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assault

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?

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

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(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

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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.

I Was Raped: Wear Your Voice Out

You can get an I Was Raped t-shirt seen on CNN through Scarleteen. Break your silence -- or help someone else with theirs -- just by getting dressed, help increase awareness of rape and support Scarleteen, all at the same time. Now in extended sizes for women and men.

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?

Blinders Off: Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault

A basic lowdown on interpersonal abuse and assault: what all the terms mean, why strangers are the least of our worries, what a cycle of abuse looks like, how you can start seeing abuse for what it is, where it is, and how to protect yourself and others and make abuse stop.

I was raped a few years ago: how do I tell others and build trust again?

Leslie asks:

Hi, when I was about 16 (I am 21 now), I was sexually assaulted by two extended family members. Over the years it has caused me to loose trust for many males especially the ones I met after the incident and males of my race. The only people I seem to fully trust are my four brothers and parents. I have not told them about he incident and I am scared to do so because I don't know how I will or what their reaction might be. I am also facing a problem with dating. I am a little scared to date as I don't know how my partner my react to this incident or if I will treated nicely. Recently, I have been approached by two male friends who have interest in me and I am a little scared to even date them. I have built a trust for them. What should I do?

He's a great boyfriend... except when it comes to sex and my boundaries.

faithx4xus asks:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and 9 months. From the very beginning, I made it extremely clear that I was not ready for sex and not going to be for a long time, if not until marriage. He said he respected it, and we agreed not to pressure one another until we were completely comfortable with decisions we had both made as a couple. About 8 months into our relationship, we discussed our sexual boundaries and agreed that we were comfortable with dry humping. Kissing and some fondling was all that we had experienced before. Everything with that was fine, and I began to give him hand jobs about 3 months later, but it was very rare. He had no issues with that either, except for the fact that he wanted to return a similar amount of pleasure to me, but I explained I wasn't ready for that, and he claimed it was fine. In the summer we went to the beach, and it was the first time I'd been around him in that little of clothing, so I was already nervous. He didn't say anything reassuring, but he was all over me the entire time. By the end of the day, I felt used and disrespected since he had tried to pull my bottoms down a little while standing behind me, but I was not expecting it. That turned into our first major fight, and I eventually broke up with him because of it. (continued below)

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