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Submitted 6:15 p.m. EDT
Letter to the Editor

I will never forget the absolute terror of that feeling of thinking I might be raped.”

Michael Bresnahan of LAwrence, MA 01841

I was picked up by two vets while hitch hiking in Oregon in 1971. The two young vets who picked me up were drunk and speeding at 100 mph..

They got stopped by a state trooper. He let them go and I got busted for having marijuana seeds in my pack. I got put in Coos Bay County Jail in the regular cell block.

Most of the young kids in there had black eyes or bruised faces. My heart sank when a prisoner in a cell called out from the hall " don't put that kid in there ".

In the evening two of the older prisoners were parading up and down the open cell cell block yelling that they were kings of the cell.

The one called out "The thing we hate more than niggers is hippies. We ain't goin' to kill us a hippy tonight we're going to fuck him".

I nearly puked. They then pulled me out of my cell and surrounded me in a circle. The smaller older man was in my face, and the older one had in his hand the stick from the toilet plunger.

I got lucky. The smaller prisoner smashed my face in. The next morning I was taken to the emergency room of some hospital, where the people who treated me were shaking their heads. Apparently other young kids had been taken there for injuries.

After that I was put in a single cell until my court appearance, where my case was thrown out for illegal search and seizure. The two young vets never showed up to testify.

And I was released.

But I will never forget the absolute terror of that feeling of thinking I might be raped. It was and is about power. That day I was afraid. The next day I was ready to fight and kill.

It changed me.

I have a successful life and two beautiful daughters. Had I been raped, all that would have disappeared.

Not many men can speak out about it. I can because it didn't go down. If it went down I would probably be in prison or dead by suicide.

This letter written in response to