awoke once again, finally, fully, if groggily, to sunlight: a bedroom painted white, Ikea furniture, a bookshelf full of medical texts, blue-striped Nautica-brand sheets. And to his face. His green eyes stared across the pillow at hers. He smiled.
He moved his naked body toward her, pulled her closer to him, tucked his body into hers. Once again, his hands crept over her. This time, she says, she let him inside her willingly.
Unprotected, once again, he climaxed. They lay there, side by side. As the room filled with morning light, they talked, enjoyed each other's company. They had sex again. Again he finished inside her. At last, well into the afternoon, they got up and dressed, she in the same clothes from last night, he in a fresh pair of scrubs.
He told her he'd like to see her again, and how much he'd enjoyed her. To the man she was sure a few hours ago had raped her, the man with whom she was about to embark on a three-month relationship, she said Me too.
How, I asked Rachael one day last summer, how could she do it? "I don't know," she said, looking me in the eyes. "He had taken away my power. I guess it was an attempt on my part to regain some of the power I'd lost. But honestly, I don't really know why."
He Said, They Said [Philadelphia Magazine]