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August 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Would you consider this rape?

Question:

During my second week in college as a freshman I went to a frat party where I ended up meeting one of the frat brothers (Ned). I was never so drunk in all my life. At one point I was lying on the floor laughing. I danced with him and made out with him. Around 3am I wanted to go back to my dorm and was planning on walking by myself, but Ned offered to walk me home, which at the time I thought was really nice, because I couldn't even walk in a straight line. When we got to my building he insisted on seeing me to my room, and I thought nothing of it.

When we got to my room all I wanted to do was sleep, but Ned started taking off my clothes, and at the time I was too drunk to care. However, as drunk as I was, I still knew I didn't want this to get too far, so I said "Do not have sex with me, I'm still a virgin." In response to this he got really angry and seemed frustrated. He tried pushing my head down so that I'd give him oral sex, but I refused. He fondled me, and I felt so dirty because he was so aggressive and animalistic. I tried to make him stop because I was hurting, but he yelled at me to loosen up. Then he started grinding on top of me, and tried to insert himself in me, but I was way too tight, and he was way too big. During all this time I kept falling asleep. My roommate came back and I leapt for joy because I was saved. I sent the guy out and acted like everything was ok.

When I got back to my room I felt so dirty and thought I had come quite close to losing my virginity, which I always wanted to save until marriage. I never went back to that frat house, even though Ned would wait by my dorm to tell me about his parties, and even had his brothers ask me to go too. I tried to avoid him as much as possible. I'd even sit in my dorm when all my friends wanted to go to that frat. I ended up meeting with another brother (Alex) from that frat, whom Ned confided in 4 months later. He said that when Ned told him that story he began bragging "you could consider this rape." I told him that it couldn't be rape since there was no penetration, but Alex claimed that according to Ned, there was.

According to my side of the story, would you consider that rape? Would you consider that sex? Am I still a virgin?

Lily (19 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Lily,

I don't know where you live, but in most places nowadays, no legal distinction is made between sexual assault and rape. The issue with all forms of sexual assault is power and control; one person being denied the right to say no by another who uses coercion. Rape is not about sex but about power.

This Ned fellow committed a crime, and could go to jail for it if you pressed charges. Whether he actually managed sexual penetration or not is irrelevant. I can see, however, that it is important to you. My dear, even if he had managed to go all the way and rape you, you would still be a virgin where it matters. You have not given yourself to any man. Even if a man had taken advantage of your condition and forced himself on you, you would still be a virgin in terms of your intentions and your morality.

In a way, this nasty experience has been a good learning experience for you. I am sure that from now until the end of your life, you will be cautious and moderate about the use of alcohol and other intoxicants. You will probably refuse to experiment with other drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, heroin or marijuana. You now know that you prefer to stay in control, and drugs take that away from you. You have been very lucky. This man didn't actually use violence on you. People in that situation sometimes get very badly beaten, or even killed.

I have an email friend who had a similar experience to you. She got so drunk at a party that she didn't have any memory of it. Then, nine months later, she gave birth to a baby. She has absolutely no idea who the father might be. Others have caught nasty, disgusting diseases.

What I hope is that you don't allow this attack on you to weigh you down for the rest of your life. Not all men are like Ned. It is still possible to be decent and caring, and to find a mutually respectful, lasting relationship. All you did wrong was to be stupid about alcohol. You have learned your lesson. Perhaps it will help you to turn a bad situation into a good one by devoting some of your energies to a cause that is related to your experience. This could involve working with young people at risk of alcohol and drug abuse, working with single mothers (since, but for the grace of God, you could have been one), or with AIDS sufferers (for the same reason).

I hope you get the idea. The best way to overcome the effects of a terrible experience is to bring something good out of it. You didn't leave an email address, but if you read this, please email me and let me know if my words have helped you.

Have a good life,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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