Gawker had an article about Robert Downey Jr exposing a story that was generally known but never spoken about around Hollywood.
It was about a famous movie star beating and raping Natalie Wood.
I was discussing it with my sister Marcia and she suggested it was the sign of the times. He was a superstar and even if he weren’t it was always the woman’s fault . She did go to his room. She was clearly “asking for it”
“Remember what happened to you?” she asked.
Even after close to 50 years I felt a chill.
I was going to a party with friends. I worked in the South Bronx as a case worker and these were work friends I was going to meet. I was bringing Bob Dylan’s new album with me. Nashville Skyline.
I lived with my parents at that time. My car was parked in an underground garage.
Just as I was about to start my car I felt a presence at my window. I turned with a smile thinking it was a neighbor.
It was a latin man in his 20’s or 30’s. He had a huge knife in his hand.
He shoved me over and got in the car next to me.
My first thought was “I’m sitting on my album”
“I’m going to rape you”
I was wearing a jersey dress with a belt of the same fabric tied at my waist.
He put the knife at the belt and was about to cut it . “Stop” I said and I untied it.
Why I worried about a $30 dress I’ll never know.
He put the knife on the backseat and did what he came to do.
I kept my eyes closed hoping that he’d know I couldn’t identify him.
It never occurred to me to grab the knife even though I was sure he was going to kill me. I couldn’t stop shaking.
When he finished and he was lying on top of me I did something so strange that even then I couldn’t believe it.
I said ” Are you alright?”
He jerked his head up and looked at me with surprise.
He got up and jumped out of the car and ran.
Now that I think about it. It isn’t so far from how I behaved in my divorce.
I was deeply wounded by dave but I am still helping him and feeling sorry for him.
It makes me wonder what is wrong with me. Who knows, maybe my asking my rapist that question saved my life and maybe not getting dave mad at me will save me now.
I sat in the car too afraid to get out and run to the elevator until neighbors that I didn’t know came into the garage to get their car . I called to them to help me.
I just said I had been robbed. I was too embarrassed to say anything else.
They walked me to the elevator and offered to go upstairs with me. I refused their offer. Even then I didn’t want to be any trouble.
I got into my apartment and called my parents. It must have been a Friday night because they were at their weekly card game. They said they’d be right home.
I went into the shower and scrubbed myself clean.
When they got home I told them I had been attacked. They didn’t ask for any details and I didn’t give any.
My father called the police.
A short time later 2 policemen came to my house. I was in a robe and my hair was wet.
I don’t remember much of that interview. I don’t think they asked if I had been raped and I didn’t volunteer the information. I couldn’t have said it in front of my father anyway.
I think the shower I had taken spoke volumes to them.
They left and we all went to bed. I couldn’t sleep. Finally I went into the living room and lay down on the flowered couch. Shortly after my father came in and sat with me. We didn’t speak we just sat there.
My father was always more in tune with us than my mother. He was the one who worried about us and waited up for us when we went out on dates.
We never spoke about it again. In fact I never spoke in any detail about it to anyone.
A few weeks later a detective called and said they had arrested someone and wanted to know if I would come down and identify him.
“I think that’s wise” he said. He knew that a trial like this wasn’t going to be pretty and I guess they had him on other charges or something.
So that’s my secret. this is the first time I’ve ever opened up about this to this degree to anyone.
I continued going to work in the South Bronx but I never made home visits alone.
I seemed the same but I never was the same.
If I could have sued that guy it would be for putting fear in my life.