Sunday, March 13, 2011

How Gray is "Gray Rape" Really?

Originally posted on my deviantart account.

*Trigger warning for rape apologism
*Trigger warning for described rape scenarios

I recently came across a Cosmopolitan article (on the net, since I don't read Cosmo) that discussed a "new kind of rape" it calls "gray rape." I shit you not. Now, I was lead there from Cara on The Curvature, and she was just as infuriated as I was when I read the article. Admittedly, this discussion took place in 2007, but I still find it a relevant topic to discuss right here, right now. Why? Because people still don't get it. I recently had a conversation in which the person I was talking to said, "But you have to admit that there is a gray area." I have to admit no such thing. Because there isn't. People may not be black and white, but actions can be and often are. Rape is black and white. It either happened or it didn't. If it did, then only the perpetrator is to blame. If it didn't, then only the false accuser is to blame. Period. No gray.

Gray rape is supposedly "sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties wake up unsure of who wanted what." From this, you would expect the stories to be of a nature where two strangers woke up not knowing each other and couldn't remember what happened the night before and one of them wonders if it was rape (and even then it wouldn't be "gray rape" since if one later remembered that they hadn't said yes, it would still have been rape). But no. As Cara stated, "victims of gray rape didn't only all fail to say yes, but also all actually say no", which they did. I read the article, and there was nothing gray about any of these scenarios, and that includes the one that they didn't even bother to list as gray rape but rather as a confusing experience. By they, I really mean "she," Laura Sessions Stepp, according to whom these assaults wouldn't happen if only women didn't partake in the hook-up culture.

Excuse me? Need I say yet again where the blame, all of the blame, under any circumstances, always lies? You got it! It lies with the ASSAULTER. Having one of my own unpleasant experiences take place in what would apparently be deemed "gray," I do take some personal offense to this, not to mention that some of my friends have suffered "gray" assault as well. Let's make one thing perfectly clear: no means no, and only yes means yes. If a person says "no" or "stop" at any time during the encounter and the other person does not stop, then it's assault. If it goes to penetration, then it's rape. Furthermore, silence does not imply consent, unconsciousness ALWAYS means no, and "maybe" means "maybe," it does not mean yes! So let's look at some "gray" scenarios, shall we?
* = true stories 
% = paraphrased story, or heavily-based on a true story 
& = common scenario
& A man and a woman hook up at a bar. After several drinks they go to the man's home. They start making out until he begins to remove her underwear. She panics and tells him to stop. He does not.
It's rape.
He continued to engage her in a sexual activity she did not agree to.

* This next one is a true scenario listed in the Cosmopolitan article, and this is the one that wasn't even given the title "gray rape." See if you can guess why…
A young man wakes up naked in the home of a young woman he doesn't recall ever meeting. His friends later tell him that she pushed drinks on him and got him to come to her home. The young man feels taken advantage of. And he was.
It's rape. Yes, men can be raped too.
She intentionally pushed him into a state of impaired judgment.

& A young man and a young woman have been friends for a long time. The young man has asked the young woman if they could be more, but she doesn't feel 'that' way about him, and so has gently told him no. One night, he invites her over and she comes, as she has in the past. He then professes his 'love' for her and asks her just for a kiss to "see if it'll work." She kisses him once because she feels bad for continually saying no to 'such a great guy' and he begins to become aggressive. She tells him no softly, but he pretends he doesn't hear and does not stop. She's unsure of what to do; she doesn't want to 'turn her friend into a rapist.'
That's also rape. 
He wore her down through guilt after she had told him no multiple times. He then continued with another activity that she did not agree to.
% This scenario is based on a true assault, where the victim figured she must have been asking for it and asked what a young girl was doing going into a neighbour's house to see the woodwork? A therapist replied, "A young girl is going into a neighbour's house to see the woodwork. That's what she's doing."
A neighbour asks a young teen down the street if she would like to come to his home and see the woodwork. She does and he begins to touch her. She freezes, unable to move or say anything, and he penetrates her.
That's definitely rape.
Any case of an adult and a teen where the two are many years apart is rape because a teen cannot give informed consent to an adult. The adult is taking advantage of the teen. Taking advantage of someone sexually is sexual assault.

% A young woman finds herself attracted to a guy on the basketball team. At the party celebrating the victory, she begins to flirt with him and he asks if she'd like to go somewhere quieter so they can talk and get to know each other. She agrees and they talk until he suddenly asks if he gets a reward for his victory. She asks what he means and he begins to kiss her. She is unsure of whether she should be flattered or not. When begins to push her down, she begins to struggle and tell him no. He angrily states that she came on to him and shouldn't lead guys on like that. He also says that he doesn't have to waste time on her and that he can find some other girl. Over and over he reminds her of his victory until she caves.
That's rape too.
He wore her down after she told him no.

& A girl and her boyfriend go to the park after school and start making out. It's an isolated area where few people go, so they're sure they won't be caught. He begins to remove her clothes, stating that he just wants to see. Nervous, she obliges him, but when he pushes her down, she says no. He calls her a bitch and a slut and threatens to leave her. Furthermore he threatens to tell everyone at school that they did have sex and that she's a whore. Afraid for her reputation, she lets him have intercourse.
That's still rape.
He obtained 'consent' through intimidation.

& At prom, a girl finds her head spinning from all the dancing and goes to a back room to be alone until her head clears. A young man enters and advances towards her. When she asks him what he is doing, he states that he saw her looking at him on the dance floor and that she must obviously want it since she came into this room and that he's going to get what he came for. Fearing that he will rape her if she refuses, she remains frozen as he takes off her dress and penetrates her.
That very fact, however, makes it rape by default.
He obtained 'consent' through intimidation.

* A woman and man meet at a party and go into a separate room to have sex. They are both very drunk and, during the sex, the woman passes out. The man continues.
What began as consensual sex ended as soon as he continued after she was no longer an active participant and nor was she in a position to withdraw her consent.

& A group of young women, all friends, go out dancing. They are wearing tight, revealing clothing, and they are drinking. Stumbling backward, one of them has a breast exposed. Embarrassed, she pulls up her shirt and sits down to watch the others. She is engaged by a young man who says that, for the record, she has a nice breast. She nervously thanks him and he takes her hand and begins to lead her away. She begins to protest but he claims that she's had too much to drink and he's going to take her somewhere to rest. He seems okay, and they talk until she falls asleep. When she wakes up, he's naked, as is she.
That's rape.
He engaged in sexual activity with her while she was unconscious and thus unable to give or to withdraw her consent.

& A young man in high school has a crush on his geography teacher. She's young for a teacher and seems to favour him. One day, she keeps him after school without a reason. She begins to come onto him and he finds himself excited since he's never had sex before and no one he knows has gotten to "fuck a teacher." Still, he's a bit nervous, but goes along anyway as he doesn't want to be a "pussy."
Yes, that's rape.
She, an adult, took advantage of a teen.

& A young man and woman are in a sexual relationship. One night, while they're having sex, the woman gets tired and asks him stop. He doesn't.
He continued after she withdrew her consent.

% A man and woman hook up and it is established that they'll fool around, but there'll be no intercourse. They fool around and he suddenly enters her without asking.
An agreement was made and he went against it without obtaining consent.

& An adolescent girl and boy have been dating for two months and the boy wants to have sex. The girl is not ready. The boy is teased by his peers and one day asks his girlfriend to have sex with him. She says no. He demands to know why, and she explains that she isn't ready. He asks her why she isn't ready and gives a number of reasons why she should be ready. This goes on back and forth until the girl stops saying anything. When he again asks her to have sex, she responds with a quiet, "whatever". He assumes that means yes and he proceeds to have intercourse with her. She later tells her friends that she was raped. And she's right.
He wore her down after she said no and then assumed that her neutral response meant yes. It didn't.

& An adolescent girl is engaged by a friend of her father's who is about between the two in age. She's had a bit of a crush on him for a while, and he seems to like her too. One day, he stops by her school and offers her a ride home. She agrees and he parks the car in an isolated area. He kisses her and she is flattered but when he begins to touch her, she tells him that she is afraid. He tells her that it's all right and that she'll enjoy it. He tells her he knows that she's had a crush on him. She feels guilty for crushing on him and then refusing, so she goes along with it until he tries to have intercourse. She now adamantly refuses, but he proceeds anyway. It hurts and she is afraid, but her body enjoys some of the touching, so afterwards she isn't sure whether she's been raped or not.
But it is rape.
He was an adult and he took advantage of a teen. Even had she not been a teen, he continued with sexual activities that she did not consent to.

% A group of friends get drunk at the birthday party of one and roam the city that night until the wee hours of the morning. When they get back to the birthday girl's house, one of the other party-goers, a friend of the birthday girl's brother, is still there and sprawled on the bed that the four of them are to sleep on. Two of the birthday girl's friends suspects that there's something off about this situation as does the birthday girl, but none of them voices this. With much difficulty, they eventually manage to get the young man off the bed and out of the room and insist that he sleep on the couch. Exhausted, the four friends collapse onto the mattress. A little while later, the young man enters the room despite the protests of the birthday girl's sister. One of the birthday girl's friends wakes a little and does not want him in the room, but is too tired to say anything, and he squeezes himself between her and one of the other birthday girl's friends. The friend finds herself in half –sleep as the young man begins to touch her a few hours later. She is not sure whether it's really happening of if she's dreaming, and wonders if she should try to stop it regardless. He then enters her.
He performed a sexual activity on an unconscious woman.

& A woman and man agree to have sex even though they are both tired. After a while it becomes apparent that neither of them is going to achieve orgasm that night. Disappointed, they call it a night. The next morning is awkward.
Bad sex is possible without it being rape, so long as it was bad for all partners involved and as long as each partner agreed to keep trying until one or more decided it was time to stop.
* An adolescent girl flees from her home after a fight with her mother to see her boyfriend. Many issues are on her mind, not least of which is the sexual abuse she suffered as a toddler. As she cries to him, he tries to engage her sexually, to which she refuses, but continues to tell him her woes until eventually she confides to him the sexual abuse she underwent. He kisses her and embraces her and tells her that he is so sorry and that he would never do that to her. Again, he tries to engage her in sexuality, and she complies even when he has intercourse with her.
He wore down and took advantage of a bereaved girl.

& A young woman attends a frat party alone. There are other women there, but she doesn't know them. She gets drunk and a young man then approaches her and asks her if would like to go upstairs away from the noise. She agrees and he leads her to his bedroom. Once there, he suddenly throws her on the bed and takes off her clothes and has intercourse with her.
Consent was not obtained. As a side note, this particular scenario was given to me by an MRA who proclaimed that he would gladly "help [me] castrate" (his words, not mine) a rapist who had broken into a woman's apartment to rape her, but for the above scenario, his words were, "Come on!" If someone asks you to come upstairs with you to get away from the noise, you are going upstairs to get away from the noise, not to have consensual sex. If that person's plans were to have consensual sex with you, ze would say as much, not something else.

* A young woman attends an after-party for a football game. Her crush is there. He engages her and she flattered. They dance together until some of his friends get carried away and beer is spilled all over the young woman's dress. She wants to go home, but her crush insists she stay and just get changed. She feels he will forget her and go for one of the other girls if she leaves so she agrees to go to his room with him. He lays out some of his clothes for her and she takes them into the bathroom and showers. She finishes and puts them on and then sits with him in his room. They talk about music until he begins to kiss her. She is not entirely sure she likes where this is going, but she decides she won't let anything happen below the waist. He fondles her breasts and she kisses him back, and this goes on for some time before he suddenly pulls off the bottom clothing she is wearing. She profusely says no, but he angrily insists that she wants it and knew this was going to happen. He then pins her with his weight and has intercourse until he collapses.
He did not ask and obtain consent for any sexual activity and then proceeded with one that she explicitly refused.

& A man asks his partner if he would like him to wake him up with a particular sexual activity some time. His partner agrees that that would be "hot". They agree on the activity and on which morning it will occur. The man's partner wakes to him performing orally on him and the two go about business that day feeling like a million dollars.
A specific plan was laid out for a specific day with a specific activity that was actively consented to, and where the intent was to wake the partner up with said activity.
* A late adolescent girl attends a party for her boyfriend. She is the only girl there and he has several of his friends there while his parents are out of town. Suddenly, the lights go out. They begin to fondle her and she initially protests, but begins to comply as they grow more excited. They have her touch them and eventually hold her down and take turns having intercourse with her, some anally, some vaginally. She finds herself frozen and unable to do anything and her verbal protests are ignored. One of them has her perform orally on him. When they finish, her boyfriend takes her up to his room. He asks her to perform oral sex and she refuses. He then asks for regular sex, and she shrugs her compliance. He begins to have intercourse though she remains frozen. Eventually she asks him to stop because she is tired. He continues for another ten minutes despite that she (his words) "might have been crying by this point".
Gray rape? Gang rape.
They obtained compliance through intimidation of numbers. He then continued with a sexual activity she did not actively consent to and continued after she withdrew her lukewarm consent.

& A woman has had a crush on her best friend's girlfriend for a long time. One night, while both of them or drunk, the girlfriend confesses that she is attracted to the woman. The two have sex. When they wake up the next morning, they regret having cheated on the woman's best friend.
While certainly all rape is regrettable, some sex can be too. Neither woman took advantage of the other, disregarded, intimidated, humiliated, or harmed the other. Both were in an impaired state of judgment.

* A sex worker has protected sex with her customer. Afterward, he demands to have unprotected sex and she refuses. He is about double her size and uses his weight to pin her down and have unprotected intercourse.
He proceeded with the activity for which consent was not obtained.

* A ten-year-old girl with a history of sexual abuse agrees to 'sex' with several men, as she feels it will make her more grown-up.
Even if a child agrees to 'sex' with an adult, it is not consent.

% A twelve-year-old girl flees from her home after a fight with her mother. She is picked up by two drunken young men and is persuaded to kiss them and sit in their laps. Eventually they have intercourse with her.
A child younger than late adolescence cannot consent to sex with an adult.

% A young woman made a pact with her best friend to say yes to anything. A young man whom the best friend has a crush on finds out about this. He then reminds the first young woman of this when he asks her to kiss him, and she says no. She continues to say no, but feels uncomfortable since she is not the type to refuse things, though at the same time she does not want to kiss him. He continues to remind her of the pact she made and of how she is breaking the promise with her friend. Offering to give her a ride home, he kisses her in his car and tells her to kiss him back. After again reminding her of her pact, she does so, and he proceeds to have intercourse with her.
He wore down her boundaries after she refused several times. He then proceeded with the activity she continued to refuse.

& A man and woman talk about waking one another up with a sexual activity. The woman discusses starting with a kiss and the man agrees. The woman wakes in the middle of sleep one night to find her partner having intercourse with her.
Although it was discussed beforehand, no specific date was laid out and only a kiss was agreed to. He performed an activity that was not agreed to and she had no way of withdrawing her consent.

* A young man dates a woman whom he knows to come from a very sheltered life. She knows almost nothing about sex. He engages her in sexual contact and eventually penetrates her without telling her beforehand. Afterwards, she is unsure of what has happened. He explains to her that they had sex. He then tells her, grinning, that since she hadn't known he was going to do that, he had actually raped her. And he is right.
Consent was not obtained due to lack of knowledge on the victim's part, which the perpetrator was well aware of. What's interesting about this story is that it happened approximately thirty years ago, well before "yes means yes" became the feminist rallying cry. Thus, this rapist had a knowledge of rape that was ahead of his time, and proceeded to rape his girlfriend anyway. I think this speaks volumes about the so-called "accidental" rape where the assault "wasn't planned" and the rapist "didn't know" that ze committed rape.

% A man and woman meet and have sex. During the act, the woman notices lesions on the man's shoulders. She is suddenly terrified and tells him to stop. He does not.
Rape even if the man didn't have AIDS. Illegal even if it wasn't rape, but the man was infected.
He continued after she withdrew her consent. Furthermore, it is illegal to have sex in Canada when infected with AIDS if you are aware of your condition and do not disclose this to your partner.

& In the dark, a young man and his girlfriend have sex. His friend waits unseen. The young man pulls out quickly and his friend then enters the girl who doesn't know that there's been a switch.
She did not give consent to the friend.

& A man is aware that he is vastly alone in his homosexuality, at least perceivably. He knows of no others near him. Finally, a confident man approaches him and lets him know that he too is homosexual. The two decide it would be better to talk in a more private place. They go to the second man's apartment where they talk for a while. They agree, however, that they probably aren't right for each other. But before the first man leaves, the second man asks if he wants to have sex anyway. The first man is unsure because he has only ever made out with some men in the past. The second man tells him that he'll "show [him] the ropes." They start out slow, but the second man suddenly penetrates the first man and has intercourse until he collapses. When the two awake the next morning, the second man says he would like to see the first man again some time.
He proceeded with a sexual activity for which consent was not obtained.

& A young woman knows a young man has a crush on her but she does not feel the same way. Her friend is aware of this and let's the young man think that his crush is interested after all. Online, posing as the young woman, the friend tells him that she insists the lights be off when she comes to him. They agree on a meeting place and the young man waits naked in the dark. The friend then comes in and has intercourse with him. When he finds out that it is not his crush at all, he is horrified. As anyone would be.
She tricked him into thinking she was the person he had given his consent to.

& A young woman wishes to seduce her crush and she waits in his bed naked, having been let in by his roommate. But her crush does not get in for a long time and, eventually, she falls asleep. He arrives back in the wee hours and his roommate informs him of the young woman. He finds her asleep, but proceeds to have intercourse anyway.
He performed a sexual activity on a sleeping woman.

* A police officer offers to escort a drunken woman home. She agrees, and mentions that she needs to go to the washroom. He takes into a service station and follows her into the washroom. This is all she remembers before waking up in a washroom stall naked with her undergarments missing.
A police officer abused his authority to take advantage of a drunken woman.

& A single woman living below the poverty line is desperate to get a job in order to support her children. She applies for a job in retail, and the interviewer tells her he will give her the job if she has sex with him. She does so.
He used his position of power to intimidate her into sexuality.

& A group of loosely-connected friends agree to play a game of truth or dare. An adolescent girl is dared to kiss an adolescent boy. Pressured by her friends, she does so. Later in the game the same boy dares her to make out with him. She refuses initially, but is called a quitter, so she does. A close friend of the boy's later dares him to take off all of the girl's clothing. She refuses, but is told that she can't because it isn't her dare. Eventually, a close-friend of hers dares her to put her clothes back on, but the boy declares that once a dare is done, it cannot be undone. The game continues until the boy's friend dares him to have intercourse with the young woman. He seizes her so fast that she doesn't have time to say no before he enters her. Shocked, she does nothing as he continues and her friend I unsure of whether she should say anything or not. Later, the girl calls it a "weird experience."
I call it rape.
He and his friend used peer pressure to lower her barriers and he then had intercourse without obtaining consent. 

% A girl goes for a sleep-over at an older friend's house one night. The older friend begins to question her sexually and wants to play a game. The younger girl is unsure, but the older girl insists that it's "healthy". She knows the younger girl is shy. Finally, the older girl manages to convince the younger girl to 'play' with her. She performs orally on the younger girl and has the younger girl do the same. Finally, she penetrates the younger girl with her fingers. The younger girl says it hurts, but the older girl tells her it's normal and continues.
Rape. Yes, a finger counts.
She knew her friend was shy and unlikely to refuse and thus took advantage of her. When it comes to assaulters who are themselves in early adolescence or younger, one must wonder whether they themselves were abused by an adult. For the child being taken advantage of, however, ze is no less a rape victim.

& A woman has been having an affair for a while. However, as she and her husband begin to mend their relationship, she becomes increasingly guilty. She meets with the man she is having the affair with and she tells him she is breaking it off. He angrily threatens to tell her husband, but she states that she was going to tell him herself anyway. He then pleads for one last time, since they are alone together, but she says no. He kisses her and she pushes him away, again stating no. Ignoring her, he holds her down and takes her pants off before penetrating her. Guilt-stricken, she tells no one of this.
He proceeded with a sexual activity that she refused.

& A woman in the neighbourhood finds out that a married man has had an affair several years ago, but he has never told his wife. She has wanted to sleep with this man for some time, but has been refused. Now, however, she catches him alone and blackmails him: either he will sleep with her, or she will tell his wife about the affair. Defensively, the man states that it was years ago and meant nothing. The woman states that she will still tell his wife and see if she thinks it meant nothing. The man insists his cheating days are over, but the woman wears him down until he agrees.
She blackmailed him and wore him down until he 'consented.'

& A young man in college agrees to be blindfolded, gagged, and tied to a bed by several young women. They fondle him until he has an erection after which they take turns having intercourse on him. The young man is excited at first, but begins to grow tired after climax, but they do not stop, and he has no way of voicing his wish for them to do so.
They placed him in a situation where he was unable to withdraw his consent.

% A woman becomes tired one night while her lover wishes to have sex. She tells him offhandedly that he may have intercourse while she sleeps if he so wishes. She falls asleep, and he takes her up on that offer.
He performed a sexual activity on sleeping woman with out the intention of waking her up.

& A woman cannot sleep one night, though her husband sleeps soundly. She notices that his penis is erect. Taking the opportunity, she has intercourse with him.
She did not obtain consent beforehand and he would not have been able to withdraw his consent.

& A man in his forties tells a woman in her early twenties, whom he knows to have very little knowledge of sex, that she can't get pregnant as long as he has intercourse with her against a wall, even without a condom. Initially, she had protested sleeping with him at all for her fear of becoming pregnant. Now, however, the man seems to know what he is talking about, and she does not see a reason to deny him. They have intercourse against the wall.
And that is rape whether she comes away pregnant or not.
He wore her down and lied in order to obtain 'consent.'

& A young couple are in the heat of the moment after much foreplay, and the young man who has his girlfriend on his lap, asks if she wants to do it. She replies, "I don't know," and he enters her.
"I don't know" is not consent.

* A man is invited to stay at the home of a woman for a little while. She agrees to have sex with him as long as condoms are used. Angry, he holds her down and snaps her necklace. She insists that he uses a condom and he finally agrees. He penetrates and the condom breaks during intercourse. She tells him to stop, but he does not.
He used intimidation through physical force and then continued after she withdrew her consent.

* The friend of the above woman's is also staying at the home and the man tries to have sex with her without using a condom. She, however, is insistent. He continues to try for sex without a condom, but she continually refuses. Finally, he enters her while she is asleep, without using a condom. She wakes and demands to know whether he is wearing a condom or not. He replies that he is wearing her. She is too tired to demand he put one on.
He attempted to wear her down and when that didn't work, he waited until she was unconscious and thus unable to refuse. When she woke he refused to stop even though she expressed her wish for him to use a condom.

Yes, both of the above are referring to the Assange case. See how relevant it is to talk about "gray rape"?

Note: it should go without saying that each of these scenarios apply no matter the gender or sex of perpetrator and victim. Regrettably, the scenarios are lacking in homosexual relationships, but I don't personally know of very many that might fall into the "gray rape" label that many of these do. I'm not one to assume that homosexual relationships must fall into gender roles of "woman" and "man". If anyone would like to share a few scenarios with me, I'll be happy to add them.

Now, there are several scenarios here that feature certain aspects that make the encounter rape even if consent was obtained. If a person is not able, for whatever reason, to withdraw consent, then it is rape by default. If a person has said ambiguous language, but did not say yes, then it is rape, for ambiguous language is not consent. Any consent obtained through peer pressure, intimidation, threats, or any other sort of wearing down, is rendered invalid, and the encounter is rape. And, of course, while a child might experiment with a child, or a teen with a teen, a child cannot consent to sex with a teen or an adult, and a teen can only consent to adults within a close age range (such as a sixteen-year-old with a twenty-year-old). Of course, the age of consent varies from country to country, but it is my personal belief that any age of consent below eighteen is backwards thinking, and that includes my own country, which only recently raised its age of consent from fourteen to sixteen.

It's important to note here that both the ten-year-old and the twelve-year-old mentioned were both Native girls. In both of these cases, the charges were dropped. In the case of the ten-year-old, in Australia, it was called "childish experimentation" as a result of the sexual abuse she suffered in the past. In the case of the twelve-year-old here in Canada, back when the age of consent was fourteen (just a few years ago), the judge believed the young men, who were in their twenties, who stated that they thought she was fourteen. And in this case, also, the judge felt she had probably agreed to it since she had been sexually abused in the past and that causes children to be sexually adventurous. Am I the only person absolutely outraged that apparently it's okay to sexually assault Native children as long as they seem "willing" particularly as a result of previous sexual abuse?!? Yes, some children do become sexually precocious after suffering sexual abuse. That doesn't make it okay to sexually abuse them again!!!

Anyway, I could go on. Basically, "gray rape" is just another term for "date rape," a term in itself that I dislike intensely because you know what? Rape is rape. Call it what it is. Now, I can understand some women being afraid to call it rape because they don't feel it's bad enough, or because they don't want to identify as a victim, or because they don't want to deal with the backlash. And I won't romanticize it; no rapist or other type of sexual assaulter wants to be called what s/he is and will try to make you suffer for it if you do. I know this firsthand and secondhand. Certainly, I don't advocate that you put yourself in danger, but you should at least acknowledge to yourself that you were raped/sexually assaulted, as it will help you to heal. The thing you must understand is that no matter what the circumstances, a victim of a crime is not to blame. You were a victim of a crime. The first thing you can do to become a survivor is to acknowledge what happened.

As I've mentioned in other writing, you were not assaulted because you were drinking, you were not assaulted because of what you were wearing, you were not assaulted because you went up to their room, you were not assaulted because you agreed to some sexuality beforehand, you were not assaulted because you were flirting, and you were not assaulted because you passed out! You were not assaulted because you were there; you were assaulted because the assaulter was there, and happened to look your way. You were not assaulted because you made some bad decisions; you were assaulted because an assaulter made the decision to assault you. Sexual assault can happen to anyone by anyone at any time regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, gender, culture, background, occupation, viewpoint, sexual orientation, clothing, hair, looks, sexual experience, where you knew each other from, how well you knew each other, or what the victim was doing at the time. The one unifying part of all these is that an assaulter chose to assault and succeeded. And there is nothing "gray" about it.

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