Surviving the unthinkable

Doc Robin, while discussing rape, yelled, hopped, danced and spilled water on her shirt, which she proceeded to partially remove, all during a two-hour lecture, Thursday night.She greeted the crowd by shouting, “When you look at me, what do you see?”

What no one saw, but Robin proceeded to explain, was that, as a child, she was raped many times by a member of her family, employees of schools she attended, a date and several of the date’s friends.

The date-rape incident, which Robin said occurred in high school, left her unable to have children.

Through all of this Robin said she knew she just had to keep on living.

“The fact that I never contemplated suicide is amazing,” Robin said. “But something in my soul, something told me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Robin said she channeled all her energy into education and graduated from high school when she was 16 years old. She was accepted to Northwestern University’s accelerated program. Robin holds two doctorates, one in clinical psychology and one in ministerial divinities and religious studies.

As an adult, Robin said she was prone to men who mentally abused her, a detail of her life that was in direct contrast to the message she shares with college students around the country.

“I was a mess,” she said. “I was going all over the country teaching students how to love themselves and take care of themselves, but I wasn’t living that way.”

The day that all changed for Robin, she said, was the day she visited a hospital in New York. She was rocking a baby who was infected with the AIDS virus. When a nurse came to take the sleeping baby away, Robin turned around and saw Mother Teresa.

Robin said Mother Teresa handed her a set of rosary beads, which Robin presented to the crowd, and told Robin to find the light within herself. Only then could Robin really help anyone else.Helping others, for Robin, means teaching people how to “Survive and Stay Alive,” a message she has printed on T-shirts and distributes at her lectures.

Sometimes, Robin said, surviving a rape means allowing the attack to be committed. She described one victim she has counseled who tried to resist a rapist. The victim, Robin said, will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life because of the injuries she suffered when the rapist forced himself on her. Those injuries might not have occurred had the victim “eased up,” Robin said.Robin and a volunteer from the audience acted as if they were drunk, substituting water for alcohol and demonstrated a possible rape scenario.

During the attack, Robin said the most helpful thing anyone can do is become his or her own investigator. That means remembering details of the attacker’s appearance, scratching the attacker to gather DNA evidence under his or her fingernails and biting the attacker to leave an imprint which can still be detected for one week after the attack.

Robin said she cries sometimes because rape stills occurs – at a rate of 550,000 reported by women over 18 and 48,000 reported by men 2001. But she said all she wants to do is make a difference for one person.

“If one person that was attacked opens up and talks about it, then I’ve done my job,” Robin said. “God forbid, if one person is attacked next week and comes forward and understands they are not alone. That’s what it’s about.”

Dustin Rogers, a communications major who attended the lecture, said he admired the energy with which Blake spoke.”I thought it was inspiring,” Rogers said. “It was eye-opening. She is very enthusiastic about the subject, which I guess you have to be. It was very powerful, and I can’t believe she’s still here after all of that.”