Source: Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey www.raiinn.org
How do I explain to you why I was so angry and scared and worried when you were not at the coffee shop that we had agreed to, but alone with a boy, in his apartment without his mother being home. A seventeen year old boy to your fifteen. No parent at home.
Blessedly, you seem to have no idea what could have happened. You have made it to fifteen with your naivety intact.
Until it is your child or best friend that you cannot find, I can't really express the helplessness I felt trying to find you. You wouldn't answer your phone. I could imagine it being taken away from you. I imagined a lot in that 10 minutes. I imagined horrible things happening as I paced back and forth on the the third floor hallway of that apartment complex.
I want your first sexual experience to be with someone who you really care about, and that 20 years from now I hope it will still make you smile remembering the sweet awkwardness of those first attempts at sex. Actually I pray you have nothing but sweet fun memories of sex.
For the longest time I was told that what I have experienced is not the norm. But I have met enough people and listened to them tell their stories that I can attest that sexual assault is far more normal than imagined. I have met people who have experienced more awful, painful traumas than I believed was possible to live through.
After having sex with my second boyfriend, I was given the prize of a class ring to wear to show we were dating! This was such a big deal when I was in high school. It meant you were dating. I had been given a class ring to wear by another my first boyfriend, but not in exchange for a service.
Looking back, I should have just given back the ring and told him to leave. It felt ugly from that moment on. It went for about six months dating him and all he wanted to do was have sex. Not because I was so irresistible or sexy, but purely to get himself off. We didn't have a lot of conversation. There was no intimacy or bonding. My sense of self worth was already really messed up from my home life, so I allowed myself to be used.
He had no respect for me at all. We had sex in bathrooms less than 5 foot away from our friends partying, in the back set of a VW Bug, in the drainage ditch outside of the shop class. Again, none of this was for crazy, fabulous passion. Just his need to ejaculate. Whenever, where ever he felt he needed it. I figured once you had gotten the first time over with, this was what life was like.
Until my vagina hurt so bad that I had to confide in someone. That unlikely someone was a bold, outspoken, punk rock bitch who had befriended me at school. One afternoon we were smoking and talking about music, boys, girls, and sex came up. With large "doe eyes", I looked at her and told her how bad my vagina hurt. She asked me if he had a big dick. He didn't. She asked me if we were having any foreplay. We weren't. She asked me if he just put it in and got off. I said "mostly." She asked me if we were kissing? I told her not most of the time. She asked me if I was lubricated during sex? I told her I didn't think so as it all happened so fast.
By this point she was shaking her head at me and hugged me and told me to stop letting him do that. She explained that I probably had little rips and tears in my vagina from him dry fucking me, since my body wasn't being allowed to get prepared for sex. She told me that I didn't have to accept this and not all boys would treat me like this.
I wish I could say that I left that conversation and had a heart to heart with this boy, but I didn't. Things went on as painfully as ever for a few more months, and then in a great turn of events, he dumped me.
After high school I had some great, fun relationships, but having sex with boys in their early 20's is really a crap shoot. Either they still don't know how to have mutually pleasurable sex or they are really good at it and want to enjoy as many woman as they can.
I haven't spoken a lot about my youth and sex because I grew up in a time when you were blamed for other people's actions. If you were raped, you deserved it. The reality is, I was out drinking and dancing. I was clothed, but I may have had a crop top on a time or two or a halter top. I might even have taken a boy home, but being hurt was not my fault. Blame and guilt play awful games to your mind. It is still such a fine line between blaming the abuser or blaming the victim.
Growing up in a major metropolitan area, I was very blessed that I was never taken or raped while tipsily walking to or from a bar or venue in Georgetown or D.C. I still cannot believe how many times I found myself alone and walking in dark alleyways to get to my car.
My fear from the day I couldn't figure out which apartment you were in, comes from having gone home with a guy who seemed nice and not mean, but you don't find out who a person is until you are standing naked in front of them. If you are blessed he is silly and awkward and kind, and there is foreplay and kissing and excitement. You will feel good about your body and you will have a good time exploring all of the things your body can do.
When you are not so blessed, you will see a very different boy than the one you talked to and danced with all night. This one will start saying ugly things to you or not say a word and physically maneuver you on your knees and roughly shove his dick in your mouth or he will hold you down and fuck you. You cannot get up or make it stop. You find out after this happens a time or two that crying only makes it more fun for them. And don't think you can endure it and then grab your shit an leave. This kind of asshole will want a second or third go at you. The pain I felt as a teenager who hadn't received any foreplay to aide my body in getting lubricated for sex was nothing compared to a grown size man using my body with absolutely no concern for my pleasure or pain.
There is most likely a moment before you enter the bedroom where your gut screams at you, but by that time it is far too late. He will not be put off. He has chosen you and has now lost his chance to go back and get someone else. He probably bought you a drink or two. He is going to have sex with your body, whether or not you want him to. This is part of what you don't understand yet. This is the part that I don't want you to ever understand. You can be big and tough and have confidence and believe you can explain to him that he needs to stop and respect your choice to change your mind. No, means no. That is what we teach you. This kind of man will quickly show you how he will shut you up and who is making the decisions.
Your knife, taser, gun and car keys will not be with you when the change happens. You will be partially unclothed and helpless. Even with self defense classes, this type of man will overpower you quickly and your attempt to fight will just make it worse. You will be lucky if you don't end up backhanded or punched. You will learn very quickly to comply. If you are lucky, you will get to kiss on the forehead and swat to your ass and you will be allowed to leave his apartment. Some girls leave, but are never the same again. Some girls are so traumatized that they cannot stop thinking about the pain and fear. Some girls end up doing drugs to numb their pain and end up in situations where men keep hurting them. Not all girls get to leave. Some men realize what they have done and they kill you. Some mother's will never have any idea what happened to their daughters.
For some women, the shame that floods them after this experience scares them to keep their mouths shut. You may never know how many of the women in your life have been touched by sexual assault. They replay the events and hate themselves for letting it happen, for not being smart enough to stop it.
I don't want you to learn to comply. I don't ever want to imagine you in these situations.
Trying to figure out which guy is going to be fun and kind and which guy is going to hurt you is not easy. Many an intelligent, traveled, educated woman has found herself being harmed and not being able to figure out where she miscalculated. Normally she blames herself, when she never stood a chance from the predator.
I can tell you the most important things I have learned about dating are first, only your partner of several years should ask you for naked pictures and then the two of you should discuss how you feel about that. You shouldn't go home with anyone from a bar. Bouncers will walk you to your car if you let them know you have a creeper stalking you. Always drive your own car and meet somewhere public. When you decide to have sex with someone, drive your own car. Text your best-friend the address of where you are going. Do not take your purse into there house, leave it under your car seat. Have two condoms in your pocket or socks as there is a high chance he won't have any and you should get any STD's because he is a lazy, cheap ass mother fucker. Have a spare change of clothes (t-shirt, panties, pj bottoms) in your car in case you get that bad feeling in your belly and you have to leave his apartment in only your shirt and shoes with your lady bits and ass cheeks on display because there wasn't time to locate your panties and shorts. If you can, just walk the fuck out and get to the safety of your car. If you can't get your keys, walk out and knock on someones door until they open and you can go in and call the cops to have them go into his apartment and get your keys and phone. If this means you have to announce that you feel like you are about to throw up or that you are about to have some really bad alcohol diarrhea shits, then do it. Practice saying this now so it can come out convincingly.
Do not give one fuck about who just witnessed you swiftly walking through the parking lot, buck ass naked.
Safety first, vanity later.
I have had the taste of my own tears in my mouth while being fucked and praying a silent prayer for it to just be over. Please let it just be over. In those moments when I couldn't find you, I was praying even louder and with more conviction and offering up my soul to replace yours if God would just let you walk out one of those apartment doors. If you had walked out naked and beaten I would have caught you and whisked you away.
So when you get all angry and bitchy with me because I worry too much, please realize, I worry because I have lived through some nasty things and I don't want you to get hurt. While talking to my girlfriend about all of this I realized that part of my job in protecting you was to share the reality of dating and sex. Not just the anatomy of sex or how to keep from getting pregnant, but the parts about girls being raped by boys they know and have known for years. Or about girls being raped by a group of boys, laughing and cheering each other on. Or boys who have been groomed by pedophiles and then those men use the boy to get the girl into their car or home.
I don't want to scare you, but I need you to wake up and realize what happened was one of your lucky chances. The next time you may not get lucky.
I want you to know you didn't do anything wrong if you should find your self hurt and used. I am sharing my story so you can turn to me with your questions and for comfort should you ever get hurt.
One in Five women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
Nearly 1 in 2 women have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.
Most female victims of completed rape experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced their first completed rape before age 18.
The majority of both female and male victims of rape knew the person who raped them.
In a survey of college women, 13.3% indicated that they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation.
1.3 million women have been raped in the past 12 months.
Source: Rape Response Services www.rrsonline.org