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rape

Words Matter: Cheers to the FBI for Recognizing How Much

(This post contains candid discussion of rape and sexual violence.)

As some of you may know, I experienced two different sexual assaults when I wasn't yet in my teens within just one year of one another. The second time I was assaulted, my experience ticked all of the boxes there currently are in our culture for what is so often -- now, anyway, easily considered a "real" or "bonafide" sexual assault, or what Whoopi Goldberg, to my great disappointment, would call "rape-rape."

I was a girl, and one with body parts universally recognized as "girl parts." My attackers were guys. Even worse when it comes to the rape cliché all too often (misre)presented as universal truth, I was a white girl raped by guys of color. I did not know any of the perpetrators: they were all strangers. It was violent. It was forceful. I said no, I yelled, I tried to run, and I fought, but I lost. I was conscious until I was knocked unconscious. I hadn't been drinking or doing recreational drugs, nor had I ever

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I survived sexual assault, then got stuck in a relationship I don't feel good about.

antigone68 asks:

I’m a woman in my early twenties and identify as a feminist. Last November I was raped by someone I had previously considered to be a close friend. However, the assault itself isn’t what I am writing about. I’ve read many of Scarleteen’s wonderful articles on sexual assault and I am quite comfortable with the idea that what happened to me isn’t my fault.

Shortly after the assault, I started up a relationship with a man (which includes sex). I realise that it’s not ideal to start a sexual relationship soon after experiencing sexual assault. I don’t regret entering into the relationship, though, as it has (overall) made me very happy and has provided me with support to deal with my assault. My partner knows about my sexual assault.

A few months into the relationship, my desire for sex (intercourse) started to drop.

Of SlutWalks, Perfect Storms and Getting Out of the Way

From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!On Monday, I talked about some of my own life, and the central, very personal, issue which kept me from attending one of the SlutWalks, an issue which also central to the walks themselves. On Tuesday, I brought up what appears to be a clear misrepresentation by the media, especially visually, of the walks. In both pieces, I expressed unwavering support for the walks.

While I did not agree with a good deal of it, I appreciated Rebecca Traister writing in the New York Times magazine last week.

But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.

To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial)

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This is What a SlutWalk (Really) Looks Like

SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!This is part two of three entries about the Slutwalks this week. I wrote the first part of what I had to say about them yesterday here.

Today I want to briefly address the way that the walks have been visually represented in the media and by many bloggers writing about them, especially those who have been nonsupportive or critical.

In a word, they have frequently been represented by photographs which expressly stated or just implied they represent what people at the walks looked like as a whole, and have been anywhere from just incorrect to exceptionally dishonest in those assertions or implications. Because as far as I can tell, the images that keep getting picked aren't those which are most representative of the protests as a whole, but which are most representative of what a given person either found most provocative or most interesting. Or, which best represent their reasons for nonsupport or mockery.

This isn't unusual with images of protest at

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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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He wants something sexual, but I feel uneasy, especially around past sexual abuse.

francisca_Verdades asks:

I'm 14, and my boyfriend wants me to give him dry sex, I am very uneasy about this because I've been sexually abused before, what should I tell him?

Summering Safe and Sound

Here in the hemisphere I live in, we're into the swing of summer. Ah, summer, my personal favorite season. I love the sun, the warmth, everything blooming, the energy, the spirit of the season. As an alternative educator all my life, though, I miss out on that thing where teachers get summers off (though I've also known few teachers in the public sector who could afford to take the summer off, anyway), and as the Executive Director and lead educator at Scarleteen, I really don't get downtime. Summer is and has always been our busiest season. Eh, so it goes.

It's also the time of year when we tend to see the most new users coming to us because they're in a crisis or a panic, or are just really, really feeling down in the dumps. I'm a lot more concerned about those of you in that space than I am about my feeling occasionally ripped off of a summer vacation. We know that the idea of summer as a happy, carefree time for all young people doesn't square with the reality that for plenty, it'

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I worry that because I'm a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone.

aplanacanalpanama asks:

My mom was a victim of incest as a girl and has used it to invalidate my emotions. I blame the incest, not my mom, but it still hurts. But I can't help but feel like I, as a man, am dirty to be sexual. I can't draw a line in my head between good sex and bad sex. I am a virgin because when I get close to sex, the girl will start reminding me of my mom or my sister. I'm afraid if I don't lose my virginity soon I will develop a sexual frustration that will eventually cause me to hurt someone. I know that I'm just a troubled, caring guy. But I can't help but hate myself sexually. I don't know what to do.

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?

How do I make my activism more accessible?

Anarchofemme asks:

I'm trying to organise some sort of event/forum at my university in Australia about sexual assault and violence against women. I've got good ideas for speakers, the women's department at my uni is supportive and I have organised similar events before.

My problem is: how can I frame the event so as to draw people to whom information about sexual assault (myths, prevalance, how particular gender stereotypes/ideas about sexuality can contribute) would be most useful? Currently, events run by the women's department often only get a select group of women already engaged by feminist issues. I fear that if I call the event something like "myths and facts about sexual violence", or something similarly straightforward, it would only be attended by people from this group, as others would be intimidated by the reference to sexual violence and would view it as something only relevant to people who have experienced sexual violence, rather than EVERYONE!

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