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The Crime of Rape : 'Essentially, It Took My Life,' Says Woman Who Works to Help Others to Recover From Attacks

April 03, 1986|MIKE GRANBERRY | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Before that night--before she was robbed and raped--Judith Stock was happy being "a conventional woman."

She worked as a cocktail waitress. She was happily married and the mother of a 3-year-old girl.

In a sudden, dramatic episode her life changed forever. Her relationship with her husband and daughter changed, albeit not for the worse.

"Not bad ," she said with a sigh, "just different."

Some would call it a loss of innocence, a 3-year-old--now a 7-year-old--having to "grow up fast, not getting to be . . . a child."

In rape's aftermath, her daughter was a paragon of strength and resilience. She was a comforter, a consoler who seemed to understand her mother's pain. Stock said having a husband and child helped immeasurably in recovery.

Nevertheless, husbands are victims too.

"There's no place for guys to go," she said. "The biggest victims aside from the women raped are the spouses. Fifty percent of the marriages (of rape victims) break up in the first year (after the crime). Thirty-five percent break up over five years. The victim usually undergoes distinct behavior changes. We become not so much fearful as aggressive. I was a passive person before. I'm not anymore."

Stock and her husband share a ranch home, a daughter who has had an early introduction to the ways of the world, and a stable of Arabian horses--her greatest joy beyond helping victims like herself.

"You're not looking at broken, shattered people," she said of such women. "One of the best healing techniques is working with other victims."

They have in common shattered illusions. Life is no longer so simple. "And the hardest thing to get back is excitement," she said. "Excitement and joy."

They're also dubious of the country's legal system, which Stock says "makes every effort to have you crucified." Her feelings about "justice" changed radically. Worst of all, she says, a part of her soul died, having been slain in a brutal attack.

For those who have difficulty seeing rape as a crime of violence--the rate of conviction is alarmingly low--consider that Judith Stock, 31, was abducted at knifepoint and held hostage for hours.

Her attacker was a frequent offender, whose had served time for sex-crime convictions. He had been given a dishonorable discharge from the military for criminal violations. His conviction in her case was overturned in appeals court and "depublished" (stricken) from the records.

Largely through her efforts, he was retried and again convicted. The same appeals court has upheld the second conviction.

It was all part of the process called rape.

"Essentially it took my life," she said. "It will never be the same again. With rape there is no mourning space, no funeral, nothing. You just don't have that buffer of space you're automatically entitled to when you lose somebody. Trouble was, I lost me ."

The Judith Stock of today is a far different person from the one who drove out of the parking lot of a restaurant on Jan. 3, 1982 (the date the rape occurred).

In many ways she is stronger. Not bad, she might joke, just different. Her friends tell her she pulled off the ultimate in the character test of Life--she didn't just live through adversity, she made it work for her and a court docket full of others.

She counsels rape victims, coaches them how to behave in the glare of a courtroom, and still has time to own and operate a self-defense rape-prevention martial arts business.

This is Rape Awareness Week in San Diego. The week is sponsored by the Rape Crisis Center of the Center for Women's Studies and Services. A prime focus of the week is the series of rapes in Santee over the last few years.

In community efforts designed to educate Santee women about the realness of rape--the closeness to their neighborhoods--and the pattern of a serial offender, Stock has been a ubiquitous guest speaker. In the four years since her own trauma, she has co-founded (with martial arts guru George Williams of Lakeside) Full Spectrum Defense Training Inc., which is based in Alpine.

Full Spectrum attempts to provide answers to such questions as, "How would you deal with a masked attacker suddenly grabbing you from behind?" The reason such answers demand physical response, Stock said, is that 73% of would-be victims who use self-defense are "successful," meaning they lower "rape" to the category of "attempted rape."

Full Spectrum also provides other figures, which emanate from the U.S. Department of Justice and a study it conducted a year ago:

- Only half of all rapes are reported to police. (Groups such as Stock's are hoping to change that, thinking it helps victims to see a rapist prosecuted and convicted.)

- Two-thirds of all rapes occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Stock's occurred in the wee hours, which police say is a prime time.)

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