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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Rape is too strong a word

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Author Topic: Rape is too strong a word
BlackCat
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The story:
So, almost a month ago, I was visiting my boyfriend, and on deciding our semi-clothed humping was risky enough for a condom to be involved. Of course, with the condom came going further and I ended up taking off my own panties. However, I had expressed in the past that I didn't want intercourse and while my mind was beginning to change I hadn't expressed that yet. Well, penetration happened, and I recoiled. My boyfriend stopped and seeing I was shaken up, asked if I wanted him to hold me, after me nodding, he did so.

I thought it was rather sweet at the time, and I still do.

However, there was no verbal consent. In fact, there were previously expressed wishes against it. I know the victim is never at fault yet. . .

I know that by definition this could be considered rape, but. . . I don't want to say anything because I'm pretty much okay with how the whole thing went down, especially with rape being such a strong word. At the same time I feel like I should because of all the women who were or will be in similar situations and aren't okay.

Anyone have opinions? Similar stories you want to share?

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Heather
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I've re-read this a couple of times, and I think I can't quite figure out how to respond because "penetration happened" is where I don't understand WHAT happened.

In other words, this isn't something that happens. It's something that one or both people decide to do, and make actions with their bodies based on their decisions.

(Of course, if a man and a woman are nude, and grinding genitals together without anything between, sometimes entry MAY "just happen," in the same way that if I am rubbing a piece of mango over my open mouth repeatedly, some is going to get in. But if you're consenting to nude or semi-nude grinding and that's the way it went, I'm not sure I think we can talk about your boyfriend choosing entry without consent, especially if he reacted the way he did the second you responded negatively.)

I also don't know what kinds of conversations you two had had leading up to this, or what cues you were or were not giving him. In other words, I see that after you recoiled, your boyfriend stopped immediately and also offered you care, so without knowing how things went before then -- or how you two usually do consents with other kinds of sex -- I don't feel able to say if we're talking about nonconsent or assault or not.

[ 07-16-2009, 10:23 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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BlackCat
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After a little more thought and reading your response I've realised how unhealthy (emotionally) the physical aspect of this relationship has been.

I think I've decided to label this whole thing a bit of a mess and I'm definitely going to talk with him. Thank you.

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Heather
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Do you want to talk about it some more?

If so, I'm absolutely available to do that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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BlackCat
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I think I'm pretty good for now. I certainly feel much better.

I realised before that a relationship really isn't a place for my usual passive, non-confrontational self. Now I have to practice it. I just have to figure out how to have this conversation without making my boyfriend beat himself up about it too much, which as far as problems go in this kind of situation, is a pretty good one.

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Heather
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For sure, sexual relationships, if we want them to be healthy and consensual, aren't places where anyone can really be passive or avoid potentially tough discussions, or saying things we worry others won't want to hear. I'd say that's something really important to bear in mind when it comes to our readiness for partnered sex.

But I want to make sure YOU also don't beat YOURSELF up. Assertiveness, especially for women, tends to often be learned, and for some, is even taught out of us. And all too often, in sex education or what we learn about sex -- and again, especially for women -- the information isn't given that being assertive, forthright and communicative is a big essential.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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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runaway
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edited: this is neither supportive nor appropriate in this space.

[ 12-09-2009, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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