Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Rape or just "bad sex"?: the myth about consent

Firstly I have no idea if I'm treading on someone else's theories or observances here, so please let me know if I am. What I wanted to highlight was the problem inherent in distinguishing between bad sex and rape. By bad sex I mean the sort of encounter that doesn't work out as planned or is not enjoyable or is deeply regrettable for one reason or another, but to which the parties consented, however unbelievable it may seem in the morning.

I'm limiting my discussion to the rape of a woman by a man, because this is my experience. I don't want to get out of the realms of my experience as I don't want to speak untruths.

There has been talk of various feminist theories about sex inherently being an act of violence from leading figures in the field such as Katherine McKinnon. Although the contention that she stated "All sex is rape" is actually false - she never said any such thing. I don't want to be labelled a feminist, causing people to switch off from my writings so early in proceedings, but I wanted to highlight the fact that consensual penetrative heterosexual sex is phallocentric in its very nature. The physical element of the crime of rape is always present in as far as rape is the hijacking of the natural act of penetrative sex, which is then turned into a crime by the unwelcome addition of violence or some level of coercion. It's proving that the sex act has crossed that line which is the essential element of the offence.

Some people see rape as an assault or an attack. This clear thinking is easier if the situation involved violence, which can be plainly seen on the victim. It's fortunate, at least in the terms of prosecution, when the situation is so clear cut. The definition of rape used to be against the "will" of the victim, meaning that to prove that they did not consent they really needed to prove that they had put up some kind of fight. Luckily the law was changed with the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and now a victim does not need to prove this, although as I was saying above a decent struggle leads to a clearer-cut case. The problems start when the only thing tipping the balance between bad sex or rape is consent.

There are several elements here which make the offence of rape unique and which make it very difficult to assess whether, and to prove that, a crime has actually been committed.

Rape is a serious assault. Other assaults of a similar gravity don't have the same element of consent attached to them. There is no get-out clause for the perpetrator. The question is whether they did the act, and if so, whether they actively intended to do the act, basically the physical and mental elements need to be proved. This isn't enough to prove rape though. Yes the man in question could be found to have had sex with the victim and he could be found to have intended to have sex with the victim. All this means is that two people had sex. This is where rape has to go beyond the requirements for other offences, where it has to be asked whether the victim consented. The crux of the whole thing is that question of consent, putting the burden onto the victim to disprove the defendant's contention that consent was given.

Now I want to talk about "consent", from the point of view of a woman who has been raped. I'm not trying to represent all situations. I was raped nearly 15 years ago, when it was still permissible to question the victim on their sexual history to discredit them. I had a very tenuous history with my attacker. I had been sexually active with his girlfriend on an earlier occasion and she had asked me if I would sleep with her and her boyfriend at the same time. I think even before a court had heard whether I'd answered "yes" or "no" to that proposition they would have heard enough for me to be labelled as a harlot or scarlet woman who was likely to have consented. Suffice to say I'd not said yes or no to this question, I'd said I'd like to meet him and I'd decide then. I met him and I hated the look of him instantly. I did not fancy him and I did not want to sleep with him. Unfortunately this was on a night of a big party - New Year's Eve - and the type of situation with 18 year-olds where there would be a lot of people coupled off by the end of the night and it was almost expected that a girl would be "up for it". I have no idea as to whether he had been told (by the girlfriend) that I had already said yes, but really it's not good enough to take a third party's word as to consent, so I'm not prepared to let him have that excuse.

There is an adage in the criminal law of assault that "you take your victim as you find them". This means that an intentional blow to the head to a person with a weak skull, which kills them, cannot be defended on the basis of the weak skull. If you intend to cause the harm then you should take the consequence. Why should rape be any different? If your victim is a girl who's drunk and vulnerable and who is less likely to scream "no" and who is more easily intimidated, that shouldn't be the victim's fault. As a timid girl, who was unsure what was going on until it was already happening and who had been drinking, I found myself exactly in that position. The position of being a weak victim, a weak witness to my own fate. In a simple conflict between his version of events and mine I was the weak party.

Two things happened that night. He assaulted me in a bathroom, barging in when I was on my way out and pushing me in and repeatedly removing my clothes, as fast as I was putting them back on again. I wasn't asked whether I wanted sex. It was assumed. He could well have had some steamy sex scene from the movies in his mind whilst this was going on for all I knew. I thought to myself maybe he'd just got the wrong end of the stick and he'd soon realise his mistake when he saw my actions were trying to prevent the sex happening. But I was not firm enough in my defence against him. I just tried to be quicker than him, tried to make sure that he never got the clear chance to penetrate me before I'd pulled my clothes back on again. And this did work as someone wanted the toilet, it all got interrupted, and I presumed I'd diffused the situation and in my drunken state thought that he'd realise that he'd got the wrong impression. Crisis over with no conflict?

I was niave to think it would stop there, but niavity of the victim should not be a defence to a crime. People who walk through dark alleyways or the kids who always go into the basement in horror films are still subjected to a crime when they get assaulted or killed.The fact that they were being niave in not knowing the danger isn't a defence. A crime committed is a crime regardless of whether the victim could have avoided it, and in some ways we're getting into the wonderful power of hindsight anyway.

Later the same night I was in a vulnerable position, being very drunk and alone with his girlfriend. I couldn't say whether they'd planned it, I couldn't say what had happened between him and her and what discussions they had. I can't know for sure whether she "lined me up" or whether she was just a different kind of victim in all of this. I'd like to think I hadn't met a mini Rose and Fred West, but anything is possible I suppose. That thought chills me to the bone, so I'm not going to dwell on it! So before I knew what was going on I was no longer just with her, but he was there too. And yes, you are presuming right, I was engaging in sexual activity with her. Again I can only point out my niavety and the tendency for kids of 18 to experiment. The situation in itself would have given the defence a field day, I suspect, so I don't suppose my situation is a very good example. I don't have a strong, open-and-shut case, I'd have had difficulty proving that he'd raped me, but that's not what I'm wanting to achieve here. A conviction wouldn't have made much difference to me, but what I do want to do is to share my thoughts about what really happens between the perpetrator and the victim.

I was on the back foot. I was already involved with his girlfriend and I was in a vulnerable position, easy for him to take control. That being precisely what he did. I was penetrated before I had a chance to say yes or no, even if I had been asked. At this point, maybe he could have argued that I'd not expressly told him off for his advances in the bathroom so he'd assumed that I would have consented to sex, but consent isn't a flag which you hoist above the house for the night, it's something which needs to be ascertained every step of the way and which can be taken away as quickly as it can be given, so again this assumption shouldn't be a good enough defence.

Again not being totally sure as to what had been agreed between them I can't say whether she just went away because her role was done, but I assumed at this point that when the girlfriend left the room suddenly that she'd got jealous or upset at seeing him with me and had stormed off. I was then on my own and already involved in sex, which I didn't want and to which I hadn't consented. I at this point asked him to stop. Several times. I tried to get away up the bed. But he didn't stop and I was sort of wedged up against the headboard after my earlier efforts at escape, with no room for maneouvre whilst he was steering from the inside. I was pinned, also with his weight on top of me and caged at either side by his arms.

So what options are left to the woman in this situation? Do you kick him somehow? Scream at him? rip his eyes out? If you're that sort of brave woman who gives these things a go then maybe. But really if you're that brave sort of person you'd have already put up that fight by this stage, and maybe you'd have never ended up here in the first place? Alternatively you could have lost and you could be a worse position right now. It's hard to imagine what worse position there is when you're being raped, but you kind of know that anything's possible because only a few hours before you wouldn't ever have imagined this happening to you either. You lose all ability to think that things will turn out ok. Lines have been crossed, lines which you thought were always clearly marked out. You have no idea what else could happen and you get to the point where you don't want to find out. When you share these experiences with people after the event then you know how much danger you were in, but you don't know at the time - this is the same for all victims of any violent or aggressive act. It's not unreasonable for a victim to do nothing in their defence. How can you ever be sure you're going to do the right thing?

Now here's the dirty little secret, and the point which I wanted to desperately to get round to, so I hope that I make my point well. Here goes. As far as my experience is concerned I did consent... in the end! What happened to me was not a complete sexual act which was against my consent all the way through until its bitter end. This would have been too harrowing an experience to let myself go through (I suppose I'm talking about 20 minutes here). Being tensed up and desperate for flight would have made it excrutiating. It would have been more painful than it already was. Plus the more I could do to help him get his satisfaction the quicker it would be over. So I disengaged my brain and I gave in. I gave up. And I'm making a huge leap here, an assumption, when I suggest that there is a point where every victim accepts their fate. A point where the compulsion is no longer to avoid the situation happening but to try to mitigate its effects as much as possible. The issue becomes survival and protection. You even start helping him. I helped him find the places he wanted and to do the things he wanted. I acquiesced because I no longer had any other choice.

The fact that I consented in this way, the fact that I used my own hands to guide his penis into place when he lost his rythm, the fact that I arched and helped him do what he wanted - all these things added up to me finding it impossible for many years to accept that I really was raped. I hope you can appreciate where doubt can creep in? You've only got your own version of events. It's hard to accept that someone would want to violate you so you try to find other explanations to make the experience less horrific. You were perhaps partially to blame, the old "leading on" scenario etc, although I've tried to answer how this should not be a defence already in this piece. It's not black and white and I know from my own experience how destructive it is living in the grey place in between.

Maybe you're all judging me now? I'd genuinely be interested to know in your comments. What would you have said if you were in the jury?

Maybe a victim who'd studied the law or knew how the judges applied the tests used to assess whether the defendant had a reasonable defence would know exactly how the issue of consent works in the law? But the victim will know exactly that moment when her spirit was broken and when she consented to what was happening, and she may start to doubt, as I have done. Some will survive this and remain steadfast, others will drift into the realms of "bad sex" and won't ever come back. No other offence can be dismissed like this. No other types of victims will be able to talk themselves out of being a victim. You're not going to suddenly say that you just offered your purse to the mugger, or that you invited the burglars in. But doubt sets in to the rape victim's mind and only the strongest ones will survive this long enough to pursue justice.

I'm not sure that the definitions need changing. I think huge improvements have been made with the removal of the defence of "a genuine though unreasonably mistaken belief as to consent" by the 2003 Act and the requirements now for the defendant to prove that there was consent. If interpreted correctly and vigorously then the law in this area should work. The problem to my mind is that young girls need to be aware precisely of their rights and what they should be able to expect from the men who proposition them. They should be asked clearly whether they consent and they should be aware that they can retract that consent at any time. Ultimately though they need to be reassured that if they finally consent to the rape, finally accept that it is happening and play along, that they are not consenting to sex - the distinction needs to be made clear.


Comments welcome...I want to make sure I've understood all the issues here, so if you have any objections to what I've written or anything further to add in support then please let me know.

Acknowledgments:

http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/law/definitionofrape.html

26 comments:

  1. I'm blown away by what you've said. Something similar happened to me and I struggled so long with the notion of whether it was my fault. As I understand it, it's natural for a rape victim to feel guilt and shame; it's pretty much accepted as a result of sexual assault of any kind that the victim feels complicit even though they weren't.

    When I was raped, I was in a violent relationship - his friend raped me. Now I realise I was vulnerable to a planned attack. My rapist knew I was ground down. He raped me in my own home and I never told through shame. Many years later I am wary of men to the point of paranoia. I struggle to develop close relationships with people, particularly with straight men. That man made me feel ugly, like a piece of meat, and I've never been able to completely shake it off. I wish he'd beaten me up instead - it would have been a welcome 1st best over the blight this man, this 30 minute interlude, has cast upon my life that left no physical scars because I mitigated too, like you. I wanted to survive and there is no shame in that. We're survivors. Thank you for posting. I would never have had the courage other than to comment.

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  2. Dear Topcat,

    Thanks so much for the comment and I'd say that you were just as brave to add a comment and talk about your experience too. We're both doing this anonymously though I suppose which makes things easier. How sad that we've been reduced to hiding away whilst the perpetrators have got away with it all! Still we can dream that bad things have defallen them since and know that we are good people who can be proud of ourselves and how we treat others.

    I feel that we're also doing some good by sharing our experience with others. I do hope some other people get to see this who might benefit from it.

    Have you seen the link I've posted above to an article? It seems so relevant to our situations. If consent had been something that wasn't just about not saying no, but was about passionately saying yes, then we wouldn't have been in any doubt would we?
    I think a lot of it is down to the fact that we were both young and unsure about ourselves, and in my case I was heading along the road of experimentation and in some ways this got confused into it all as well. I took my own risks I suppose and some would say I deserved it.

    I understand totally what you say about being a piece of meat - I remember now trying to remember all the cuts which butchers gets from a cow - the things you do to occupy the mind...!

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  3. Hugo Schwyzer sent me a comment, which you couldn't seem to post on here:

    "A brave and wonderful post, Prudence. Nicely done. And it is so vital to reiterate that point that one can "stop fighting back" and even seemingly enable a rape without giving consent. It's a huge source of guilt for so many survivors who end up feeling complicitous in what was done to them, even more so when they may have experienced physical pleasure. One of the little-discussed secrets is that on occasion, something that is deeply unwanted, traumatizing and violating can also provide pleasure (even orgasm). That makes the recovery that much harder, because it defies our straitjacketed expectations of what rape is and isn't. Keep at this writing and get this out there!"

    Thanks Hugo - much appreciated !

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  4. Wow. Thanks for sharing! Need to think about this more. Being a bloke, who would necessarily comment from a man's perspective, I don't want to comment on the subject unless you say that's ok. But I've linked this entry in a thread about something similar (though much less complicated) on feministcritics.org called "the dread scenario".

    http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2009/02/08/the-dread-scenario/

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  5. For what it's worth, there is no doubt in my mind that you were raped, and this isn't even what I'd call a "borderline" case. However, I can see where it would be very difficult to prove in court, even to a sympathetic jury.

    I think it is a crazy myth that in order to have been raped you have to have fought back at every stage. When I was 15, my father asked me to sit in his lap and then began to french kiss me. I got up after a minute, but even though he never used any force, I didn't fight him off immediately. Does that mean I was a participant in the kiss? He thought so. I definitely do not. Definitely, definitely not.

    It is very understandable that while being raped, especially by someone you know, you'd want to convert it into "just bad sex" in your mind and in your actions. It's certainly safer, physically and also socially. This is why there are so many cases where women give token consent even before penetration when they've been worn down and feel they are losing the option to leave. Might as well get it over with, then he'll go away and leave me alone.

    As Hugo has written, mere "consent" is not enough for sex. You can coerce consent. You can grind someone down. You can rape them and then claim it was consensual because they stopped fighting you and started acting like they were enjoying it.

    I'm really sorry for what happened to you.

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  6. Interesting scenario. For me this passage seems to be a pretty clear description of saying no to sex:

    "I at this point asked him to stop. Several times. I tried to get away up the bed. But he didn’t stop and I was sort of wedged up against the headboard after my earlier efforts at escape, with no room for maneouvre whilst he was steering from the inside. I was pinned, also with his weight on top of me and caged at either side by his arms."

    In my mind you should stop having sex with a woman (or a man), if you get such a clear message from the other person.

    However, then there’s the issue of one party or both parties being drunk. Just like a woman may be less able to say no when she’s really drunk, a man may be less able to register a ‘no’ when he’s really drunk (and vice versa of course). IMO feminism advocates a double standard here, instead of acknowledging that being drunk affects both the man and the woman, not only one of them.

    In this case you were still able to say no properly, even though you were drunk, but I think this is a real problem for young people around the world, who combine sex and alcohol.

    Pelle
    www.pellebilling.com

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  7. "IMO feminism advocates a double standard here, instead of acknowledging that being drunk affects both the man and the woman, not only one of them."

    Oh please. If a drunk driver hits a drunk pedestrian, we can all agree quite easily that a crime took place, that the pedestrian was the victim, and that the driver was doing something wrong, without any help from feminism. Can you imagine a defense attorney arguing for leniency because it was just an alcohol-induce lapse in judgment? We obviously understand that being drunk doesn't excuse vehicular manslaughter (in fact, it makes the offense seem worse); why on earth should it excuse rape?

    Prudence, sorry to inject snark into this comment thread, but I thought that statement was unfortunately wrong-headed. Thanks for sharing. I think it takes a lot of courage to talk about your experience with rape, and to those willing to listen it's more enlightening than a dozen theoretical discussions about consent.

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  8. metamanda,

    "If a drunk driver hits a drunk pedestrian"

    don't you think that there's a problem with that metaphor with respect to sexuality? "driver" and "pedestrian"? I mean, that's really graphically perpetuating the myth that men need to "drive" the action until they are stopped by hitting someone or are hit by something so they take the foot of the pedal.

    That said - using your metaphor, what Pelle seemed to think of was what if both driver and pedestrian are drunk? Don't understand me - this is not at all what happened in Prudence's case, she was raped, period.

    But if a "pedestrian" is drunk walking on a street in the night and is hit by a "drunk driver" you'd still argue that it's - only - the drunk driver's fault the accident happened? That would be the double standard Pelle is referring to.

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  9. Prudence, thanks for sharing your experience. I know what it's like to have someone make an unwanted advance on you, and wonder whether you led them on and asked for it, though that situation wasn't anywhere near as extreme as yours.

    Ultimately though they need to be reassured that if they finally consent to the rape, finally accept that it is happening and play along, that they are not consenting to sex - the distinction needs to be made clear.

    I would go even farther and say that consent under duress, and particularly physical force like in this case, is no consent at all. In my view, just as being drunk removes the ability to consent, so does physical force or the possibility of it, or duress.

    I also agree with Hugo that basic consent is too low a bar to aim for.

    I responded to the points about alcohol and feminism in the thread linked to on my blog. I invite everyone interested in a more abstract discussion of rape, consent, feminism, alcohol etc... to come over to that thread, rather than doing so in Prudence's space.

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  10. @metamanda: Like I said, my comment about being drunk was a general one, the specific example described in this blog post was clearly rape. However, you do not seem to get what I mean about a double standard. Why should a drunk man be more responsible than a drunk woman?

    @prudence: You shouldn't make any apologies about being raped. You can not be responsible for another person's actions, period.
    You can own that you were drunk, and you can own that you put yourself in a risky situation, but you can never and should never own that the rape took place, only the guy who raped you can own that.

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  11. I don't mind who comments on here or what you talk about. I don't just want people who agree with me either, any comments welcome. I'll check out the links some of you have posted to me sometime soon. I don't really have a lot of time, but I'd love to respond to you all properly soon, but in the meantime I'd like to say something.

    First of all thanks for your comments and for taking time to read my piece.

    For what it's worth I think the drink driving analogy isn't particularly pertinent to what I was talking about, as again it's another situation where consent makes no difference to the situation. If you're driving over the limit you're breaking the law, end of. Consent doesn't vitiate the crime. You can't consent to being run over, unless you're trying to injure or kill yourself. There is obviously a difference between the offences of drink driving and causing death by drink driving, so I suppose you'd be deeply unlucky if you ended up killing someone who wanted to be killed and being found guilty of a more serious offence because of it - but this is the only situation where I can see it's a valid analogy. Although I do realise that you're talking about the effects of alcohol more widely and I'd like to comment on that too, but I'm possibly feeling another post coming on, so I'll let you know when I've done it. I don't get much free time so this one will be a slow-burner.

    Thanks guys :-)

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  12. The person who is being more active, whether male or female (and this discussion thus far has been wholly hetero), has the greater obligation of care, just as the drunk driver has the greater obligation of care. If I am a drunk pedestrian wandering down the sidewalk, I can hurt only myself; if I am a drunk person semi-passed out on the couch, I can only hurt myself. However, once I get behind the wheel of a car, or make physical advances on someone, I am creating the possibility of affecting and hurting another person.

    Feminism doesn't say that only men are responsible, but it does acknowledge the obvious fact that the person who is taking off the other person's clothes, pushing him/her down on a bed, and penetrating his/her body is the person with greater control and thus greater responsibility. If you cannot be sure that you can do these things and remain aware of whether the person whose clothes you're removing and body you're penetrating is OK with it, then either don't get drunk or don't have sex. In contrast, the passive person who gets drunk isn't similarly responsible because that person isn't initiating anything.

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  13. PG - I've never heard it that way but that makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks for commenting!

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  14. Regardless of "consent" to get a horrible traumatic event to end, it is still rape, because it took place after a clear "no." Anything that transpired after that single word is rape. Drunk or not, for either victim or perpetrator, has nothing to do with it. He committed the act, and I don't know if he was drunk or not, but if so, then he chose to become drunk, and is still responsible.
    I am so sorry that you went through this, and have the utmost respect for you that you are talking about it so openly.

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  15. Good post. And brave; I hope the comments stay OK.

    Oh, and as for this:
    What would you have said if you were in the jury?
    Guilty. Really, is there any question?

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  16. I'm sorry I haven't been back here for ages, I thought that no-one was looking at it anymore and then popped up a message from Sailorman (where did you find me anyway?)

    I have another blog where I put my everyday thoughts (where the poem is that I've linked to) and some of my more easily-shared revelations, but this blog is reserved for my very secret things, and I suppose after the effort it took to write this and to post it here I fancied a bit of a break.

    I'm not sure how to get my writings out there so people can see them, I know a lot of you came over from the feministing self-promotion sunday link. It's not like I want fame, I just want some people to benefit from my experience and the wonderful comments here have also benefitted me - shown me clearly that it was really rape.

    I thank you all so much, you can't possibly know how much you have done for me. Hopefully I will get around to posting how I'm feeling about it all now...

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  17. If I were on the jury? He raped you, no question.

    I recently read something about how compliance should not be confused with consent, and that helped me put my own experiences into terms that I am more comfortable with.

    Yes, I did tell my (now ex) husband we could have sex, but it was after literally hours of him asking again and again and again until I stopped saying "No, I am tired, it is too late, I don't want to" and I only gave him what he wanted because it would be the only way I would get any sleep. And this happened many times over the years. It wasn't until we'd been divorced for many years that I was able to look at this and say yes, it was rape.

    From his perspective, and probably in the eyes of the law, I consented. No; I complied with his request because I had no choice, the same way I'd comply if he had held a knife to my throat and say, "Let me use your body or I'll cut you." But I was not consenting. Saying yes because you are being coerced - is not consent.

    And I also understand why you hurried things along with him, because I too was often more active than I wanted to be in helping my ex get what he wanted, because if I didn't, it would just last longer. It's an awful situation, because it would be too easy for people outside the situation - or lacking empathy - to say, "So why did you go along with it? Why participate like that?"

    You do what you need to, what you are able to, to make a bad situation less bad.

    Oh, I found a link to your blog through the comments here: http://thecurvature.com/2009/05/05/what-does-it-mean-to-heal/

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  18. Adjoun - welcome here. I tried to write on your blog to say hello back to you but I can't work out how to do it - I think I need to sign up for something. Anyway for the moment you can get to contact me here.

    I'm glad you found your way here. Every so often (probably once a couple of months) I manage to get some time on the computer when I can really get down to visiting some of the blogs I follow here, but it's so difficult to do anything here regularly. Hopefully people will find this who will find it useful and will keep on popping back.

    I had grand plans, but I don't want to create another thing which I end up beating myself over the head with, so I'm not going to worry about how infrequently I post or comment here.

    It's interesting how I was so determined in my own position when I've made my two major posts here. I was raped and I was reacting to it in a way which made myself the victim, but probably understandably so. Yet, I realise that it's not a question of being lost one day and then being found, or indeed finding myself. It comes and goes. I'm still not totally convinced in my own story, mainly because I fear that others will not be convinced.

    What is it going to take for me to be confident in my own version of the truth??

    I'm so sorry to hear about your problems with your husband, and I can understand, although I've never had things that badly I have given in to things which I didn't really want to do. But sometimes I don't have any idea what I actually want to do and I think to myself at least one of us should be getting what we want, if I'm going to be miserable about sex one day nomatter what is on offer, then at least if I do what he wants then he'll be happy. The trouble is that so much of the time I don't know what I want. I blame the effects of the rape, but during all those times when I was in denial about the rape and also feeling its effects everyday I was so totally confused about what to display outwardly that I could never be sure what I really felt. It's very difficult to get back from that position then.

    You feel like you've created your own bad situation so you have to go along with it, it's so difficult to change.

    You're very brave breaking free and working through your process of healing online.

    Take care and stay in touch :-)

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  19. I've read both parts of your story (took a couple days), and it's amazing how well you express your feelings. Does it ever anger you that you chose to handle this alone in order to spare your parents and friends? I felt the same way, never telling a soul -- not even my best friend. I feared the inevitable scrutiny At some point that same year, I blocked everything out.

    You're probably right that a jury would not have been sympathetic had they known there was the slightest consideration on your part to participate in a ménage à trois.

    How shameful and embarrassing for everyone to know, right? Well, that's what keeps most of us silent, thereby enabling rapists to carry on. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Vist my blog when you have time.
    www.georgia-tech-rape-victim2.blogspot.com

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  20. Thankyou so much for sharing your experience. I haven't been raped myself but I wanted a better understanding of what rape victims go through, maybe those people will be on the list of who I help one day.

    I understand, you weren't consenting to sex, you were consenting to rape- out of no other choice. Therefore it is rape. It would have happened anyway, and had you not sped things up it would have been far worse. This man drove a person to breaking point, there was no other way out.

    It aat ny moment after that point, during the so called 'consent' period of the attack, if he were to offer to stop his attack and by some 'magical' way you knew that he wasn't lying, you would have asked him to get off and it would have ended just there.

    I pray I'll never have to learn from an experience of my own, so thank you for telling us this.

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  21. ^^^ *If at any moment after that point... srry

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  22. Georgia, sorry for the long time in replying. I don't come here very often. I have to be in the right frame of mind to talk about all this stuff. I wasn't angered at the time that I decided not to tell. I felt incredibly alone and it's added to the fact that all these feelings had been ticking away under the surface and taking up some of my will power every single day of my life, trying to keep it all hidden. I am still pretty coy about it all to be honest, but now I don't feel like I have to keep it totally shut away. If some of it creeps out sometime I know now that it's not totally toxic and that I won't cause as much harm as I'd feared for years.

    I hope that you do find some resolution. I went to your blog and I found it hard to read all of it, I've skimmed it and I know what your problems have been in a general sense, but I couldn't cope with reading any deeper into it. I know that I didn't have anywhere near as bad an experience as you, but the fears feel the same and I feel fear not of what I've gone through, but of what is possible and what could happen or could have happened in the past. I don't know if I'm explaining that very well. I suppose they might call it a trigger?

    I will try to come over again sometime and give it all another go, because if you've taken the time and effort to write it all I feel I should like to read it.

    Do you feel better for the writings? Some kind of resolution? Do you fear any reprisals from him?

    Take care anyway. I hope I'll see you here or elsewhere sometime :-)

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  23. Anonymous, what a good idea of yours to understand what rape is all about. I suppose you should understand that there are as many experiences and perspectives as there are victims, but there are also some common themes. Disbelief and denial is rife and doubt about your own version of events. Even after all this I'm still not confident in my own account. I still feel like I've made a fuss, blown things out of proportion. It's a constant battle with yourself and the prejudices you think others would have because you probably would have had them too.

    what you write is very helpful. You are right that if he'd have stopped at any time I would have been glad to stop. I suppose that's another sign that I was not consenting, which I can remember when I doubt myself. I would have happily stopped and I would never have searched the house for another man to sleep with. Things happened TO me and I need to accept that even if I didn't kick and scream or bite or kick, I still was not wanting them to happen.

    Thanks for visiting.

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  24. The bottom line is that if you did not consent, its rape. By giving in at the end you weren't consenting, you were giving up the fight because you knew it was useless. I did the same thing. I'm sure in a court of law someone could twist this story all around, but you know in your heart what happened. I hope you also KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was not your fault in any way shape or form.

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  25. Hi Barbara,
    Thanks for the reassurance and I see you've contacted me about my question I posed elsewhere - was that your blog? (I've lost track)
    It's amazing to me, even now, how much a waiver and falter over this. It helps so much to have people say that they agree with me and that it's obvious!

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  26. I so much agree with the part of "dirty little secret". I have also been raped 5 years ago and I had exactly the same issue in considering it an actual rape. I pretended it haven’t really happen, kind of blocked it from my mind, but now I find particular aspects of my current life and my emotional sensibility have something to do with it.
    The rape went like this. I liked a boy in my class and wanted to go to him somewere private. Yes I did want to have sex with him. But we didn’t have any other place than at some other guy’s apartment. Both of them were in the same school with me. I thought that I and the guy I wanted to come with were alone in the apartment. So I had sex with him. Without knowing, the other guy (the apartment’s owner) came inside the room and took a cellphone photo of me having sex with the guy. So the two of them have planned it. He than locked the door and told me that if i do not have sex with him too, that I would see the photo of me naked having sex all over the internet. I pleaded and cried for several hours for him to leave me alone. But finally agreed and let him rape me without physically fighting back. If someone were to look at the act they would believe I was not raped but having normal sex. I still feel that it was not really really rape, as i didn’t physically opposed enough.
    After he finished he gave me his cellphone for me to have the photo deleted. Only last summer I found out that he had copied the photo in another folder and the whole high school had saw it. After this happened I remember I did not felt angry, shocked, hysterical. Just numb. I was not feeling absolutely anything for weeks. What never made me acknowledge that this was in fact “real rape” was the fact that after this happened, I further consensually had sex with the rapist several times although I did not felt attracted to him in any way. I felt disgusted and numb but still did. He had my cellphone number and called me and I agreed to meet him. I just don’t know why I have done this and I feel terribly bad for doing so. If I try now to understand WHY I had sex with him after he raped me, nothing comes to mind. I do not have an answer. I just can’t explain it. After I made a boyfriend I didn’t respond to his phone calls anymore and he continued to harass me for 2 years after. Once he stalked me on a dark alley at night. It was so frightening. He said in his phone calls that he wants us to be together and have a relation and that he fell in love with me and that he knew I loved him too. Once when he called me I got really mad and screamed from the top of my lungs that I made some friends that could beat him up and after that he left me alone. Yet he still smirks at me every time we randomly encounter on the street and I am absolutely horrified of seeing him.
    I did not told the police as I didn’t wanted my parents to find out or anybody else because I did not wanted to have blame put upon me and asked questions about “what where you doing there in the first place?”. I am sure that if i have told my parents, they would have blamed me. I also knew that he was related somehow with the police and would have most likely got away with it.
    After this unfortunate occurrence, I did not care about my sexual life and body anymore until one year and a half before now. I was able to have sex with anyone regardless if I did not felt attracted absolutely at all. Until one and a half year before I was still putting myself in danger because of just “not caring”. 3 more following sexual encounters of mine fit the rape jurisdiction but I just don’t want to think about them. I just did not wanted to have sex but it was pressured upon me.

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