Archive for October 9th, 2008

Yesterday, I wrote about a date rape memory that I just recovered. I now have the full memory, not just the “during” but the “before” and “after” parts, too. Those are the most telling parts for helping me accept that the date rape was not my fault.

This is the first time that I have wrestled with my level of responsibility for being raped. All of my other rape memories happened when I was a child. The vast majority happened when I was under age 11. I never struggled with who bears responsibility when an adult rapes a child.

Recovering the memory of a date rape was hard because I was an adult. How much responsibility do I bear for what happened? After analyzing the flashback, I have concluded that I bear no responsibility for being raped. Rape is not a natural consequence of being naïve or passive, and nobody deserves rape as a punishment for these traits.

The date rape happened when R (my ex-boyfriend) wanted to “talk” about getting back together. Of course, he wanted the privacy of his dorm room. His idea of talking was making out, and he just took from me. He did not ask: He just took.

We had been dating for 10 months. We had repeated discussions about how I (thought I) was a virgin and did not plan to have sex before marriage. There was no discussion about this being “the day” that I wanted to share my “first time” with him. He just took it.

I won’t go into the details of the “during” other than to say that I just laid there. I did not respond or participate in any way. No, I did not fight him off because I was no longer “there.” But I sure as h@#$ did not welcome or participate in the date rape.

The most telling part comes in the “after.” Let’s assume that R thought this was mutual and that I had just “given” him my virginity after being reluctant to have sex for 10 months. Wouldn’t you expect us to share a smile or small talk as lovers? Wouldn’t he have at least walked me back to my dorm room?

None of this happened. I did a “walk of shame” alone back to my own dorm room. I don’t remember his “reason” for not accompanying me, but that hardly sounds like the afterglow of two consensual lovers, does it?

The shame I felt in that “walk of shame” is the most powerful part of the memory. It was in that moment that I decided that it was 100% over with R. It was also when I decided to pursue another guy I knew really liked me so I could ensure that it would stay over with R. I also refused to be alone with R after that day, even when he came around multiple times, trying to “force” me back into a relationship with him.

This situation would not hold up in a court of law, but it does not need to. I am not prosecuting him. What matters is that this was not my fault. I did not ask to be raped. I did not participate or give the impression that I was into the sexual contact in any way. The fact that I did not claw his eyes out was not an invitation to my body, doubly so after 10 months of saying “no.” Why would I suddenly change my mind after I told him that it was over?

As I recovered the memory, all I did was criticize myself and point out how “stupid” I was for X, Y, and Z. Now, I am trying to send myself multiple messages of “it was not your fault.” I did not ask for this.

The fact that I gained a lot of weight after this happened, after maintaining a healthier weight since moving out of my mother/abuser’s house two years before, drives home the level of shame I felt over this incident. This happened in February or March. By the summer, I already had a doctor putting me on a diet because I was over 30 pounds overweight.

This was not my fault.

Related Topic:

Trauma Thursday: Risk of Date Rape for Sexually Abused Adopted Child

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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