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Because yes, it really DOES happen: A thank you to SlutWalks

I want to tell you something very personal about me. Not because I want to. I really don't want to. But I'm going to do it anyway.

It's one of those things where even though it's incredibly uncomfortable for me, I feel like sharing despite my discomfort might be able to make a positive difference. And since this has to do with something where I believe others have been making a positive difference in a way I, myself, have not also been able to, it seems the least I can do. I've been largely silent around the Slutwalks. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest one of all is that what inspired them simply struck me much, much to close to home. So, my silence has not been about nonsupport of the walks. In more ways than one, it's been about my stepping out of the way of them in part based on my own limitations.

If you're triggered by candid stories about sexual or other forms of assault, this may be triggering for you. I know it still is for me, very much so. Telling this sto

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As a sexual abuse survivor, can I only connect to people sexually?

LOVE22 asks:

I was sexually abused, so I was wondering will I only want to find someone who I'm going to stay with for sex?

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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How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape

Rape is often framed as about women, but it's not. Something done TO us really isn't about us. It's the things that we choose to do which are about us, which is why it's such an error for rape to be framed as a women's issue or about women: it's almost always a men's issue and really about men. Find out what men need to know about rape and rapists, what you can do to be sure you have consent with sex, other ways to help with rape prevention, and why your help is so important.

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