A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

I Am Jane Doe

Trigger Warning: This post is about rape.

dontbethatguyI was fourteen years old the night my friend G took me to my first kegger. We told my mom we were going to “a little get together.” I remember almost nothing about the evening—flashes, mostly. I remember absolutely nothing about being raped that night.

I might never have known about it, except that N–a woman I’d met the night before–mentioned it casually the next morning when I woke in a strange house with what might have been my first hangover. I don’t remember the words she used, just the image they evokedof me passed out in a bed and two men doing whatever they wanted with me.

Apparently G had left me at the party—I never learned why, but I assume that I was either passed out or otherwise resisted leaving. I never asked him. Sitting there with N that morning, I barely remembered that he’d brought me. I don’t remember worrying that I’d be in trouble for not going home the night before. I don’t remember anything but a sick feeling in my gut and the vague thought that “I guess that’s what happens when you get drunk and pass out.”

N didn’t seem particularly bothered by it. I’d soon learn that she wasn’t bothered by much. If I’d heard the term “sex positive” back then I would have assumed it applied to her because when it came to N and sex, the answer was always “yes.” By comparison, even as promiscuous as I eventually became, I always felt like a prude. And I felt like one that morning because I knew I wasn’t okay with what had happened, and yet, here was this woman ten years older than I who seemed to think it was no big deal.

So that’s how I treated it. I put it out of my mind, and I never once thought of it as rape. Rape was what happened to me when I was twelve and a boy forced himself on me and I fought with every fiber of my being. That was when I went to the police and lost friends and created a scandal in my community. This was different—it was my fault for passing out and leaving my body lying around for other people to use.

I never thought of it as rape until it happened again. I was 35 or so, out drinking, went back to someone’s place after the bar closed to smoke some pot, and woke up on a couch with a man’s penis inside me. So disoriented it took me a moment to realize what was happening and shove him off me, I first assumed that I just didn’t remember somehow letting things get started with this person I had absolutely no sexual interest in. I left him sitting on his couch looking down at his lap, and I walked home in the dark, and I blamed myself and shamed myself and felt like the most disgusting slut in the world.

And then I remembered:

We’d smoked some pot, and I’d felt really tired. I’d curled up on his couch just to rest for a moment. I had passed out. Between the alcohol, the pot, and my anti-depressants (and it’s entirely possible he slipped me something, I have no way of knowing at this point) I was good and unconscious for I don’t know how long. Until some part of me realized my body was in the middle of a sex act I hadn’t consented to.

It wasn’t my fault. I feel the need to say that because it wasn’t, and because I want anyone reading this who has experienced something similar to know that it isn’t your fault, either. We never know when we walk out the door when we’re going to find ourselves in the presence of a rapist. We can take precautions and self-defense classes, maintain a constant state of awareness of our surroundings, only ever drink at home, and still get raped. I know because the first time I got raped I was just hanging out with friends smoking a joint. I know because most women who experience rape are not drunk or dressed provocatively or in any way “asking for it.” Most victims are raped by someone they know, and it usually happens in their own home or that of a friend or relative.

Rape isn’t the logical conclusion to a night of drink ending in unconsciousness. In a civilized society, it should never be a thing about which we say, “What did she expect?” If the crime was murder, we never would. Because drunk girls don’t cause murder any more than they cause rape.

What causes rape? Rapists. People who believe on some level or other that they are entitled to use someone else’s body for their sexual gratification or rage/power/fantasy-fulfillment.

I’m grateful for the guilty verdict in the Steubenville case today. I’m outraged that the judge verbally admonished the boys for irresponsible behavior while drinking (including texting dirty pictures), but not for rape. I’m disgusted at the slap on the wrist these boys got in the form of one- and two-year sentences. But I’m hoping out of all this comes a real conversation about the culture that produces boys who aren’t even sure what rape is when they see it, and a system that treats rape victims like criminals.


Here’s a petition to remove that sorry excuse for a coach, and another to shame CNN into apologizing for their rapist sympathy.

Also, Jane Doe is donating all funds sent her way to her local women’s shelter and is asking that others do the same. (Worth reading.)

For more background on my history of abuse, read A Brief History (the Bad-Parts Version).

For a great breakdown of Steubenville and rape culture, read So You’re Tired of Hearing About “Rape Culture”?

And for commenters who would still like me to take responsibility for my rapes:


PSA: Trolls who comment here will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)


On Make Me a Sammich:

From the web:

194 responses

  1. So inspiring.

    December 13, 2015 at 8:43 pm

  2. I am so grateful for the women who do open their mouths and speak out. It is the most horrible moment in life, recounting the story, so praise the Lord for those who do. Here is mine: http://www.sspleasant.wordpress.com, I am One Lucky Gazelle….

    July 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

  3. Now, Cheryl, I told you you’re not allowed at the grownup table anymore. But keep posting! I’m happy to keep hiding your posts all day long, or ban you altogether if I must. But then you’d miss out on your spot in the Troll Gallery, and I know you don’t want that…

    April 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

  4. Oh, here it is: “And the Lord sayeth, if a feminist posts on the Interwebs something you dislike, go forth and troll her in my name and wish upon her that she take her own life, for I Am the Lord.” ~Chapter Naught, Verse Didn’t Happen

    April 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  5. PS. For those of you who can’t be bothered to go to the troll’s site, this was my response on the “article” (and I use that term EXTREMELY loosely) about Rosie:

    Good job Rosie! Looks like you attracted one of the most egotistical, insane, rape-apologist woman-haters OF ALL TIME!!!! (Holy shit, did he really just try to make the claim that the number one perpetrator of sexual assaults, rapes, molestations, domestic violence… ARE WOMEN!? Dude, this guy needs to learn how to use Google. And then NOT just pick pieces he likes best, but rather, pick the facts out! HAHAHAHA WHAT A TROLL!)

    April 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm

  6. OMG, check it out, you guys! I’ve been EXPOSED!


    April 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  7. KMAG

    WTH is Cheryl even talking about? I couldn’t follow the ramble.

    April 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

  8. Rape has so many definitions now it’s not only when it is done forcefully in a secluded place but even when husband does sex with his wife without her consent is also a rape. I feel disgusted with this word now. Men need to understand that they can’t just rape a drunk; scantily dressed or physically weak woman. Good on you to post this heart wrenching story here.

    April 23, 2013 at 10:14 am

  9. Thank you. Just… thank you.

    April 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm

  10. thank you so much for sharing this and i agree with many other comments – it takes courage to write about your stories, but i thank you for doing so. it’s difficult but this topic must be talked about or it will never change. i have read that other blog you are referring to in terms of the Steubenville case. I couldn’t agree more with what you have said and what that writer spoke of also. the only ones responsible for rape is the rapist… period end of story. i wish people would understand that fact.

    April 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

  11. you are very brave writing and coming out with your stories of the past, even if its traumatic…

    April 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

  12. Reblogged this on A Penny For Your Thoughts.

    April 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

  13. chasingclicks

    wow, so brave of you to share this , you are a strong person and hopefully opened the eyes of many .

    April 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

  14. Pingback: Guest Post: How Steubenville can make a positive difference | Knocked Up - Knocked Over

  15. I think you should start an outrage post. All women who have been sexually abused send, with or without names, reports on their attacks, these to be collected them and hopefully turned into a book like what’s his name did with Working.

    April 1, 2013 at 6:20 am

  16. I can very much relate to this….but wow how strong it is to be able to post your story! It is very clear you are prevailing and turning into a more beautiful and stronger person everyday!…Thanks for sharing! <3

    March 31, 2013 at 6:02 pm

  17. Props. You’re one strong woman! Keep shining and writing!

    March 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm

  18. Even being a victim coming from experience you still blame yourself. Was it something i done? Did i ask for this? It sticks with you.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

  19. Thank-you for sharing your story. Far too many people believe it’s their fault, it’s not but our society makes us feel like we should have done something different to prevent ourselves from being raped.
    It takes a great deal of inner strength to put your story out there for the world to see, thank-you for being strong enough to do this.

    March 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    • Hello brave, keep fighting the good fight, there are millions who are with you :)

      March 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

  20. Thank you for the courage to share your story.


    March 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

  21. Thanks so much to everyone for reading, sharing, and joining in the discussion. I’m falling behind on replies to comments, but I want to let you know I’ve read and appreciated each of them.

    I also want to repeat my offer: If you need a safe place to share your story, let me know. You can message me on my Facebook page:


    March 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

  22. Rob

    We need a few more “real” men to nail their colours to the mast: rape is ALWAYS wrong, irrespective of the demeanour of the woman involved, and in no-one’s best interest.

    March 26, 2013 at 4:42 am

  23. your story will help a lot more going through the same, or even worse. Thank you for your bravery.

    March 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm

  24. Thank you for sharing! You are so brave. We need more people like you who are breaking the silence and saying no more shame.

    March 25, 2013 at 1:30 am

  25. Reblogged this on DabblingwithNto and commented:
    not not saying No is NOT saying YES!!

    March 25, 2013 at 1:06 am

  26. It is way past time to have this conversation about rape. I get enraged every time I read about lawyers bringing up a victims past, as if that is the reason she was raped. And I’m tired of women being told they are asking for it by the way they dress, etc. Tell me again how an 80 year old grandmother was asking for it; or an 11 year old girl. And tell me how it’s not rape if it’s a husband and wife because she owes him sex just because they are married. I applaud you for writing this and having the courage to tell your story. We have to educate women as well as men, because there are women who think rape is okay because they ‘led him on’. Rape is never, ever, okay.

    March 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

  27. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s been incredibly upsetting to me watching the reactions to the Steubenville situation, and I am surprised and amazed by all the people coming forward to speak out. It’s incredibly important and I am hopeful that some change will be enacted. More communication about these situations is needed so we can work on making it better, thank you so much for sharing your (no doubt painful) experiences and I am sorry you had to go through that at all.

    March 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

  28. Thank you. I realise how challenging releasing this blog post would have been for you.
    I think it is also fair to note that young girls, in particular, see the world as a bright, shiny avenue where all the men are similar to Ryan Gosling in ‘The Notebook’, Channing Tatum in ‘Dear John’ and Josh Duhamel in ‘Safe Haven’. They think the world is a sappy romcom. I think that perpetrators prey on this and it pains me to know that the world I used to dream about in my childhood, is not the world out there.
    Awareness. Making children aware of this world and making rapists aware that their disgusting acts will not be tolerated.
    It is key.
    Key to a happier and safer world for all women. Nobody deserves rape. Ever.

    March 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

  29. Alice L

    Thank you for sharing this.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  30. As a man, this is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I don’t understand the thinking or lack of thinking that goes into “Hey, she’s drunk, she’s passed out, I think I’ll fuck her.” A woman isn’t asking for it, unless her mouth is moving and the words coming out of it are. When she’s passed out, she’s not asking for anything. But, I’ve walked away from several drunk girls over the years. Personally, sex with the very wasted is not all that enjoyable. A woman should be able to wear whatever she wants. I’ve always thought the insane double social standard about sex in this country (and others) is ridiculous. A woman who enjoys sex and is sexually active with different partners is no different than a man doing the same. We live in a violent culture. Violence breeds more violence. We live in a culture that tends to make women a commodity. The sexualization of young girls is disturbing, but has been a trend for some time.

    The sexual repression in this country is also one of the forces at work. I’m no psychologist or sociologist, but we seem to think it’s alright for a 14 year old to see several people being killed in a movie or television show, but god forbid, same 14 year old should see 2 people making love. But we live in a violent culture. We also live in a culture that tends to make women’s bodies a commodity. The sexualization of young girls is disturbing, but has been a trend for some time.

    I’ve tried through actions and words to raise a son who not only loved and appreciated women, but respected them as well. I don’t know if I succeeded. I can only hope.

    I am sorry for all of you who have experienced this terrible thing. I would encourage you to tell your stories, to build a community of voices, because there is possibility in that. The possibility for change.

    Once upon a time, drunk driving was “socially acceptable” even with the horrific results it so often produced. A group of women changed that. It took time. It took organization. It took courage. All of you who have spoken here have that courage.

    Thank you all for sharing this and for helping to open my eyes to the depth and width of this cultural disease.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm

  31. You were raped in your life three times??? Or is it four if you count each man when you were passed out? That sounds like a very horrible experience. I am really sorry to hear that.

    But as much as we can blame the rapists (obviously), I cannot stop and not blame your parents. Where were your parents when you were 12 and smoking joint? Where were your parents alllowing you to stay up all night at age 14?? For letting you stay overnight at who knows where, for letting you mixed with a bad crowd, for not noticing that bad things happened to you. You were just a child. And they were supposed to be the ones to protect and look out for you!

    March 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

    • jlmartinez815

      That is such a offensive comment.. for you who knows nothing it seems to me u should be weary of your choice of words.. for wat about those who are raped by the ones who where supposed to be protected by their parents???!!!! Parents who gave her a joint to make her want to feel sexual .. who wanted her to partake and some how with drugs enjoy it.. and who at every opportunity introduced her to sexual pronography films to get her in d mood… or who threatened her at the age of 9 that if she didnt do it they would simply move on to her siblings and rape them too… watch your words.. for you have no idea how they affect others… ..

      March 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

      • jlmartinez815


        March 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

      • jlmartinez, I have no idea what was offensive about what I said. People who you are describing simply are not parents. No normal parent would knowingly let his or her children to be abused or harm in any way. People you are describing are scum of the earth and they should be put to jail for life.

        Teenagers do stupid stuff. Their judgements are all screwed. Some of us get lucky, others not so much. And what happens to those unlucky ones carry forever and affect the rest of their lives. It’s a parent’s duty to make sure to guide their kids through and protect them. You can hate me but that’s what I strongly believe. But of course, there are always exceptions. Sometimes parents do everything to protect their children and that still can be not enough.

        March 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

        • jlmartinez815

          Yes, I agree teenagers do make unwise choices, yet, I also strongly believe a rapist is a rapist and I also believe with my whole heart there is NO JUST cause for anyone to rape .. no EXCUSES for someone to force anyone whether unconcious or concious to use someone in any manor for self gratification that is what I was trying to say. And as to those not being parents, unfortunately some of us are not as fortunate to have had guidance or protection from such “parents”.. Be what they may have to me that was the life I was given. I am greatful that I have done right by my children and will continue to guide them I pray they never have to find themselves in any situation where some thinks just because they are wearing the wrong thing or god forbid they drink to much they be taken advantage of. I dont hate you not all, I just dont agree that you may think someone has the right to take a bad situation and make it worse just because someone decides to party or go out. I pray no one ever has to go threw anything situation like that.

          March 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

          • jlmartinez815

            The offensive part to me was that .. not everyone has loving parents who care to show guidance or have patients with their children there exist many children who are left to fend for themselves.. just because their exist such ones as “Parents” not all of them give time to “raise them correctly”.. so it is offensive .. for some teenagers are naive and know far too little about the dangers of pretitors and therefore even if it did happen to them they would go on threw out a lifetime blaming themselves for the WRONG they where dealt , when it should be the violator and only the violator who has WRONGED one. I strongly believe we need to fully support those who have been abused, raped, or otherwised wronged. They have gone threw enough trauma for anyone to continue to BLAME or Accuse them of wrong doing thus judging them and critizing them for actions and choices they made.

            March 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm

            • jlmartinez815, I am sorry to hear the experience you have gone through. But just for the record, I never blamed or will blame the victim. I am a woman myself; why would I ever defend a rapist? As you said, a rapist is a rapist. There is no excuse, no “grey area” that perhaps it was okay.

              No real man would ever have sex with a woman or especially a child who is passed out or against her will. One has to be a sick person to do it. I am horrified to hear stories in India where it is happening every day. And in that sense, I completely support castration and throwing such a person in jail for life.

              By the way, I heard more than once that a person who survives abuse of any kind is a surviver rather than a victim. Akhila Kolisetty argued quite well in her blog, and I think she is making a good point:


              “I am of a firm belief that we should use the term “survivor” and not “victim.” ‘Victim’ implies passivity, acceptance of one’s circumstances, and a casualty. The word ‘victim’ robs individuals of their agency and their ability to fight back. ‘Survivor’ displays the individual’s resistance, ability to take action in the face of immense obstacles, and the day-to-day work of surviving despite immense trauma. ‘Survivor’ implies ingenuity, resourcefulness, and inner strength.

              I think using ‘victim’ diminishes the inner strength of those who have experienced any sort of domestic/sexual/gender-based violence — or really, violence more broadly. The truth is when trauma of this level hits an individual, even the simple act of surviving – making it to the next day – can involve immense strength. But calling someone a victim diminishes their agency in their survival, and makes light of all they are doing to keep going. It ignores the fact that many survivors are moving forward with their lives and healing from the trauma.”

              March 30, 2013 at 1:22 am

              • jlmartinez815

                Crazy Chess Girl.. Well, I must say I truely missunderstood you, for in your first comment I read the words : “I cant help but to blame the parents” I guess I just didn’t fully understanding you.. What a relief.. I just feel like there exist alot of children without parents even though they truely exist there cease to exist someone there for them, or for those that grow up without parents in foster care, or who have lost their parents. Yes, it is truely sad that these things are happening all around us.. and Thank you, I see it is true to call myself a survior.. I guess I also never took the time to really think of it that way, eye opening to me.

                March 30, 2013 at 7:19 am

                • jlmartinez815

                  My sincere apologizies, I guess sometimes I misinteript things wrong.. I’m too sensitive when it comes to this topic, because I feel so strongly about it, just the mere thought that it runs threw someones head to blame someone else for that ONE RAPIST actions throws me off completely. I like your words ” no grey area” its as simple as black and white, RAPE to me is just like MURDER its a CRIME and so ultimately WRONG.. Disturbing and violent.

                  March 30, 2013 at 7:53 am

                  • I am glad that we finally understood each other :-) English is not my first language so I get lost in translation once in a while.

                    I understood that the author had the parents. But I was not there, so perhaps I was out of the line with my comment. I tend to get emotional quickly and thus it explains my initial reaction. So I apologise to the author.

                    But I think you, jlmartinez815, are an amazing passionate woman and I admire your strength. I wish you and your family only the best.

                    March 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

                    • jlmartinez815

                      Thank YOU Crazy Chess Girl… I understand where coming from too. I myself react quickly sometimes too, and when I made my comment I was reffering to others as that dont have parents I understand maybe she did have parents, but I guess I got out of subject and reffered to human beings in general my apologies for that I got off topic. I Also with you the best in all your journeys and I am extremely happy that we understood eachother.. :D

                      March 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  32. Thank you for sharing. You are very brave.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

  33. Reblogged this on Meizac and commented:
    Sadly, I’m not the only blogger telling her story or giving others a platform to tell their stories. (Sadly? That’s right. Because we shouldn’t have these stories at all, never mind so many of them.)

    March 24, 2013 at 3:47 am

  34. amazing story. I think the statistics 1/4 women are raped means a great deal of women can relate to being “jane doe” and isn’t that that just of it. we become no one, a jane doe victim of a crime no one cares about. it helps to talk about it, to acknowledge that you did nothing wrong, and as devestating and disgusting as this case may be, at least it has opened up a global forum to discuss this societal issue that effects every one.
    i shared my thoughts here, check it out if you like, aiyanajane

    March 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

  35. patrickquashigah

    Reblogged this on korshiequashigah.

    March 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

  36. tracey28

    Thank you for sharing your story. Years ago, I was engaged to a chap who firmly believed there was no such thing as rape between two people who loved each other!! The guy I fell in love with would never have hurt me either, until he got depression and then the abuse started. And he raped me twice, the first time, it started off consensual but then in the middle of the act he started to hurt me, I asked him to stop and he didn’t, and ended up bruising me quite badly. I didn’t tell anyone, as he said, ‘who is going to believe you’ ‘nobody’ At that point I believed him. But sometimes you have to make a stand and I did eventually. Took a lot of guts on my part to get out of the relationship. I only told friends what went on after we split up as was too ashamed and blamed myself for a long time.

    I hate to hear people say that if you wear a mini skirt, you deserved to get raped. Its rubbish, we should all be able to wear what we want to wear and be safe.

    March 23, 2013 at 4:06 am

  37. This was a wonderful post. I actually was one of the contributors on the Taboo Tab that this was posted on (I wrote Prude and my blog is aliprescott.wordpress.com). I don’t mean wonderful in the sense that it happened, I mean wonderful that you shared this story. Today I was so upset when I saw on the news that people actually were making fun of that victim in the Steubenville case. It makes me so mad that a good amount of people are that uneducated. We all need to ban together to make sure these events are taken seriously. Only with education can we move forward. You are very brave and thank you for sharing. I shared everyone’s stories on the Taboo Tab with a women’s studies professor at my local college in the hopes that we can all work to make the world a safer place.

    March 23, 2013 at 12:04 am

  38. GOLLY. It was like reliving my college and high school years reading this. It’s shameful that society leaves us girls feeling at fault for partying. Amazing, powerful read. Thanks for sharing your experience. Without women willing to share, this will continue to go on.

    March 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

  39. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for helping me choose not to blame myself anymore.

    March 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

  40. schmoopielucas11

    Reblogged this on schmoopielucas11 and commented:
    Such a fascinating story that can hit all too close to home.
    Thank you for sharing.

    March 22, 2013 at 4:39 am

  41. Reblogged this on gautammandla96 and commented:
    To her is human (too). . .

    March 22, 2013 at 4:29 am

  42. passporttorainbows

    A society that blames the victim for the crime of a demented rapist is clearly losing its moral high ground and grasp of basic reasoning. I hope that you’ll be able to inspire more people to speak against that kind of treatment towards rape victims.

    March 22, 2013 at 3:25 am

  43. Heartbreaking… As a man, it is so hard to read about the hurt and pain that is caused by guys. I hope you know that there are men out there protecting women. Not all men view women as sexual objects.
    Can I pray for you?

    March 21, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    • Yes. Thank you.

      March 21, 2013 at 11:19 pm

  44. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    These are the words of a victim. One of the millions of victims that are raped in America each year. Please read her words.

    March 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm

  45. I have worked in Domestic Violence and as a rape counselor. I commend your courage to tell your story. Everything you said is true. Rape, despite years and years of advocating for women remains a horrible crime because women are still objectified in our society. There are millions of men who feel that a woman is property to be used and abused and then thrown away. We are currently finding ourselves in another war against women. Why? Because we are still second class citizens despite all of the work we have put into women’s issues. Rape is not about sex it is about power and control. I am going to reblog this because we as American people need to deal with this and stop raising gender biased children. I hope you will visit my site. Harmony and many blessings, Barbara, the Idealisticfrbel.

    March 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

  46. Thank you for this post – comments show how involved we all are. I agree with pickledwing – rape by men on men is horrendous and little known. I find Constance V. Walden’s comment, about what is wrong with men – that they apparently cannot control themselves really misrepresentative and unresearched, and agree with maturewideboy, ‘if you don’t want to be a rapist then don’t rape’.
    So much more needs to be done. It is absolutely disgraceful that this does not feature in mainstream education in the USA. Disgraceful that sex education and all matters around it is frowned upon. In Holland and Sweden sex education includes all matters concerning relationships and violence – including rape, because it is included in ‘relationships.’ The results are clear – extremely low number of rapes by population number – oh and if you think rapes are not being reported, then let me add this figure – Sweden has the highest number of reported rapes in Europe, but lowest rape statistic, why? Because Swedish women are NOT AFRAID to go to the police and report a suspected rape,if she thinks she may have been led into sex,or feels she agreed but was in a position where she felt she had to. It has ZERO stigma and is treated very seriously, and always investigated.

    March 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

  47. I have been truely moved by the strength of responses on this subject wow.

    March 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    • Thanks so much for reading and being part of the discussion. I’m very moved by the stories people are sharing, and honored they’ve chosen to share them here.

      March 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  48. If you don’t want to be a rapist then don’t fucking rape! great line and straight to the point. love it.Terrible what they put you thro the bastards , even your fellow girl students turned against you. Luckily you got through it.

    March 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  49. Your story demanded and got my attention. I agree 100% well written. I stopped some men abusing a drunk girl of only about 13-14 at a party 40 odd years ago .It made my stomach turn .Before they got i think to actually having sex with her.I then walked her home once she had sobered up. I don’t want praise for this you heart felt story just reminded me.

    March 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

  50. I worked in the tourism industry in New Orleans (my hometown) during the summers and Mardi Gras break in High School and college. Know what I told the naive white tourists from Beerbatter, Minnesota or other whitopias? Male AND female?

    Welcome to New Orleans. Stay sober if you want to be safe. Drunks are easy to rape, rob, disorient and sometimes kill. What an ideologue calls “Blaming the victim,” someone with common sense calls “warning the next likely target.”

    March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    • I get what you’re saying, and yes, we should all take precautions to stay safe. Taking precautions to stay safe (or warning someone to do so) is one thing. Making a mistake and being blamed for others taking advantage of you is another–and it’s something that is more likely to happen in cases of male-on-female rape than any other crime I’m aware of.

      March 22, 2013 at 7:53 am

  51. As a survivor of rape and child pedophile i thank you for writing so sincerely and honestly. It was/never will be your fault. that is something i too struggled with for a long time. Thank you for your honesty and much love and light for your future. We need to change this sick world and end the culture of rape and fear.

    March 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

  52. Wow !! Nice content

    March 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm

  53. Reblogged this on New World News.

    March 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

  54. Pingback: I Am Jane Doe | Head full of Fluff

  55. jlmartinez815

    Thank You from the bottom of my heart.. I’m not strong enough to speak of my past though I wish I could it’s too painful for me. Yet, as I read this passage and the comments I console myself with the tears that I have never been able to wipe away. I sympathize with all the victums and feel your pain. May everyone of you find the inner peace we all need to overcome these vial and cruel acts. I’ve realized over years and years that it was not my fault none of it was for I was only 9 years old to the age of 15 and still some years later to by others.. Robbed of my innocence, childhood, and the pureness I long to feel one day.. I feel pleased to read that you have the courage, strength and words to fill my heart with joy to know that their exist others who feel the way I do and are strong enough to speak out in our deffence .. I know there exist more than myself who may have gone threw so much more, and you reached the core of my heart and moved me to write a few lines.. I wish everyone the best on their journeys to recovery for I know the length of time it has taken on me all these years now 41 and I’m still struggling. Once again.. THANK YOU.

    March 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm

  56. Amazing story, truly eye opening. I don’t understand this whole ‘rape culture’ thing. I’m just catching on to all of it. I thought our society was better than that, but no – I guess it’s appropriate to condone rape. Absolutely shocking.

    March 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm

  57. blowingoffsteamandmore

    I couldn’t say it any better than the other commenters here. You are strong, brave and appreciated for telling a story that so many of us haven’t been able to publicly tell. I wish I had someone like you to talk with when I was 14. It’s a shame there are still people out there who think that because you make a bad choice or two that you deserve to be violated while you are unconscious. Being unconscious IS NOT consent. Thanks for sharing.

    March 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm

  58. I ‘liked’ your post, not because of the topic, but for your honesty and willingness to share. The part that scares me the most is, this could have been me. I think back to all the risky behaviours I embraced entering adulthood and am grateful the story of my growing isn’t worse. And it wouldn’t have been my fault, how can you fault a 5 year old hanging around the outside of a church waiting for her parents to pick her up, approached by some guy who asks if you need to go to the washroom and takes you behind some shrubs and ‘squats’ with you, his pants down too, while you pee. When I came to the realization, years later, what all that was really about, I was sick to my stomach and outraged and horrified. No means no, especially when you don’t know.

    March 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

  59. Thank you for sharing your story. It has caused me to rethink some events that happened to me when I was younger. Wow, I never thought of it as rape.

    Thanks again.

    March 21, 2013 at 6:58 am

  60. beingthathumanthing

    I’m glad you spoke about this. I can relate to this, I just can never get past the blaming myself part for my own experience. But thankyou, and thankyou for sharing.

    March 21, 2013 at 6:06 am

  61. I was really moved by your story. I’m not a rape victim but just the same I feel like I’ve been a victim of this unfair society. I was raised by mom to believe that if I’m not extra careful I could be raped. Simply because it’s a cruel world out there. Even up to college my mom would drive me to school or bring me home from school. Plus, I had a curfew. I was almost never allowed to go on parties because parties meant drinking alcohol. And to my mom drinking could lead to rape. With all the date rape stories of other people that she told me, I just had to believe her. Through my growing up years that’s the one thing I feared – rape. I wasn’t allowed to sleep overnight at a friend’s house not until I turned 26 (I’m turning 28 this year). Looking back now on my younger years, I feel like I missed out on all the fun just because my mom thinks it’s not safe for me out there. Because I’m a girl and I could raped.

    Reading your story brought me to a sad realization. it’s us women who have to watch our acts because this society believes that if you get drunk and get raped then it’s your fault. These unjust standards of our society has to change. Like you I’m happy on the guilty verdict of the Steubenville case. I hope they get their own version of rape in jail.

    March 21, 2013 at 5:48 am

  62. This is not to deny the evil that is rape, but it should be asked: Does lying to you Mom about your whereabouts and drinking to unconsciousness at the age of fourteen make you partially culpable?

    March 21, 2013 at 5:26 am

    • No.

      March 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

      • Wrong.

        March 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        • You’re entitled to your opinion. The fact that you asked the question tells me you didn’t understand the article, or didn’t read it, or just don’t care. The fact that you responded to my answer the way you did tells me it’s probably some combination of the three, but I don’t really care. I’m sick of trying to explain to people like you why rape is never the victim’s fault. Please take your victim-blaming somewhere else. It’s not welcome here.

          March 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

          • I believe you are right. I most likely did not understand you, being unaware that the consequences of getting drunk and high, with rape SOMETIMES being one of those consequences, are never the fault of the person who got drunk and high. This is revelatory for me. Thank you.

            March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

            • Wow, you are so damned clever, I think I’m going to just give up now. Closing my blog, guys, because Taylor outsmarted me with his wittty, witty wit!

              March 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm

        • KS

          sounds like you’re one of those kind who is trying to figure out just how much rape you can get away with.

          April 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    • leah wolfe

      Since culpable means deserving of blame then no. Being responsible for where you go and who you hang out with is important, but the only one deserving of blame for rape is the rapist. Sorry, culpability does not belong to any victim.

      March 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    • jlmartinez815

      u know this is such a idiotic way of thinking.. wat about those who are raped and abused for years by their parents.. Dont be so sinico… so who is to blame the child at such a young age??? who? who??? I dont think so.. a rapist will rape just to rape not just because she looks good, acts in such a way, a rapist is a sick individual in his own world and his own head he thinks he can do what ever he wants at any given time with any given person.. he doesnt need your permission nor your opinion nor your compasion,, but with comments like these you sure make them more powerful!!!!! Of course this is not just my opinion… for its comments like these that make a rapist comform himself with his actions and make him approve even more readily for his next vitcum… So be proud of your comment and hope one day someone close to you doesnt get the same treatment, or perhaps even yourself.. Good Day to you.

      March 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    • KS

      nope! you’re not very good at this game. everyone’s seen far better than you play it before. but i’m sure you were a paragon of virtue, physically incapable of ever lying as a teenager! you’d be quite a unicorn, but it must be so!

      April 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  63. Pingback: I Am Jane Doe | Riot in my head.

  64. The truth is, no matter what the scenario or what happened. A man assaulting or forcing a woman to do something without her consent or against her will is no longer a man, but a coward and barely human anymore but an animal. Sorry you had to go through what you did and kudos for being brave to talk about it.

    March 21, 2013 at 4:35 am

  65. reikielf

    As a man I’m sad to say many other men, or I should say – excuses for men – are nothing but opportunist rapists. It comes from a cauldron of arrogance, ignorance, non-empathy, and a form of deeply embedded anger/hatred due to the fact women don’t find them attractive. A genuine, respectful man can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Thank you for writing this, going through the pain of your memories in order to help prevent it happening to others is the only way to show our true strength and character.

    March 21, 2013 at 3:43 am

  66. leah j. wolfe

    Love the blog. Great title.
    What I find the most disturbing about this post is not its content, it’s that it has a caveat. We’re pretty sad when we’re afraid to speak, sadder still when we’re afraid to hear.

    March 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  67. I greatly admire your courage in sharing this. I am very sorry that this happened to you. I have 2 daughters and my heart breaks thinking about the world they will enter. Those boys deserve alot mire punishment than they got. I hope you yourself are able to move past your hideous experiences. Thank you for this post.

    March 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

  68. Leah

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I had read this earlier in the week, and I’m so glad this post and the others you linked to from Belle Jar got picked up, too.

    “What causes rape? Rapists. People who believe on some level or other that they are entitled to use someone else’s body for their sexual gratification or rage/power/fantasy-fulfillment.” – This line is excellent, by the way.

    Thank you for sharing, and for your wonderful blog.

    March 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

  69. Beautifully written. I have been considering the idea of sharing my story which is similar on my site. Every time I think to start writing about it, I don’t because blame myself. Thank you for writing your thoughts.

    March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

  70. Thank you for sharing this. I know of three ladies who are rape victims, one of which is my daughter. This really hurts a person’s life, self image, and their relationships men. My daughter was 14 when she was raped and she kept it a secret from me for a long time. Her behavior became so bad, that for some reason, some sort of sexual abuse became a possibility in my mind. Than, she told me what had occurred.

    The other two victims: A mother who was raped by her father, and the same woman’s daughter who was raped by a relative visiting her family in her own house.

    What is wrong with men that they cannot control themselves and their actions towards their fellow human beings?


    March 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

  71. Yes she was drunk and yes she is a teenager but she still had the right to her body didn’t she? And to think that her fellow girls are threating her. Really? It could have been them

    March 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm

  72. Wow. You are so strong. I’m sorry that happened to you

    March 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm

  73. Very well written

    March 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  74. nantubredesigns

    Dear Kindred Spritis All,
    There are so many of us. I wish I could have read something like this a looong time ago, maybe some of my life choices would have been more rewarding. I don’t know when I was raped for the first time. I believe I was a victim of sexual abuse by a family member. I grew up knowing it was wise not to be alone with this person but never questioned myself why. Then when I was 14 (get that?) I got drunk at a party and woke up without my clothes on. I still had no idea what happened, naive person that I was. There was a time in my life when I became very promiscuous, mostly choosing partners that were unattainable or somehow broken and needed fixin’. Looking back, I never thought to put two and two together as per the reasons behind my promiscuity or lack of good judgement concerning bedfellows. I just did it, apparently thinking sex=love. When I was 39, January 2, 1992, election day, I found out what sexual assult felt like. It was a date rape and I never reported it because of my past behavior. And I felt like it was my own fault. Fast forward to 2005, after the Katrina disaster here in the south, I found out that my childhood perpitrator also abused another member in my family. I had the opportunity to confront him and boy, did I. I called him every name in the book. I wanted to kill him and it might have been a physical confrontation except for the fact that he was in a weaked state having just had surgery and somewhere deep inside me, I just couldn’t do it. I like to think of it as Divine Intervention because I had so much rage, I was out of control.
    Then something amazing happened. Suddenly I felt empowered. I could confront this bastard and unload. But more than that, I discovered that all these years growing up when I felt ‘less than’, never good enough, seriously inhibited and socially inappropriate, it wasn’t my fault. I am ok. I’m not ‘less than’. I am good enough. In fact, I’m pretty special, way too good to let a crazy man or two, or more, control my life any longer.
    Of course there are always residual effects to just about anything. Mine is over-achieving, I suppose because of the years I wasted thinking I wasn’t good enough to accomplish anything worthwhile. Since I have become closer to being whole, I have learned so much, not just personally but other things, for example, painting, making jewelry, writing (just published my first novel Secrets of the Old Ladies Club). I married again. I have grandchildren and have learned how to love. And I’m almost 59. I love my life.

    March 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • This is a wonderful contribution to the discussion. Thank you.

      March 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

  75. “If the crime was murder, we never would. Because drunk girls don’t cause murder any more than they cause rape.” I think this is an excellent point and a good perspective for the “asking for it” culture to explore. I mean, I think it’s along the lines of people who smoke and then get lung cancer. Just because they know it could happen does not mean they “deserve” it or you shouldn’t feel badly that it happened to them…right?

    March 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

  76. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

    March 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

  77. wendywie

    Reblogged this on wendywie.

    March 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  78. Reblogged this on chasingdreamsandstuff.

    March 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

  79. On so many levels, thank you.

    March 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    • Thank you for reading.

      March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  80. Alice Janie

    Just sitting here crying…for all the years I’ve shamed myself and blamed myself for being raped. Thank you for sharing your story.

    March 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

    • Oh, Alice, I’m so sorry for those years you felt at fault. You were not. You are not. You are a survivor.

      March 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

  81. I agree with everyone else: Your openness and honesty is to be admired. Thanks for sharing at such a crucial moment. I agree with your thoughts on the Steubenville case.

    March 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

    • This really did seem like the right moment to speak up, and I’m glad I didn’t hesitate or I might have chickened out. Thank you for reading and for your support.

      March 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

  82. Thank you for having the guts to write this. So many of us who read it will likely have a similar story to tell. Very timely post.

    March 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

    • I’m grateful for the chance to connect with others who have been through this or something similar, especially now when we really have a chance to have a conversation about this in the mainstream. Thank you for reading, and for your words of support.

      March 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

  83. its taken me several tries to get down any words that would express my gratitude in the strength found in these pages. im a 28 year old male and my sister, 13 years my elder, is my best friend who has been my guiding light and a voice of reason and hope for as long as i can remember. there are still things that she still cant tell me, but she likes to reflect on crazy nights with pals when she busted her knuckles on this fella or that for acts unbecoming a gentleman. which inspired in me a need to life up to particular expectations, ie be respectful, chivalry is nice but not always necessary (can be condescending), that i could be strong and still have a kind heart, in other words if your not a jackass you wont get punched haha. ive only seen something trigger a reaction on a few occasions when interacting outside the family, just a grimace or a clenching of fists. a few beats later and shed shrug it off, just the way she deals with it i guess. never knew what it meant until now. we’re a few hundred miles apart now a days and both of us are constantly on the go, conversations are short but healing. its good to ‘hear’ some of that same boldness and strength expressed here. i hope this finds you in good health and good spirits, all the best in these trying times. sk

    March 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

    • Thank you so much for this. The way you talk about your sister is very touching. I’m glad she has you, and I’m glad you have her. <3

      March 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

  84. I have heard and read so many stories of rape victims being blamed for their misfortune and yet this is the first place that I read something like Mindy’s statement that no one seeing a drunk, sleeping man thinks to take off his clothes and insert something into his body. True. I don’t ever look at people, awake, sober, asleep, or drunk and think, gee, I could hurt that person and it would be okay. Sex without another person’s adult consent is an act of violence. Instead of putting ourselves in the place of the perpetrator and making excuses for violent behavior, we should identify with the victim and ask the perpetrator what did you construe to be consent?
    Perpetrator without a prior criminal record? Not good enough.
    Perpetrator expected to help the school win a sporting contest? Not good enough.
    Other people were doing it? Not good enough.
    Victim teased (whatever that means) the perpetrator? Not good enough.
    Victim not putting up much of a fight? Not good enough.
    Unconscious victim? Not good enough.
    Drunk perpetrator or victim? Not good enough.
    Drugged perpetrator or victim? Not good enough.
    Past sexual activity of the victim with others? Not good enough.
    In the wrong place at the wrong time? Not good enough.
    Paid sex worker? Not good enough.
    Too young to know he or she is being used or object? Not good enough.
    Past sexual activity by the victim with the perpetrator? The perpetrator still has some serious explaining to do. That’s why we have spousal rape laws. It should not be too much to demand that someone ask. Rape is not about sexuality. It is about violence. Rosie, thanks for your courage in joining Jane Doe in demanding respect for the victims.

    March 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

  85. Thank you for telling my story.

    March 20, 2013 at 9:52 am

    • This comment, brief as it is, really moved me. Thank you.

      March 20, 2013 at 10:15 am

  86. kloipy

    As a male survivor who is able to speak out about it, it definitely is an issue that needs addressed. There is never a reason to rape anyone. It is either consensual or it is not. There really isn’t a grey area. I believe there is something fundamentally wrong mentally with a person who commits this act, and that does not absolve them of their crime. I think it is good practice to teach the same lesson to both genders, but I also think it is dangerous to think that all boys or girls are inherently rapists.

    The laws in this country concerning rape are not even close to strict enough and with a culture that is still fixated on making excuses does itself no favors to preventing this from happening.

    One of the longest lasting effects from the years of abuse I suffered is that I am extremely wary of being close with anyone. I don’t like being touched, even if it is nothing more than a pat on a back from anyone other than my close family or friends. I always fear that something would be misconstrued and that something would be lobbed on me. As someone who struggled for years of pain and self-hate, I’m terrified that anyone would accuse me or even think i could have the potentinal for something like that within me.

    I wish I could say that I think there is an answer for this, and perhaps one day there will be, but I think it will have to come from a widespread understanding and shift in consciousness that will help to change that.

    Really great post and I hope you continue being strong

    March 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I sort of went in the opposite direction: after years of abuse and then multiple rapes, I became promiscuous and yearned for that contact. But that didn’t help.

      I think this conversation is a start to that shift in consciousness. Thanks for being a part of it.

      March 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

  87. Thank you for sharing your story. I almost posted my story yesterday, but I’m not quite sure I’m ready yet. I am never shy to speak up against rape, but when it comes to sharing the details of what happened to me, I clam up. So glad you are brave enough to share, it helps the rest of us feel hope for a future where we will not be blamed anymore.

    March 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

    • Thank you. A few people have approached me about sharing their stories here, anonymously, so I will be posting some of those in the near future. So if you or anyone reading needs an anonymous platform, mine is available.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

      • Thank you, I will definitely consider the offer. You’re an incredible example for us all!

        March 20, 2013 at 9:52 am

  88. Of course blaming the victim isn’t the way to go, but saying “Rapists cause rape” doesn’t work either. Rapists don’t cause rape, something causes rapists. Sometimes poor upbringing, sometimes abuse, sometimes straight out mental illness. Not to make excuses for them, but there certainly must be something behind what they do for them to even bring themselves to do something so low.

    Beyond rape, what your post really brings across is key changes we have to make in society on a variety of fronts.

    From a very early age, we must raise children of both genders with a clear sense of personal accountability for their own individual actions. We must also practice what we preach. It’s never to early to learn about consequences.

    Also very clear in your post is a reminder of how we really need to examine the relationship our societies have with alcohol and other intoxicants both legal and illegal.

    I know you’re human and I don’t want to sound unsympathetic, but I do have more than a bit of trouble reconciling with your comment:

    “The alcohol, the pot, my anti-depressants—all that ensured that I was good and unconscious for I don’t know how long.”

    It’s long been known those three substances do not mix and you were 35 at the time you mixed them. Rapist or no rapist in your presence, that’s just a poor judgment call.

    March 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

    • You’ve made some good points here, but I could have done without you pointing out the obvious. I’ve had problems with drugs and alcohol all my life, and having people judge me has never helped. The point is, my “poor judgement call” does not make me at fault for being raped. Thanks for reading.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:32 am

      • Fair enough, sorry for pushing a bit towards the end of my post.

        I suppose I’ve just seen alcohol and drugs lead too many otherwise intelligent people I’ve known do some very stupid and out of character things.

        March 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

        • Hey, it’s led me to do stupid and out-of-character things. As Mindy pointed out above, however, men who pass out drunk don’t tend to get violated, and when they do, no one says, “Well, you *were* passed out drunk, after all….”

          March 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

          • I have a feeling that men passed out drunk at parties and being subjected to degrading acts happens more often than anyone thinks.

            However, like female sex offenders, it doesn’t play so well with the media and they tend not to run with it and when they do run with it, they tend to approach it in that tongue and cheek “Darwin Awards” fashion which adds insult to injury.

            I really wonder if there is any accurate statistic out there for guys that ended up needing to go to emergency for something undignified someone else did to them while taking advantage of their drunken state that just never went further than the medical and police reports.

            There’s countless victimized guys out there quietly following the old school “Suck it up” and “Be a man” and “Tough it out” ideals of eras past when it comes to such pains; I’ve known more than a few of them.

            March 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

            • You might be right about that. I’d hate to make a bad assumption.

              March 20, 2013 at 10:14 am

            • katie

              sure if a man passes out at a party they might draw on his face or stack cans on his head id rather have that than get raped you cat compare the two

              April 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      • You handled that comment very well Rosie. Your honesty is very important. I hope that your blog reaches as many readers as possible. Women and men should have the utmost respect for one another and each others bodies. This has made me realise that I did not handle a moment in my own history properly. There is a person I will be reaching out to to make right, a wrong. I once made excuses for a rapist. At the time I did not believe that anything had gone really wrong. I did not want the victim to feel that they had been raped, so I told her that perhaps they had been fooling around and it was a drunken accident that the guy continued. I feel terrible about it and understanding what the victim might have been feeling. It was just as your story described with drinking. I judged when I should have supported and listened, I did not want to believe the worst. Thank you for sharing your story.

        March 21, 2013 at 5:06 am

    • your comment pretty much sums it up!

      March 22, 2013 at 2:18 am

  89. Chizzy

    I went on to sign that petition to get CNN to apologize for their idiotic misogyny, but I feel like we still have such a long way to go. It starts with teaching boys not to rape and think they’re entitled to sexual pleasure by means of assaulting girls, whenever they feel like it. Every week, there is a new story about a woman who got gang raped, and I’m wondering why are they only happening now (no doubt I’m glad it’s getting attention), and why hadn’t these incidents been brought to light all these years before? Is there a change in attitudes? I hope so.

    Now, I have a little story of my own to share. I guess this is the right place for it.

    I’m a 20-year-old girl (almost a woman) who had her childhood robbed off her when she innocently went to stay over at a family friend’s house, and was told to share a room with the adults’ eldest son. I still can’t remember what happened that night, but I know in my mind that I didn’t like it. I only told my mother about this last year after I watched a painful rape scene in “For Coloured Girls”. Luckily, she believed me and she was so heartbroken at why I didn’t tell her all these years. I was scared that I was going to cause trouble. And if I did have a big mouth as six-year-old, I might’ve started trouble.

    For the past 14 years, I went about healing myself by myself without anyone’s help, and I have managed to get over it. The only thing that brings me to tears is the sadness in my mother’s eyes when I told her this. I don’t know if she told my father (I hope she did, because it will be hard to tell him myself). In the past few months, I had been socialising on Twitter with older women who seemed so wise and broke all the myths that society had made me believe about how a woman should act.

    According to society, a girl like me (who is sexually active and goes out wearing short dresses and skirts because I want to) is a slut. I’ve even had people who I thought were my friends tell me that my sexual history is going to incriminate me because apparently guys on campus (which is quite small in contrast to, say, the University of Cape Town) are spreading lies about me being “easy” and “out of control”. At first this all scared me, then I realised that I actually do not care what people have to say about me, because they did not make my life for me. They know nothing, only what they hear, and it’s all just Chinese whispers.

    I don’t know if I’m completely well and healed of the pain I silently went through before, but it’s not going to hold me back. I’m just lucky that I come from a family where the few people who know about what happened support me and do not try to blame me for what happened. After all, how could a six year old girl have asked to be molested anyway??

    March 20, 2013 at 8:51 am

    • whilst i sympathise with what happened as a child, which you are not in any way responsible for, I do have to put across the view that the way you dress and behave is a signal for others to judge you, and as such is liable to make people react in certain ways towards you. As a woman who has been on the receiving end of rape, twice, in very differing circumstances, I am able to say that from personal experience, who you hang around with and count as ‘friends’, your own actions (getting very drunk to passing out stage) and what you wear, are all things within your control and all things which put you in situations that are conducive to attracting certain thoughts from others. On no account am I saying that men are entitled to rape anyone by what the woman is wearing etc but what I am saying is that you have a choice as to how you behave, who you socialise with, and how you appear to others. If you don’t want rumours to be spread, don’t flaunt yourself in a way that makes others speak like that; if you don’t want to be taken advantage of, dont get so drunk you pass out; never go home alone – make sure true friends stick together; and don’t ever go back to someones house without making sure you are safe and in control. Anyone can have a side you dont know about, and as a woman its up to you to not put yourself in a risky situation if you can possibly avoid it. this may be a controversial view, but i firmly believe that rape culture is exaggerated by women who do not safeguard themselves, and those who do safeguard themselves and still get raped are the victims of men who really want to do harm and don’t need the situation where most men are just opportunistic. Many men sadly dont have boundaries and will be opportunistic with sex in any situation. if anyone disagrees with that, take a look around the local bars/campuses and you will see opportunistic men every day, waiting for a woman to come along and sleep with him. they are not choosy!

      March 22, 2013 at 2:15 am

      • KS

        newp, still victim blaming. even if you pretend you’re not.

        April 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

  90. I wrote about something similar on my blog Monday. I find it disgusting that women are lead to think that becuase they might be a little drunk or even super-drunk, men have an excuse to pull their penises out. Rapists casue rape, and this culture of victim-blaming has to stop. If it doesn’t, I fear for the futures of many young women around the world.

    March 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

    • I share your fear, and I’m in the fight until there’s nothing to fight anymore. Thank you.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

      • No thank you, for joining in on the discussion. We need as many voices as possible.

        March 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

  91. Stumbled upon you from Freshly Pressed. So glad I did. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    March 20, 2013 at 8:29 am

    • I’m glad you did, too. Thank you for reading.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

  92. Marcela Cava Balsa


    March 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

    • Thank you!

      March 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

  93. Marcela Cava Balsa


    March 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

  94. A powerful blog. Glad you wrote it

    March 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

    • Thanks. So am I. It’s been cathartic.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

  95. Thank you for sharing your story to us! Many would not have been so brave to do so. You have awesome courage. Thank you.

    March 20, 2013 at 7:38 am

  96. First of all, thank you for sharing such a personal story that sadly, I think many women could relate with. Second, to add to your point, I’m quite sure if your boyfriend, or any member of the male persuasion passed out from drinking at a party, it would immediately be obvious to every member of the party that undressing him and sticking any object, whatsoever in his anal region would be absolutely inappropriate. Any action as such against a man would ALWAYS be deemed rape in our society, without any blame on the gentleman for provoking the situation.

    I see the incosistency in our society, and rather than teaching my nieces “not to get raped”, I will teach my sons NOT TO RAPE. Thank you very much for the share.

    March 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

    • Thanks, Mindy. Excellent points. Your sons will grow into men who understand that women are people, and for that, you are a hero.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm

  97. Reblogged this on maha's place.

    March 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

  98. You’re one brave chick. It’s so important for these stories to be told.

    March 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    • Thanks so much. It really is.

      March 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

  99. I copied this from the Change.org petition asking CNN to apologize. It was posted by “Jane Doe.”

    I was raped by four men in one evening. I got drunk and tried to say no. What did my predators do? They told me to drink more. They shoved a bottle in my face and told me to keep drinking. Drink till I was drunk enough to fuck them. I blacked out. They urinated on me. They assaulted me. They shoved foreign objects in my body, anally and vaginally. They took videos. I was just 16 years old. The video was sent around my entire school, and I was bullied every single day of my senior year of high school. I lost all of my friends. I was physically and verbally abused by peers and people I once called friends. Someone tried to set me on fire in the hallway during passing period. Nobody sympathized with me. Nobody cared about the fact that because of these events, I was trying to kill myself every single day. I was cutting myself, making myself puke, showering upwards of fifteen times a day because I felt filthy. I was scratching and peeling the skin off of my body because I was dirty. I looked at myself like I deserved what I got. The world saw me as dirty, so I began to see myself that way, too. My rapists were praised by my peers for their deed. I never had a voice. When I first learned about the Steubenville incident going to trial, I was overjoyed. Because Jane Doe’s story was my story, and if anyone deserved justice, it was her. She would get the justice I never got. She would change the tide of the rape culture movement. Despite the horrific events that occurred, I knew that the justice served would help ease her pain. But she didn’t get justice, and now she has to witness this news coverage, favoring and sympathizing with her attackers. Pain is not an accurate word to describe what she is feeling right now. Pain is the simplest term you could use. As a rape victim and an aspiring journalist, I am disgusted with the way this case was reported on. Jane Doe’s rapists deserve their suffering in prison. They deserve more. They do not deserve to be sympathized with. They made their stupid decision, and they deserve whatever consequences come their way. If you don’t want to be labeled as a rapist, don’t fucking rape.

    March 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    • ^THIS. Thank you for this post, and for your story. It breaks my heart, but people need to read this.

      March 21, 2013 at 7:15 am

  100. ugh, that was a really good article. you know how to do it without going napalm-rage-rant, which i suppose ultimately loses people. Good work, all around, everything.

    March 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    • Thank you. I’m good at compartmentalization, I guess.

      March 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      • whatever you call it, keep it up. you are inspiring me.

        March 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm

  101. Thank you for posting. I figure the judge yelled at the boys because it glorified rape, and not the rape itself.

    Having been raised by a total and complete misogynist Father, we were raised that if a woman wore a miniskirt she was asking for rape. The “sex talk” we were given by him too was “boys: don’t go and get her pregnant” and “girls: you’re not to have sex.”

    March 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    • Yikes. So sorry you grew up in a situation like that, but also so glad you grew into the awesome woman you are now!

      March 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  102. What I find so disturbing is that someone rasied their sons to be this cruel and sadistic. It wasn’t enough to rape her they had to publically humiliate her. And I don’t have a shred of sympathy for them. They’re crying ’cause they were sentenced to jail. I’ve heard of numerous cases of gang rape that happened in a city I lived in and in, some cases, to a friend of a friend. Most times the victim was shamed and blamed for what happened to her. We need to raise our girls to be more careful about getting drunk, who they hang around etc. And we need to raised our boys to be human beings. I have two sons and I’m blessed to say they would even THINK about doing something this sick.

    March 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

    • aw man, you sound like a great dad.

      March 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      • Thanks! I’m a great Mom. Or I like to think so anyway. I guess it’s time for me to change my profile pic :)

        March 18, 2013 at 10:11 am

        • aaaahahaha! best internet misunderstanding ever. I am so mean, I should have looked closer at your pic! I saw “valjeanne” and equated it to jean valjean from les miserables. well you sound like the best parent, i bet your boys are salt of the earth like my brother

          March 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

          • oy, cheers on making the the freshly pressed page!

            March 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

            • Thank you! :D

              March 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    • Yeah, we’ve really got to push back on the victim-blaming/shaming wherever we see it. Thanks, Valjeanne, for raising boys who get it.

      March 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    • So right. If we only tell girls to be responsible, we’re only working on 50% of the population. 100% of the population needs to be taught to do the right thing and give other people basic human respect.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    • afarmingartist

      I agree with Valjeanne’s comments. We must teach our young people to never leave themselves vulnerable to predators by using drugs or alcohol. I have three boys and spend a great deal of time teaching them about respect, trust ad self control. God bless.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:25 am

  103. I was surprised by the Adjudicated Delinquent verdict. Even with the overwhelming amount of evidence. I was still so surprised. More than a tad unhappy with the amount of time to be spent jailed. But glad they are getting some time at least. And hopefully a lot of counseling while in there.

    March 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

    • Unfortunately, I’m afraid the system is too broken for me to expect they’ll get any real help. I mean, I do hope for that. I hope they learn something more than, “Dude, not a good idea to text your rape pics and post your rape videos on YouTube,” which is basically what the judge told them. My hope is that this serves as an education tool for people who aren’t really sure what rape is or when they’re doing it or having it done to them. Let’s keep talking about it.

      March 18, 2013 at 6:20 am

  104. Something like this happened to me when I was 14. I blamed myself until a couple years ago. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps other people not feel as alone.

    March 17, 2013 at 9:14 am

    • I’m so sorry you went through this, Tina. But I’m glad you no longer blame yourself. And you sharing here will help someone else. So thank you.

      March 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

  105. How many stories like this must be out there that could be told by women who shamed themselves instead of their rapists, or who were instructed by their families and friends to feel responsible for someone else’s actions? I think the number must be shamefully large. Shameful because they haven’t told the stories for fear of judgement, and shameful because there are still people out there who would judge them.

    What will change the society in which rape is condoned by one’s society in so many ways? Not one thing, but a lot of things over time. First we have to admit there’s a problem that has a solution.Children who know their own and others’ bodies are sacrosanct will grow up to take precedence and make laws. Meantime we continue to point out what’s right and wrong, and change minds by example when possible.

    March 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

    • Yeah, I can’t even imagine how many girls and women go through this. Too many. And teaching kids about respect and bodily autonomy will go a long way toward solving the problem for future generations. We’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to changing minds, but I’m in it to win it.

      March 18, 2013 at 6:01 am

  106. It has taken great courage for you to share your story here in the past, and I’m sure it was especially hard today. But it’s a story that needs to be told. Everyone needs to understand that it’s never a woman’s fault when she’s raped, and the perpetrators of violence must be held accountable. Thank you for your courage and honesty.

    March 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

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