Oral Rapes Are Real Rapes

Oral rape is among the many forms of rape that the FBI does not officially count under its narrow definition of rape: “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Today, a Ms. reader shares her story of being orally raped to help bring home the reality of the hundreds of thousands of rapes that the FBI discounts each year.

TRIGGER WARNING: Material about sexual assault.

Nobody knows I was assaulted in college except me and the guy who did it. I was 19.

I shouldn’t have to say it–it doesn’t really matter–but I had no sexual experience whatsoever. I went to a party. I wasn’t the kind of girl who attracted lots of guys: chubby, shy. I thought college would be teeming with all sorts of guys who would want to date me, but it wasn’t and I was devastated. In hindsight, these things made me more vulnerable.

I had a few drinks with a guy who used to hang around my dorm. None of us actually knew his last name. He kissed me and I liked it. I didn’t like him, but I liked kissing. He asked if I wanted to go to a room alone. And I said I wanted to keep making out.

This I remember clearly. We kissed. We touched each other outside of our clothes. He unzipped his pants. I just thought he wanted a hand job. I’m still not sure of the mechanics of how the next part happened or why I didn’t fight harder to stop it: He ended up standing in front of me while I sat on the edge of a dorm room bed. He forced himself into my mouth. I remember he had my ponytail wrapped around one hand and his other hand holding the back of my neck. It was fast. It was shocking. It was violent and painful. He finished quickly, then thanked me and left.

I didn’t define it as rape for the longest time. I didn’t consider oral sex to be sex until I was much older. Even now, I call it my “assault” not my “rape.” Rumors spread. The guy bragged about what “I had done.” My hopefully-soon-to-be-boyfriend heard and asked about it. I was so ashamed: How could I have been so stupid? Why would I be alone with that guy? Why didn’t I fight him off? I told my soon-to-be-boyfriend it had indeed happened and that “I was drunk,” implying consent. My rationale: I would rather have him think of me as a cheating bitch than stupid enough to let that happen. We never spoke again.

Many people have a hard time believing that they were raped because of pervasive societal messages that only a very specific scenario constitutes rape. The FBI’s archaic definition of the crime reinforces those devastating messages. Rapes involving forced oral or anal sex, penetration with a finger or object and rapes of men and transgender people are real rape, and should be counted as such by the FBI. Please sign the petition below to urge the FBI to change its 82-year-old “forcible” rape definition so that all rapes are counted:

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To share your story, anonymously if you prefer, you can submit it here. Stories of rapes that don’t fit the “forcible rape” definition, as well as ones that do, are welcome.

Image from Flickr user WeNews, under Creative Commons 2.0.


  1. Jamie Riehl says:

    It is absolutely important to put pressure on the FBI. But it’s worth understanding why they use a definition they are aware is archiac. The problem, as far as the FBI is concerned, is that they would like to make comparisons between rates both between geographic areas and over time. The FBI doesn’t collect this data directly, they are fed it by local police. So they use a lowest-common-denomiator definition to ensure that they are making direct comparisons across the data in the face of the fact that States have differing rules and local police have differing practices regarding how they record different types of sexual assault. So petition the FBI, but also petition at the local and State level to ensure the people recording the data are using more accurate definitions.

    Police-reporting of rape rates even under the best definition is inherently less accurate than victimization surveys, most notably the National Crime Victimization Survey. The NCVS is far from ideal and certainly undercounts, but is far more accurate than the FBI numbers and should be promoted. Under Attorney General Janet Reno, the Bureau of Justice Stastics (who run the NCVS) conducted a number of trial comparative surveys to try and improve the methodology of the NCVS, and had results which involve significantly lower undercounting rates. Unfortunately, this worthwhile project was abandoned by the Bush administration and has not been recovered.

  2. Belle of Acadia says:

    I was always sexually harassed going through school. I’m 16. It has been a horrible experience for me the teachers have harassed me too but nobody believes how much it has hurt me but it is very painful and I skip school a lot because I fear the treatment I faced. I know its only hurting me in the end but its very hard. So much pain I have suffered from the education system. I am so young and so bitter about it. Something has to change. I have received threats of rape in school it scared me a lot and its just a big joke to the school administrators.

  3. A 31 year old man orally raped me when I was 17. For almost ten years I blocked it out. I went to counseling this past year and made a breakthrough. I only wish I would’ve realized it sooner. I went into a tailspin after my assault and didn’t get my stuff together until 18 1/2. No means no- even if alcohol and drugs are involved. I said no- he forced my legs open. Worst part about it? 4 years ago, before counseling, I was at a restaurant with my mom and he was our waiter! He acted like bothing happened and I even said hi and smiled. i beat myself up over that for years! I wish I had the courage to tell my mom then and tell him to screw off. I never told a soul until I met my now husband. I have since told my mom and sisters. It explained so much about what I went through.

  4. Michael Jarsson says:

    Dear all,

    I’m very sorry to hear about the horrible events you have had to endure. I do have an awkward questions and I by no means want to be insensitive but I’m trying to understand my partner.

    My partner has had to live with the trauma of being orally raped by an ex boyfriend. This has an impact on our relationship which I accept as I love her very much. Some months ago however she confided in me that after the event she slept with him some months later. For years I wanted to beat the living daylights of this guy and then to hear she slept with him some months later had me very confused. She says it was to take back control. I’m trying to understand this – I’m not going to judge just trying to understand as this is difficult to comprehend.



    • I was orally raped 1 1 years ago when i was 17. I said no, begged him to stop, but he hit me, and raped me. I froze, from shock, fear….the part the assault that troubled me the most, was afterwards…..i asked him to sleep with me.
      It took me a while to understand why i asked him to sleep with me after being orally raped. The reason i did, was because I didnt fight as much as I thought i should. I could have bitten him, punched him,…..but i didnt. So, I tried to turn a rape into something else, consensual sex, wild night that I wanted.
      I took me years to realize my assault, because oral rape isnt discussed. How can someone rape you orally.,…hes the one vulnerable. But, its possible.
      I cant answer definitely for your girlfriend, but i think, like me, she wantef control. To turn rape into sex. Im sorry for you, and your girlfriend. Its wonderful youre supprtive, and working to understand. I hope this helps you. I wish the best for you both.

  5. Maddy Leanne says:

    My brother who ise eight years older than me started sexually abusing me when I was just a toddler. It continued for many years. He used to orally rape me both giving and receiving. He attempted several times to vaginally rape me but fortunately couldn’t go through with it. I remember a lot of details of the rapes/abuse. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I hate the fact that my early memories include having my brothers penis in my mouth while other children were having fun playing outside. And I hate that while other kids were learning how to make sand castles I was learning how to give blowjobs. And I hate that I’ve been hiding this for years but no one has ever noticed. It’s like nobody cares. As if the nightmares flashbacks panic attacks and depression weren’t enough to remind me , I have to live with him and see him for the rest of my life. It just hurts so bad that I’m suffering but he doesn’t even realise what he’s done and he acts as if it never happened. I just don’t know what to do now. I can’t cry and I can’t tell anyone and I just wish it would all go away.

    • So sorry to hear that. You really should tell your parents about this. Also, seek therapy. There is no point is suffering for such a despicable individual.

  6. Sophie Adams says:

    I’m 17 and when I was 15 my boyfriend at the time oral raped me and did other stuff. I’m going through the process right now with the police since it had to be reported to the police. I’m confused as to what to actually define it as because I’m not sure he would get charged for rape or sexual assault.

  7. Karen Kalasy says:

    I am shocked reading about oral rape. I kept quiet for so long and didn’t tell anyone. It happened 24 yrs ago when I was 20. The guy u had been seeing for nearly a year got me into taking speed and ‘E’s. I didn’t mind the drugs. The memories only surfaced last year! He forced me to give him oral sex and I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to swallow and he made me and held my head the whole time! Consequently, I ain’t keen on this with my Husband because of this. I am utterly repulsed and sickened and feel like beating him up!

  8. anonymous says:

    Im a 18 year old. I was at a freinds party well we can’t really call it a party there was me my best mate and two lads both freinds from mine and her college i really liked one of then and i got quite drink i had to walk thrn both one to the bus stop and the other to the metro my first freind we waited for the bus amd the second we had to walk thought the park to get to the metro we where joking on about everything then it became sexual he asked how meany time i had had sex or how meany time i had given oral and i said wouldnt you want to know joking on he took my hand and pulled me into a near by bush i just remember him grabbing my hair really hard and forcing it into my mouth and once he was done he slapped and and told me to swallow like the slut i was i did what he said because of the shock i was in after he hugged me and told me never to tell anyone i got back to my freinds house and broke down crying relising what had just happend

  9. Aisha Hassan says:

    I’m 18 and this summer I was raped, I was really drunk and I was gonna buy some weed from him but my parents showed up the same time he did and for some reason I got in the car with him…and told him to drive and he did. And we ended up in a dennys parking lot and we were with his friends, he kept touching me up my skirt all night and I called and asked my sister if she’d open the door for me to come home, she said no. I asked her why now she said she was too drunk and asleep…well I had to stay with him all night and I found out he’s homeless and lives in his car. Around 4 we left the park we were at and we went in his car, he kept trying to eat me out and I said I don’t wanna hook up with him, he pulled his pants down and made me give him a blowjob by just pushing grabbing my hair and pushing me head up and down…he came in like 2 mins thank god and he went to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep all night and in the morning when I came home I felt like shit but I didn’t realize what had happened till months later, I said no and he still made me do it.

  10. Valentia lockner says:

    Well I have been raped more than just once or twice I’ve been raped 8 times all together when I was only 14 this guy I had the hugest crush on had decided to take advantage of me while I was sleep he picked me up and put me on the couch in the living room at first I was knocked out cold but then I woke up when he put it in me and it hurt so bad and I asked him to stop and he didn’t and then he did it 5 other times whenever my mom and everybody else would leave us home he would do it again or when everybody was asleep and he threatened me he said if you tell anybody I will stab you with my pocket knife and then I will slit your throat and he had it to my neck it took me 5 years to tell my mova and when I did she called me a lying whore and invited him over to beat the shit out of me and the 7th time I was raped this Dominican dude got me drunk and fed mind you I was sleeping outside on an electrical box cuz my mova kicked me out and so I was homeless I was 18 anyways I was set up he said his sister wanted to talk to me so they brought me in and I was in the living room next thing ik I’m being pulled into the closet under the stairs being orally raped and then he anally raped me and then he vaginally raped me it was going on for about 2 hours and I went to the hospital the next day to get a rape kit done and my mova told the cops I could stay with her for the night when I get back I got back at 1:00 in the morning and she said to get tf outside and I was scared didn’t wanna live anymore and the 8th time was recently laid week actually at school some guy orally raped me in a stairwell where the cameras don’t work and the worst part is idk who it was I’m 19 years old now I’m never gonna be the same I’m always gonna be damaged I feel like I’m damaged goods I feel so alone I feel so insecure whoever it was told everybody that I got fucked in the stairwell and that I was sucking dick in the stairwell which isnt true at all okay the second part is but it wasnt like I did it willingly like everybody says I’m not a how!!!!!

  11. asia mcgowan says:

    Girls and Guys see causal sex differently. That was not rape. It was a sexual encounter that you bought a ticket to and wanted a refund afterwards because you felt like a whore. Feeling shame and guilt does not make that man a rapist.

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