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21st Sep 2016

This story about rape highlights a terrifying issue

Megan Roantree

This story posted to Reddit has highlighted a very real problem when it comes to consent.

There has been a lot of talk about consent and sexual safety in recent months, more so than ever before. But judging by this worrying story from a 19-year-old girl, there is still a huge issue when it comes to recognising what is and isn’t okay.

One of the biggest issues with recognising rape is that the perceived stereotype of rape is a stranger in the dark in an alleyway who is violent and unknown.

The story below is an example of how rape can occur in a home, in a bed, with someone you trust and someone you know. Just because you do not scream doesn’t make it consensual. Saying ‘No’ is enough and is clear enough to mean there is no consent.

On Saturday a 19-year-old female Reddit user posted this account to Reddit.

A few months ago, I was at my friend’s house (I was sort of seeing this guy without the title of a relationship) and we’ve had sex multiple times before. Right before we actually had sex, I’m not sure why but I just started panicking a bit and decided I didn’t want to. I was try to push him off me and I kept saying “No please stop I can’t do this” and I was crying but he pushed on through with it. Here’s the thing, after about 20/30 seconds of not listening to me I just kinda gave up and let him have sex with me. Because of this, I can’t tell if this situation was rape or not, because I did stop protesting.

I kinda got over it and we remained friends and just recently I came to the realization he made me believe all that was my fault. He was saying things like “YOU should be more clear” or “YOU should have done this to stop me” and it’s kinda really messed me up. The last few nights I’ve been losing sleep and staying up on the verge of a panic attack and crying my eyes out.

I only told my closest friends but I feel like it isn’t enough. I’m debating going to my university’s victim service but I’m scared of a few things: 1. The possibility this isn’t actually rape because I stopped protesting 2. It being too long (months ago) 3. The school acting on it and ruining his reputation.

I don’t know what to think of this whole situation. People are telling me I need to tell someone because it isn’t fair how it’s messing me up mentally. Thoughts please?

There are so many issues in this woman’s story. She clearly said ‘No’. She felt however that because she ‘gave up’ on saying no while in tears and because she knew him for a while, that it couldn’t possibly to rape.

It is an issue that she does not recognise rape. It is an issue that she thinks it is her fault. It is an issue that he let her think it was  her fault: “He was saying things like ‘YOU should be more clear.'”

She is scared of three things: The possibility this “isn’t actually rape,” it being too long ago, and the school acting on it and ruining his reputation.

Society, TV shows and media has long portrayed rape as something that happens when you walk home alone at night. While this sadly occurs every day, it needs to be recognised that just because it didn’t happen the way it did in a movie, doesn’t make it okay in any way.

Other Reddit users comment’s reflect this telling her that if she said no and it still happened, it is rape by definition, there needs to be no other factors.

“All I had to do was read the first few lines ‘no, stop’, ‘he continued’, ‘couldn’t push him off’. This is rape. I’m so sorry. She should talk to a counsellor and then go over her options.” One user said.

“Once you said no, that’s it. You shouldn’t have had to “do” anything else. Take care of yourself, see a councilor [sic] if you can. Those issues can fester and create more problems.”

The rape victim later updated the post thanking the commenters for support.

Update: I am absolutely blown away at the responses I’ve received. I never expected so much support and reassurance from people who are taking the situation at a bystanders view, because it’s much more hard for me to realize because I’ve known this guy for so long. I plan on going to my university’s victim services to report him and start setting up some therapy appointments. Thank you all again so much

Although Reddit has always been used a platform where people ask advice on personal stories, it is worrying that a 19-year-old woman has to resort to talking to the internet about rape than talking to a professional.

Perhaps colleges, the media and society need to work on illustrating that rape can happen to anyone at any time and that it sadly does not discriminate so that young girls like this do not have to question whether it actually happened and whether it is her fault.

If you’ve been affected by this story contact the Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 88 88 of if you’re calling from abroad contact +353 1 6614911