And–

A guest post by pigeon over at Taking Steps on reporting rape from a survivor’s standpoint:

and it would still have turned out really fucking ugly. at best, i would only have had to face social consequences at school, among my peers; at worst, if it actually went to trial, if the media got involved (as cities go—if you could even call it that—the place was pretty small, so it’s entirely possible), i would have been surrounded and questioned and examined from all sides. and that would only be the outward assault—i have no idea how i would have held up emotionally under that kind of scrutiny. and who’s to say what the outcome would have been, i could very well have ended up a liar and a slut who almost ruined some poor boy’s life.

yeah, reporting sure is not looking too appealing.

and then imagine that you didn’t have a supportive family, maybe you risked physical abuse if your parents found out. imagine you’re black and the people you’re reporting to throw back racist stereotypes about how black women are promiscuous and sexually aggressive. imagine you’re a drug addict, imagine you’ve been in trouble before, maybe a lot, maybe you’ve got a record. imagine that he was actually your boyfriend, and that you’d been having sex for a few months now. imagine that your whole high school calls you a slut already. imagine that you really like to wear short skirts.

and how much worse does reporting sound now?


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43 comments for “And–

  1. April 20, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Do you have a link to the original?

  2. piny
    April 20, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Sorry! I forgot to put it in the opener. It’s up there now.

  3. April 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    The world needs fixing.

    Badly.

  4. Ellie
    April 20, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to deal with something like that without being afraid that you will be blamed for it…

  5. bluestockingsrs
    April 20, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Yep.

  6. April 20, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Wow, parts of that define what happened to me point-by-point when I “came forward” at 16 – to friends and a crisis center.

    It should surprise no one that the frosty, isolating and cruel reception I got didn’t encourage me to run to the cops. I was ashamed enough.

    Until we do a 180 in stigmaland, I don’t know how to change a system that punishes the accuser. Or should I say The Accuser. The lack of rape reportage has never surprised me and it will continue not to.

    I’ve always been grateful for the internet since I first “came out” about my sexually abusive relationship. Often, it was the best listener – and the only place I didn’t feel judged OR alone.

  7. April 20, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    That about sums it up. No one I know has reported a sexual assault to the police because we know what’s in store for us: we’re the women who work at crisis lines and women’s centres and we’ve heard too many horror stories.

  8. pigeon
    April 20, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    thanks for the link piny.

    and debbie, i find that to be incredibly true– wroking as an advocate on a DV/SA crisis line only further reinforced how glad i was that i hadn’t reported and that i most likely never would if it happened again.

    which is sad, and horrible, but frankly, as far as i’m concerned, survivor’s needs come first. and as the system stands, reporting very rarely fits into getting those needs met.

  9. bluestockingsrs
    April 20, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Twisty posted about the use the word victim on her blog. I thought it raised some important ideas about letting the oppressor frame the debate in a way where they feel most comfortable.

    I am with her, when did victim become a bad word?

    I don’t mean to judge the use of “survivor” at all by asking that question, but when did victim become the bad word rather than victimizer?

  10. Anatolia
    April 20, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    I was sexually molested when I was five, hog tied, and thrown into a dirt hole that was covered with a sheet of plywood and then left there for about two hours until I was able to work the ropes off and escape. The attacker was a neighbor who threatened my family if I cried out.

    Some time after that, I don’t recall now how much time had passed, he cornered my younger sister and I in the small woods down the road and threatened to sexually assault my younger sister, who was four and standing next to me crying and scared, if I didn’t cooperate and let him sexually assault me again. He threatened, told us both that he’d hurt the other if we said anything.

    I later told my cousins what had happened, and one told my mother and aunt, and they both came down the stairs and screamed at me in front of my cousins and my sister to not make up such horrible stories. I was very embarassed and hurt and scared.

    That was as a young girl. Left a bit of an impression about how these things get dealt with.

    So, I’ve deleted this a few times already. I’m not even sure I’ll bother to send it.

    Please don’t respond to this if you read it. I would just like to read why others don’t tell, if they care to, and to say now I hear you and understand, I do. Thank you for hearing me.

  11. Annie
    April 20, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I didn’t tell because I was 9 and ashamed – it felt good, but I knew that was wrong. I was afraid my mom wouldn’t let me play with his daughters anymore – they were my best friends. I was afraid she wouldn’t believe me. And I was afraid that she’d be disappointed in me. Most of all, I didn’t tell because I was afraid it was my fault.

    And I never told until last week. Mostly because I thought that I’d “gotten over it” and “moved on” but now I understand that I really haven’t dealt with this yet. I’m 32 and it still affects my whole life.

  12. bluestockingsrs
    April 20, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    When I was raped I told what happened because that is what they tell us to do… but I wish I hadn’t.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have never reported it, never told anyone except people I was intimate with (a short list) and I never would have spent a moment counseling other women who came to me because I had been raped and wanted to tell me their experiences and when they realized that my taint would rub off on them promptly ignored or harassed me.

    I would have kept silent rather than having to go through what I suffered for three years in high school from my peers and from adults and continue to deal with today..

    And that is a sad state of affairs, I think, that even now, 17 years later, I know I would have been better off not saying anything in many ways.

  13. piny
    April 20, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    thanks for the link piny.

    Thanks again for writing about it. I’m trying to get a little better at bringing my blogworlds together, so.

  14. pigeon
    April 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    bluestockings–

    what i was first taught about the language choices of “suvivor” vs. “victim” was that it was important to help empower women who’d experienced sexual trauma (of whatever form) and that it was often more useful & healing to guage one’s experiences from the standpoint of having survived than from having been traumatized in the first place. for myself, i’ve struggled with the term victim, because it was emotionally paralyzing to really acknowledge that i had been victimized, and feel the powerlessness that came with that.

    that said, i haven’t read twisty’s post, but i think you’re right that the word victim has become almost contemptuous. i talked about this a little in the comments on the original post– if you can’t follow up “victim” with how you pulled yourself back up by your bootstraps, if you’re not Super Survivor who is Over it and Okay and Moved On, then you’re broken, weak, tainted, and as such, acceptable to stigmatize and Other.

    i hadn’t thought about that language issue as structuring the debate in the terms that maintain victim-blaming before, but i think there’s something there. i’m going to have to think about that more.

  15. April 20, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    The reaction I got when I told friends that a mutual friend of ours had sexually harassed me was discouraging enough — everything from “you’re overreacting” to “you’re making it up” to “well it was just that one time and he’s a nice guy otherwise,” not to mention the load of blaming I got online for not going to the police. I can’t imagine having to deal with that all over again, and then some, for something that much worse.

  16. April 21, 2007 at 3:47 am

    i never told becos i didnt kno to tell, or maybe he told me not to? im still putting it all back together when i feel strong enough to work it out in my head. i ended up telling my mother years after we left and asking her why she never noticed my father raping me. i spent alot of time with a great therapist who believes in talking it out, not medicating it away, and most days i do feel more survivor/less victim. later in my 20s i was raped by a guy who was new in our local punk rock community and i did tell and amazingly enough my (male) friends believed me and supported me and basically ran him out of town. i wish i could say the same for the 3 other guys who were long time members of our local punk rock community who raped girls less vocal and independent than i and who were never called out and still treated as local rock stars buddy buddy by their peers, and no matter what i said everyone turned a deaf ear to my complaints. it was sort of the final straw to me saying- eff this- id rather be friendless than give my support to a community that ignores the experiences of everyone but white males.

    i mean, cmon, dont you kno, were all lying whores who are just angry cos he doesnt want to go out with us/cos were ugly/cos were fat/cos he was drunk and regretted it and never called. and afterall hes such a nice boy/upstanding member of the community/family man. (bitter sarcasm)

    i would never tell the cops, ever. i cant imagine being in the middle of my trauma and trying to sit on a witness stand describing my assault in detail, when i was in recovery i couldnt even leave my house alot of days, and seeing the way women who go forward are treated keeps me from speaking up.

    then again, maybe thats their point? well, i mean, obviously it is. if they keep us scared to say anything, to persue a verdict then they can walk free and not face the consequences and keep pretending that being a predator is ok.

  17. elizabeth
    April 21, 2007 at 6:41 am

    What do you think about people who have never been sexually assualted encouraging who have been people to come forward? (eg If my friend told me she was raped, would it be wrong, as part of they way I support her, to tell her to go to the police?)

  18. pigeon
    April 21, 2007 at 11:09 am

    elizabeth–
    i don’t think it’s wrong to make that suggestion, but i would be very wary of pushing her to do anything. if she wants to report, it needs to be her decision, without feeling outside pressure from whatever angle. the key to support in those kinds of situations is to support whatever decision she makes & be a safe person for your friend. with sexual assault comes a total loss of power, and the process of reclaiming that power and agency can be really long and hard. having people support you and walk with you, but not do things or make decisions for you is really important. any survivor will need all the love and support they can get, but if you make decisions for them or do things for them–even with every good intention, even if they want you to–you’re ultimately not helping them redetermine agency. (they called this the line between “supporting” and “enabling” in crisis line training).

    i’ve been thinking about this to report, not to report question a lot since yesterday. when i wrote this, i was certainly thinking about the factors that discourage and make it difficult for women to report, but hadn’t really extended it past that in my head.

    reading everyone’s comments, i’ve been trying to think what are the upsides reporting? and it took me a second to remember even the basics. it gives you access to things like restraining orders, and supposedly, the possibility of taking a predator out of the community (however truly ineffective our jailing system is), and it should open up an array of resources for the survivor, that the cops are supposed to know about that you might not. and the problem i guess is that it doesn’t work out that way, restraining orders are just pieces of paper and cops victim blame as much if not more than the next person, and don’t know how to support survivors, and the scrutiny you bring on to yourself in the attempts to get a predator in jail is enough that i would certainly understand any woman who just said, no, it’s too much, it’s not worth it. that would have been my decision.

    but it also seems really fucked up to have the answer just be not reporting. has anyone had positive experiences reporting, either with the system, or through community support (family/friends &/or broader community)? did the circumstances of the assault play a role in how receptive people were? for those who chose not to report, what, if anything were things you did (or could do, this is brainstorming, really) to address things like physical safety? are there other ways to address & hold the perpetrator accountable without reporting to the police? preferably not hugely illegal, “i’ve got a friend, he’ll break his knees” sort of way?

    i just woke up and haven’t had any coffee yet today, so forgive any rambling or incoherence above, but i just wonder what other options there are for survivors, besides report to a victim-blaming system or tell no one. i think figuring out alternative ways of getting survivor’s needs met, creating safe spaces and exposing perpetrators for who they are is really important, though, and maybe would give us more ways to both take care of ourselves, and support the women we love.

    thoughts, anyone?

  19. April 21, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I’m not quite comfortable posting the details of what happened but, suffice to say, when your parents actually walk in on their 6-year-old being assaulted, it’s pretty hard for the perpetrator to claim it was the child’s fault. And my parents never blamed me, not even once, even though it was a family member.

    I suspect it’s easier to report an assault by a total stranger since you don’t have to worry as much about being believed, not “ruining the poor guy’s life,” etc. Even the cops would consider the guy a criminal to be caught, not a problem of your bad judgement. Only problem is that a small proportion of rapes and assaults are done by strangers.

  20. Laser Potato
    April 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    OT, but this is pretty bad.
    http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/index.php/Feminism

    “Every member of a feminist community has at some point in her life been raped, molested, or at the very least almost raped.”
    I’m sure the fact that 1 in 3 women will be raped in her lifetime has NOTHING to do with that, no sir.

    And this made me want to put an axe through my computer:
    “As much as feminists would love to prevent rape, they love preventing the prevention of rape even more. Any suggestion that females should have a hand in the prevention of rape is labelled as victim blaming.”
    MUST…RESIST…URGE…TO…DESTROY…HUMAN…RACE…ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH……

  21. R. Mildred
    April 21, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    “Every member of a feminist community has at some point in her life been raped, molested, or at the very least almost raped.”

    This is true actually, but to be fair Robert Jenkins was dressed like a complete slut that night and I wouldn’t have done anything to him if he hadn’t provoked me like that.

    (no offense intended to actual male rape survivors)

  22. April 21, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    This entirely sums up why I didn’t report, or indeed tell anyone for a long time, about being raped, or even identify it in my head as rape for a long time.

    I was just 17, naive and felt completly responsible for putting myself in a situation where a guy could do that to me. I wasn’t drunk or on drugs, I’d just gone to meet him in a quiet out of the way place for what I thought would be making out. Yet still, even though I was bruised and bloodied and beaten I thought no-one would believe me, that it was my fault for wanting to make out with a guy that I liked, for having desire. I had virtually no experience to measure this against. At the time I was at a fancy private school and I was terrified about the scandal bringing the school, which I loved, down, and of the shame of everyone talking about me.

    6 months later a different girl was assualted by a different guy. The school blackmailed her into not pressing charges, the guy was not punished and eventually she quit. The rumor mill had a field day and was always on the guys side, who was pretty popular.

    I was so glad I had said nothing. Now nearly 5 years later I don’t know how I feel about it; as a feminist I feel like I should have reported, I feel guilt for letting my fear let a man get away with this, and I feel terrible for not being more supportive of that other girl, of not forcing this school, which was so proud of how progressive it was, to change its ways.

    But as me, the woman who was the frightened teenage girl I can’t fault my choice; I would not have been able to withstand the pressure of a trial or investigation or the public shame. Not on top of dealing with the rape.

    It would have been easier to report if I hadn’t known the guy, if I hadn’t been brainwashed into thinking that rape was always the victims fault, or that rape was always perpatrated by strangers. It would also have been easier to report if I hadn’t known that rape cases in the UK hardly ever went to trial and when they did were hardly ever successful.

    If I was ever raped again would I report? I don’t know. I like to hope that I would be brave enough. But I really don’t know.

  23. April 21, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I always get asked, “Why didn’t you report it?” As the entry above demonstrates, it’s easier said than done. Its just hard for any survivor to place themselves in a position to be criticized/questioned when there’s already so much to process from the event.

    Pigeon, I agree with you 100%. “i think figuring out alternative ways of getting survivor’s needs met, creating safe spaces and exposing perpetrators for who they are is really important and maybe would give us more ways to both take care of ourselves, and support the women we love.” Right on.

  24. Steph H.
    April 21, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    My mom was raped in the early eighties. It was stranger rape. The guy had stolen the master key and was breaking into women’s rooms across the city of Houston. My mom managed to talk him into taking his mask off and got a good look at him. When she reported it, the cops accused her of dressing “sexily.” She was wearing a pajama jump suit in her own home just before she went to bed. She was also accused of not locking her door, even though it was obvious that he had stolen the keys.

    I’ve never been raped or molested, and by the grace of God, I never will be, but whoever says that women get the easy side of things when accusing men of rape needs to talk to a real rape survivor/victim and get their head screwed back on.

  25. Karinna
    April 21, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    On a related note, I received a forward from a friend on “How not to get raped.” (Why do men never receive similar emails entitled “How to not rape”?) It dealt mostly with stranger rape, the least common, which is interesting to begin with, but the part that struck me was the emphasis placed on fighting back.

    I don’t know the statistics, but it seems to me that there is a double reason for the whole “fight back” thing. First, the forward claimed it would work. But secondly, because it seems to be essential that there be bruises, blood, skin under the fingernails, for the woman to be believed. The bloodier the spectacle, the more it can look like “she fought back,” the more likely that others are to believe that it was a rape, and not offer up the litany of usual excuses.

    Of course, fighting back might just mean that the woman ends up dead, but people tend to be more sympathetic to women who were raped, then killed, than to women who were raped but survived. So fight back! You may end up dead, but at least the media and your family and your friends and the police will believe that you were raped. How fucked up is that, anyway?

    It’s likely that I’m way off base, but reading through this thread, and re-reading that forward, it’s the impression that I get.

  26. R. Mildred
    April 21, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Of course, fighting back might just mean that the woman ends up dead, but people tend to be more sympathetic to women who were raped, then killed

    One of the often ignored privelages of being a straight white cisgender woman is that if I’m killed in a hate attack, I’ll be granted post-mortem humanhood, if I didn’t dress too sluttily, doing any of hte other “bad” activities that people go on about, had a gun/went to one of those stranger rapist focused self-“defence” classes that are so useless in so many ways I can’t even begin to rant about it, and of course, that’s all reliant on my attacker being one of the handful of misogynists that people are allowed to criticise (e.g. a stranger rapist, a moc or any other sort of hated Other).

  27. April 21, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    I was a homeless gutter punk kid when I was 17. I was raped by a man who offerred me a ride one night when it was raining. I didn’t report it because I stole some money from his glove compartment.

    Whew. Never told anyone *that* before.

    It’s kind of eye-opening, whenever conversations like this get started, how pretty much every woman there has had something happen to them.

  28. April 21, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    I was not raped. I was molested from age 13 to 15 by my maternal uncle. I had a terrible crush on him. He was my hero until I confessed my adolescent love for him, then he became my perpetrator.
    I didn’t tell because he told me that my mother said it was okay, and I believed him. When I was 32 and he had granddaughters that I feared were his next victims I finally told in the form of registered letters to my family and his wife.
    It tore our family to pieces, and we all cried for weeks. There were “dis-ownings” and he left the family ranch, never to be seen again. I thought my Grandma would never forgive me.
    Finally my mom admitted he’d been molesting her since she was 5 years old. She had never admitted it to anyone, even therapists (which I had). I knew then that he had told me the truth, and that because her own molestation was too difficult for her to face, she did indeed give him permission to molest me.
    Poor she. Her idea of love.
    It was difficult to forgive her, especially as she denied it, but I did. She was a victim, and it seems to flow downstream if we’re not very careful. Last year, after 13 years, she came to me and apologized. She admitted that she was so fucked up that she did tell him it was okay. Her acknowledgment and remorse completed the healing cycle for me. I’m 45 now.
    I know this is different than violent rape, but I felt called to share this, because as horrible as “telling” can be, it can also bring closure and healing for some. My heart goes out to all of you, and to all of the silent voices. Peace.

  29. Torri
    April 21, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    I was taken advantage of when I was too young to understand what was going on. It ended up slipping out when I was talking with my mum and dad and I never saw that uncle again. Looking back I feel so much hatred for that man. I was so young and naive the only thing I was worried about was I would never be able to play in the lovely house ever again. Years later my mum sat me down after talking to that man’s wife and asked if I had been lying at all. By then I was old enough to understand so I told her it was all the truth. A few years after that I had an emotional moment during sex-ed class, after my mum found out she took me to a councilor but really the thing I wanted to do was forget it ever happened. I talked to the councilor and she told me while I could report so much time had passed it was unlikely anything would happen, I knew my memory of that time was now blurry, I can’t remember how many times it happened, just that it did, more then once.

    On another note my family watches SVU, oft time when a character doesn’t want to press charges etc my dad a loudly asking why the hell wouldn’t she? In my head I’m angry, but I don’t bother to try and explain.

  30. April 21, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Encyclopedia Dramatica is one creepy-dumb little endeavor, on the whole…

  31. Fab
    April 21, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    my God. i barely could get through a couple stories here.

    i wasn’t planning on reading anything this horrific tonight.

    what absolutely heartbreaking experiences.

    :(

  32. Lorelei
    April 22, 2007 at 12:02 am

    i didn’t even bother trying to report. the whole situation was so fucking complicated — i was dating a sociopath, i was scared to death of him, he’d been abusing me for two years and had threatened to kill me before. i was on amphetamines when a friend of mine called me and i asked him if he thought my exboyfriend would ever have sex with me. he said he probably would and went ahead and arranged it. *facepalm* i went. it was that or face his wrath. i was going to be in his town in the next couple of days anyway. i figured, sex with him couldn’t be so bad, so i went into his apartment. except then he’s calling me a worthless slut, gagging me, and hitting me. i laid there completely motionless and only said ‘please don’t hurt me.’ he knew i was scared and asked me hours later why. umm… because you’re fucking hitting me?

    a few months before, we had a whole big conversation where he was degrading me the whole fucking time anyway, and he asked me if i’d be interested in kinky sex. i said i would (and why would i say no to him, anyway?). then we stopped speaking for two months. this is his defense.

    and of course, somehow it totally escaped him to ASK ME if i wanted to have kinky sex, it totally escaped him somehow that i am WHIMPERING ON HIS FLOOR and that he might want to ask if i’m okay, that he’s THREATENED TO KILL ME BEFORE so saying no and fighting him off would probably not be my best bet.

    oh, fuck it. anyway, i wasn’t about to try and explain this very, very complicated dynamic to anyone but a therapist, nevermind a cop. i am pretty sure most people were not going to understand that he knew *exactly* what he was doing, he just didn’t care because he was a sociopath — that is, he lacked emotions.

    i try not to show it, but i feel ashamed every time i tell someone this story (which is only the short version). i know that people will judge me and not understand why or how it was so traumatic. and i know that i should’ve… i don’t know… been stronger against him. fuck, i was fourteen – sixteen years old and i loved him. i don’t even know what i’m talking about anymore.

  33. Dian
    April 22, 2007 at 12:32 am

    This all just breaks my heart. I’ve always counted myself fairly lucky because my step-grandfather only tried to french kiss me when I was 8. It freaked me out and I resisted and thankfully he didn’t force himself on me more. I had always enjoyed spending the weekend with him and his wife, but after that I never went back. Years and years later, my mom asked me if he had done something to me and I lied and said no. I finally told her the truth a couple of years after that. What happened to me was so minor and yet I was still so afraid of telling even years later when he wasn’t even a feature in our lives anymore. Every close friend I’ve ever had was sexually abused at some point. Even my boyfriend was. With only a couple of exceptions, they were all raped and/or sexually abused by people close to them. None of them ever reported it.

  34. Torri
    April 22, 2007 at 1:35 am

    I hate that, the argument of ‘we were having consensual kinky sex’ to excuse abuse.
    Here’s a news flash, there’s this well known little thing called a ‘safety word’ and if you really were part of ‘teh kinky sex crowd’ you’d know all about that. But unfortunately more conservative people don’t want to know anything about these practices, so brand anyone who might possibly be into it as a freaky slut that was enjoying it. *head desk*

  35. Laser Potato
    April 22, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    “Any suggestion that females should have a hand in the prevention of rape is labelled as victim blaming.”

    Yet any suggestion that men should be responsible for the prevention of rape is labelled as being a man-hater. Funny how that works.

  36. April 22, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Encyclopedia Dramatica is a hellhole and not worth the bandwidth it takes to load it. It’s basically people who have the same definition of satire as those UWO creeps with the “take back the vagina” spoof or whatever it was.

  37. April 22, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    It’s typical of what passes for satire: it’s young guys feeling threatened by anything that’s not black and white and pink and blue.

  38. Lara
    April 22, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    I was sexually abused several times, by two different guys (one when I was about 14, he was maybe 15…actually he molested during French class, under the desk, for every day of a whole school week, I remember being terrified to go to class….), and I told my mom about that incident briefly and she was just in disbelief. She believed me, but she didn’t try to really sympathize with me or anything, she just didn’t really talk about it. Hearing everybody else’s stories it makes me remember these “little” moments and I become more enraged as I think about it. God, what would have happened to me if I reported? Women are the weaker sex? If men went through even a fraction of the crap we do they wouldn’t last two days…..

  39. Rhiannon
    April 22, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    I’m lucky. I had a father who saw the signs and suspected what had happened. It was the FBI and the law that refused to do anything. The only time I’ve been disbelieved that I know for certain, is my older brother. Not that I think he didn’t believe it, but that he didn’t want to cause that was his favorite uncle.

    When I finally came home after running away when I was 15, I told what happened to me to my family. My father insisted I tell the cops but I don’t think they really believed me or maybe it was because they were truck drivers and hard to track, but nothing ever came of it. I did get checked out by a doctor though, so that was a relief. Not pregnant, no STD’s. I was really relieved to hear that.

    It was never really my family or friends that I was worried wouldn’t believe me (and I didn’t care what my classmates thought, lots of times if someone asked why I was so quiet, or so weird, I’d just blurt it out – sometimes just to shut them up and back off because it worked so well) it was the law, the justice system. I always knew, since that first time, that there is no justice in the system.

  40. Bitter Scribe
    April 23, 2007 at 10:20 am

    This is beyond question the most appalling thread I have ever read.

    I swear to God I will punch out the next person who says “accusers” have an unfair “advantage” in rape cases.

  41. mustelid
    April 23, 2007 at 11:00 am

    My experiences were mild, by comparison. I had a date with a guy. Lunch in a park. He said he had to go to the bathroom before we went, and also he wanted to show off his new apartment. Luckily, he was a low-key wannaberapist, and he gave up after I put up more than a token resistance.

    Asshole number two took me out to a wedding reception and encouraged me to get very drunk. Yes, this was stupid of me. He wasn’t interested in raping a projectile-vomiting girl with puke in her hair. Lucky me.

    Tell the cops? The same ones who were always trying to accuse me of prostitution b/c I hitch hiked everywhere back then? No thanks. My roommate at the time said it was my fault. ‘Cause any female who goes to a guy’s apartment/gets drunk around guys has to know the guy(s) will then try to fuck her. Besides, I got off easy.

  42. Chet
    April 23, 2007 at 11:07 am

    I used to think that it was fruitful to talk about “strategies” for women during rapes.

    These stories have changed my mind. I thought I had a lot of ideas about what a woman could do during a rape that would “help” but I don’t see how any of them could have applied to these situations. There’s a lot of courage displayed in this thread, and I’m grateful.

  43. April 23, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    I was sixteen, and I agreed to share a bed with an ex-boyfriend because I was tired and drunk and had no way of getting home – and back then, everyone slept over at the house of whoever was throwing the party, you know? It was only a few months earlier that my sleepover parties were girls only and bed sharing was just practical.

    It was only a month earlier that I’d been kissed for the first time.

    And when I woke up an hour later and realised he was on top of me and was putting a condom on, I definitely said no, don’t, please, no…– but even at the time I didn’t really expect him to listen and to stop, even at the time I didn’t think there was much point screaming, even at the time I was telling myself it was my fault.

    And when I told a mutual friend, he said “I believe you, and I’m not surprised, but he’s still my friend and I still like him”, so what was I going to do, tell the police? When my own friends didn’t think it was a big deal? When I didn’t scream? When he used a condom?

    Of course I didn’t report it. If I had, I wouldn’t have been the only person telling myself that it was my fault.

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