The Next Day
How did this go from a meeting at Barnes & Noble to him splashing cold water on his face and needing help making sense of her text? I spent over an hour talking with him and trying to wrap my head around the details.
I have a good memory. My son has a great memory, which is quite common with high functioning autism. But I remember our conversation that morning very well. It isn’t every day a mom hears a story like this from her son. So, I did something I had never done before. After he went upstairs to shower I checked his cellphone and read it for myself. Why did I not take his phone? Make a copy of their communication? Make copies of the sexually provocative photos she had been sending to him of herself? Why? Because he was 25? Hindsight.
I remember asking him to just breathe, calm down and tell me what was going on. He said she sent him a text that morning suggesting that he had tried to sexually assault her the night before. WHAT?!? My tone and reaction frightened him. I realized I had to get a grip if he was going to calm down enough to tell me what happened.
They had walked around Barnes & Noble for quite a while. He said he began to feel anxious and just wanted to head back home. She suggested that he come over to her apartment to watch TV and hang out. He said he was reluctant and nervous because he very much wanted to become her boyfriend again. He said he had made that clear to her many times. But he decided to say yes and he went to her apartment. He knew she had a boyfriend at the time. But the opportunity just to spend time with her won out over anxiety.
He told me that the night before she invited him to her apartment they had texted back and forth for over an hour. The texting was mostly about her sexual fantasies, and about her being a BDSM submissive. He said she shared that her current boyfriend wasn’t pleasing her, that he was tired by the time he got home from work. She also texted about a story she was writing. The story was about her having stolen a horse in medieval times and after being caught she was made to be a sex slave as punishment. He told her he couldn’t imagine her boyfriend not wanting to have sex with her and that if he was her boyfriend he would do anything to please her. These are not exact words, but the message that was conveyed.
If you are holding your breath, imagine how I was having to dig deep to stay composed.
My mind wandered back to when they dated in high school, and I had become aware that some of the sexual foreplay involved her “kind of” hurting him, but not inflicting deep pain. I saw that his chest had a number of small bruises, about 25 or so. He said it was just something she liked to do. He told me she also would bite his lip. He said he didn’t like it, but he loved her. This was definitely not okay with me. I told him that her inflicting pain on him was not okay and that if he didn’t tell her to stop then I would. I know…embarrassing right…your mom telling your girlfriend to back off sexually. But why was he allowing this if he didn’t like it? I didn’t know at that time that his diagnosis would later be Autism Spectrum Disorder. At that time he had been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. He was participating via naiveté.
About a month later I admit I was pleased to hear they had broken up. He shared with me that she cheated on him and was now dating one of his friends. At the time this was high school. We expect high school break ups and heartbreaks. I could have never realized how much this would impact him for years. The deep sadness, depression and suicidal ideation that was to follow. I only learned within the past four years how devastating break-ups can be for someone on the spectrum.
Since I am his mom, and understandably considered biased I will let excerpts from the trial transcript take over. To cover the story I can’t possibly include everything in one post. But, we will begin today and continue in following posts.
I will not use anyone’s name except our son’s. I will clarify at the beginning of each part of testimony who is asking questions, and who is answering questions; using Q for question, and A for answer.
The prosecutor is asking the questions. The young woman is answering:
Q: During the time that you-all were spending time together and he was having dinner with you and friends and things like that, did he express a romantic interest in you?
A: I knew he was interested in me.
Q: How did you respond to that?
A: It’s flattering. He’s an attractive gentleman, but when I’m with someone, I’m with somebody.
Q: How was it ultimately that he ended up at your house that day?
A: We met at Barnes and Noble. We were talking. He still just didn’t seem happy. I was like, come hang out with me at my apartment. I’m packing, but we can watch a movie or hang out.
Q: So you invited him to come over while you were packing?
Q: When he gets to your apartment what happens? Well, tell me when you first get there, what the two of you were doing.
A: I put in South Park and had a big fuzzy, blue blanket that I laid on the floor because most everything is gone, and then I was like going to pop some popcorn or whatever because I didn’t want to rush into packing. I did invite him over. So we were just hanging out for a bit. He starts like rubbing on me. I’m like all right, you know, because I knew he had a romantic interest.
Q: Do you remember where he was rubbing you?
A: On my feet and my shoulders.
Q: Did you say anything to him, how it was making you feel?
A: I just kind of shrugged it off because he wasn’t making me angry or anything.
Q: What kind of – I feel like all of us would probably be ignorant to it, but what kind of modeling were you doing?
A: I do artistic, trade, runway, magazine print and high fashion.
Q: Did you share any of the photos with Mr. Harrison?
Q: How would you share them with him?
Q: Okay. When you shared the pictures with him, would he give you commentary and things of that nature?
A: Yeah. He got very upset at one point and was very audible about the fact that he thought that I was leading him on with them. We got into a very big argument and I told him — I wasn’t trying to make him angry. I didn’t realize that’s what was going on and I was sick to my stomach with myself. I was really disappointed in myself and I told him I wasn’t going to show him anything anymore.
This is not the way my son remembered it.