Any situation where a women says "no" even one time is enough to have a real man stop. I would absolutely consider this a date rape. This same thing happened to me many...
Was I raped?
Originally Published: August 22, 2003 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 5, 2012
In the beginning, I told my boyfriend that I don't want to have sex outside of marriage and he accepted that.
But then, about a week ago, I made a very big mistake and allowed him to take my clothes off completely and enter my vagina slightly. I know it was wrong and the following day I told him that I didn't feel right about it and I didn't want us to do that again.
Unfortunately, the very next day, we were alone together, and we got a bit carried away again. But when he tried to "enter" me, I said: "I think we should stop now, let's stop — ok? Please, let's stop now. I don't feel right about this." But he didn't... he spread my legs anyway and got on top of me. And he penetrated me quite deeply. As he was doing it, I was saying, "Stop, please, I really think we should stop," but I didn't push him away. I didn't physically PUSH him or something to make him stop.
I was quite shook up afterwards but I didn't know if I should be angry with him or not. We are still together and I don't even think he thinks he did anything wrong... DID he do anything wrong? Or is what he did alright because my body wasn't saying "no"? I didn't fight him physically. Do you think I was raped? I'm so confused and I've lost all my self-respect!
It is never okay for someone to pressure or force another person to have sex when s/he doesn't want to. After an experience like the one you had, it's understandable that you feel confused about your feelings and how you see yourself. Reaching out for information and support is an important, and often difficult, next step.
Sexual assault committed by someone the survivor is familiar with is sometimes referred to as acquaintance rape. (A survivor is someone who has been assaulted and is actively recovering from the experience, rather than feeling victimized.) Up to 95 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. Because assaults of this nature often involve a friend or significant other, the experiences can be especially upsetting.
Based on your description of events, your boyfriend did not have your consent for his actions. Consenting to sexual activity means that a person willingly and knowingly agrees to the behavior. Open and explicit communication and mutual approval are needed for consent on both parts. Your words, "I think we should stop now, let's stop — ok? Please, let's stop now. I don't feel right about this," conveyed that you did not consent or agree to your boyfriend's actions. It was his obligation to acknowledge and respect your verbal "no" by stopping his actions.
You say that you didn't physically push him away. Maybe you are worried about possibly having given your boyfriend conflicting messages. There are many reasons, however, why a person might not physically resist or push someone away during an assault. S/he may be scared, shocked, and/or numb, since it's difficult to comprehend that anyone would coerce someone else into having sex, especially when that anyone is someone whom we care for or trust. A person may also fear escalating the assault and therefore choose to cooperate in order to reduce injury. Contrary to what people may think, someone does not have to physically fight-off a person's advances to convey that s/he does not want to have intercourse or participate in any other sexual activity.
Regardless, it is not your behavior that determines whether or not this was an assault; it is your boyfriend's.
You have asked whether or not Alice thinks you were raped. In spite of what anyone else thinks, Alice supports your defining your own experience in your own way. Definitions are here as reference points. Rape is a form of sexual assault that involves unwanted penetration of a person's mouth, vagina, and/or anus by a penis or object. Rape is also having sex with a person who is unable to give consent because s/he's impaired or unconscious (i.e., drunk or drugged), physically or mentally challenged, or under the age of 17 years (the age varies from state to state). In the context of New York State law, your boyfriend's actions meet the definition of what is considered rape.
Even when inappropriate sexual conduct can be legally defined as rape, many people do not define their experiences as such. A person may be reluctant to define her/his experience as rape for several reasons, including, but not limited to: pressure from the perpetrator to chalk the experience up to "a misunderstanding"; societal messages about gender, sexual roles, and "acceptable aggression"; and, a survivor's discomfort with accepting that s/he has been victimized. Similarly, many people do not tell anyone about their experience, and even more rarely is it reported. Also, many who commit acquaintance rape or sexual assault do not define it as wrong; however, ignorance or lack of intent on the part of the "assaulter" is not an excuse.
Defining what happened is one part of your healing process. Another important action is for you to take care of yourself. Of course, the two may be related. Some things you can do include:
Finding a safe, trusting environment
Give yourself space to sort things out away from your boyfriend. Choose and reach out to a trusted friend, family member, clergyperson, rape crisis advocate, counselor, or teacher/professor who can keep you company, listen to you, and lend support.
Calling a counselor or support person
Someone trained in supporting survivors of sexual assault can help you come to terms with your feelings and make informed decisions about next steps. A trained counselor or support person can listen to you, help you understand what happened, explore your feelings, and identify the impact of what happened. S/he also can help you explore your options concerning reporting and any legal action you might take. A trained counselor or support person also can provide advocacy or accompaniment if you choose to report this incident to the criminal justice system. If you're at Columbia, you can contact the Barnard/Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center. For emotional support and information on the phone and/or in-person, call the Peer Counselor Hotline; for advocacy and/or accompaniment to the hospital, health services, the police, security, court, or other school officials, call the Peer Advocacy Hotline. Both numbers and other details are listed in the resources section at the end of this answer.
Seeing a health care provider as soon as possible after the event
You need to get medical attention after a sexual assault, to check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy (for female survivors). [Emergency Contraception (EC), for example, needs to be taken within 120 hours of unprotected, unanticipated intercourse to prevent pregnancy. It's available at many pharmacies without a prescription to women and men 17 and older.] Also, sexual assault that involves any form of penetration may result in injuries that are not immediately apparent, so medical attention is definitely encouraged. Furthermore, a health care provider can document injuries and/or collect any forensic evidence.
Remembering that it wasn't your fault
Survivors tend to blame themselves following an assault. Some people feel guilty, harshly judging their own behavior. Although it makes sense that you might feel ashamed or guilty, it was not your fault. You said, using your words, in many sentences, that you did not want to have intercourse. Your boyfriend chose to violate that boundary. His behavior was not only disrespectful, but it was also criminal by New York State law. Everyone has the right to say "stop" or "no" to any form of sexual activity, even if you are naked, have done it before, or are in a relationship. Whether or not your boyfriend takes accountability for his actions, it is not acceptable to force someone else to have sex.
Dealing with a sexual assault can be hard, yet by asking for assistance and support, sorting through your emotions, and deciding on your next steps, gradually you will feel more in control and regain your self-respect. It is your boyfriend who does not deserve your respect. Do not blame yourself.
The following organizations can provide additional information and support:
On a final note, men are more often the perpetrators of sexual violence than women. Challenging men's (and women's) beliefs about sexual violence and unhealthy relationships, as well as getting men (and women) more involved in looking out for one another in high risk situations, such as social settings involving alcohol use, can potentially help protect men from becoming perpetrators (and women from becoming survivors).
June 29, 200921563
Any situation where a women says "no" even one time is enough to have a real man stop. I would absolutely consider this a date rape. This same thing happened to me many years ago... I did not fight back or push him off, but I did ask him several times to stop, then I just went numb. It is wrong, and if you feel like it was not right, then it is not right. You should definately see a counselor soon.
January 10, 200721167
If you felt violated, you were raped. I know it's hard to tell someone you love to stop. I'm sorry that you've experienced this, but please seek some sort of counseling because this may...
If you felt violated, you were raped. I know it's hard to tell someone you love to stop. I'm sorry that you've experienced this, but please seek some sort of counseling because this may affect you in the future.
If he doesn't know that no means no, you need to stop seeing this guy, and you need to look inside yourself as to what you want. May peace be with you.
December 14, 200621101
Yes, you were raped. Rape is often considered on two levels — personal and legal.
Personally, you did not want him to enter you, and you made that abundantly clear to...
Yes, you were raped. Rape is often considered on two levels — personal and legal.
Personally, you did not want him to enter you, and you made that abundantly clear to him. You not only said no, but you said no repeatedly — your answer was clear, and rape is not defined by who wins in a physical fight, but whether one partner violates the other's rights and expressed wishes concerning sex.
Legally, you were certainly raped. Courts have upheld case after case of women merely saying no one time, let alone many. You do not have to physically resist; no means no, and violating that is a crime.
July 11, 200621100
The exact same thing happened to me. It was over a year ago and I only now just began to deal with it. If I were back in this position, where you are now, I would see a counselor...
The exact same thing happened to me. It was over a year ago and I only now just began to deal with it. If I were back in this position, where you are now, I would see a counselor right away. Make sure she understands exactly what you are saying, so that she can help you. Otherwise, it will haunt you forever.
Take it from me.
July 10, 200620989
"Was I raped?" Why is the question phrased that way to begin with? For me the only time that this comes up as a question involves an unusual experience with some older...
"Was I raped?" Why is the question phrased that way to begin with? For me the only time that this comes up as a question involves an unusual experience with some older college students and a conviction that I was certainly drugged and set up more than a decade ago. Was I raped? Probably. Do I remember it? No. Do I remember finding the evidence that something awful took place? Yes. Mostly on my body. I was later in life honest to God, no two ways about it raped outright in my own home (while I was there to be a part of it every step of the way). That time we played the police game! I am not denying the high emotional stakes for this young lady and her partner, in fact I would like them to be acknowleged. But I find it outrageous and insulting to assume that any case of sexual contact that leaves the woman unsure or ill at ease is probably a case of rape. Rape is one of the most violent and degrading acts that can be forced onto someone else. There really is nothing else like it. I hope that I can communicte this to as many people as possible. I cannot begin to express my contempt for people who blithely utter the phrase, "It was as if I were raped" to score a point. I go beyond contempt and into out-right nausea when educted women are encouraged to think of themselves as "victims/survivors" of RAPE!!! at the drop of a hat.
December 22, 200520990
This is in response to the reader of "Was I raped?"
Yes I believe that you were raped! No guy ever has the right to do that to you! Honey you need to find someone to talk to...
This is in response to the reader of "Was I raped?"
Yes I believe that you were raped! No guy ever has the right to do that to you! Honey you need to find someone to talk to because if you told him to stop he should of stopped. I would find a new boyfriend if i were you. Good luck hun!
September 23, 200520961
I think your boyfriend is totally wrong in forcing you into doing it (emotionally). YOU did nothing wrong and must not feel as if you did. Your boyfriend used the...
I think your boyfriend is totally wrong in forcing you into doing it (emotionally). YOU did nothing wrong and must not feel as if you did. Your boyfriend used the fact that you love him to convince himself he was right in what he did. Go and see a doctor to make sure everything is ok and then dump your boyfriend. Can you talk to a teacher that you trust? If not, talk to your parents or close sibling. But you must not blame yourself for any of this.