Skip to main content

abuse

My best friend was raped: what can I do for her?

Suze asks:

First off, thank you for this site. It's wonderful. Now, I'm a just-graduated senior, and my best friend went with a big group to Florida for their senior trip. She called me wasted and crying, upset and saying that this guy I'll call E wanted to have sex with her, she told him no, and he did it anyway. His side of the story was that she didn't protest. Sounds like rape, right? But she's known for teasing guys, and people might not believe her. And they liked each other a while back--E never displayed any signs of being likely to take advantage of someone.

I have no idea how to handle this situation because there's so much gray area. How can I help my best friend?

Beyond Rape: A Survivor's Journey

Joanna Connors has written an incredible article about her 1984 rape and its aftermath. While some parts of her story are triggering, it is well worth reading.

Read more...

On why rape isn't her fault, no matter how you want to spin it, buster.

James asks:

Hi Heather, I just found a question from 'samy-baby' concerning rape when performing a google search for something unrelated as it caught my eye. I'm afraid you appeared all too eager to label the bloke as unsafe and 'stay well away from him', given that the girl openly admitted within the first words of her sentence that she gets her boyfriend stupid-horny then says "no sex", that's just cruel, and I doubt many men would tolerate it. I've made it abundantly clear with my girlfriend that if she makes the effort to turn me into a horn-monster, she should finish through or I'm usually very pissed off; not to say that I'd go ahead and have sex with her anyway. All I'm saying is you failed to advise this girl that if she doesn't want to have sex, then she shouldn't get her boyfriend horny.

Why we don't always know

(Heads-up: parts of this post are fairly explicit when it comes to detailing rape and abuse.)

One of the more interesting (and by interesting, I mean ridiculously ignorant) responses I have seen in a few places discussing the I Was Raped project and my input was my statement on the news that the first time I was assaulted -- at the age of 11 -- I did not know what had happened to me and was without any language to even express it.

This is being met with some measure of disbelief by a few folks, or the assumption I was on drugs or had been drugged or that I was simply stupid. My personal favorite was that I'm a young girl who only called my rapes rape after being brainwashed by Jennifer and feminism, a newfangled notion she apparently just clued me into recently. Who knew I was such a late bloomer, and that I was somehow able to grow up in the 70's in a progressive Chicago neighborhood with a single mother, an activist father, and managed to never hear about feminism? Wowza.

I think

Read more...

(Wo)men Speak Out

An organization dedicated to eradicating rape, sexual assault and gender violence which seeks to educate both men and women, cultivating healthy relationships and gender equity.

The Revolution Will Be Televised (and I'll find a way to be okay with that)

My plans for last weekend were pretty mellow: I was going to work on my taxes, do a little housecleaning, maybe get started on my garden now that the sun is back out, hang out with my sweetheart, finish some writing, practice piano and play some Scrabble. I was going to tend to myself, for the most part.

The weekend I would up having was quite a bit different.

Last Wednesday, I raced against the clock -- I had to go work at the clinic the next day -- to get everything up for our focus this month on sexual assault and abuse as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. That included getting together a page and other materials for the "I Was Raped" shirts which months back, I'd agreed to help Jennifer Baumgardner distribute as part of a project to increase rape awareness, both through these t-shirts and the conversation we'd hoped they'd start, as well as through her developing film of the same name, which will focus on first-person stories from survivors.

The New York Times first covered

Read more...

Pandora's Aquarium

An online support group, message board, and chat room for rape and sexual abuse survivors with 24/7 peer support, access to links and resources, so no one ever needs to feel alone.

What's rape got to do with it?

Why does a sex-positive sexuality site like this one talk about rape and abuse so often?

We should all know by now that rape and sex are not the same thing, after all. And yet, over the years at Scarleteen, we've answered a lot of questions about rape and abuse, supported a lot of abuse and rape victims and survivors, and we've got content about both housed on a site which is primarily about sexuality, sexual health and relationships.

One big reason is that an awful lot of us in the world -- and at this site -- are rape and abuse survivors, or people trying to get free of abuse. While our rapes or assaults certainly are or were not sex for us, they often impact our sexuality and our sex lives a whole lot. Sexuality doesn't exist in a vacuum: it's made up of all of who we are, and greatly influenced by the whole of our life experiences. In so many ways, rape and sexual assault can really hijack our sexuality, due to body memories -- the places we were assaulted tend to trigger painful

Read more...

10 Questions with Jennifer Baumgardner

Jennifer talks with us about her new project about rape, which we're participating in at Scarleteen, what the project can do to increase awareness about rape and survivors, where she thinks we're at culturally with rape issues, and what young people can do to help transform rape culture and their own lives.

Was my friend implying I brought my rape on myself?

Jessica asks:

I have been raped on several occasion throughout my youth. I am just now, as a 22-year-old woman dealing with these. My friend recently said to me, "Well since it happened to you once, then you are more susceptible to it happening again." It really offended me to hear this, and I wanted to know if it seems unfair to me to get upset. My whole thought process is, I already blame myself (and I know I shouldn't but what girl doesn't) why would you say something like that implying that I brought this on myself? Is that insensitive of me to feel that way?

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.