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.