I watched a rape. For five decades, I did nothing.

I was both an observer and a participant in a teenage rape. I was 17, and it was 1969, about a year before I would be drafted into the Army.

I went to a small Catholic school in Pittsburgh called St. Justin, for the children of mostly blue-collar workers, and I had been invited to a party by a friend from another Catholic high school. Many football players from that school would be there. I wasn’t very popular with these boys at the time, so I went; I wanted to be friends with them. I knew a few of them and wanted to get to know the rest. These boys were from the suburbs, and their parents mostly had more money than mine.

I don’t remember the month it occurred or the exact town it was in, but I remember that the party was in an upper-class suburb south of Pittsburgh. I don’t remember how I got home. These details don’t matter to me. What I remember clearly was the rape. Watching it, for me, is like remembering where I was when I found out that President John Kennedy had been assassinated. There is a before and an after.

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