That is the most prominent emotion a man experiences while he awaits a police investigation to meander to a conclusion over a woman's false rape claim.
Complete and utterly helpless fear. Unspeakable fear. Fear that can't be consoled. And anxiety; and anger; and rage.
But it all stems from a terrible, ferocious fear.
Fear, because the man is not sure if the truth will conquer the lie; he's not sure if he will have his liberty snatched from him and whether he will be tossed into an inhumane prison cell where the innocent don't belong and where awful things happen to men who are not hardened criminals. The truth should conquer the lie, of course, because he knows he didn't rape anyone. But many men have been wrongly convicted for false rape claims when, indeed, the truth should have conquered the lie.
If one needs any proof that men can be and often are destroyed by a false rape claim, he or she need only read the story below -- another in a cavalcade of news stories about false rape claims. False rape claims not only hurt men and boys as much as anything possibly could (and, yes, if given the terrible choice they'd prefer to be raped themselves rather than live through this). Such lies also destroy families, careers, and everything a man holds dear. Nothing is normal, nothing is right after a false rape claim. Maybe someday, after a long, long time has passed. Maybe. But probably never like it would have been; never like it should have been.
And the lying woman suffers not in the least. Her anonymity is guarded by law or by news media agreement, and she is able to rest secure that she made the life of some hapless male pure, unadulterated hell because she was able to have the police and often the media work her will to hurt him. Badly.
In short, she was able to use his gender as a sword to destroy him.
And the most horrifying aspect of it all? It could happen to almost any innocent man or teenage boy.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all you need to know to understand that there is something terribly, terribly wrong with our false rape culture.
HERE IS THE STORY:
Trainee GP's 'hell' over false rape allegation
A trainee GP has told of his "year of hell" after an allegation of rape made against him by a patient was thrown out.
By Nick Britten Last Updated: 6:15PM BST 04 Aug 2008
Dr Steven Ashenford said he had "lost everything", including his marriage and home, after the false claim.
He has been suspended by the GMC and said the ordeal had put him off working as a doctor forever. He said he was desperate now to "just get my life back on track".
Dr Ashenford, 33, was working at the Sutton Hill medical practice in Telford, Shrops, when he was arrested last October after the female patient made the allegation.
He said: "The police were in the house searching it. My belongings were taken away, my computer and my diary. I felt really violated."
He admitted he had "crossed the boundary" in terms of his personal relationship with the woman after he gave her his telephone numbers when she gave him advice about schooling for his three-year-old daughter, who has severe development problems.
But he said they never had a physical relationship and he was "shaken to the core" when officers turned up at his home.
He said: "In hindsight I should not have crossed that boundary and I guess she might have got the wrong impression. I was suffering from depression at the time and that affected my thinking.
"I accept I shouldn't have done it but I never expected anything like this. I thought I'd be taken to one side and told to sort it out.
"It was 8am and I was still in my pyjamas when the police turned up. They took me away and questioned me, although by the second time I was questioned I got the feeling they knew there wasn't much in it.
"But the waiting has been horrendous, it's been a year of worsening fear.
"I lost my old house. I felt like I was being watched all they time. You know you haven't done anything but I was scared to go out."
A month after the allegation was made, Dr Ashenford was given an 18-month suspension by the GMC, which runs until next May.
Officials will review the suspension in the light of the charges being dropped, but it is understood it covers his professional relationship with other patients, not just the allegation of rape.
In the last year, his contract with the medical practice has run out, leaving him without a job.
He has moved back to Aberdeen to live with his parents, while his former wife, who he said had been "hurt a lot" by the allegation, has remained in Telford.
He said he was "over the moon" at the allegations had been dropped but said he had paid a heavy price, adding: "It's torn my family apart. There was never any truth in it but you're never sure how it's going to end.
"Now, for my daughter's sake, I've got to just get my life back on track. Hopefully now we can all move on."
He now hopes to move into palliative care and work in a hospice.
West Mercia police confirmed Dr Ashenford will not face criminal charges, while Sutton Hill Medical Practice said it had "no comment whatsoever".
A spokesman for the GMC said it could not comment on individual cases.