rape (rAp, n.)¹
1 : an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
2 a : sexual intercourse with a woman by a man without her consent and chiefly by force or deception -- compare STATUTORY RAPE b : unlawful sexual intercourse by force or threat other than by a man with a woman
3 : an outrageous violation
from Merriam-Webster

I've been raped. No one has ever come up to me a threatened me at gunpoint to shut up and put out. No stranger has forced me to have sex with them. But I have been raped. It is something far more personal, and something that is far more common than people are able and willing to admit. I was raped every time someone I cared about continued sexual contact with me despite my protests.

It's called date rape.

Think back. Have you ever had someone want to have sex with you when you didn't want to (you weren't in the mood, you just didn't like them, you weren't ready for it... the reason doesn't matter), and they went ahead and had sex with you anyway? You were raped. If you said no, and they did it anyway, then no matter how scantily clad you were, no matter how much you were flirting with them, you were raped. And that's the truth of it.

The first time I was raped I was seven. But I consider that something more like abuse since it was ongoing, so I won't discuss it here. It's discussed elsewhere, so if you find it, great; if not, no biggie. Maybe if you email me I'll give you directions.

Childhood aside, the first time I was raped I was fifteen. It was my boyfriend at the time, and he was over at my house for swimming and dinner. He was sixteen. It was the summer between my freshman and sophmore years in high school, June or July of 1993. We were in the pool, I was riding on him piggyback. He kept touching my private areas. I told him to stop several times, and he wouldn't; said I was being a poor sport. Later on in the same night he had me touch his, and though I didn't protest, I certainly didn't like it.

Before I started dating my fiance (in September of 1996), I'd been date raped several more times. The guys involved never knew they were doing it any more than I did. It's a big weakness of mine; I'm so scared of being alone that I'll do almost anything to stay with someone who I think is giving me comfort. Fortunately I figured out what I was doing by the time I was with Steve, and made him promise not to push me into it. So far he's kept his promise. Nicki's been just as wonderful.

I'm not alone in this. I'm not even uncommon. But it's often unrecognised, both on the part of the perpetrator and the victim. And it's not just men raping women, either. Men can be victims and women can be perpetrators. And it can be any combination.

1: Pronunciation key:

  • \&\ as a and u in abut
  • \[^&]\ as e in kitten
  • \&r\ as ur and er in further
  • \a\ as a in ash
  • \A\ as a in ace
  • \ä\ as o in mop
  • \au\ as ou in out
  • \ch\ as ch in chin
  • \e\ as e in bet
  • \E\ as ea in easy
  • \g\ as g in go
  • \i\ as i in hit
  • \I\ as i in ice
  • \j\ as j in job
  • \[ng]\ as ng in sing
  • \O\ as o in go
  • \o\ as aw in law
  • \oi\ as oy in boy
  • \th\ as th in thin
  • \[th_]\ as th in the
  • \ü\ as oo in loot
  • \u\ as oo in foot
  • \y\ as y in yet
  • \zh\ as si in vision

For explanations of other pronunciation symbols -- see Guide To Pronunciation.