Another post about rape

2009 January 8

Recently, Savage Love gave some advice to a girl who had been raped by her ex-boyfriend. Her new boyfriend was being a total human fail by considering the rape to be consensual enough and/or not rape-y enough to count as cheating. The girl had been at a party with her ex-boyfriend. He followed her out to her car, pinned her against it, and started kissing her and pulling down her pants. She repeatedly said no, pushed him away, pulled her pants back up, and he just kept at it, until she decided to just let him get it over with so he’d leave her alone.

The circumstances are clearly rape, though, as Dan Savage accurately and really fucking depressingly pointed out, she’d have a helluva time making it legal rape. Or, that is, a helluva time making it rape with a consequence. Though the definition of rape occurred here — she at no point gave her consent and repeatedly indicated that there was no consent — because there was a lack of obvious force or violence, her giving up would probably be considered consent in a court of law.

My rape was very similar. I had just told my ex-husband I wanted a divorce. I also told him we could have sex that night, because I assumed if I didn’t let him, he would rape me. He kept pushing for anal sex, which I unequivocally said I would not have. We argued back and forth, and I kept saying no. He finally backed down, we started to have “consensual” sex, and he switched over to anal. I didn’t fight him off, or continue saying no. I figured I’d just let him get it over with.

There was no question in my mind that what had happened was rape. There was plenty of hopeful doubt, pretend denial, but never a question. I knew. I wished it wasn’t so, but I knew exactly what it was. I knew because I had said no, out loud, several times, and when somebody has sex with you after you have said no, that’s the definition of rape. But I also knew because of how I felt about it. Because it was so different from other sex. Because I spent my time imagining I was a tree outside, and telling myself, “He’ll be done eventually and then this will be in the past,” and afterwards, telling myself, “I’ll admit what happened once I live in a place he does not have a key to.”

Now that rape has happened to me, it completely boggles my mind how somebody could look at the situation Dan Savage addressed, or mine, and wonder if it was really rape. If there was a “no” and sex still happened, that makes it rape — that seems so simple, people, but the fact that we have such confusion over it just indicates how much our society wants rape to be acceptable in as many circumstances as possible.

But I know for a lot of people — and I know it was true for me, in that inaccessible land and time of “before” — there’s a real question about how and when violence and force enter into rape. The event of rape seems like it must necessitate force — how else could sex without consent happen? Of course, there doesn’t need to be direct physical violence; there could be an insinuation, an “I’ll beat you if you don’t,” or something like that. That’s obviously force.

But what about rapes like hers, or mine, where there was no threat, no violence? Was there no force?

This is my post for people who have not been raped, and maybe some of those that have and have not been able to admit it. I want to explain how rape without violence occurs, and why it is still rape, and still force.

Several years ago, there was a guy at my work that I was friendly with. He was a nice guy, quiet, shy, but funny. He got his best friend — they’d been buddies since they were three — a job at the same place. His friend I didn’t like so much. He made frequent homophobic comments and  told wild stories about the improbable threesomes he was having with the ladies, and beyond that, was just sort of generally needy and irritating. One day, Guy 1 told me he and Guy 2 had had a falling out. He wouldn’t say more than that, just that they were never speaking again — NEVER — and that was that. Guy 1 was pretty stoic about it, and nobody could get the story out of him; all he’d say in answer to our questions was, “It’s not about a girl.” Guy 2 went around with a long, long face, constantly sighing and wheezing and moaning about how his life had just gone to shambles, everything was fucked, everything was hard, he just couldn’t concentrate today, maybe we could talk to Guy 1?

I didn’t ask Guy 1 what the deal was, because I really didn’t feel like getting into anybody’s drama. But one night, many months later, me and Guy 1 hung out and, um, imbibed in some substances, and generally got into a very click-y happy connecting place. He asked me, “Do you want to know what really happened, with me and Guy 2?” He sounded so serious, I tried to sober up and make a serious face and said, “Sure, if you want to.”

Guy 1 told me that one night, Guy 2′s parents were out of town, and so he went to spend the night and get hella drunk. He passed out, and woke up to find Guy 2 molesting him. He was completely frozen, partially from being so drunk, but mostly from fear.

Now, Guy 1 was a big guy. Super muscle man. Guy 2 was a twiddly little thing. Even drunker than shit, Guy 1 could have broken Guy 2 in half. And he said as much. He said he knew he could have done that, but he was too scared to do anything. He just kept hoping Guy 2 would stop, or he would pass out again. Guy 1 seemed sort of ashamed, telling me this, kept repeating that he knows he could have or he should have and he didn’t know why he didn’t, but Guy 2 was his best friend. He’d known him his entire life. He never saw this coming, and if Guy 2 — his best friend — could do this horrible thing to him, he realized he didn’t really know Guy 2. He didn’t know who this person was, and he didn’t know what he was capable of, if he was capable of this horrible thing.

I related this story because, I think, when you take a woman out of the equation, sometimes it makes the whole “rape” thing clearer. Again, that seems ridiculous to say, but half our problems accepting when rape is really rape are actually reflections of our problems accepting what rights women and men have. That is, confusion over when rape is really rape is actually confusion over whether it is acceptable for men to be denied what they want from somebody who is not male. Rape isn’t about gender so much as it’s about power and privilege; but power and privilege are so completely tied to gender that that can sometimes get lost. I think sometimes it can be clearer to see how horrifying rape is, and how much it really is rape, when it’s done to somebody with power and privilege, somebody it isn’t supposed to be done to, somebody it’s not okay to do it to.

But mostly, I related this story because when Guy 1 told me why he didn’t fight back, that was the first time I really understood why some girls don’t. He put it so well: when somebody you knew, somebody you trusted, does something so frighteningly outside the boundaries of normal and expected behavior, that person becomes a stranger who is capable of anything. And, more importantly, a stranger who has already proven that they are willing to do anything. Guy 1 had no reason to believe that if he fought back, Guy 2 wouldn’t pull a gun, or a knife, or do something else as completely unforeseen, evil, and horrifying as raping him was.

This is why a rapist does not have to be physically violent, or state in clear terms that he intends physical violence, for forceful rape to occur. When somebody has illustrated that they are willing and able to step so far outside of the boundaries of human safety, a victim has every reason to expect that there are no boundaries on their behavior. If this person is willing to have sex with somebody who very clearly does not want sex, that person is probably also willing to, or at least capable of, causing physical injury when the lack of consent turns to a physical struggle.

Before I thought very much about this, and before it happened to me, I thought rape victims had two very clear options:

  1. “Allow” themselves to be rape
  2. Fight their rapist off and possibly get away

But the options are actually:

  1. “Allow” yourself to be raped
  2. Fight your rapist off and possibly get away
  3. Attempt to fight your rapist off and escalate a somewhat or relatively physically painless event that will probably be over in ten minutes into something that may take much longer and cause you to bleed a lot, or maybe even die

A rapist does not have to use violence. Initiating sex without consent already indicates how little the rapist cares about your consent in the act. How far does that lack of concern extend? Is this the kind of rapist that could continue to enjoy sex when their victim is in obvious physical pain? Could they enjoy causing the pain? Is this the kind of rapist that will happily kill their victim afterwards? A victim has no idea, whether the rapist is a stranger, acquaintance, friend, family member, boyfriend, or husband. Because if a victim could look at a person and know that they were capable of rape, they would not be within physical proximity in the first place. A victim doesn’t know their rapist is capable of rape until a rape begins; and once a victim knows that, they have no idea what else their rapist is capable of. A rapist does not have to threaten further violence. The rape is threat enough.

For myself, I had for many years only been having sex with my husband because I did not know what he would do if I said no. I suspected we would have sex anyway. So I said yes, because then at least we would be having “sex” and I wouldn’t be a “victim.” The yes was just window dressing, my refusal to admit I was afraid, to admit I was being abused. It was cooperation, not consent. We had had sex many times that was obviously very painful for me, either due to my facial expressions, my plain stating how much it hurt, or the blood that resulted afterwards. But there was no remorse from him, no stopping, no fear of what he had done, no concern.

So, considering all that, I know I made a very rational and logical decision not to fight back when he raped me. For years, I had known that saying no to sex would not result in our not having sex. I had known that he had no moral qualms with causing me great pain during sex. Though I didn’t think this to myself in order to blame myself, during the rape, I thought, “This is only rape because I said no. When I said yes, this exact same thing would not have been rape.” So I also thought, “If saying no makes it rape, fighting back will make it a violent rape.” I felt that was the only thing I had control over at the moment, whether or not my rape would be a violent one. And yeah, if I had made it violent, maybe I would have been able to go to court about it. Maybe our mutual friends would have believed me, or cared, or not needed me to hold their hands as I explained to them that rape was bad and I could not be their friends if they were friends with my rapist.

And maybe in the long run, all that would have outweighed whatever physical injury and psychological scarring I would have received from a violent rape. But you don’t think in the long run when you’re thinking about your life, your limbs, your blood. You think, “I don’t want to be beaten,” not “I don’t want to have to explain to my friends for the rest of my life why this was rape anyway.” You think, “I want to get away from this alive,” not “I better fight and scream or the jury won’t think it’s rape.” You think, “I don’t know what else he might do to me, if he would do this.”

That was how I knew it was rape, and every time I have tried to think, “Maybe it wasn’t,” I go back to that moment, where I entered survival mode, where I thought of nothing but how to get out of this without injury, how to make it end as soon as possible. Nobody has sex with thoughts like those. Nobody is not experiencing force or the threat of violence, with thoughts like those. “Letting it happen” is not consent. “Letting it happen” is making a choice between a three-story jump and a car crash, trying to decide which one you’re more likely to survive.

18 Responses
  1. January 9, 2009

    Harriet,

    I am sitting here reading this entry with my jaw on the floor. It’s so true – all of it. The person who attacked me was someone I knew and trusted, though I didn’t know how little I knew about him until it was too late. I have been asked if I had reported my rape, and I never did because I didn’t think anyone would have ever believed that what happened to me was rape because I had been drinking that night. The statute of limitations have long since passed, so it will never happen now. It was difficult even for me to convince myself because I had no physical injuries from the attacks (it happened twice that night). But I knew by the way I felt afterwards. I knew by how dirty I felt, by how sore I was, and by how ashamed I was that it even happened.

    Societal views of rape and sexual assault are so incredibly frustrating and the desire to sweep the entire topic under the rug and never talk about it is appalling considering its alarming prevalence. Rape is a form of violence, no matter how you look at it. And if someone says “no”, it’s rape. It’s a complete rapist mentality that thinks otherwise.

    I often wonder about my cousin who recently died as a result of her rape. I wonder if she really would have been able to live with what happened to her, had she survived her rape. It feels like society has this need to see in order to believe. It’s like a victim won’t really be believed if he or she doesn’t have some kind of mark or injury to show what he or she has gone through. And even if there were injuries from the rape, society will always come up with some reason to disbelieve what happened. Look at my cousin’s rape and death. She received the ultimate injury from her attack, and newspapers and reports still labeled her attack “a sex act gone wrong”. It’s like they couldn’t have cared less about her and what she must have gone through – only about getting that stupid story. It’s absolutely disgusting.

    We will never be able to rid our country, or any other country for that matter, of this “epidemic” until there is a shift in the way of thinking. I am normally a pretty optimistic person, but I really don’t think that shift will ever truly happen.

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  2. January 14, 2009

    I started to look at such things because somebody told me that a husband forcing sex on a wife is not ok and is illegal. I began to argue with him and tell him that I was not being raped because I am married to the man doing it and that it is my fault because I married him and should just give him what he wants. After reading this I am starting to think I am wrong and my friend is right. But what does a woman with little children do when she reaches this realization? What if I still dont know if it is really rape?

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  3. Harriet Jacobs permalink*
    January 14, 2009

    A decision to pursue legal action as a result of rape is a different thing entirely from coming to a personal realization that rape has occurred. There are many women who are raped in intimate or marital relationships who do not go to the police. I was one of them. There are also many women who choose not to identify what has happened to them as rape. I was one of them, too, for a while, because I didn’t feel safe admitting that what had happened to me was rape while I was living in the same home as my rapist. I just put it on the backburner as something I would admit and deal with once I felt safe. Safety was my priority, and nothing else.

    The most basic and simple definition of rape is if somebody had sex with you after you have said no. You do not have to say the word “no” for it to be rape. Indicating in any way that you do not want sex — moving away, putting your clothes on, saying you don’t want to, trying to leave — indicates that you do not want sex at that moment with that person. It’s not very hard to tell if somebody wants to have sex with you, and it’s very easy to tell if they do not want to have sex with you. You can probably think to your own experience to confirm that. It can also be rape if somebody had sex with you while you could not say yes or no, say, if you were asleep, or passed out. If either of these things has happened to you, I would call what has happened rape. Whether you decide to call it rape is up to you. What happens if you decide to call it rape is also up to you. For a long time, I chose not to tell anybody. Then when I started talking, I chose very carefully who I would tell. Eventually I started this blog, because I wanted to say more about it than I felt I could to any one person. I never chose to speak to the police. I never chose to confront my rapist. I felt the benefits of those actions weren’t going to outweigh the possible consequences. There are people who would disagree with that, but they are not the ones who have to live with it.

    If you have been raped, somebody has taken something very precious, necessary, and intrinsic to your life. They have taken your ability to make decisions. Rape can cause a lot of hurt and trauma, physical and mental, but in my experience, the physical fades; what remains is the knowledge that my ability to make a decision was taken from me. That I was made helpless. The decisions I made after my rape, surrounding my rape, are very important to me, because I do not want to lose that right again. It is my right to decide how I cope with this, what is safe for me, what is right for me. Over time, my decisions often change, as my needs and ability change.

    I’m telling you all this because I really want you to understand that you are not obligated to do or not do anything. If you are afraid of calling what happened to you rape because it will require you to call the police, or leave or confront your husband, or tell your friends what happened, don’t be. You do not need to make those decisions. Someday you may decide to, but you never have to. Nobody knows what you need better than yourself, and the only obligation you have is to make the best decisions for yourself that you can in any given moment.

    I would like to suggest to you that you call a rape crisis center. The people who staff those centers are very well trained and very knowledgeable. They will be able to talk to you about how you’re feeling, what happened, and whether or not you want to call it rape. But they will not force you to do any of those things, and will support you no matter what decision you make. They will also be able to help enact any further decisions you make, by directing you to resources, and advocating for you. Beyond anything else, they will be a listening and supportive shoulder at a time when you probably need one the most. And they will be there whenever you need them. Should you decide not to call them now, but months from now, they will listen to you and support you as readily as if you had called them in your immediate crisis. They will know more about what your options are, should you choose to leave, or press charges, or anything of the sort, and they will be able to help you through those options.

    I did not call a rape crisis center. I had the number of one, but I didn’t call. I had been attending marriage counseling with my rapist, and had been told that our problems were my fault. Since I was not beaten or otherwise physically coerced, I did not think my rape was “real” enough to warrant going to a crisis center. Since I had revealed threats of physical abuse in marriage counseling, and had a trained professional tell me it wasn’t a big deal, and I should be nicer, I was convinced I would call a rape crisis center only to have them tell me what I experienced wasn’t rape at all, and that I was weak and crazy. In retrospect, my fear of being told that should have said enough; I felt traumatized enough by what happened to me that there are very few things it could have been other than rape. I thought a rape crisis center certainly had bigger problems than me, and that I could take care of myself. While I think I ended up okay, I do wish I had called. I was so isolated, and frightened, and my every decision was based on moment-to-moment survival. In retrospect, I can see now I did not have to think that way, but I didn’t know that. My husband had isolated me from the world to such a degree that there was nobody in my life who could tell me that I did not have to live like this. I felt crazy, and stupid, and weak, and I certainly wasn’t going to let any friends or family know how crazy, stupid, and weak I was by talking to them about it. If I had called a rape crisis center, I know they would have told me that many other women feel that way, so many other women. They would have told me that that’s what rape does, that’s what it’s meant to do. If after a rape women felt strong, supported, and safe, there would be more rapists in jail. But rape is made to make us feel afraid, to feel ashamed, to feel like it was our fault, and to feel like there is nothing we can do. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with me, that I felt that way. I was feeling exactly the way my husband wanted me to feel, the way he had worked very hard to make me feel, the way anybody would have felt if somebody had done the same thing to them. There was nothing wrong with me. There was something wrong with him. But I had nobody to tell me that, and was afraid of asking, afraid that I would be told I was wrong, and my husband was right.

    I would also suggest that you perhaps visit or speak to a women’s shelter. I am guessing that if your husband is the kind of man who can rape his wife (that is something wrong with him, not with you), then there are probably other ways he’s mistreating you as well. When my husband raped me, it didn’t surprise me, and it wasn’t all that bad, compared to everything else he had ever done. But it was the thing that was the most clearly defined. All his other abuse was far more subtle and complex and difficult to describe. I didn’t feel I could rightfully complain about the fact that sometimes my husband and I argued; I didn’t know very much about abuse, how to identify it, or how to describe it. But I did know what rape was. And when he raped me, I realized that I had not been crazy all along. If he was the kind of person who could rape his wife, he was the kind of person who could be purposefully abusing and hurting me, as I had suspected he had been doing for years. All in all, the rape was just the culmination of the abuse — sexual and mental — that I had been enduring for years. It didn’t feel different, emotionally, than any other sex we had, or any interaction at all. And if a rape felt commonplace and ordinary in my marriage, well, that really said something about my marriage. Something I’d suspected, but been too afraid and ashamed to admit.

    I also wish that I had gone to a women’s shelter. I would have learned that I was not crazy, was not to blame, and during those moments when I doubted myself the most, and felt torn up in knots, I would have had somebody to speak to who understood what I was going through, somebody who I did not have to explain abuse or rape to.

    I again want to emphasize that calling what happened to you rape does not mean you have to do any of these things. But I also want to point out one more thing: somebody who has never been raped, never experienced sexual abuse, never experienced sexual violence, is not confused or wondering if they have experienced these things. Somebody who has only had positive, wonderful, life-affirming sex does not wonder if they have been raped, even if a friend tells them they have been. It would be like if I told you that your hands had purple spots all over them; that’s completely absurd, and you’d know without a second’s hesitation that it wasn’t true. Whether or not you choose to call what happened to you rape, the fact that you are wondering indicates that something your husband is doing sits terribly wrong with you.

    You have the right to be happy, you have the right to control your own body, you have the right to make your own decisions about what you will and will not do. Whether or not, in your mind or anybody else’s, you make the “right” or “wrong” decisions, that never gives anybody the right to hurt you. That is their own decision, the decision to hurt another person in a terrible way, and has nothing to do with you or anything you have ever done in your life. If your husband raped you, you didn’t deserve it, and it’s not your fault.

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  4. Harriet Jacobs permalink*
    January 14, 2009

    CR, I have been meaning to respond to you, but that last comment kind of took the wind out of me…

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  5. January 14, 2009

    The relationship that my husband and I have isn’t really painful anymore, I guess that I might just be used to it but I dont have anyone around to tell me that it is wrong. I still question if it is rape because I don’t fight. I used to and I regretted it, so maybe at that time it was rape but I figure if I don’t fight it, it will only hurt for a little while and he wont be mad afterwards but how did I reach this point? I dont know and I am horrified to call anyone and don’t have any family or friends. I lost all of my friends a couple of years ago. I try to have friends but he gets so upset if I try to go out, even to a Christmas Party that we were all invited too. The one person that tells me that I am an idiot and that my husband is raping me is my ex and he is that way for a good reason. I tried to talk to someone once, a counselor but she wouldn’t let me tell her the full story and instead, asked my husband to join the discussion. When my husband found out that I said anything about him (good or bad) he got very upset. Sadly, I love him. I know I am an idiot and ask for all of this to happen to me by not getting out of this relationship but I have no where to go and who wants a single mother of three small children.

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  6. Thinkingwoman permalink
    January 16, 2009

    There’s been a lot of comment in the press and elsewhere that rape is not about sex but about power and I think, above all, that comes across here. And that is why, violent or not, we feel the distinction between it and ‘normal’ sex (whether good or bad) because normal sex (even if one or other partner is as exciting as a dud sparkler) is about sex! Plain and simple!

    If someone enters your house, without your prior knowledge and/or consent and takes something of yours, right from under your nose, and because you are 1) shocked, 2) in fear, 3) confused, 4)………etc., you don’t put up a fight, is it still theft? Hell yes!

    What if they enter your house, with your prior knowledge and consent, politely ask “Please can I have this?” and you say “sure” because you 1) had prior knowledge they were coming, 2) had prior knowledge they were going to ask you for whatever it is they needed and 3) you were clear that you like this person, they have treated you with respect and have a need that you can supply, is that theft? Hell no!

    What if that same person (the one you have given permission to) has started to make a habit of this, and you’re starting to get the feeling that they are beginning to disrespect you and use you just because you agreed a few times previously. It’s beginning to nag at you. Is that theft? No, but it’s violation, right?!

    What if you have said to that same person “I do not want you to do this anymore. I do not feel comfortable with it and you must stop, now” and they continue to do it because they now feel entitled “but we’ve had this agreement for years now.” they lament, “you can’t withdraw it just like that! It’s my right!” (starting to sound familiar?)

    It’s about intention and perception; the perpetrator’s intention, which as in rape and the above examples (apart from the first), which is to do with ‘taking advantage of what they perceive to be an easy target’. And the perception of the ‘victim/target’, which in rape and the above examples is that she is being used, violated, disrespected.

    Abusive situations (domestic or otherwise), and like the above examples, can be horrific. So much so that we (as targets) find it easier (for want of a better word) to disbelieve it at first rather than have to deal with it because as soon as you assert your boundaries and say “no” to a privilege that the perpetrator has begun to define as their God-given right, then you risk their wroth and that is very, very scary. As Harriet says, we don’t know what they’ll do next.

    But both she and I got brave enough to take the steps we needed in order to take back possession of ourselves (our homes as in the above examples) and not allow access to our violators. But whatever you do, safety comes first. If you decide to leave, get whatever help you can to keep and stay safe. There’s plenty out there. Making the decision to leave is the hardest part. I was in confusion about it for months.

    But don’t ever think you are in anyway to blame! You let them in once, maybe a few times but once you realised it wasn’t a two-way thing, not a real relationship because there was nothing coming back, they were just taking advantage, then you have the right to withdraw the privilege – any time!

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  7. sirirad permalink
    January 22, 2009

    Thank you Harriett for inviting me to your page.

    I really enjoyed your post and your insight. I really appreciate that you expressed to those of us in similar situations that it is not necessary that we need to report our perpetrators. I dislike using the word victim, but I have been in the situation of rape from my significant other. I have gone through all of the emotions- all of the questioning of myself, blaming myself, and going crazy wondering why.

    Oh, the complications of the merging of lives! I married someone with a lot of baggage that is trying to live a “normal” life. With all of the abuse that my husband endured during his childhood, I let that become an excuse for his actions of the present and it brought down the quality of my life. I swept things under the rug because he had it so rough growing up all the while his darkness was engulfing me and dragging me into places I find hard to get out of. I am not blaming it all on him because I allowed myself to isolate, get past the point of no return, cross boundaries. But I do blame him for raping me, for making anything to do with sex turn sour.

    Relationships are such complex intertwinings of so many experiences, boundaries, and situations that it amazes me that there are any well adjusted folks out there. I one day hope to find the balance so that I will be able to feel the sunshine upon my face and the warmth will make me smile again.

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  8. January 31, 2009

    AJ, you are not an idiot for not getting out. The barriers to getting out safely are intentionally high. The most dangerous time for those who are being abused is during or shortly after leaving.

    This is why women’s shelters and domestic abuse hotlines are so important in helping people making safety plans.

    There is more emphasis lately on the need for the protection of pets since abusers often use animals and the threat to kill animals as a way to keep the person being abused from leaving. More animal shelters are becoming aware of this behavior and are helping people protect their pets or larger animals.

    Too often when people don’t see these real barriers they incorrectly assume that getting out is easy and without danger. Just because people don’t get the valid reasons why you stay doesn’t make you an idiot for staying.

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  9. jenny carlson permalink
    March 1, 2009

    i would just like to share my near rape experience i was coming home alone. in the daytime after having a few drinks with my bf.where the taxis were i saw one of my friends and decided to talk with him. i only really met him once before but never really talked to him that much.i think he smelled the alcohol on my breath and said lets smoke a cigarette. Being a smoker i said yes an followed him into a side track i did not eat anything before i drank so i was really high after smking i was really wasted and he said lets sit further down by a nearby coconut tree i followed not really thinkin cause i was high we sat down talked
    when i said i was ready to go an d got up an walked he held me back, i tried to fight back but i was really weak from the alcohol i was amazed how weak i was. i had my period thank god and he pulled down my pants and at that point i was so weak i started to pray and he said why u did not tell me u have ur period like he proceeded to enter it in i told him no really loudly cause it had houses around and someone could of heard. i took out my phone and tried to call the ploice and he took my phone and threw it away i started to talk him out of it and demanded that i was not goin to have sex with him he looked around frantically ause i was kickin and yelled loudly somehow he did not enter and just told me to suck it instead.i said no because i did not know him and he neraly pushed it in my mouth it smelled awaful he then ejaculated and he seemed surpisingly not intrested in sex no more and i got up normal and fled the scene as quickly as possible. i could not believe i had escaped this near rape experience i do not know wat i would hav done if i had been raped . now i trust no men at all not even my boyfriend if i see this fella again i do not know wat do do or say cause i always wonder if it could of turned out worse i could of been pregnant or contracted an sti i have not gone through the full experience but i can olnly imagine wat pain and trauma other not so lucky women go though.i pray endlessly now because i know there is a god.i decided to give up drinkinan travelling alone . i never thought this would of happened to me but we live in a cruel sick world and i hate it trust no one not even family members. writing about this horrific experience does make me feel better . but i felt this happened to me 4 a reason maybe to learn a life lesson but i do not want it to happen again or turn out worse.

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  10. jenny carlson permalink
    March 1, 2009

    rape is real and any woman is susceptble at any time.

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  11. Ruth permalink
    August 10, 2009

    Thank you for writing this, and for your other most recent blog by the same title. I’m sure you’ve heard it before (I don’t know because I didn’t bother to read the other comments) that other women have gone through similar experiences.

    This is so much like what I went through…and actually mine was even slightly more violent, yet I was told it wasn’t rape. I was called a slut, and I lost all of my friends, and had horrible PTSD. Even right up until this moment I questioned whether or not I was actually raped, and decided it was safest to just put it out of my mind and pretend that it had all be consensual. But now reading this, I FINALLY, FINALLY feel affirmed.

    Because I said “No” so, so many times. Because I was drunk and couldn’t help myself. Because I was scared of what he would do. Because I started freaking out and trying to push him off of me and he held me down and covered my mouth, and I realized that he might actually kill me if I didn’t calm down and submit. Because I could do nothing but sit in the shower and bawl and try to clean myself off afterward. But my “friends” told me I was just a slut and was asking for it. That’s what the cruise line told me when I sued them…and lost.

    But now I feel like I have at least one sister out there who would have my back, unlike all the others, and say, “Yeah, she was raped, and it is NOT OK.”

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  12. An anonymous girl permalink
    September 30, 2009

    I was told I was a slut too for wearing an outfit that made me feel pretty (and was tasteful).

    For drinking that night.

    For listening to my rapist when he said “it’s dangerous for a lady to walk home alone” and letting him walk me home so he could push his way into my house and assault me.

    For not fighting back (with Rohypnol in my drink I was supposed to?)

    For taking a shower after – I felt so dirty and scared. I lost my virginity that night and I was covered in my own blood.

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  13. October 30, 2009

    For years I gave in to my first husband, who would keep me up all night rather than accept “no.” It utterly destroyed any attraction I felt for him, to the point that any touch or kiss revolted me, and the marriage failed. (Thank whatever gods you believe in for such a failure: quite literally the best thing that ever happened to me.) But I still don’t know whether I was raped, because, after all, I did eventually consent, more or less.

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  14. October 30, 2009

    I very much feel that there is no point in calling something rape unless you can gain something from that distinction. When I was unable to escape my husband, calling it “rape” would have been the least helpful thing in the world, because I had to cope with what was happening. Getting raped and being unable to stop it is way more horrifying than having “consensual” sex that I just didn’t enjoy all that much, so while my resources were slim and staying sane was actually something that took conscious, daily work, I opted to think of it as the latter. After I’d gotten away from him, calling it rape really helped me understand my feelings around sex, my feelings around him, the way my friends were reacting, and all my goddamn PTSD.

    If calling what happened “rape” brings you some new understanding, or eventual peace, or helps release anger or grief that’s been on lockdown, or helps you describe in shorthand a huge morass of feelings and events, then it might be helpful for you to call it that. But you don’t have to call what happened to you rape; it won’t make what he did any less wrong, and it won’t mean you’ve betrayed the Feminist Hive Mind, and it won’t mean you don’t have a “real” reason to suffer after-effects of his abuse. You’re under no obligation to do anything that doesn’t make your life better, so describe it in whatever way brings context and sense and peace to your life.

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  15. Tricia255 permalink
    January 17, 2010

    Harriet,
    Thank you so much for your insightfulness. I’m sure it must be helpful to many women who have found themselves in this situation. I am writing a fictional book for teenage girls about daterape, and I have found your comments very helpful. I really want this to hit home for girls, about trying to keep safe, and if it has already happened to them, about how they are not at fault. I want them to understand that their experience has been shared by others. They are not alone. And whether to proceed with pressing charges is completely up to them, because they are the ones that will have to relive it. I’m hoping I can get some people to post on my blog, at tricia-triciasblogs@blogspot.com, about their stuggle on whether or not to pursue charges. I really do not want to misrepresent anything, because I feel that could be harmful rather than helpful. Also I think it would be helpful to know procedures at the hospital and with the police. Again, thank you so much for your blog. You articulate your points so well.

    Thank you,
    Tricia255

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