The first time I was raped, I was 12.

*Trigger warning*

It’s taken me a while to get to this point from the first time I ever acknowledged out loud to myself, at 16, that I had been raped. Since then, well…I’ve had other experiences of victimization, both sexually and physically. My intentions are just to share what has happened to me with the world…whoever might read. I know that, unfortunately, I am not the only one out there who has gone through this type of thing. In fact, I know that stories of sexual violence are all too common in the lives of most women, not to say all women. And I know what it’s like to feel like you’re being suffocated by all this pain inside you, strangling you at every breath you take; the silence that smothers women who have been victimized by coward men. Ain’t no shame in speaking up about what we’ve been through, none at all. This silence shoved down our throats is keeping us hostage of our pain, of our perpetrators, of this sexist world that tells us we need to suffer in silence. I say fuck that! Breaking the silence that surrounds gender-based violence is the ultimate act of defiance in the face of this massacre of women’s souls...so I SPEAK. And may we all have the strength and courage to speak.

Brasília DF, Brasil – 2000 – 12 years old. 

I went over to one of my then-best friend’s house to spend the
weekend. I did this regularly, but this time would be different. You
see, she lived in a really nice house, as her parents were
diplomats, and they were going out of town that weekend so she and her
older sister decided to have a sleep over, and I was invited. Other
people were invited too: our other best friend came along with her
15-year-old brother and 17-year-old sister. Obviously, her older
siblings had come to hang out with the diplomats’ oldest daughter, not
the kiddos. Still, I was elated…I had a huge crush on my
friend’s older brother and I wanted to be his girlfriend. The thought of
being able to be around him was terrifying and exciting at the same
time.

I remember watching him play video games in my girl’s room. At the
time, Nintendo 64 had just come out and 007 Goldeneye was the hot stuff,
and I watched him and my friend’s sister’s boyfriend play that game for
a long time. He was really nice to me. Every time he talked to me to
say the simplest things, like “did u see that kill?”, I felt butterflies
in my silly little stomach. He’d never really spoken to me a whole lot,
and he was like 3 grades ahead of me in school so, of course, it
probably wasn’t the coolest thing to talk to the girl in the Tweety
t-shirts. But there it was, my chance to talk to my best friend’s older
brother!!!! Maybe he’d like me, maybe I’d be his girlfriend…WRONG.

Ai, was I wrong. The sleeping arrangements were the following in my
friend’s room: she’d sleep on her bed, our other friend (my crush’s
little sister) would sleep on one of those foldaway beds next to hers,
and I would sleep on a mattress on the floor, next to the foldaway bed.
Ok, cool I guess…When it was time to go to sleep I remember being
surprised at seeing another mattress right next to mine. Turns out my
crush was going to sleep there, next to me. I was excited because I
figured that he probably liked me, and, who knows, maybe we could
kiss…WRONG, AGAIN.

 In the middle of the night, I have no clue what
time, I started having a weird sensation. It took me a while to fully
awake. I felt that feeling you feel when you’re slowly waking up and it
seems like reality and dreams intertwine a little. As I started coming
to my senses, I realized that what I was feeling was actually my breasts
being touched and grabbed. Shocked, I carefully opened my eyes just
enough to see my crush, my close friend’s older brother, kneeling next
to me. He was kneeling perpendicularly to my body, so his knees were
facing my ribcage. He was masturbating with one hand, and using his
other hand to grab my breasts. My shirt was up above my breasts, and my
shorts were pulled down to just below my vulva. I was shocked. I
didn’t know what to do, so I froze. I was so scared, it just
felt like a terrible nightmare and I did not know what to make of it. So
I froze.
 I could hear him breathing hard and the sound of his hand
jerking his dick on top of me. What was happening to me? So many
thoughts were running through my mind, I was so confused. He moved his
hand from my breasts down to my vulva and touched me for a few seconds,
then he went back to touching my breasts and that’s when I felt
something warm on my belly. He then turned to the desk behind his
mattress and grabbed a tissue, he wiped my belly. The whole time I
remember thinking “please be over, please be over” as I did my best to
remain as lifeless as possible. After he wiped me, I slightly opened my
eyes again to see him turn to the desk and grab a glass of water to
start drinking. I saw that as my chance to “get away”, so, pretending I
was still asleep and just dreaming, I rolled myself under his sister’s
bed…He got up and left. I waited a while, afraid he’d come back, but he
didn’t so I went back to my mattress confused, scared, shocked, trying
to make sense of what had just happened. I felt horrible. 

The next day I woke up and told my two friends (including his sister)
of what had happened while they were sleeping. They didn’t really
believe me. I went back home that weekend feeling so dirty, so violated,
so confused, so sad, so lonely, so shocked…I got home and I cried, and
cried, and cried in my room. I tried to burry it and forget it, so I
never talked about it to anyone ever again until I first got to the US,
at 16. No one would believe me, not even my best friends believed me. I
know they were just girls too, 12 years old like me, and certainly were
as confused as I was and did not know what to call it…but I knew that
what had happened was wrong. It felt wrong, it felt dirty. It
was scary, it was confusing, it was invasive. And now I know, it
was rape.
 

RAPE. ESTUPRO. Not “oh it was just assault”,
or “oh, you were just molested, not raped” No, he didn’t put
his penis inside my vagina, does that make it any less invasive? Wasn’t
what he did performing a sexual act on me/with me to which I did not
consent?! 
I call this rape because it is rape. Rape is
not only penile-vaginal penetration. Don’t men get raped too? Or is it
not rape because it’s penile-anal penetration? Is it rape if a woman
fingers another woman’s vagina without her consent? Or is it rape only
when there is penetration by a penis? What about if objects are inserted
into your mouth/anus/vagina? What about if someone performs
analingus/cunilingus on you without your consent? There is no penis
involved, isn’t it still rape? What about if someone performs fellatio
on you against your will? Aren’t these rape too?! So what about if
someone touches your genitalia/your anus/your breasts and proceeds to
ejaculate on your skin?

The way in which we define rape is very heterosexist and it
reflects our attitudes on what constitutes “real sex” as opposed to
so-called “foreplay”.
 If rape is only when there is penetration of
the vagina and/or anus by the penis, then it leaves a huge deal of
people deemed “unrapeable” or “incapable of committing rape”(e.g.
respectively, lesbians and women in general: no organic penis). And if
all sexual acts are not equated with rape when performed against
someone’s will, like oral sex, anal sex, manual stimulation, and
masturbation, then we are doing nothing but reinforcing the notion that
there is an “ultimate type of sex”(i.e. coitus AKA straight sex) and
that everything else is “less than”, or “not real sex”.

Rape is primarily about power, control, and dominance, not sex. It
happens in a sexual context where the victim is coerced into/forced
to participate in/receive/perform a sexual act without their consent. I
think we really ought to expand the definition of rape to include and
accurately represent the diversity of human sexual behavior. 

BEING SEXUALLY VIOLATED IS RAPE. PERIOD.

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4 Comments

  1. Comrade Kevin
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you.
    Without going into too much detail, what happened to me had many layers. Since I’ve been going through therapy I feel a bit more comfortable sharing these sorts of details.
    I was forced to perform oral sex on a man, plus his two sons. This doesn’t necessarily connote “rape” in the classical sense, but it was certainly traumatic.

  2. aka spike the cat
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I have nothing to add…This is a powerful personal story. Thanks for sharing your voice. Keep on speaking up!

  3. A male
    Posted May 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    “BEING SEXUALLY VIOLATED IS RAPE. PERIOD.”
    That’s all that should need to be said, particularly on a feminist site with so many people who have experienced precisely that type of sexual violation. Unfortunately it is not.
    I for one, agree with many in another current thread who consider “rape by instrument” (as during ultrasound) or “medical rape” (as during invasive examination) to be the same as rape to a victim, if not in the eyes of the law. Others don’t agree.
    If a person feels sexually violated, whose business is it to tell them they were not raped? I must carefully consider my actions as a nurse who cares for physically and mentally impaired adults in a residential facility. Some consider a simple touch to be an assault. Imagine what bathing them, changing their diapers, or trying to relieve them of constipation through physical means (mandatory enema or digital removal of impacted feces) must feel like. I can see their reaction. I told my supervisor/head nurse and coworkers, that I consider that assault, regardless of medical necessity.
    In this vein, it is disturbing to me to see some people downplaying the status of assaults against males because they occur much less often (in adulthood)
    “One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18. (Finkelhor, et al.1990)”
    The Sex Abuse Treatment Center
    http://satchawaii.com/statistics.html
    or because they are mainly committed by other males; or as one regular did in the recent past, to characterize unwanted sexual contact against males as “unwanted handjobs” (if by a woman).
    “This is Rape Culture: “Grey Rape”
    http://tinyurl.com/2842gn9
    “Compare male-on-female rape, instead, to them experiencing male-on-male rape – forced anal penetration. That is the only way that most men I’ve known can really grasp what sexual assault for a woman is like – it’s not just the unwanted physical touching, or the sexual objectification and dehumanization, but it also (1) creates a stigma such that they would be loathe to discuss the incident with others, and (2) includes a very intimate form of penetration which creates the threat or realization of greater (even permanent) physical injury. No matter how many ‘unwanted handjobs’ a man receives in his life, he will never get a fistula or an incompetent cervix. He isn’t even likely to get an STD.”
    Also, to use the (probable) lack of physical trauma during commission of an “unwanted handjob” (who knows what else occurred during the actual assault) as a reason to dismiss sexual assault against men, should also be understood as an attack against all FEMALE victims of rape and other sexual assault who were not “sufficiently” physically traumatized.
    Does a woman need to get a fistula, incompetent cervix, or STD to be a “real” rape victim? Does an attacker have to be a carrier of an STD or be sufficiently brutal to risk physical trauma or passing an STD for it to be a “real” assault? Again:
    “One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18. (Finkelhor, et al.1990)”
    Taking into consideration (also via the Sex Abuse Treatment Center)
    “Over 90 percent of victims of sexual assault 12 years or older are female. (Greenfeld 1997)”
    statistically most male victims of sexual assault must be less than 12 years old, for victims to be almost exclusively female age 12 or older. Consider:
    “Of all sexual assault victimizations reported to law enforcement agencies, 67 percent of victims were under 18 years of age, 34 percent were under 12 and 14 percent were six years old or younger. (Snyder 2000).”
    “Seven in 10 rape and sexual assault victims know the offender prior to the assault. (Rennison 2000)”
    “Approximately 90 percent of rape victims under 12 years old know the offender. (Greenfield 1997)”
    Regardless of that poster’s personal experience, it seems that many men should be able to understand just fine, from firsthand experience, what rape and sexual assault is like. Since it most likely occurred in childhood at the hands of someone (an adult) they knew, they should know what it feels like to feel powerlessness, betrayal of trust, shame, stigma and keeping secrets.
    It just so happens that I was assaulted when I was 19 or 20 (February 1988 or 89), by a complete stranger who literally picked me up off the side of a busy city street, assaulted me in a school parking lot, and kept me until he was done with me. I was still a virgin and had never been in a serious relationship. I never even kissed a woman on the lips until 22. I thought for years that I was gay, and hated homosexuals during that time as a result. To this day (a full 21 years later, more than half my life later), I am still distrustful of strange men, and am intimidated by masculine males or groups of men. I don’t accept rides from strange men, even if they are in a marked government vehicle, even if I am stranded on the side of a highway at midnight. That was just a couple of years ago.
    I think I understand just fine how a rape victim feels. Anyone who believes anyone else is less violated as a victim, just because I am not a woman and was not infected or physically injured can go to hell.

  4. gypsy
    Posted May 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you.

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