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Author Topic: Possible "Grey Rape"? Confused.
PinkButterfly1445
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I'm a college sophomore. Last year, around the end of the semester, I became friends with a guy I'll call C. We watched anime at his apartment a lot, and even though he refused to walk me back to my dorm afterwards, I still visited him a lot. When my boyfriend and I had broken up, I cuddled with C on the couch at one point, but that was it.
Fast forward to the summer. C and I both had been talking a lot, and I had quite a crush on him. We both wanted to go to an anime convention in town, and since we needed someone to share a room with, we decided to share the room together. Now, mind you, I had broken up with my old boyfriend just a couple of months ago, and I was glad to be free to enjoy the company of another guy. I wanted to sleep with him, or at least be a little bit sexual. I had never been with anyone I wasn't deeply committed to though, so I was nervous. Still, I brought some condoms with me.
Two nights before our trip, he got drunk and we video chatted while he propositioned me repeatedly. This was the first time I had seen him be anything but reserved and shy so I laughed and told him he'd just have to wait and see, but promised him a kiss. He thought that me only wanting to have sex in a committed relationship was stupid, and he told me so. I still wanted to sleep with him though, but didn't tell him that.
Now, fast forward to the hotel. We had just checked in, and decided to relax in the room for a bit. We kind of cuddled on the bed. I said something about how I had promised him a kiss, hadn't I? And kissed him. He kissed me back rather fiercely, and though I hadn't intended to, I ended up making out with him. He got me to straddle him, but I switched positions, telling him I wasn't wearing underwear and I wasn't ready for him to see that much of me. He obliged, but later ended up getting me to straddle him again. By this point I was feeling kind of rushed and didn't want to sleep with him quite as much as I did. He was just so aggressive, even though he backed off whenever I tensed up. We go to get my bag from the lobby, and come back. We made out some more, and I thought, well, I did want to be adventurous didn't I? So I took my shirt off. Without asking he quickly unhooked my bra. I held it up, saying I didn't mean to do that yet, but he convinced me to just take it off. We made out like that, and I was kind of excited and kind of scared.
After we went to the convention and came back, we took a nap together, and then picked up where we left off. I was still rather nervous. He kept insisting that I was being silly. We started talking and at some point I remember showing him the little cosmetic bag of condoms I brought. Anyways, I wanted to take a shower, and he wanted to join me. I was very reluctant, but in a kind of playful manner. We ended up taking a shower together, and it was rather sweet. He washed me from head to toe and I did the same for him. After we got out, we fooled around a bit. I think that was when I decided I'd be ok with giving him a blowjob, so I did, thinking maybe then he'd stop pushing for sex. After going down on him, we just hung out for a while and he kept being pushy and I got more nervous. He wanted sex, so I finally said no, I can't do this. We decided to cuddle, and he ended up fingering me. The whole time he's still been saying things, implying that I'm being silly. He's an atheist so he's told me before that he thinks me seeing sex as a joining of two souls is silly, so there's no reason to not enjoy each other's bodies. They're just bodies to him. And for some reason I'm desperate for him to like me, so once I'm a little bit turned on, I tell him, "Ok, let's do it." He says really? And gets a condom, and we have sex. He came in about 30 seconds. At this point, I stop having any feelings at all and am just shocked that I let him convince me to have sex. We had sex a few more times that weekend, even after I broke down and cried from the shock of it all after he said something a little insensitive during sex. I realized that no one else I had ever been with would have done anything he did, and wouldn't have touched me if I seemed even a little upset about it. He just seemed utterly confused by my feelings. The fact that he didn't understand made me think maybe I was being ridiculous. I cuddled up to him for comfort, and tried to enjoy being with him.
For a few weeks afterwards, I was ok. We talked, and I liked him, he liked me, and there was a possible relationship forming. But one day I realized, no other guy I knew would have done what he did. They would never have been so aggressive, and would have apologized profusely and gotten our clothes back on if I had been even a quarter as upset as I had been that weekend. I had done something I swore I would never do ever since I was young: I let a guy pressure me into sex.
I know it wasn't rape, or assault, but I need to know how to start understanding what happened and what to do to get over this. He and I have been chit chatting this summer, and I told him how I felt, though I didn't call it assault or rape.And he says he's so sorry I regret it, and if I had outright said no he would have stopped. He still wants to be close to me. I don't know what to do. I hate him, but should I? I just need somebody to talk to. I"m sorry this post was so long, and a bit convoluted, but I need help.

Posts: 6 | From: Texas | Registered: Aug 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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Welcome to Scarleteen, PinkButterfly.

There is this cultural myth that anytime you do not forcefully say "no" right away and stick with that, you are giving consent. But consent isn't the lack of a "no". Consent is a freely given, enthusiastic "yes".

When someone manipulates you, pressures you, belittles your choices and ignores your "no" to the point that you eventually give in and let them do what they want, you are not giving consent. You are giving in to manipulation.

And this wasn't a misunderstanding on his part. You did tell him no more than once, and he pushed past your boundaries anyway. He told you that your boundaries were silly, he did not honor them, and he did not back off when you were upset by his actions. He knew what he wanted and he knew what he was doing, and he didn't care how you felt about it.

So, yes: his treatment of you was beyond disrespectful, and it's no wonder you have such strong negative feelings now.

Where do you want to go from here? Do you want some help with dealing what you know now? Do you want to talk further about what happened? Do you want to talk about how to handle any future interaction with this guy?

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9187 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PinkButterfly1445
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I realize it's been a long time since I posted this, and I want to thank you for your thoughtful reply. Even now, two years after the fact, I still can't get over what happened. I cut off contact with this guy, but I still see him around campus, and he even has classes with my best friend. I don't even know what label I could put on the event. I feel like I haven't earned validation for my suffering, that I can't call it rape or sexual abuse since I pretty much consented, albeit after a lot of coercing. Basically I just feel like an idiot who had sex with a horrible person because she was lonely. What worries me is that he later told me that I'm not the first person to have sex with him and regret it. I'm so scared that he could be doing this to other girls. And the damage that guy has done has started to show in my relationship with my boyfriend of over a year. He and I used to have a normal, healthy and happy sex life, but after my recent diagnosis of chronic cervicitis, I pretty much can't have sex and my libido is so dead because of the pain that I rarely do other things with him anymore. I don't even want him around a lot of the time because I know he'll start getting aroused and want something from me. It's not like he asks me to do anything, he doesn't even make out with me unless I initiate it, I just know him well enough that I can tell when he wants to have sex with me and it makes me sick. The strange resentment I feel towards him is unbearable. I feel like a terrible person.

Relationship issues aside, I still spend a lot of nights, like tonight, unable to sleep because I'm so busy trying to Google different sexual abuse scenarios to find out if my experience "counts." I need help, and I'm not sure where to start.

Posts: 6 | From: Texas | Registered: Aug 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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Hello PinkButterfly1445 and welcome to Scarleteen,

I'm so sorry to hear that you're still struggling with this, but it's perfectly understandable that you ar.


The fact that you're still struggling with this is enough validation that this was a negative, harmful experience for you. Reading what you posted above, it looks to me as if this guy emotionally manipulated you into sexual activity you didn't want . That's not okay, and it's pretty clear to me that you're experiencing that as a violation.

I'm not sure what you mean by whether your experience "counts". Can you say more about that?


From an article on our site Dealing With Rape

"To coerce someone sexually is to get them toengage in or be part of a sexual activity they do not want through guilt-trips or nagging, blackmailing, threats, bribes, intimidation or some other kind of emotional pressure or force."

How does it feel reading that?

IN terms of getting help, it sounds like you're still in school. Does your campus have a student counselling service? If so, what do you think about making an appointment with them?

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Redskies
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Hi PinkButterfly,

I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you and that you're still struggling with it.

Extra to what Robin said, I wanted to say something about consent. People who are educated about sexual assault know that someone saying "yes" or agreeing isn't necessarily the same thing as consent. Consent, by definition, is freely given. Coercion takes away the "freely" part of that. If we're being coerced into sexual activity and Then we say "yes", that's not the same thing as consenting.

Speaking generally, experiences involving coercion are among the ones that are most frequently not recognised as assaultive when, in fact, they are. They're also one of the most common circumstances around sexual assault. That combination, fairly unsurprisingly, tends to result in a fair number of people feeling confused about what happened to them and trying to find some recognition and support for the way they feel about their experiences, while trying to find out if they even "should" feel that way.

You are the person who had this experience, so it's your right to define it in the way that works best for you. As far as I - and, I'd say, pretty much every person who's educated about sexual assault - am concerned, your experience absolutely "counts", if you want it to.

You said you've been looking at google a lot - obviously, the internet can give us a really mixed bag of helpful stuff through to clueless stuff. If you like, there are a lot of resources that might help you begin to make sense of and work through your experiences that come from much sounder sources than google, starting with what Robin's already linked you to. I know that everyone needs to take this at their own pace, but if and when you feel you'd like some more resources and information, just give a shout, and there's plenty of folk around who'll be able to signpost you to some excellent stuff, including on this site.

Just for now, copied from the "blinders off" article here:
"Coercion is also a form of sexual assault. For example, arguing for or initiating a sexual activity to the point that a person gives consent by being worn down."
(Although now that I think about it, personally I would use different wording there, as I think that no-one here would call agreement given after coercion "consent". But I think the point is clear.)

Repeatedly saying that someone is being silly is not being respectful of or abiding by someone's feelings and decisions about their own body. It's pressuring and emotional manipulation, and those things are coercion. How can we really say "yes, I'm going to Go On Being Silly!" to someone who we want to like us? Because sticking to our point is effectively, in that person's framework, saying exactly that. Putting a personal note into this, I believe that I could, now... but that's only because someone has already done that to me and hurt me, and I've done a lot of learning about how wrong it is and how I have the absolute Right to stand up for what I want, even if I'm not sure, no matter what. And I guarantee you that if I had to do it, even now, I would feel about 2 centimetres tall and ridiculous and embarrassed and like I was making a fuss. This stuff is immensely hard to handle well and counter at the time, and that's why it's called coercion.

You're not a terrible person. The things that are happening with your boyfriend do happen sometimes after an experience like you describe, before the person has properly processed it and healed (and, of course, your medical condition is probably in the mix too). It's not about you, it's about the experience you had. Sometimes it's a bit tough, and sometimes it takes a while, but people can and do heal from the damage that guy did.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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PinkButterfly1445
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Thank you both so much. Robin Lee, I would definitely say that passage fits how he treated me. And Redskies, knowing that there's someone else who has experienced something similar helps a lot.

I'm getting to the point where I am able to validate my own feelings, which is great because previously the only person who would not call my situation outright sexual abuse was me. I once turned to my boyfriend after a night of agonizing and said, "Does this even count as rape?" and he told me "Of course it does! Look at how you're reacting to what he did."

I have talked to a school counselor about the issue, but she basically told me it was a learning experience and to chalk it up to the fact that one night stands were not for me. Granted, I left out a lot of the emotional details, but I did mention that he belittled me. I live in a really conservative part of the US, and sexual matters are not always treated as seriously as they should be. Also, the counseling office here is full of crosses and Christian doves, Jesus music, etc. I'm not against Christians, but I've also had people forcefully proselytize to me a lot, and I'm not sure where to go around here where I won't be judged or dismissed.

So basically, I'd like to get counseling, but I'm not entirely sure where to go. And, I'm also kind of afraid that since I wasn't violently assaulted or threatened into having sex that I won't be taken as seriously as other victims.

Posts: 6 | From: Texas | Registered: Aug 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Hi, PinkButterfly.

I can assure you that if you seek out help and counseling from a counselor or organization which is intended to serve victims that you can expect the same kind of care and sensitivity you've found here, as well as the same acknowledgment that what happened to you was nonconsensual, and you deserve the care victims of abuse or assault deserve.

Want me to look and see if there might be anything like that for you locally? If you don't mind sharing your zip code, I'm happy to do that for you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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PinkButterfly1445
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Sure, I'd be grateful for the help, thanks. Is there a way I could PM you or something? I'd rather not post my zipcode publicly.
Posts: 6 | From: Texas | Registered: Aug 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI There,

You can send your zipcode to robin@scarleteen.com and I can look that information up for you. [Smile]

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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