Burning Man Delayed… and Defiled.

Hello all.
After all of the build-up,personal obsession social media and physical work- devoted to Burning Man here,  then you may be wondering why I’ve posted nothing until now.

This is the first post. It isn’t pretty. No pictures, wonderful stories, or even the hilarious drunken antics of our citizens. Those will come later.
For now, this is about my daughter.
It is an Urban Myth come true.

Sexual Assault on the Playa

As an 8 year Burner I feel safe, kept sane and amazed every year by the experience of fifty thousand people (this year 58,000+) coming together from all over the world. Sharing cultures, fun, food, ethnic differences and ability to integrate all of them. Best part: we all watch out for each other.

For years I’ve told the Demon Seed that I would not allow her to attend until she was 18. She was 19 this year. It is truly an adult event, despite ‘Kidsville.’ and the past 5 years of the BORG (sorry, should be ORG but hell) encouraging people to bring their children.
This is cretinous. If an adult’s lungs can barely take the dust and heat how is a small child supposed to survive. Sorry. Digressed.

One beautiful evening my daughter and I took our bikes out to see a few art installation on deep playa. Deep Playa refers to the area outside of the miles of camps surrounding The Man and where the biggest, most amazing structures are.
She wanted to see Burn Wall Street, before it burned.
We had climbed Mal Mart, been to the head of Anubis, and met new friends already.
I was tired and told her to be careful, it was beginning to rain.

Next time I saw the Demon seed was 15 hours later. Hallucinating, and with an IV bandage on her arm from the med tent. She remembered nothing. A camper from Emerald City had apparently found her face down behind their camp. Overdosing.

Now, I may be brilliant, a total fucker, live too fast, try anything once (twice to make sure), and a fabulously crazy biatch –as is my daughter. We do NOT do heavy drugs or take insane risks though.
When she got back to camp I noticed something wrong with her, and the fact that she was hallucinating was scary. Sent her back with two of her friends to find a camp Ranger (the Burning Man ‘police’, as opposed to the Pershing county police who also have a presence on the playa).

Another 8 hours and she had not returned. I’m waiting by our camper and losing my mind with worry. Left camp in a dust storm white-out to find a ranger and my daughter. Finally learned that she was being returned by the sheriff’s department to our camp.

What happened? She had been dosed (taken a glass of ‘water’) at a camp called ‘Want It.’ She was then raped and dumped on a side street.
The rangers originally believed she had over-indulged, as did I originally.

She identified her attacker –a DJ with the aforementioned camp- but no charges can be brought because:
1. There is no Rape Kit on the playa
2. There are no Forensic Nurses on the playa
3. Her only choice (while under the influence of Ketamine and PC-2 which the cops believe was the dose) was going to Reno, being stripped, examined then released with no clothing, money or possessions.
Two other women besides my daughter were attacked that night: the others also dosed and showing signs of strangulation marks.
One of the rapists was arrested by the police. He had kept a ‘trophy’ of his rape and it was found in his car. Pershing county police (and everyone else I know) are hoping he will roll over on his accomplice.

There is more of course.

How can I ever let this go? I had promised her a safe, fun, eye-opening and life changing week. This was not what I promised. I have NEVER heard of such a thing happening on the playa.

I have to thank camps and random wonderful strangers from all over the playa for their help. We had people, with no idea of my daughter’s identity, come by Spanky’s to leave gifts, smudge the camp with sage, give offerings of love (baseball bats, dull steak knives, hefty bags….), and the tireless help of the Rangers.
Burners came to give their support and love from literally miles around. People we did not know, but the word had spread through the city.

Mercifully my daughter does not remember the exact details.
In college I was raped by two men, and also blocked out the details. Only remember climbing from the mud in my white outfit.
I never reported the attack. Believed it was my fault as I was drunk (and looking back probably dosed) at a frat party. This was the late 70′s as well with a small town backwards police department.
For this to happen to my beautiful loving daughter is far worse than my experience. The tears will not stop.

The Demon Seed will be staying with me until next semester. She is in SF right now gathering her belongings and tying up loose ends. Hopefully she returns to SF State next year, and I’m sure she will.
She’s a strong gal. I love her. She is my life. Please send her your positive thoughts.
Oh, she can hardly wait to go back next year to Burning Man. In her words ‘I will not let that fucking experience be my memory of the happiness I’ve found here!’

~Miss R

66 thoughts on “Burning Man Delayed… and Defiled.

  1. What the actual fuck?!? Grrr… it’s things like this which prevent me from socialising because I have no subtlety and disappearing some turds body is easier than prosecuting someone.

    *sigh* Ok, calming down a bit now. Nope, fucker!

    Try this again… I hope your daughter is ok n you as well tbh as I know this isn’t gonna be easy on you. I know it’s a bit shit but I struggle with things like that

    • Null,
      we are both going through it. Daughter is managing.
      did you know that one of my camp mates strode up to me screaming “You fucking BITCH! You are the worst mother that has ever lived! Keep an eye on your daughter you fucking cunt!”
      Have to say that said bitch has a boyfriend….. that took my daughter’s virginity a year and a half ago, lied about it, and my daughter still has a crush on him because he was her first.
      People tend to suck.
      Thank you Null, will pass along your love to my daughter.Of all people I KNOW you feel pain.

      • Again – what the actual fuck?!? The bitch who screamed at you seriously needs to seek psychiatric help, but I’m guessing you knew that anyway. Well, either that or she’s so dumb that even Forrest Gump seems like Einstein in comparison. Spose that’s my way of saying “What’s her fucking problem?”

        *sigh* People do indeed suck, and not in a good way. Sending hugs n stuff to both of you but will keep the violent fantasies of torture, maiming, and disposing of bodies in the wilderness to myself.

        As for you moving to SF? I give it no more than 2 years before you’re elected mayor of that place due to your awesomeness n fitting into that kinda place

        • Null,
          If I could move anywhere it would be SF or upper Michigan (don’t ask), Toronto or the UK,
          The dumb bitch that told me off IS a dumb bitch, Her BF was the first person to sleep with my daughter. He didn’t tell the dumb bitch and he lied to me. I asked him to never speak to her again. It did not happen; found out he has been texting and emailing her for two years. Oh, he is almost 40. Fucking creep. Oh, she was crying and distraught that he would not speak with her at the Burn… because his GF was there I’m thinking.

          Believe my daughter when she told me what happened and not him. Call me crazy. She can’t let it go because he was her first. -sigh-
          He tried to zoom in and be a hero when the playa incident happened. Spoke with the Ranger/Counselor about it and she described him as a ‘manipulative predator.’
          Nothing I can do about that situation.
          Can only keep my daughter close and continue to let her know she is loved by myself, her (real) friends and family.
          Thank you again Null. xxx

  2. Those creeps are
    the scum of the earth…

    I am sending you my most
    positive vibes this evening,
    I was going to add a lot to
    this post but I can see from
    what your mum has added
    that you are a strong lass…

    And I wish
    you very well :)

    Androgoth XXx

    • Andro, you are fabulous. You know the pain and can feel the need to beat the living hell out of the person who did this.
      Love your poem.
      Will pass this along to the Demon Seed.
      Tears are still falling here… yet my daughter is doing so well.
      Sadly I know how it works.
      Love you honey

  3. Not what anyone wants ever, but kudos for being mother’s daughter and not letting this ruin TBM. Hearts and hugs to you both. I will dance a circle for you both. All my love. If you wanna vent, call. <3

  4. OMG! This is horrible! I cannot even begin to imagine the feeling you have as well as your daughter. I do not like violence, but I would make an exception in this case and find some big guy with a big club who likes to break some bones…

        • ‘Tis true. the attacker was in his early thirties at the least. My daughter, although 19, looks about 16 without her slathering of goth make-up -grin-. Neither of us were wearing make-up that evening either, Making the fucker who attacked her not only a rapist, but pedophile and with the strangulation marks, attempted murdered.
          Back to my percocet and ice packs from yesterday’s back surgery and tissues for the tears.
          I love people like you Michelle, this is what makes the blogosphere a family, more than some of our real family.

          • I hear ya. I made a very grave error in my life, have since corrected my stupidity but my brothers still refuse to talk to me and it’s been nearly 20 years now.

            Hope you recover quickly from your surgery.

            Sorry, I can’t help myself from commenting more, and hope it doesn’t make you hurt more, but I just loath that man. Your daughter, and you, but primarily her, is going to have to live with that for the rest of her life. Fuck!!!! Went on a business trip with my boss in November last year, and after a few glasses of wine, she opened up and told me all about her rape. Forty years later, happily married, kids… and it still affects her every day.

            • Nothing you could ever say would be anything but positive Michelle.
              As your friend told you, it never goes away.
              It’s been almost 35 years since I was raped, and as my daughter, have mercifully had no recollection of the actual sexual details happening. Just the before and immediate afterward.
              Our brains are good to us. Told my daughter to STOP trying to remember. It doesn’t work. Thank the gods.

              BTW FUCK your brothers. My idiot family has already started rumours -that oddly enough I hear via phone calls- that my daughter brought drugs from San Francisco, and because she was a Goth kinda gal maybe ‘had it coming.’ This is from Family?!
              Neither my daughter nor myself uses drugs -although we’ve been known to imbibe with cocktails. Okay maybe a vert rare smoke.
              For your own family to bring up rumors, innuendo and blame to another family member?
              Would like to kick your brothers asses to the moon with certain members of my family.

              Oh, said family members? Dumb as a box of hair all of them. My daughter and myself are the only ones who are of IQ’s over 160., college educated, street smart and dark. ‘Nough sad eh?
              Thank you my friend.

  5. I have a 19 year old daughter too and my heart breaks for you both. I am sending positive thoughts to you and mini-you in hopes that you both recover and find peace. She sounds like an amazingly strong woman…be well!

  6. This sucks. At least you know who did it,not that it helps. (much ;) ) My thoughts are coming to her from Alabama. Go get him Tiger let the Crazy begin…..

    • Thank you maryisidra. We cannot prosecute because of the hellishness involved; a sexual assault over an hour form a real hospital or police station. Options for the victim virtually zero.
      I want to personally say Bless you! This, from an atheist ;)

  7. Unfortunately I know several women who have gone through similar things… every time I hear something like this I feel a bit angrier and a bit more helpless and I’m left wishing I had the ‘right things’ to say. I’m a fairly pessimistic guy by nature, stuff like this, though… almost makes me loose all hope in people. But every now and then I hear things like what your daughter said… and it manages to overcome all that garbage… somehow… in ways I don’t really understand. She sounds like such an incredible young lady, Ms. B…
    and you are both in my thoughts…

    • bob, you are an artist in the visual sense, and you do the same with the written word. You’re seling yourself short.
      I’ve read a statistic that 1 in 3 women are sexually attacked. WTF kind of stat is that?!
      Know that one reason is the embarrassment of reporting the incident, so that many rapists keep violating women. Never reported my own rape.

      Many thank yous to you my dear friend. My daughter is strong. Raised her that way. I also know exactly what she is going though… and it does not hit you at once.
      Why do we know so many women who have been abused? What is wrong with our society that we make the victim feel like a whiner/complainer/hysteric and allow freak sociopaths to keep raping?
      Japan may be fucked up sexually but they have a damned low incidence of rape.
      I have no idea what this means. Just…. thanks Bob.

  8. Holy hell.
    Thank goodness she has you, and I hope she keeps hearing that it isn’t her fault and believes it.

    Hope the word gets out on this guy and he is stopped.

    And anything you can think of that I can do for you or Demon Seed, let me know.

    • EG you are a doll. She has been told it is not her fault by not only myself, but many others.
      There is an ER doc in our camp, a psychologist, a Burning Man Ranger who specializes in sexual abuse cases in the ‘real’ world and other women in our camp -and outside- that tried to be there and be with her.
      Luckily we also have a lawyer and a friend in camp that is high up in the Burning Man organization,
      There is a meeting tomorrow between the aforementioned friend and lawyer, vs the Burning Man lawyers.
      So more to come.
      Thank you EG. Love you.

  9. I am just calling by to see how you and your
    daughter are getting along, I know it won’t be
    easy that’s for sure but I wanted to call by and
    let you know that I am thinking about the both
    of you and that I wish you well my great friend

    Andro XXx

      • I have been thinking about you both
        ever since this posting was added, it
        was nice to see you on my Space :)
        Keep well and know that your friends
        really do care about you both, I hope
        that your daughter is doing okay, not
        something that is easily pushed out of
        one’s thoughts but I am sending you
        both my most positive vibes Miss R

        Androgoth XXx

          • Hey you just told everyone on this thread but no I would never tell anyone anything that someone told me, that is a given :) :) Don’t you be crying, just keep things together and take it step by step, time will find a way of healing and I wish the both of you a much nicer day today my great friend :)

            Andro XXx

  10. That is really terrible. There’s not a lot that can be done after the fact, but hopefully they will be able to charge and convict the ones responsible. So sorry this happened.

    • Binky, there’s not much that can be said eh? Appreciate your kind thoughts and will pass them along to my daughter.
      The douchebag will never be officially charged -due to the lack of forensic ability on the playa- but we hope to make his identity public. Then bring on the taunts…..and baseball bats

  11. Holy shit. I can’t even find words. What the hell is wrong with these messed-up people?
    Demon Seed sounds like a strong, resilient woman. Here’s hoping she can take strength from this horribly wrong event and use it to keep building her power.
    Evil, evil people (and I read the rape stat is more like 45%…a lot of women don’t even acknowledge to themselves that they were raped because they blame themselves).
    I hate that this happened to you and your daughter. Sending positive energy, knowing there’s nothing I can say that wouldn’t be a cliche.

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    • Ahmnodt it never ceases to amaze me what a human being is capable of doing to another. Politicians are nothing compared to the ‘real’ horrors or humanity. Ww can vote the former out.. we can only kill the latter slowly. *
      Hardly fair.
      Thank you for your thoughts my dearest.

      *currently available in limited contiguous states, Puerto Rico and Guam

  14. My thoughts, my love, my energy all with your daughter. For strength and wings to soar. For healing. To know she had no part in this and that she does not have anything to forgive in herself.

    My spirit bat is in your hands. That sick f*ck should be castrated with a serrated blade and forced to swallow his own body part.

    • Sorry for this amazingly tardy reply. Just wanted to say thank you for your concern… and damn! You have just as twisted imagination as myself. I like that in a person. Bring on the serrated blades!

  15. hey! do you have any information about the person who was apprehended? thank goodness they caught him. do they think it was the same person who raped your daughter (may he suffer for being an evil force in the world)

    • Hi LittleBeezy,
      no more info. Pershing County DA and Sheriff have been less than cooperative. Or, simply over-worked and no longer give a crap.
      Still no idea if the rapes are connected, and at this point will probably never know. Can only guess that someone knows who the sick F*ck is and he will no longer be able to show his slimy face at the Burn again.
      Thank you for checking in.

  16. I arrived on your blog to hear news of laughter, mayhem and back pain. WTF? I had to read your post twice, I can’t believe that happened. No words can begin to express my disgust. I send positive vibes and big hugs from Down Under.

  17. I have been thinking about you and your daughter
    this evening and I hope that you are both doing okay
    my great friend… My positive vibes are still being
    generated for you both…

    Andro XXx

  18. Hi — I am a Burner and advocate for survivors and I want, firstly, to register my support and sorrow that this happened.

    Secondly, I am just letting you know that I am a writer, and I have been asked to write an article about rape on the playa in general, after word got out about this event. I will link to the eplaya thread in my article. If you feel okay about me linking to this blog post, then I will also link here, but I won’t if you don’t want me to.

    If you are willing to talk to me about the aftermath of the event, and what happened next, please let me know. If not, then I’ll just thank you for bringing this event to the public. Take care and be well.

      • I will get back to you tomorrow via email. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate someone taking actual notice and bringing it public. do you realize that my original thread on eplaya was shut down by the moderators and their last post was that the ‘op’ (me) had been notified and ‘informed’ ?
        Well, I’m the op, it is my daughter, and NO ONE contacted me. No one has done a damned thing, no help was forthcoming from the BORG, Pershing County, or anyone else.
        Details later, can only say thank you.
        My daughter is still terribly affected. As am I. Thank you.

              • Thank you, was being a bit facetious.
                Just send a question if you have one. Guess I have written and spoken so much on this topic that I’ve become worn.
                It is difficult to repeat every instance of the walls, road blocks, failure of the BmORG, indifference of the Pershing county police, false and misleading explanations given to victims as to their choices…
                The entire situation has also driven me back into therapy.

                My daughter begins therapy in SF with a new psychologist tomorrow. She is registered to begin school again beginning this Spring semester.
                She vows to return to Burning Man and overcome the horror she was subjected to. She is a survivor and rocks. She loves the True people of the playa.
                I and all of our friends at Spanky’s will be there to help her.

                She is loved. As I pointed out previously, strangers from camps all over the playa came to wish her well, offer gifts, prayers and love; even though we kept her anonymous in camp.
                The playa is still a good, strengthening and loving place.
                It is the college frat rapists that get away with worse than murder.

                Bright Blessings Clarisse.
                Am available whenever you have a question, with names, dates, places and all else.

                • Thank you. If you want to correspond by email we can do that too — I’m at clarisse.thorn@gmail.com. I would email this comment, but I don’t have an address for you.

                  I’m mostly trying to understand how the system functioned in this event and how it could be improved. What are the failures that you would want brought to public attention? Let’s say … if you had three big takeaways that you wanted the community to know about this, then what would they be? What are three things you would want done differently in the future?

                  If you have written about these questions specifically elsewhere then I can also go read that, and spare you the task of repeating it.

                  • Clarisse,
                    sent you an email just now.

                    THANK YOU! I know that everyone who reads these posts, knows my family -blood relation or not- wants to see your final piece.
                    When it is published can you please let me know?
                    I would like to share it here and post another installment dealing with your piece, and finding out all of the information you have gathered from all of your sources.
                    Be well!

    • Thanks Red! Trust me, you’ll find several posts on my site which will give you a more normal (if that word can be used) view of Burning Man.
      This was an anomaly. A tragedy.
      My daughter has just moved back to SF, and is registered for the upcoming semester at SFSU. She is doing well and in counselling.
      Oh, we’re both already making plans for next year’s Burn :)

      • Can’t tell you how happy I am to hear Demon Spawn is keeping on with school, and also getting counseling, so that she doesn’t let that jackass drag her down inside her head.

        I bet she gets her persistence from having one of the coolest moms around!

        • Thanks Guap!
          My little Demon Seed has been calling me every night this past week. Already miss her, but am sure she is happy to be away from mom and back in San Fran heh. She moves into a new place Jan 1st and is currently staying with a friend in the dorms.
          She went pretty crazy for while; acting out in self-destructive behavior she completely acknowledges. She’s so much better now than two months ago. She IS a survivor… and still a whacko like her mom.

  19. Pingback: A Rape in Black Rock City: Reblogged from Yes Means Yes | YoYo-Dyne Propulsion Labs: Reno Division

  20. Hi Rachel,

    I just stumbled upon yours and your daughter’s story. A similar incident happened to me at Burning Man in 2011. I don’t want to disturb the past for you or your daughter if you’re trying to bury it, but if you’d ever like to talk, please reach out when you can. My contact info is located on my blog, if you’d like to connect any time in the future.

    • Thank you so much. I am so sorry to read of your attack. I have learned many things since posting this piece. Am catching up on 360 unread emails right now lol. Was hit with an insanely rare spinal disease in late August. Missed the Burn for the first time in 9 years. My daughter and I both had early entry passes but I was hospitalized at the time. She got to spend a week on the playa with her friends at Spanky’s helping build and watching the city go up. She was awed. She got a ride back to SF for the beginning of the semester. She is doing well!

      I am very interested in learning about your incident and what if anything was done to help (or hurt) you. Give me a few days. Looking forward to reading your blog. Once again my sympathy and empathy go out to you.

  21. Bearman, you are one of my favorite people here in our circle of bloggers. If you are willing to take up arms (and legs.. and torsos…) then I know a nerve has been hit.
    When I find where the c**ksucker resides I’ll let you know. Feel that several of us here can do some damage with said bats, dull steak knives and hefty bags.
    Thank you sweetie

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