There was an unusual and deeply violent incident during my time in NY, which happened to one of Fraser’s friends from the bank. I think he’d worked on the same trading floor as Fraser, that was how they met.
While walking home after a night out, the trader was accosted and raped by this guy in a side-street. Apparently he was a full head taller than the trader, and a good 100 pounds heavier, the trader was completely overpowered. He had made to run away but the guy caught up with him and forced him against the wall. As he raped him, slamming his face against the bricks, the guy had said you’re just a tight little orifice.
Sitting in Fraser’s flat, a group of us were getting ready to go out,
“How’s your friend?” asked Connie
“Yeah, he’s recovering,” said Fraser,
The trader was still in the hospital, some of his injuries had been quite severe.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” said Fraser, “I mean I know some guys like other guys, but to do that to somebody, I don’t understand it, it’s just wrong. And what if he’s still out there, or there are others like him, jeez, I’ve spent fifty dollars this week on cab-fares for routes I would normally walk, as soon as it’s dark I don’t feel safe going anywhere, like he might be lurking behind a corner somewhere, and apparently he was massive, big enough to overpower completely, fuck, what can you do in that situation?”
“Is this the first time you’ve felt helpless Fraser?” asked Connie
He laughed, uneasily. I was guessing that if there had been moments of vulnerability in his life, he wasn’t the sort to share them.
“I can’t really think about what happened to him. I mean the mechanics of it. It’s too disgusting.” He said.
“You mean to have a penis forced inside you?” said Connie calmly,
“And it’s kind of funny,” she said, “cos all the buildings in this town look like penises. Like a warning or a reminder. Do as we say. Or else.”
“That’s not fair Connie,” said Lina, “Fraser’s had a shock, that was horrible what happened to his friend.”
“Fuck that,” said Connie, “tot up how much you spend on cab fares, as a girl. We earn less than men, but if we walk home after dark and get raped, it’s our own fault for not forking out for a taxi. In the time it’s taken us to have this conversation, a dozen women will have been raped in this city, and no one’s fussing over them.”
I took Connie’s hand and walked her to the window. “Do you want to go somewhere else?” I asked, “these people are assholes, you’ll only get upset if you listen to people like Fraser.”
We excused ourselves and went to a club called Dominoes. Sitting in a booth, drinking iced coffee, we ignored all the men who tried to speak to us, and thought about art, and why some people want more than just Wall Street, Macy’s and Starbuck’s Coffee.