T O P I C ††† R E V I E W
Member # 39549
posted 07-29-2008 04:01 PM
Hi, Iím new to this site Ė but I think this is the only place I feel able to talk about something that happened to me. Itís less personal than face to face or a phone call. I donít know what to tell you, how much detail to go in to, but I want some advice. Iím nervous because the advice you give will affect how I react and make decisions in the future.
Sorry if this is confusing, but I really donít know how to make it make sense. Basically I am a 22 year old male student. [In the UK]. I have been carrying around a secret for a year and Iím finding it hard to live with it, so I need to talk about it. As most students do, I enjoyed partying when I first came to University. I made friends easily and dated a few girls, but none of them lasted, though it was amicable and I am still friends with them in the most part. One night in the later stages of my first year I went out drinking with some friends. I have both male and female friends at Uni. I did drink heavily. I ended up meeting a girl through one of my female friends and we hit it off. I had just finished a relationship at the time, and it was nice to talk to a girl after feeling low from the break-up. We talked and danced together most of the night and my friends teased me, as friends do. By the end of the night most of my friends had gotten too drunk to stand and had gone home, leaving me and the girl the last ones out. I had started to get tired and emotional and had talked to the girl about my ex, and had become upset. She suggested that she could come back to mine to take my mind off things. In my inebriated state I thought that was a pretty good idea. She wanted to come to mine because she wasnít a student and lived with her parents, so my student residence was better. We got a taxi to my room. No-one in my flat saw me bring her back. Once inside my room we talked a little more and began kissing. I got to the stage of laying down, facing her and kissing, but in the end I decided I was too tired, to drunk and frankly too upset to have sex with her. She got angry when I told her I didnít want to anymore, but calmed down when I told her she could stay in my room until morning, when I would sober up and give her a lift home. The next thing I knew I woke up and I was undressed entirely, which I hadnít been when Iíd fallen asleep. The girl was squatting over me and had teased me into arousal while I slept. I sat up and started to push her off, not wanting to have sex, but she laughed and said I seemed up for it in my sleep. I repeated that I didnít want to have sex, and she grew angry again, as she had before. I was still pretty drunk when I woke and she knew that. She tried to kiss me again to persuade me to have sex but I turned away and said no. Then, she grew even more annoyed and spat at me, saying sheíd tell everyone Iíd raped her if I didnít do what she said. I didnít know what to do? I could easily have stopped her physically as Iím quite a big guy and she was about 5ft tall and lightly built. I just felt fear and panic wash over me, but she ended up having sex with me, even though I didnít want to. The thing I guess Iím confused about is that does that count as rape? I am too ashamed to talk to anyone about it, as no-one ever thinks men are raped by women. All I know is that I feel totally violated and used. And confused, too. I could have stopped her, so does the fact that I didnít mean that she didnít rape me? I also agreed to letting her come to my room and staying in my bed, and up until I refused, I lead her to believe we were going to have sex. Also, I was physically aroused. I hope it was because I was sleeping and my mind was not involved in the process and it was purely physical. I certainly didnít want to in my mind. After she had sex with me I cried and she said I was being ridiculous because I had clearly just let her do it. She then repeated if I mentioned it she would tell everyone I had raped her. There was evidence of sex and I totally believed her. I was terrified of being thrown off my course or getting arrested. So did I let her do it, or can it be counted as rape? My whole life is suffering. I canít communicate with women at all and I get angry with them more easily, especially my female friends. I havenít tried to have sex with anyone since, even though I felt emotionally close to one girl. As soon as it got physical I freaked out and we ended it quickly. My grades have gone out the window, I hardly go out and sometimes I feel like Iím suffocating if I just think about it. Itís destroying me, but I donít know what to do. I have seen her a few times in the town where I go to Uni and she has ignored me. I havenít attempted to talk to her, canít face the idea. Iím sorry if this is too much detail and too long, but I want to know where I stand, from a legal point. and if I have in fact been raped, then I think I want to do something about it, like get therapy, as I am suffering in silence and canít cope any longer.
Member # 3
posted 07-29-2008 04:39 PM
Hey Swoffster: I'm so sorry this happened to you and that you've felt so unable to talk about it.
What you're describing here is indeed a sexual assault as well as sexual harassment. While it's true that far more often men rape (raping children, women or men), that does not mean women never do. Women rape sometimes, too. Just because a thing happens less frequently does not mean it never happens. If someone took your clothes off without your consent, and engaged your body for their own sexual purposes without your consent, that is sexual assault: that is a rape. You can't stop someone in your sleep, but regardless, you made clear you weren't interested in sex and she -- in several ways -- dismissed your nonconsent. As well, being intoxicated also -- legally, practically -- makes a person unable to give full consent. If I'm understanding right, you eventually did cave and have sex with her, but that was when after she coerced you and threatened you with a rape claim, no? Again, that's also not consent: consent doesn't happy under any kind of threat or coercion. Too, what size someone is doesn't make a person immune to being coerced. same goes for what gender someone is. Allowing someone to sleep somewhere also is not consent to sex: it's consent for them to sleep somewhere. Giving someone the idea you might have sex with them -- or them having that idea -- then at any point deciding otherwise is every person's right. people often think they're in the mood then discover they are not, and no one owes anyone sex because they changed their minds. Even if you made her an absolute promise you'd have sex with her, then changed your mind would not make what she did any less of a violation. Too, that your body responded in some way to what she was doing is also not consent. You might find an article of mine which has been making the internet rounds of late a help and a comfort: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/my_best_friend_was_raped_what_can_i_do_for_her Certainly, counseling is often a very good option. You also do have the option of reporting this: it legally is a date rape. But since this clearly is having a heavy impact on your life and your life goals, I'd encourage you to seek out help and support so that your assault doesn't result in more losses and hardship for you than it already has. Everything here I've now said: how else can we help? I'm happy to talk about this more with you, including working out your feelings about women. While we know that even with men -- the vast majority of the time, it is men raping -- that while many men rape, MOST do not, it can be difficult for victims to work through feelings of fear, anger or wariness against that group. same can happen with the race of a given offender. What you're feeling is understandable and not at all atypical, even if you know that most women are not going to assault you. Might you also want to talk about why you're feeling nervous? [ 07-29-2008, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 3
posted 07-29-2008 04:44 PM
As an additional resource for you, if you need another place to talk besides here (not telling you to go away, by the by, just trying to give you more resources if you want them), I really appreciate this site and there's a lot of helpful stuff there:
Member # 39549
posted 07-30-2008 05:59 AM
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and reply.
I guess I meant I was nervous in case you told me I had done something wrong - and also because now that you have clarified things for me, I have to do something about it. Nervous is the wrong word. I'm terrified. I don't think anyone is going to believe me. To clarify - as I didn't seem to make it clear - I didn't agree to have sex with her at all. This is why I'm not even sure it's assault though: Basically I told her I didn't want to but when she threatened to tell people i'd raped her I just lay there. I didn't know what to do, and that's why I'm confused. Was me just letting her do it, consent? because i could easily have got her to get off me, but was scared she'd lie about me and tell people I'd forced her. While she had sex with me I asked her to stop and she told me to shut up. So there is no way she was confused about if I wanted to. The thing about me and women now - I know it's irrational and not all women are like it but i find even friendship with girls hard. I am fine with all my male friends and before all this happened I had female friends I was just as close to, but I have deliberately drifted from them. I find it awful to be left in a room with a woman on my own. I have to have meetings with female lecturers and I find that uncomfortable too. I just feel angry towards the woman who did this to me and even though I know other women have nothing to do with it I just feel angry and scared with them anyway. I have tried to talk myself out of it -it's even affecting my relationship with my mother and sister, who I was quite close to before. The friend that I developed feelings for was a ray of hope, I thought maybe if i liked her then I would be ok, and we went on a date. But she tried to kiss me and as soon as I was in physical contact with her I can't describe it but I just went into a massive panic. She said she understands if I don't find her attractive, but I did find her attractive. Friends have really noticed me changing and I have got to the stage where hiding it clearly isn't going to happen anymore. My lecturer's friends and parents have all been asking me what's going on. I can't tell them.
Member # 3
posted 07-30-2008 11:44 AM
What you're describing, Swoffster -- that response of freezing up, "just lying there" -- is pretty textbook with date rapes as well as many forcible rapes. Effectively that response is shock, and/or simply not knowing what the proper response is. But what it is not is participating: if you've had sex you have wanted before, you know that when people want to be having the sex they do, when they are unafraid, that's so not what it looks like.
In fact, one recurring nightmare I deal with from time to time due to past rape trauma of my own -- date and forcible -- is that despite a ton of training in self-defense, even teaching it to others, someone in my dream is starting to assault me and I cannot move. I am immobile, knowing what to do, but inexplicably unable to do it. Like I mentioned in that advice article I linked you to, unfortunately, it is a very commonly shared experience for survivors of all kinds of abuse, especially sexual abuse, to be disbelieved. We certainly are likely to be disbelieved by some in our lives, and I'm afraid there's just no known way to completely avoid that. As well, the level of awareness and education about men as victims of sexual abuse is so low that I'd be lying if I said men aren't often more likely to be disbelieved. That is probably something you will face plenty of, however much you or I think that's heinous and ignorant. Again, while yes, it is irrational to feel uncomfortable around all women, it's also not at all uncommon to have those feelings. You're not at all the first person to experience big problems being around a group of people of whom your attacker was a member and feeling fear, anger, strong discomfort, even with people you know -- like a sister -- in your head, in your heart, are not a danger to you. That's not an atypical way for post-traumatic stress to play out, but it usually does pass in time and with some help and support. Have you considered telling someone close to you who you strongly feel or know will believe you and will be supportive?
Member # 35831
posted 07-31-2008 02:43 PM
Rape is horrible, and every single survivor I have talked to partially blamed themselves and/or questioned if their experience was really rape.
What I found worked pretty well to find out if something really was rape, was imagining what happened happened to someone else and see if it fits my definition of rape. For example, I told a guy I did not want to go down on him. He got me drunk and then made me go down on him. If it had happened to someone else I would definitely have called it rape. So yeah, what happened to you was definitely rape. You wouldn't even have had to say no, you were asleep! People who are asleep can't consent. And you said no when you woke up, but she ignored that no. Definitely rape... [ 07-31-2008, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: Mortality ]
Member # 39549
posted 08-05-2008 05:22 AM
Hi Heather. I'm sorry I haven't replied for a while. I have not been able to get online. For the time that I was away I have been thinking very seriously about what you have said. I had this stupid idea in my head that was very black and white - if what had happened to me was considered to be assault then I thought maybe I'd be able to bring the girl to some kind of justice. I don't really know what I was thinking, but I have come to realise that it happened more than two years ago and the fact that the weapon she used against me 'I'll tell people YOU forced ME." Will still hold today. It worked on me and why should people not believe her? In the end it will be her word against mine and I haven't a snowball's hope in people believing that a young drunk guy was forced into something he didn't want to do, or I may even find myself in trouble if she again points the finger at me.
Frankly, realising that has hurt quite a lot. I think the idea that maybe I could prosecute her or something made me feel like I could deal with the way I have been feeling. A light at the end of the tunnel thing. I hadn't realised before that I was clinging to that so much. But I realise now that It's futile. I see now that my only hope of dealing with it is to focus on myself, and not her. Since I last sent a message and read your reply I have taken on board what you said, and I have decided to talk to my family about it. I think it would be best to share the fact I'm finding it hard to interact with women with the two women in my life that I shouldn't be threatened by in a sexual way - so I have decided to tell my sister and mother. I don't really know what will happen, but I feel I owe them an explanation as to why I have been so closed off and different lately. I would like to take a moment to say that this site is wonderful for people like me to reach out to, and I am very grateful you took the time to listen and respond, so thank you.
Member # 3
posted 08-05-2008 09:19 AM
No need to be sorry. In fact, when dealing with something as tough as this, it's pretty typical for folks to sometimes take days or even weeks away to process by themselves and that's totally fine. You don't owe me anything.
I wouldn't say you have no chance per a case just based on your gender: the main issue at this point in time would be that so much time has passed and no evidence was collected when it happened. So, if that's still something you want to look into, I don't see any reason not to. Of course, case or no case, you'd still have to do your own dealing. Even putting a rapist in jail -- which sadly, rarely happens compared to how many times rape happens -- isn't likely to fix all of the feelings it leaves someone who survives rape with. I hope you talk with your Mum and your sister goes well, and I agree that that seems a very good place to start. Just telling someone, all by itself, often helps a whole lot, and in this case, telling two people where this has really interfered in close relationships that are important to you, so that you can really come back to those relationships and have that support should be a double-win. Feel free to pop back if you need more support, need to talk through anything at all.