Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Jesse Trent, Monday, November 3, 1997 at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Jesse. You're a few minutes late.
Mr. Trent: Yes. I'm sorry about that. My scooter decided to foul a plug.
Dr. Balis: Scooter? Like a little Honda?
Mr. Trent: None of that plastic stuff for me, Doc! I ride a vintage Italian Vespa Scooter. A 1966 Super Sport 180, to be exact. Beautiful pieces of steel. A monster to maintain, however!
Dr. Balis: I bet the hills around here aren't very kind to it.
Mr. Trent: Doesn't do too badly. Missouri is full of hills, and I used to ride it all of the time. I even belonged to a scooter club back home.
Dr. Balis: Interesting. I didn't realize they were that popular. How long have you been riding?
Mr. Trent: Well, I got my first Vespa just after our second wedding anniversary. It was a belated gift from Maddie. So, it's been almost four years. I can't get Maddie to ride, though--she says she's a four wheeled kind of gal. The one time I did get her to ride with me, we ran out of gas and got stranded. That kind of ruined it for her.
Dr. Balis: I can see how that might have bothered her. So how has Maddie been doing?
Mr. Trent: Hard to say. She's still really distant. I did follow your advice and let her know that I'm there for her.
Dr. Balis: How did that go?
Mr. Trent: At first, I thought it was going well. She actually let me hold her hand when we first started talking. The more I talked though, the tenser she became. By the time I was done talking, she'd moved across the room. It's just so damn frustrating!
Dr. Balis: It's going to take time for her to deal with her anger, Jesse. Even though it didn't go well, you still did the right thing in the long run. Did Maddie have anything to say?
Mr. Trent: Yeah. Basically she thinks I should have stayed home with her that weekend. She didn't want me to go. Maddie begged me all day Thursday to cancel the trip and stay with her. She gets pretty bent whenever I see my parents, like they are really going to say anything to change my mind about Maddie. Christ, we've been married for five years, you'd think that would give her a little bit of confidence!
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Trent: Doctor Balis, I don't want to sound like an insensitive asshole, but Maddie is a big girl! I never thought anything like this would happen to her. Trust me, if I could go back and make the choice again, of course I would stay home. But I know I can't beat myself up for something I can't change.
Dr. Balis: It's true that you can't change the past, Jesse. Maddie needs to blame someone right now. Since they haven't caught the rapist yet, perhaps she sees you as the next logical choice. Did she say anything else?
Mr. Trent: Just some mean stuff about how I should be a "real man." She said that she earns all of our money while I sit in a used bookstore all day. That I should have done something with myself--"stop being a kid and grow up." She told me how foolish I look riding my "girlie little scooter." She just started spouting crap like that.
Dr. Balis: And how did you react to her?
Mr. Trent: How did I react? I just sat there and took it like a good little husband. Everyone keeps telling me to just let her vent--be understanding, listen to her, give her time, let her work through her anger, blah blah blah fucking blah. Oh sorry, Doctor Balis, I should watch my language.
Dr. Balis: It's quite all right, Jesse. You don't have to worry about offending me. My office is a safety zone. You don't have to watch your language or repress anything you're feeling. Okay?
Mr. Trent: Yeah. It's just that...Christ, doesn't anyone care about what I'm going through? Yeah, it happened to Maddie. But don't people understand that it rips my soul out every damn time I think about it? That bastard broke into my home and destroyed the only thing in this world I've ever loved! Doctor, I'm trying so hard to be there for my wife, to help her, and to love her. How can I do that when she acts like I'm the one that raped her? I didn't do anything. I didn't ask for this anymore than she did!
Dr. Balis: Here's a Kleenex, Jesse. You have every right to be angry. There's always an outpouring of sympathy for the victim. People often forget about the anger, guilt, and frustration a husband or boyfriend feels in these situations. When you feel ready to continue, I'm curious as to how your families are dealing with the rape.
Mr. Trent: Thanks for the tissue, Doc. Okay, the families...well, that's another nightmare.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Mr. Trent: It's like the accident all over again, that's how! I'm not even talking to my parents anymore--fake bunch of assholes. They acted sympathetic at first, calling me and asking me how she was doing. Then my sister, Sarah--who doesn't get along with them either--told me last week that the general consensus was that Maddie was a big tramp and must have asked for this. The rapist broke into our apartment--and she must have asked for it! Maddie is a jeans and an oversized t-shirt kind of girl. They act as if she dresses like a whore. I confronted my parents about what Sarah said and they denied it. But why would Sarah lie? Sarah and Maddie are great friends. My parents said it must have been "that man"--Sarah's husband Darrell--that said it. He's black and they're a judgmental bunch of bigots! So, I stopped talking to them and put them on call block.
Dr. Balis: What about Maddie's parents?
Mr. Trent: They just feed into her resentment of me. They were against us moving to San Francisco anyway. They consider it to be a "morally corrupt and deviant city." They're pretty judgmental and bigoted, too. They blame me for leaving her alone in a city of freaks. Like they don't have rapists in St. Louis. They're trying to talk her into moving back home without me. The only thing that gives me hope is that she flat out told them no.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel they are trying to manipulate Maddie?
Mr. Trent: Always. Like I said, same thing as the accident--they want to lay blame when blame isn't the issue.
Dr. Balis: I agree that blame is not the issue. How does Maddie deal with her parents' manipulations?
Mr. Trent: Well, to be honest, Maddie can manipulate with the best of them. She learned it from them, I guess. For the most part, she takes her calls out of the room. But sometime I hear her talking to them or to her best friend Sammy about them. Maddie still resents the way they've treated our marriage. So even though I think she basically agrees with them and puts the blame on me and the city, she disagrees with them out of spite.
Dr. Balis: Maybe it isn't spite, Jesse. Maybe in her heart, she knows you're not to blame for the rape. Have you ever thought of it like that?
Mr. Trent: Yeah. Sammy says the same thing. She calls me to see how I'm doing. She's the only one giving me a second thought in this mess.
Dr. Balis: What's Sammy's opinion on all of this?
Mr. Trent: Well, she's Maddie's friend first and foremost. They've known each other since they were twelve. We've always gotten along great. She tries to help Maddie. Sammy has always been there for Maddie and for me, too. She's worried about Maddie, but doesn't want to say too much to push her right now.
Dr. Balis: It's good that you both have a caring friend. Do you have any friends you can talk to?
Mr. Trent: Not really. I have a lot of casual acquaintances. Most of our old St. Louis friends just wanted to party and live it up, so we kind of lost track of a lot of them after the move. We didn't really mind, we had each other. Now, we're starting over in a new city. I've met some people from the local scooter scene, but they aren't people I can talk to about this. The friends I do have from back home just wouldn't understand. I guess that's why I decided to come here. I needed to get some of this off of my chest. My boss, Jack, suggested I see a shrink. Oh sorry, I mean a therapist.
Dr. Balis: That's okay, Jesse. I've been called worse. Have you told Maddie about our sessions?
Mr. Trent: No, not yet. I'm afraid she'll see it as me being selfish, you know?
Dr. Balis: You think she will view you getting help as selfish?
Mr. Trent: I don't know. I guess she'll feel like that because I should be focusing on her now and not worrying about myself.
Dr. Balis: You have every right to seek help, Jesse. Did you say that Maddie was in therapy?
Mr. Trent: Yeah. She's in therapy too. And I know I have the right, but I'm not so sure that's how she'd take it. She also started going to the Rape Crisis Center support group meetings. She's gone five times in the last week or so.
Dr. Balis: Does it seem to be helping her?
Mr. Trent: Hard to tell. I see her less and less these days. She goes to work, comes home, and eats. If I'm lucky, she says hi to me, and then she's out the door to therapy or the crisis center. I heard her talking to Sammy about taking a women's self-defense class, too. When she gets home, she goes straight to bed.
Dr. Balis: Jesse, am I correct to assume that you and Maddie haven't had sexual relations since the rape?
Mr. Trent: You would assume correctly, my dear Watson! I know it's normal after a rape, and I would never rush her before she's ready. And it's not one of those "I'm a man and have needs, too" type things either. I can live without sex. What bothers me the most is that after we lost the baby, I would hold her for hours, just stroking her hair, comforting her. It felt good to know she found safety in my arms. Now, I can't even do that for her, because if I even get close to her, she gets tense and shuts down.
Dr. Balis: It takes time to come to terms with a rape. Rape is a violation of power. Give her some time, and if she does come to you, make sure you put your own feelings aside for that moment. There will come a time when she feels safe with you again. Are the police any closer to a suspect yet?
Mr. Trent: I love her, Doctor Balis, and will give her whatever she needs, no matter what. As for a suspect, I haven't heard anything. That pretty much tells me they are still stumped.
Dr. Balis: I do hope they catch him. Not only will a vicious criminal be off the streets, of course, but it will do a lot towards allowing your wife to heal. Did you take my advice about the journal?
Mr. Trent: Yeah. I usually write after Maddie takes off out the door. I'm not used to her being gone so much, so I guess it helps ease my loneliness. I haven't decided if I want you to read it or not--there's stuff in there about you, too.
Dr. Balis: The journal is to help you sort through things in between sessions. I would be glad to read it if you want me to, although I certainly understand if you don't.
Mr. Trent: I'll think about it. Is it time, Doctor Balis?
Dr. Balis: Yes, our time's up. Same time next week?
Mr. Trent: Sounds peachy. Maybe I'll have my scoot running better by then.
Dr. Balis: Good luck with the bike, Jesse. See you next week.
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