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.

Comments

  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.

    Sincerely,

    Michael

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