The Dream: Three couples are sharing a vacation rental. One of the husbands is charming and well-regarded, a very popular guy who is the mayor of his town. His attractive Asian / Indian wife bustles about attending the needs of the family. I'm cleaning up in the kitchen. It soon becomes apparent to me that the man is a pedophile who molests young boys, and that his wife is complicit in covering this up.
I'm on my way to the shopping center in a white rental car, and the man gets in with me. He's all charm, as usual. We park in a large garage and walk toward the supermarket, crossing a large parking lot. He makes a pass, and when I resist he gets ugly. He shows me a small closet near the market with its own door and tells me he intends to rent it and use it to seduce young boys. He grabs me—he's very strong—and I know he's planning to rape me. I tell him, in all sincerity, that my husband will kill him, but he couldn't care less about my threats. I holler for people to call the police. One woman says,“What are you making such a fuss about?—just go along with it!”
My shouting distracts him, and I manage to escape. When I run back to the garage I have a new problem: I am unable to find the car. I don't even remember what it looks like. I am very frightened that the man will find me. It occurs to me that if I press one of the buttons on the key chain it will cause the car to beep. Sure enough, it works; I find a car, a long black station wagon. The seat seems to be in the right position, so even though I'm not sure this is the right car I take off. I become more and more concerned that it isn't my car: I notice the rear view mirror is not correctly aligned.
As I drive on one of the ramps I notice, barely, a woman in a wheel chair in front of my car. Despite my best effort to stop I can't, and I hit her. I jump out of the car, apologizing profusely. Luckily she was not injured.
I wonder if the police will stop me for stealing the car. Would they believe my story?—probably not. When I was in the altercation with the man I realized that most likely no one would believe it, and he would get away with all his crimes.
Interpretation: Some horrific current events triggered this dream. In the news was a woman executed by the Taliban—her husband delivering the fatal blow. Her crime? She had been abducted and raped. A football player on my local team had been accused of sexual assault, and NPR featured a program on rape. “How would I deal with such a situation?” my unconscious asked.
In the dream I am acutely aware that I have no physical defense, and my attempted verbal defense is useless as well. I experience the awful feeling of being over-powered. Luckily, I mange to flee.
The dream made me aware of the age-old difficulty that women have had in being believed when they report sexual predation. I realize that it is more than likely that no one would listen to me, sympathize, or even believe me. With that dream experience I think I came close to what victims of sexual assault feel. The man's reputation was such that he would not be questioned or suspected. There have been many accounts in the news lately of trusted figures who got away with atrocities for years: a beloved BBC host, Catholic priests, golf coaches, others like Sandusky, and so on. In the dream the man's position helps him to cover up his crimes; his own wife is an enabler. Society's point of view is reflected in the woman in the parking lost who tells me to get over it.
I do escape, but in doing so I come very close to harming other women. My car, once white, is now black and hearse like. I drive into one woman in a wheelchair and steal another's car. The metaphor is that although in waking life I've managed to “escape” these horrors, by turning a blind eye I hurt other, vulnerable women. I apologize for this in the dream, and hope to make things right. In reality, I wonder, what can do?