There were two incidents. The first was actually an attempted rape. I was 14, I think. We lived in Georgia and were preparing to move to Texas. My parents were both in the Navy Reserves and were in Atlanta for the weekend. My friends in the neighbourhood were dropping over frequently to commiserate with me over having to leave when the cute boy I was crushing on had finally started noticing me (my skin was the wrong colour–he preferred black girls, and no one at school could understand it or at least would admit to understanding it). The woman who was staying with us for the weekend was very ditzy. I was in my parents’ bedroom, changing the sheets on the bed, when one of my friends arrived. He came into the bedroom and was chatting me up. I don’t remember how it happened, but suddenly I was on my back on the bed and he was on top of me, pressing his lips hardly against mine, pressing his body against mine, attempting to pry open my legs. I remember finally getting the strength to shove him off, and ordered him to leave. He was ashamed. He let his emotions for me take over, and lost me as a friend because of it. My mother was a police officer, and I knew to call the cops. They came, and smirked at me because I was wearing a tank top and short shorts (please–it was in the 70’s), like they thought I was asking for it. After they left, I took a shower and scrubbed every inch of my body until it hurt. The case did go to trial, and if I recall correctly he was given community service. I could never look at him again. Even seeing him in the courtroom was painful. How had my friend turned into a predator?
My legitimate rape, where my rapist succeeded, got me when I was drunk. I might have even been high–I think I smoked pot definitely once, perhaps twice. I was 19, living on my own. I was lonely, scared, needy. He was a new neighbour–his family had just moved in next door and I, trying to be a friendly neighbour, took over a cake or some cookies or something to welcome them to the apartments. A few days later, when I was either drunk and/or high, he came over and started kissing me. I wasn’t prepared to have sex with him or anybody else, but he forced me, and I did not have control over my body. He was on top of me, there was a sharp pain, and he got dressed and left. I was just laying there, wondering what the hell had just happened, seeing the blood stain on my comforter. He took my virginity when he raped me. I didn’t get pregnant, but it’s not because it was or wasn’t a legitimate rape. It was a rape. He hurt me. I couldn’t consent. I couldn’t fight against him. I don’t even remember his name, or what he looked like. I just remember that he hurt me.
Another man at that same apartment complex tried to rape me. Fortunately that night I hadn’t smoked any pot, and I don’t know if I’d even had any alcohol. It was the night before I was moving to live with my mother in another part of the state, and I’d asked if I could stay at their apartment that night. They were going to help me load my trailer in the morning. So I was on the sofa, almost asleep, when I felt a hand on my breast. I screamed, got up, grabbed my shoes and ran to my apartment and bolted the door. That man sat outside my door, knocking for literally two or three hours before he finally gave up and left. I couldn’t call the police because I didn’t have a phone. At 3 a.m., I threw whatever I could move by myself into the trailer, and abandoned everything else and left at 4 a.m. I didn’t trust him or anyone else at that point.
When people try to say that a situation wasn’t rape, or that it wasn’t legitimate, it’s like being raped again. Eve Ensler wrote a brilliant article on that issue in Huff Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html). Take a few minutes and read that. Sadly, the men and women who share opinions comparable to Mr. Akins probably will never read it, never understand why the things they are saying and doing are so terrible. I hope that they never have to deal with it in their own lives and families, but I do hope that somewhere along their journey they are able to develop compassion and understanding.