Skip to main content

If I heard this story about anyone else, even then, I would have zero hesitation in applying the label "rape." But at the time, and for a long time afterword, I was unable to view my own rape for what it actually was.

Written by Anonymous for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Five years ago, I was raped. I have never written or spoken those exact words before now; though I have shared the content of this story with those I'm close to, I have always stopped short of actually applying such a label to the experience. This kind of denial is not uncommon, as rape culture functions to normalize sexual violence, turning harassment, assault, and rape into such ordinary occurrences, we learn to see them as simply an inevitable part of every day life rather than recognizing them as the atrocities they are. And in fact, it's that very hesitancy to identify myself as a victim of rape that has taught me what living in a rape culture truly means.

The circumstances of my rape seem to have been, unfortunately, common ones. I have, in the years since, read or heard slight variations of my story countless times from other women. The man was a close friend, trusted by me and adored by scores of volunteers at the organization where we'd met. He was in his early thirties, a little shy, a little awkward, and most known for his deadpan wit. I harbored a crush on him for many months, but I was in a monogamous relationship at the time and never acted on those feelings. We went out one day for a few beers together, something we did many times. I drank an amount that was normally tolerable for me, but for whatever reason, that day, it was not. Back at his apartment, I threw up. He -- perhaps slightly tipsy, but in full possession of his faculties -- comforted me. And a short time later, we were having sex.

I realize that for many people, questions of drinking and sex and consent can be a thorny thing. I don't wish to engage in a lengthy discussion or debate here about whether it is ever possible for one to consent while intoxicated, or how we are to consider circumstances in which both parties are equally impaired. I do believe that there are, sometimes, situations in which one partner does not realize the degree to which the other is intoxicated. But I think it should be uncontroversial to say that if one is drunk enough to become physically ill, there is no possible way she can be considered capable of meaningful consent. In my case, I was never even asked for any kind of consent, anyhow, never asked if I was certain I wanted to be doing this, if I was feeling okay, if I was clear-headed enough to make this decision.

It seems to me, now, so cut and dry. If I heard this story about anyone else, even then, I would have zero hesitation in applying the label "rape." But at the time, and for a long time afterword, I was unable to view my own rape for what it actually was.

Initially, I certainly did feel a strong sense of discomfort with what had taken place. It was surreal to think about how much mental presence I had lacked, as though I wasn't fully inhabiting my body when it occurred. It felt as though I had been an object in the truest sense of the word, like my body had been used while I was not completely there. I knew that I had, at least to some degree, participated sexually. But it hadn't felt like participation in anything other than a disembodied, robotic sense. The entire encounter felt like a thing that was happening to me, with all sense of my own agency removed from the picture -- a sensation that remains haunting to recall. And yet, as I now realize is incredibly common for rape victims, I also felt ashamed. It is sickening to me, now, to recall that I was actually embarrassed that my legs and underarms hadn't been freshly shaven, that I was self-conscious of what I could only assume was very sub-par sexual performance on my part. That I actually sent him a message the next day apologizing for being such a mess, thanking him for taking care of me when I was sick. Ironically, I was humiliated that he had seen me so weak and vulnerable.

I was unable to see him as any kind of predator. I thought too highly of him, cared about him too much. On some level, I recognized his behavior as wrong; I thought that as my friend, he should have at least tried to check in and make sure I was okay with what was happening. But I made excuses for him. I knew that I had been flirtatious with him, that he was probably aware of the feelings I had for him. I was in my mid-twenties, not a naïve teenager, and yet I believed that he would not have had sex with me unless he had feelings for me as well. Uncomfortable as the circumstances were, I still clung to some misguided notion that he cared too much about me to simply use me in that way.

Weeks later, when I confessed to him that I had feelings for him, he responded by ending our friendship. And though that certainly solidified my sense of being used and objectified, I was still unable, even internally, to name what had happened as "rape." We continued volunteering together; I continued to witness how loved and admired he was by everyone around us. Whenever I heard someone gushing over how wonderful he was, I thought to myself: you have no idea. But I also knew that there was no possible way anyone would ever believe me even if I did want to come forward with the truth. They would believe what I still half-believed myself: that I had practically thrown myself at him, that perhaps, at worst, he'd had poor judgment in a moment of weakness.

Though my own definition of rape has never been one that necessitates physical struggle or force, when I actually thought about the idea of being raped, it felt like something I had no right to claim. No matter what my intellectual position was, deep down I still envisioned rape as a blatantly violent act, one which involved resistance and pain, one that felt terrifying in the moment. In spite of my utter lack of consent, I felt that it wasn't really rape because I was not sufficiently traumatized, because I did not say no or put up any kind of fight, because he was someone I knew and was comfortable with and might very well have consented to have sex with while sober, not a stranger or someone I found frightening or revolting. And while I would never dream of applying any of those qualifications to challenge the legitimacy of someone else's experience of rape, I spent years using them to delegitimize my own. This, to me, is perhaps the most frightening, pervasive, and powerful way in which rape culture functions: sexual violence is normalized to such an extent that we can become unable to identify it for what it really is even when we are victims.

I was, and remain, traumatized by my experience. But what upsets me the most, five years later, is not my memory of the actual events. What I find most disturbing, most difficult to confront, is my own denial, my own internalization of the social norms that allow for such acts to be commonplace. When I hear or read or write about yet another instance of victim-blaming or rape-denying, I cannot help but think about my own experience. And I cannot help but think about not only all of the survivors of sexual violence who never come forward, but also all of those who are unwilling or unable to even properly name what has happened to them, even privately in their own thoughts. It is terrifying to me that we can be so accustomed to these misogynist terms of engagement, we learn not to even recognize the violations enacted on our own bodies. And when I consider how I -- a grown woman, a self-identified feminist who was not unaware the patriarchal structures we live with -- still managed to deny the validity of my own experience, I can only begin to imagine how many other women have been unable to fully recognize similar acts of rape for what they actually are.

We are still taught, here in the 21st century, that rapists are lurking, predatory strangers. That they are men who, at the very least, give off a vibe of creepiness, or who openly display sexist behaviors. We are taught that they are not nice guys. We are taught to mistrust women's stories of rape, particularly when the rapist does not fit our profile. We are taught to believe that there is more to the story, that the woman was somehow at fault, that she did something to encourage him, that she was asking for it. And when we are victims, we must then continue to live in a culture that dismisses our experiences, that encourages our objectification, that says over and over, in a multitude of ways: what happened to you was not rape. What happened to you was normal. What happened to you was your own fault. What happened to you is not something you have a right to be so upset about. It's no wonder that some of us, if not a majority of us, ultimately turn those judgments inward. As Adrienne Rich wrote, "Where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence." And this is oppression working at its most efficient: it takes little effort to silence us when we are trained to silence ourselves. When we are denied the ability to even name our experiences, we are stripped of all ability to engage in dialogue about those experiences, and therefore also deprived of any means to collectively organize around--and fight back against--the injustices we've suffered. 

I am sharing this story now not because I believe it is unique, but on the contrary, because I believe it is all too common. I am continuously overwhelmed by the question of how we are to go about combating rape culture, to begin changing such deeply ingrained social norms. But it seems to me that the first step, at least, is to speak out, to tell our stories, to tell the truth, to challenge the narrative we're fed about who is and who is not a rapist, and who is and who is not a "legitimate" victim of rape. Reading and hearing the stories of other women with similar experiences played a huge role in my own ability to finally face the reality that what happened to me was, in fact, rape. I can only hope that coming forward with my own story might play some small role in helping other women to do the same.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  She got drunk, (5+ / 2-)

    she went to his apartment, they had drunken sex, but since she as more drunk than he, that means that she was raped? Because she was into him, but he wasn't into her, that means that she was raped? By this definition, a significant portion of our population, whether man or woman, has committed rape at one time or another.

    Assuming the writer's description of events is accurate, she was not raped. Actually, in this instance, I feel sorry for the guy on the receiving end of the false accusation and vitriol associated with it (whether he knows about it or not).

    This story is outrageous. The outrage is that she wrote it.

    •  By this definition... (0+ / 0-)

      Exactly the point.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:57:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (8+ / 0-)
      In my case, I was never even asked for any kind of consent, anyhow, never asked if I was certain I wanted to be doing this, if I was feeling okay, if I was clear-headed enough to make this decision.
      As I understand it, neglecting to say "no" isn't anywhere close to saying "yes" whether that negligence is from being intoxicated or otherwise impaired, or from not having been asked, or for any other reason, such as an explicit or implied threat of violence or some other adverse consequence (for example, giving in to the advances of one's supervisor or someone else with authority who could inflict non-physical harm).

      The situation is a bit ambiguous but it seems to me at the the very least the man in question failed to behave responsibly.

      •  Whether or not the man behaved responsibly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        is another discussion. But by her telling of events, he did not rape her. And suggesting that he did is irresponsible.

        •  Not irresponsible, reprehensible (5+ / 0-)

          Rape is a class 1 felony. It is not something to fling at a man lightly.

          This is rape:

          1) Being penetrated orally, vaginally and/or anally against your will. Doesn't necessarily have to be a penis, the penetrating object can also be fingers, tongue, instruments... anything, really

          2) Being penetrated orally, vaginally, and/or anally while not in a position to object (for example, being unconscious, being drugged, being mentally handicapped, etc.)

          3) Being penetrated orally, vaginally, and/or anally while under threat (for example, having a gun to your head or being told "If you don't do this you're going to lose your job,")

          4) Being penetrated orally, vaginally, and/or anally while under the legal age for your state (though most states waive statutory rape accusations if the situation was clearly consensual and the minor's sexual partner's age was within five years of the minor's age)

          Frankly, I find diaries like this disgusting There are many women out there who HAVE been raped and are too scared to come forward because they think they'll be accused of bringing it on themselves. This diary only hurts these women by essentially saying to the public at large: "Yeah, most women who say they've been raped actually are just whining about nothing."

          Meanwhile GOP congressmen are trying to restrict the definitions of rape even further to try and deprive women of the help they need. No doubt diaries like these will only help their efforts of portraying rape victims as idiots who are probably just pissed that the guy didn't call them afterwards.

          My advice to this diarist: Please get help as to why you are calling this very much NON-rape experience "rape." What are you actually upset about?

          Oh, and please stay away from this guy and his family. Do not destroy his career and life by flinging this disgusting, untrue accusation in his face.

          If you continue with this fiction of being raped, your actions will be beyond execrable and you will have proven yourself to be not so much a victim as a complete turd of a human being.

      •  that to me seems to be an incredibly fine line (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        to draw and one that is whether unfair, the guy undoubtedly used her for sex assuming this is an accurate accounting  but at the same time she doesn't seem to have given any indication that this was not what she wanted.

        Personally I'm uncomfortable with rape being something someone has to prove they didn't do rather then the other way around.

        The exact issue the writer doesnt' want to address (consent and drinking) is at the heart of the issue.

    •  This diary... (4+ / 0-)

      ...promotes misinformation and tells people incorrect information about what constitutes rape, probably encouraging false accusations from people who have muddled ideas about the matter.

      Diaries like this one are very frustrating because people who seek to correct the record tend to be shouted down as misogynist trolls. People will argue (as commenters in this very thread have) that their own pet definition for the term takes precedence over the real (legal) one.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:16:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (3+ / 0-)

      "Because she was into him, but he wasn't into her, that means that she was raped? "

      no

      She didn't say that was part of why it was rape. She was telling a narrative in the order of how it happened after the event.

      She was incapacitated...so drunk she was puking. He was tipsy

      one thing is true. If you are so drunk that you are sick, maybe you don't realize how drunk the guy is. Maybe he was equally drunk enough that he could not tell she was incapacitated.

      if he was not incapacitated in saw she was sick drunk then he took advantage of her. He was a friend. First time sex. He didn't even CHECK to be sure it was ok with her...and she was sick drunk. So maybe he was hoping to get away with it...if he asked maybe she'd have said no?

      •  um, I've had a single drink (0+ / 0-)

        then threw up because of the taste or whatever (I really don't know)

        If she was so drunk she was near comotose or passed out I'd agree but throwing up doesn't inherently make someone able or unable to give consent.

        Don't get me wrong, he should have asked if this is what she wanted but nothing in the account suggests her judgement was too impaired to unable say no.

    •  She didn't feel like she was raped (4+ / 0-)

      until he rejected a relationship with her.  I guess I'd feel really bad myself, and I'd feel like he used me, but I doubt that I'd refer to the sex part of it as rape.


      The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

      by nupstateny on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:31:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  She was probably drugged (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      207wickedgood, CA wildwoman

      She was mindful of how much she could drink and keep her faculties; she responsibly drank within those limits and yet ended up sick and then ended up having sex with a man she had no intention of sleeping with...

      This happens far too frequently...and far too frequently people like you bring this poutrage like you are being maligned...what's the matter...her posting this make it harder for you to use this same method to have sex with women?

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:53:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  She wasn't raped (4+ / 0-)

    If she wasn't passed out and never said "No" or "Stop", then she wasn't raped.

    This is the sort of story that is used to belittle real rapes.

    •  She was drunk to the point of impairment (9+ / 0-)

      of judgement and therefore was not in a position to give informed consent, which was never requested.

      There are many other conditions apart from the ones you've cited which would still define what happened as sexual assault.

      You may as well suggest that she wasn't raped because she didn't resist with sufficient force. As I understand it, that argument was used successfully in court for a long time (and probably still is) and is little more than a variation on "she was asking for it."

      •  Rape includes one or more of three things (5+ / 0-)

        1) Violence or threat of violence
        2) One person is unconscious
        3) One person is underage

        That's it.

        Other than violent threats, if you convince someone to have sex with words it isn't rape.

        Offering someone drinks to get their inhibitions down is not rape.

        Having sex with someone even if you know it isn't in their best interest and wouldn't do it if they were sober isn't rape.

        You post below:

        The fact is that consent to sexual intercourse should be explicit, informed, and revocable at any time.
        Not under the law. Your opinions are irrelevant. "Revocable at any time" is true, the rest is hogwash. People have drunken stupid sex all the time. These aren't crimes.

        I respect and empathize with your personal history in these matters, but that doesn't make you right about this.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:58:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think it can be more examples...of one thing (3+ / 0-)

          does the person you are penetrating have the ability
          to give consent

          drugs alcohol illness mental impairment age
          all could make them unable to give consent

          you must ascertain that you sex partner is able to consent. i do think if somone is sick drunk most people would wonder if they were able to consent...and even, would err on thinking they were too drunk to consent.

          Problem is, what if you are so drunk you don't think of this? If you are sober enough to know the woman is quite drunk, you cann't have sex with her. And with a man too.

        •  The human race would have died out long ago ... (0+ / 0-)

          if males didn't regularly get women drunk in order to manipulate them into having sex with them.  What does it tell you that it happens so frequently?  It tells ME that many males would die as virgins if not for their trickery.

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:42:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sturunner, cjo30080

            'Trickery'

            That opinion is so sexist (unless you are being facetious) that I am unclear how putative 'progressives' can hold it.

            To hold that opinion, you have to believe that males are all highly intelligent and that women are too dumb to handle their own affairs and can easily be 'tricked' into behaviors by unscrupulous (smarter) males.

            Fortunately, we've moved beyond those ancient sexist views these days and understand that like men, women are perfectly capable of taking responsibility for their actions.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:25:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You must have lived a very sheltered (0+ / 0-)

              life to not know how rampant the behavior is.  And not being female, you wouldn't know what it's like to be a target and have to put up with all the crap guys try to pull.

              And no, I don't believe males are "all highly intelligent" (only about 1 in every 500 I've met even qualify as truly "intelligent", and by that I mean having an IQ of at least 150 or so; i.e., interesting to talk to beyond 5 minutes), nor that women are dumb.  I was speaking to what guys (notice I don't use the word "men"?  It's deliberate.) resort to trying when their one-track minds are in gear.

              "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

              by Neuroptimalian on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:14:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm going to go out on a limb here (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cjo30080

                You have a very low opinion of men

                only about 1 in every 500 I've met even qualify as truly "intelligent",
                and when you look for someone to blame, you consult your bias

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:13:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Au contraire. (0+ / 0-)

                  I have a high regard for "men", it's just that they are rare.  Being a "man" is not a function of reaching a certain age, it's determined by mature and responsible behavior.  Most males are nothing but overgrown teenagers.  The "blame" for their juvenile antics rests upon their own shoulders, not the rest of us who have to put up with them in society despite all the trouble they cause.

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:11:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Omigawd! I was raped too! (2+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        cjo30080, Sparhawk
        Hidden by:
        jplanner

        My boyfriend impaired my judgement with love, good conversation, and genuine human connection!!!

        Oh gawd, I was under the influence of his affectionate personality!!!!

        I need validation of my victimhood immediately!

    •  You are really using the "real rape vs. fake rape" (6+ / 0-)

      argument? I guess you should be given credit for not requiring a pregnancy status ala Todd Akin, as an indicator of real rape but "she wasn't passed out and never said "No" or "Stop" comes awfully close.

      For me, if someone is intoxicated enough to throw up, you should either assume they are unable to give consent (I mean after all, we wouldn't let her drive legally in that state) or at the least get explicit consent.

      It's the Central Limit Theorem, Stupid!

      by smartdemmg on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:30:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So vomiting is the deciding factor? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, According to Fish, duhban

        She vomited. He didn't. Therefore, despite the fact that he had also been drinking, in this scenario, he is the rapist? Had he been the one who vomited prior to sex, then she would justifiably be considered a rapist? Ridiculous.

        •  I know I am repeating myself but... (7+ / 0-)
          For me, if someone is intoxicated enough to throw up, you should either assume they are unable to give consent (I mean after all, we wouldn't let her drive legally in that state) or at the least get explicit consent.
          What is so difficult about either walking away if you are unsure (and saving yourself the headache of a possible false accusation) or just throw in a quick question to make sure all parties are in agreement? This isn't a lengthy conversation with signed documents. It's just a quick check.

          It's the Central Limit Theorem, Stupid!

          by smartdemmg on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:02:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing is wrong with it (4+ / 0-)

            But it isn't legally required, nor (IMO) should it be.

            You can still be falsely accused even if your partner says "ok".

            If you go down this route everyone should videotape all of their sexual encounters just to be safe and there would need to be an orgy (of paperwork signing) just to have sex.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:08:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And the last thing we need is more (0+ / 0-)

              Bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money with their Permission Commissions, though I have little doubt there's more than a few Republicans in congress who'd love to implement them. ;P




              Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
              ~ Jerry Garcia

              by DeadHead on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:17:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The man was probably impaired, too. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CA wildwoman, DeadHead, BoiseBlue

                (1) It seems this situtation is not black-and-white.

                (2) I doubt it can be accurately assessed by strangers on the internet.

                (3) It probably cannot be accurately assessed by the diarist. She was drunk. She probably remembers some things accurately, some things not accurately, and other things not at all.

                How drunk was the man? We probably cannot know. If he was drunk enough, does that reduce his culpability? We probably cannot agree.

                I have a 20-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old son. I don't want either of them to be involved in something like this. I don't know what to tell them beyond, "If you get too wasted, bad shit can happen." That does not feel especially wise or insightful, but it's all I've got. That and, "I'll love you no matter what."

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 09:40:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I always do it what way (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cjo30080, Sparhawk

            Stopping and discussing each and every  step of sex, complete with politically correct guidelines, and checking with each other before making any move, other than to the bathroom, ALWAYS adds to the sexual heat, especially when drunk. I'm sure most people do that during sex when drunk
            ALWAYS get a signed explicit consent form and doctors evaluation before proceeding with sex, just in case you meet someone like this---you'll be so glad you did!

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:00:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, come on (7+ / 0-)

              All it takes is a quick "Are you sure you want to do this?" before you cross the invisible line between 'fooling around' and 'sex'.

              And that's a good question to ask anyway regardless of the potential partner's possible level of intoxication - make sure they're not feeling pressured by giving them an explicit out.

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:31:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And who's responsilbility is it to do that? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cjo30080, duhban, Sparhawk

                Especially when both are admittedly impaired?
                The one who doesn't vomit? the one who vomits the least?
                Or always the man?
                What you are saying is certainly nice but is also not legally required at all and may or may not happen millions of times a day.

                Did he rape her? I'll use her own wordss to answer:

                He -- perhaps slightly tipsy, but in full possession of his faculties -- comforted me. And a short time later, we were having sex.
                Your best bet is never to go to bed with a drunk when youre drunk because you are--wait for it---impaired, and so is the partner and God knows what will happen.

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:07:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Both parties' responsibility (0+ / 0-)

                  If the question is never asked, either or both parties may wake up feeling like the diarist did.

                  (As a rule of thumb, the person who's most likely to feel like they didn't consent is the one taking a physically 'passive' role - being kissed, being fondled, being ridden. It's hard to feel like, as the diarist phrased it, things are being 'done to' you if you're the one doing the things, unless of course you're doing them under threat or coercion. So the person who has the strongest moral imperative to make sure the question gets asked is the one who's doing/considering doing the kissing, fondling, or riding.)

                  "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                  by kyril on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:36:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  And if you don't think it's hot (4+ / 0-)

              to ask "Are you sure?" and get an enthusiastic "yes" (with accompanying nonverbals)...I'm not sure what to say. Who doesn't like that ego boost?

              And the odds of the answer being "yes" go up dramatically as soon as the question is asked. People like considerate partners. Even when drunk.

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:50:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I really don't get it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cjo30080

            What does having a conversation or asking questions have to do with it?

            When the advances started all she had to do was utter two letters - "N" and "O".   If she did that and he didn't stop then it is most definitely rape and the guy deserves to be thrown in jail.

        •  Here is how Cornell University has defined it (10+ / 0-)

          First of all, I would like to point out that vomiting indicates a high level of impairment:

          6. BAC = .12-.15 = Vomiting usually occurs, unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance to alcohol. Drinkers are drowsy.

          Drinkers display emotional instability, loss of critical judgment, impairment of perception, memory, and comprehension.

          Lack of sensor-motor coordination and impaired balance are typical. Decreased sensory responses and increased reaction times develop. The vision is significantly impaired, including limited ability to see detail, peripheral vision, and slower glare recovery.

          This is heavily intoxicated. I would argue it is not possible to consent to anything at this level of impairment.

          Here is how Cornell University has approached this (admittedly murky) issue:

          Sex, Alcohol, and Clear Consent

          1. Consent is required for all sexual contact. As the Review Board has articulated, “the central element of the offense of sexual assault is lack of consent, whether procured by force, simply withheld, or by a person incapable of consent by reason of some incapacity.” While some cases that have come before the campus disciplinary system have involved force, the more common scenario is where consent is withheld or the recipient of the sexual advances does not have the capacity to consent because of intoxication.

          Consent may be withheld in a number of ways. The recipient of the advances may use words, such as saying “no” or “let’s just cuddle” or giving an excuse to stop an activity like “I am dating someone” or “I want to go to sleep.” Or, the actions of the recipient may demonstrate lack of consent, such as turning away, moving the other person’s hands or stopping any participation in the activity. Indeed, silence may indicate nonconsent by, for example, not responding positively to a question about a sexual act. Stating “no” sets the barrier to the activity and is not an invitation to keep trying. But the absence of “no” should not be interpreted as “yes.”

          2. Consent may never be presumed. Students come to Cornell with a range of experiences and expectations. For some, engaging in sexual activities has been routine for years; for others, exploring their sexuality is something that will wait for several years; others are somewhere in between. If a person in one of these categories “hooks up” with a person in another category, there can be misunderstandings. Communication is key to learning whether all parties to a sexual encounter are in agreement; it is not enough to act based on circumstances. The bottom line? If there is ambiguity — that is, if you are not sure what the other person is thinking — ASK! Review Board precedent requires that ambiguities be resolved in favor of the complaining student and against the sexual initiator.

          3. Consent for one activity does not mean consent for all activities. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter. Agreeing to go to someone’s room does not mean there is consent for sexual activity. Consent to kiss does not mean consent for other sexual activities. Consent to “petting” does not mean consent to intercourse. Consent to vaginal intercourse does not mean consent to anal intercourse. This goes back to communication: Ask if you and the other person are on the same page rather than making assumptions based on circumstances. The Review Board, in explaining that each sexual act is different and needs consent, wrote, “the burden of making sure that [the complainant] consented to proceeding from the first [sexual act] to the second rested upon the defendant. In short, consent may never be presumed.”

          4. Inability to consent due to intoxication means “no.” When a person is the recipient of sexual advances but is highly intoxicated, he or she may be unable to consent to any sexual conduct. In the words of the Review Board, “sexual interactions with another party who has been drinking heavily should . . . be undertaken . . . at one’s own risk.” A panel of the Hearing Board has also noted, “No member of the community should be at risk of a sexual assault merely because [he or she] consumes too much alcohol at a party. Cornell aspires to be a community in which students come to the aid of others who find themselves in such a state [rather than seeing them] as someone [to] exploit.”

          5. The responsibility for misinterpretation when either party has been drinking falls on the initiator of further sexual activity. If the person seeking sex is intoxicated, he or she has a decreased ability to discern the capacity of the other party to give consent. Under Cornell’s rules, the inability to perceive capacity does not excuse the behavior of the person who begins the sexual interaction or tries to take it to another level. The Review Board has held that “intoxication is neither a defense to sexual assault nor an exonerating circumstance, with the result that sexual interactions after periods of heavy drinking should be undertaken with caution” and, in another case, “failure to recognize that the victim was too drunk to consent is no defense to a charge of sexual assault as defined by the Cornell Code . . . . The responsibility for ascertaining [complainant’s] mental state rested upon [accused student], as did the risk of failing to do so.”

          This is perfectly reasonable to ask of responsible adults. And Sparhawk, you are incorrect in your assertion that someone needs to be "unconcsious" in order to be raped. The laws vary state to state, but most say that if someone is either unconscious or incapacitated-through drugs, alcohol, health conditions, or any other means-they are unable to consent to sex.

          It's called date rape, it's extremely common, and almost never prosecuted. This woman is saying "I was raped" because she feels that a line was crossed and she was too incapacitated to consent. She has not named the man, or pursued legal action against him, she is simply telling her story because she is trying to help women who have been through similar experiences open up. And you guys have done nothing but shame her for it, which is pretty outrageous.

          You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

          by SwedishJewfish on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:50:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am reluctant to say any more myself b/c (8+ / 0-)

            one of these commenters has quite a track record of raising objections about women's testimonials about being raped and I don't want to be accused of rehashing old disputes. So I especially appreciate your forthrightness here, S J.

            Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:57:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  but by this same definition couldn't the woman (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cjo30080, duhban

            herself be accused of rape in this case as well?

            It sounds like drunken, regret-it-in-the-morning sex to me.

          •  Not everyone is shaming her (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban, CA wildwoman, kyril

            The reason there's been some pushback, is because there's indications she was cognizant enough to understand what was happening, and to see the experience through without putting a stop to it.

            That doesn't mean bad decisions weren't made, or that she doesn't feel taken advantage of and hurt. The crime of rape is devastating for the victim, and has serious legal implications for the accused--whether it's deserved punishment, or rotting in prison for a crime you didn't commit.

            Meanwhile, we're here on this site debating something we'll never know the complete details about.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:20:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'd respectuflly point out (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            that's not absolute

            I once tried black cherry vodka, had about 4 ounces then threw up. Hell I wasn't even drunk (I'd had a plain shot of vodka that's it), I've seen people throw up that are clearly drunk and clearly not.

            But by her own words she wasn't unconcious, wasn't comatose, she actively participated. That seems to indicate enough of a level of thought that she could have said no but didn't. In fact she didn't seem think it was raped till she found out he was only after sex (which addmitedly makes him an asshole but that's not against the law)

      •  Well then this diarist is a freakin' RAPIST! (3+ / 4-)

        He was drunk too, wasn't he? He wasn't in a position to give informed consent.

        BUT SHE HAD SEX WITH HIM ANYWAY!!!

        Somebody call the cops on this woman rapist!

  •  The thing is, re sexual behavior (as well as re (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Renee, CA wildwoman

    sexual orientation), it is not a on/off simple two-way switch.

    There are gradations of sexual behavior just as there are gradations of sexual orientation.

    Rape is defined legally by state--those are one set of definitions, but personal definitions of rape have to be thought out.

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:01:55 PM PST

  •  I can't believe some of the above comments (11+ / 0-)

    I can't believe that anyone would deny you were raped.

    As my user name will point out, I am a male. And I was raped. As an adult. Twice. Once by a man I (foolishly) went home with and once by an ex-partner. And for a good deal of time I felt as though I had been responsible, particularly in the first instance when I was a) relatively young (25) and at least slightly intoxicated.

    The fact is that consent to sexual intercourse should be explicit, informed, and revocable at any time.

    •  I'm sorry you were raped, sfbob. (5+ / 0-)

      Terrible experience in and of itself, and then often compounded by the sense of "victim shame" and guilt. It's not our fault that our trust was exploited.

      I appreciate your comments here in solidarity with the diarist. Thank you for speaking up.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:41:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well (6+ / 0-)
    I knew that I had, at least to some degree, participated sexually. But it hadn't felt like participation in anything other than a disembodied, robotic sense.
    Rape is a detestable, horrible thing. I have zero tolerance for it. That said, I'm having difficulty finding a lack of consent in the above quote.

    By the standards that seem to be put forth in the diary, a couple of my past partners could arguably make the same accusation against me. They were fully conscious participants who, though drunk, knew what was going on.

    In the heat of the moment, I neglected to have them sign a consent form. I tried, but we couldn't find a pen.

    I'm just thankful they weren't too disappointed in my performance and that I didn't give them any reason to be spiteful later on.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:34:40 PM PST

    •  If she says no, its rape (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead

      And I guess if she changes her mind about it later, its also rape

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:33:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree, I don't think this is rape (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cjo30080, DeadHead, duhban

      if it was, who was raped? They both did the same thing to each other. She was disturbed she hadn't shaved or performed very well and don't seemed to have thought about rape until he cut off their relationship when she confessed her feelings. Where's the rape?

      I'm a man who has tried to come to diaries to learn, and I've learned a lot here on dkos. But this one is beyond me. Two humans got drunk and let their sex drive take over, she and him. No one was hurt, forced or fooled into it, the whole thing was mutual. At some later point she became disturbed and decided she was raped.

      imo, it was sex, maybe not good or satisfying sex but sex nonetheless not rape.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:41:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Me too. I strive for understanding and being (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cjo30080, cacamp, duhban, kyril

        sensitive to the rape issue.

        I fully acknowledge that, since, not having been through that experience, I cannot know what it is like for people who have. I reread this one a couple of times, because I'm cognizant for reasons just stated.

        I still went away unconvinced this was rape, though I don't doubt the experience, overall, with this guy, may have been hurtful.

        For guys, almost exclusively, the accusation of rape is a Big Fucking Deal.




        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:09:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, not a big enough deal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeadHead

          to make sure it's really not rape & can't be perceived as rape.

          And certainly a lot of guys do not think it's a big f*ing deal at all when they rape other people.

          But then, common good sense isn't common enough.

          (Speaking as a survivor ... )

          Something that doesn't make good sense, makes bad sense. That means someone is being deliberately hurtful & selfish. Look for motives behind actions & words.

          by CA wildwoman on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:45:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clearly there's no shortage of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            assholes out there who rape, and don't think of the consequences of their actions, and, as a result, do incredible damage as a result.

            I wasn't referring to men on a gender-wide level, and I in no way make excuses for the degenerate members of my gender.

            But in circumstances such as illustrated in the diary, where there's some degree of controversy as to the circumstances and the states of mind of the people involved, I felt compelled to remind that there are guys out there who've ended up in jail for a crime they didn't commit.




            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
            ~ Jerry Garcia

            by DeadHead on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:31:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  LOL!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead

      Yeah, dammit! The paperwork can be murder :-)

  •  I believe you, that you were raped. (11+ / 0-)

    I thank you for being willing to share your experience even at the risk of exposing yourself to harsh judgments. The internalization of self-doubt is a terrible corollary of rape culture. As you can see from some of the early comments on this thread, rape culture hasn't lost its grip yet.

    Given the description of your symptoms, I think it is quite possible that you had also ingested one of the date-rape drugs, since they intensify the effect of alcohol.

    If you are so inclined, I would encourage you to join a survivors' self-help group and/or seek therapy. Effects from trauma like this can be insidious and long-lasting.

    May you continue to heal and grow and thrive in the wake of this unwanted experience.

    I'll see about repeating my comment over at your original site, but I'll leave this one here in case you read it, or in case it's inordinately complicated for me to comment there.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:35:50 PM PST

    •  When reading your story, I also thought of (6+ / 0-)

      roofies.  You said for some reason this time was different in how the alcohol hit you.  You found yourself unable to act on your own behalf.

      Your responses were perfectly normal.  (Many women actually date a date rapist afterward, a shame based response to normalize things, resulting from confusion and self-blame.)

      I wish that the people who were making nasty comments about you and your painful and harmful experience would at the very least, have the class to stay out of diaries like this one.

  •  Apparently some of you missed it (7+ / 0-)

    but we are no longer living in the 1920's. Here is the updated definition of rape, according to the FBI:

    In 2012, the FBI changed their definition from "The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." to "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." for their annual Uniform Crime Reports. The definition, which had remained unchanged since 1927, was considered outdated and narrow. The updated definition includes any gender of victim and perpetrator, not just women being raped by men, recognizes that rape with an object can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape, includes instances in which the victim is unable to give consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity,

    and recognizes that a victim can be incapacitated and thus unable to consent because of ingestion of drugs or alcohol.

    You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

    by SwedishJewfish on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:20:04 PM PST

    •  the key words "CAN BE" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cjo30080, DeadHead

      To me the account that is presented here wasn't rape in the legal sense.

      What this woman feels personally about the matter is a whole different issue and I cannot comment on.

      I do think though that these sorts of stories do more to hurt the whole issue than they do to help it.

    •  I missed the section in your quote (0+ / 0-)

      that includes conscious participation. Incapacitation isn't an inevitable result of consuming drugs or alcohol.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:15:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It took a lot of courage for you to post this. (4+ / 0-)

    From your story, it sounds like you were the victim of drugs along with the alcohol.

    I wish you luck in finding some peace and closure from sharing your ordeal.

  •  Comments are pretty disturbing (8+ / 0-)

    Fortunately, the writer is apparently not reading the nasty comments.

    Even for those who don't think this was rape, the nastiness is totally unwarranted.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 05:40:16 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site