The Trauma of Financial Rape

By Rusty Goe

Rape: Excluding homicide, physical rape is considered one of the most devastating crimes perpetrated on its victims. Whether it be the a daughter coming home late from a date or an unescorted woman leaving work at night, the fear of sexual assault can be very real. Some would define physical rape as the ultimate act of savagery against a female. Why? Because it’s the ultimate violation of a person's freedom.

So what about the recent financial rape of the citizenry of the United States that occurred almost without warning? What has this done to the emotional state of the nation?

Here we were, living our lives as if the sun would continue to shine, business, with minimal downturns now and again, would proceed as usual, and we'd all look forward to a happy 2008 holiday season and a joyous and prosperous new year in 2009.

Yet, lurching behind the corner, were personifications of evil practically unparalleled in U.S. history. These were executives of banks, mortgage companies, Wall Street firms, and other corporate entities, who, without conscience, secretly abetted plans to rape and pillage the nation in order to pad their balance sheets and satisfy their greedy ambitions to earn profits at any cost.

Just as in the case of physical rape, we citizens—just as female victims of violent sexual crimes—were caught totally off guard, and are being held as captives against our wills. What defense, after all, did we have against such devious schemes, from which our government failed to warn us or protect us?

Certainly, the leaders in high financial places, like the Treasury secretary and the Federal Reserve chairman, saw the handwriting on the wall, months before the financial panic of late 2008 broke out. Yet, they failed to issue warnings, other than the cursory predictions that we could be in for a recession sometime soon. However, the way in which they, and the undeserving dwellers in the White House, kept the really bad news from us before election day, November 4, 2008, is tantamount to family members not telling sickly grandma how severe her disease was before her birthday, in order for her to enjoy her big day in peace. However, as soon as the birthday passed, and the family members knew grandma didn't have a chance, they shared the grim news with her that she only had a couple months to live.

Imagine what election day would have been like if the government had announced in the weeks leading up to it that more banks would fail, the auto industry would collapse, millions of workers would be laid off, and we would probably suffer the worst recession (if not depression) in decades. The news anchors on CNN and MSNBC would’ve been torn as to what was the greater story---the election or the economy.

Therefore, Election Day passed, and even as it became obvious that the Democratic candidate would succeed the incompetent Republican incumbent, the stock market showed its approval with a healthy 300-point gain in celebration.

Then, as the party ended, and we made our way home, the rapists of economic despair pounced on us, threw us to the ground, and have been willfully violating us ever since. They are more sadistic than Jack the Ripper, more unconscionable than Jeffery Dahmer, more diabolical than Hannibal Lecter. One can only wonder if Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson, and yes, even good 'ol George W. himself, are frothing at their mouths in sheer ecstasy, as they take turns—just as the punks who ravaged Jodie Foster in the movie The Accused—forcing themselves on the unsuspecting citizens of this country by issuing one negative financial report after the other. To sustain themselves this many days in a row post Election Day, suggests that they've absorbed massive doses of some sort of sadistic Viagra-like drug that enhances cruel behavior.

Therapists refer to the psychological manifestations following physical rape as "rape trauma syndrome." Yet, what do they call the syndrome that millions of U.S. citizens are experiencing who have unwittingly been robbed, tortured, and raped in the face of the devastating news that the nation is on the verge of the worst financial disaster in 100 years (Paulson's comment)?

We got blindsided. We are victims of a sneak attack greater than the one that occurred at Pearl Harbor. And, we were just simply minding our own businesses, believing that after the election, no matter which candidate prevailed, our nation would quickly get back on course and continue in our great, enduring legacy.

Instead, we are checking into intensive care, getting ready to be transferred to the trauma unit. It's all a blur. We were being dropped off from our date, coming home from an exciting election event, and then, Bam! our dignity was stripped away. We're standing naked in the street, with barely even a $5 bill to cover our private parts. We feel abused, we feel violated, we feel as if we’ve been treated disrespectfully, and we don't know to whom to turn. If there's any consolation, it's that it happened to massive numbers of us—we don't need to feel like lone rangers.

Now, it's time to band together and to declare, that we're sick and tired and depressed of the crimes against us and we're not going to take it anymore. It's time to seek justice. Bailouts may come for more banks, more Wall Street firms, and members of the auto industry. But there cannot be bailouts, or reprieves for the men who have temporarily ruined our lives. They must be convicted, and they must receive the disgrace that they deserve. George W. Bush will already go down as the worst president in U. S. history (worse than Herbert Hoover, worse than Andrew Johnson). Ironically, his dad, George H. W. Bush left the country in a recession at the end of his term in office, and now his son has outdone him. Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and any of their so-called advisers, must be held accountable as well. They should have known better (at least that's what their résumés suggest).

Yet, we probably know what they’ll plead. These self-proclaimed big shots, similar to accused parties in rape cases, will claim that the despicable acts of fiscal malfeasance were consensual; that somehow, we citizens are just as guilty because we willfully participated in stock market speculation, and we knowingly partook of sub-prime mortgages and other such reprehensible schemes; that we should’ve been more fiscally prudent. Yeah, right, just like the financial leaders of our country are.

Next, we suffer through what rape counselors refer to as the shock phase:

We are in disbelief, filled with anxiety and fear. Some of us might even be blaming ourselves for letting this happen to us. We might ask, "Why didn't we pull all of our money out of the stock market months ago, and invest it in gold, or boxes of Kleenex. One thing we don't want to do is lose respect in ourselves and give up hope. We don’t want to lose our trust in everyone, although we'll certainly be more cautious when listening to any so-called financial experts or government officers (they're all running around now like chickens with their heads chopped off). And hopefully we'll be able to empathize with one another.

They say that the effects of rape trauma syndrome include insomnia, nightmares, loss of appetite, irritability, and depression, usually accompanied by headaches, nausea, and stomachaches. Some victims even resort to alcohol and drug addiction, and in extreme cases, suicide. Let's try to avoid the latter alternatives.

One axiom that has proved to be successful over time is "A problem shared, is a problem cut in half." During the next year or so, let's share our concerns (and our outrages) with one another. These will be troublesome times. Moreover, history is on our side. because in the past, whether it was recovery from the devastating effects of the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Nixon Years, the recessionary/inflationary early 1980s, G. H. W. Bush's presidency, the dot-com collapse, 9-11, Katrina, or any number of other major crises, citizens of this great nation have persevered and come out on top. We can do it again.

Rape is hideous, demonic, and utterly cruel, but it doesn't need to be fatal. Long live the victorious survivors!