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lenox
Is it possible to accidentally rape someone?

I visited one of my good friends a few days ago. When I told her that I could come out to visit her, she seemed oddly distant, but at first I just kind of dismissed it as stress on her part. While I was with her, she told me that why had been avoiding me a bit because her older sister, with whom I'd had a bit of a relationship a few years ago, said that I'd raped her. Here's what happened:

At the time, both me and her sister were rather unhappy and depressed, but we had each other to lean on a bit. That friendship grew into a physical relationship, though there were no romantic feelings from either end. For a month or two, we'd fool around occasionally, but not have sex. After a while, I started to push for us to take it further. I remember just before our first time actually having sex, I asked her if she wanted it, and she said that she wasn't going to say no. This bothered me, so I pushed and told her to either say yes or no, that just not saying no made me feel like I was taking advantage of her. She did say yes, and at no point did she indicate that she wanted me to stop, but she never wanted it to begin with. She was just so depressed and in such a difficult state of mind that she couldn't, or wouldn't, turn me down. A few weeks after that she stopped talking to me, and for two years I've been confused and hurt by that, and to find out now that it was because I raped her is...painful, to say the least.

I feel horrible. I know that logically, there was not much that I could have done, but the fact remains that I raped one of my good friends, and caused her a lot of pain and anguish. I don't quite know why I'm posting this, I just feel like I need to tell someone, and I can't very well talk about it with my friends...
oxym0ronical
Not that I want to make you feel worse, but at the point where you had to push her to say yes or no, that should have been the point where you backed off. You knew she didn't want it, because you stated very clearly that she never wanted it to begin with. In a very technical sense (though it varies by state/region/etc), you did rape her because you knew she didn't want it, and that implies lack of consent. I work in a field where we deal with these situations on a daily basis, and the laws are continually changing to address the consent aspect.

I will also say that sometimes it's a case of "buyer's remorse" and the person feels ashamed for whatever reason, or feels like they really didn't want to do it, but didn't really make the other person aware of that, and they decide to tell others they were raped. I don't know if this is an example of that, and it's not my place to judge that by any means, but I will say that you should probably take a long look at verbal and nonverbal cues so you can protect yourself and avoid putting someone else in a position they are not entirely comfortable with. I have tons of resources if you should need more information.
Aislinn Faye
I would say you didn't rape her, honestly. I mean, she said she wouldn't say "no". I mean, depending on how she said it...like example "You want a million dollars?" "Well I'm not gonna say no!". Ya know? I mean bad example but you get what I'm saying. And another reason, if she said it nonchalantly, it could be that she just didn't really care one way or another. And I mean, I've been in the middle of shagging some one that I was nonchalant about (not caring one way or another because I was depressed) and stopped in the middle because I realized in the middle of it that I didn't want it. She could have been thinking "God, I really don't want to do this", but since it already started she decided to go ahead and finish it....so technically and non tech. it's not rape. I'm a woman, and I think she just felt guilty about it. And you said "first time" this occurred, if you guys shagged after that then I say it is a case of "Buyer's Remorse" as oxy was saying. Honestly, I'd be pretty pissed if someone was going around saying I raped them, and if someone raped my sister, I sure as hell wouldn't agree to see them like your friend saw you...I think the friend that told you ( I don't know what she said) what her older sis said wouldn't have agreed to see you if you had really hurt her sister....if anything I think the girl you were having sex with hurt herself more and wishes to place the blame on you.
Mata
That's a very bad situation to be in, but I can see how many people would have ended up in the same one. Personally I think you did the right thing by pushing for a yes or no answer. 'I'm not going to say "no"' very definitely isn't the same as 'no', and if I were getting conflicting signals then I would probably want a straight answer too, one way or the other.

I've got a general rule which I've stuck with so-far in life, which is that I don't have sex for the first time with a new partner while she is drunk. That's more awkward than it might seem, because often that's the time when people are most permisive and looking for new experiences, but I just don't ever want to be in the position where someone says 'but I didn't really mean that; I was drunk'. I'm not saying that you were drunk, but she seems to have said one thing and acted to support that, but meant the opposite.

There does seem to be some aspect of shading through memory. You clearly remember her consenting. Perhaps she did feel pressured at the time and has since decided that she thinks you should have realised that she felt that way.

I'm sure everyone has been too enthusiastic in their advances at some point in their life to one degree or another, such as taking a kiss that was only half offered or overly wandering hands, and that's especially hard to judge when you are already involved with the person. For example, there was a time at a party where I was kissing a girl and things had become heated (we had the room to ourselves!) and I thought I was being given signals to get more physical, she didn't want that, she said so, and we went back to kissing. I felt very bad that I had misread things that way, but it did show me that it is easy enough when you've got partial 'go-ahead' signals to continue past the point at which the other person becomes uncomfortable.

I guess I'm trying to say that it's very sad that she feels that way, but I wouldn't place the blame entirely with you for her feelings. If she had been clearer then it wouldn't have happened, but you should be careful that you don't put pressure on partners because it's possible that's what has coloured her opinion of events.
lenox
Thank you all for your replies. It's been very difficult for me to allow myself to be happy these past few days, as I end up feeling guilty. Being able to be here and talk about things really helps. I'm hoping to get into some therapy (which also makes me feel a bit guilty...am I a victim of my own?) to help me learn how to deal with this, and come to terms with it.

One thing I'm trying to figure out is what this knowledge does to my self-identity. Am I the same person I was when I did it? Am I the same person as I was a week ago, before I knew things from her perspective?

As for her sister meeting me...she avoided me for months, which didn't make sense to me until last weekend, when she decided that, out of respect for our long friendship, she'd talk with me. She was in tears for much of the conversation, and it was not easy for her by any stretch of the imagination. I am utterly stunned by her strength and I know that if I had been in a similar situation that I would not have been nearly as forgiving.
leopold
If she didn't say no at any point, then technically it's not rape. Being dismissive is not the same as saying no. Just because she was in too bad a place to care is no defense. I'd say this is a case of "buyers remorse". I like that term!

However, I personally would steer clear of sex with anyone who was in an emotionally unfit state. Generally, if they aren't bothered either way then it's probably a good idea not to go there at all.

Whilst you were right to make an effort to make sure the signals were clear, in this case she obviously wasn't in the best place and you'd have been best off not going there. But don't beat yourself up too much; we've all been there at some time or another, it's called "live and learn". Next time, you'll be able to spot it and you'll know what to do.
Pixelgoth
QUOTE (leopold @ Nov 13 2008, 10:05 AM) *
If she didn't say no at any point, then technically it's not rape. Being dismissive is not the same as saying no. Just because she was in too bad a place to care is no defense. I'd say this is a case of "buyers remorse". I like that term!

However, I personally would steer clear of sex with anyone who was in an emotionally unfit state. Generally, if they aren't bothered either way then it's probably a good idea not to go there at all.

Whilst you were right to make an effort to make sure the signals were clear, in this case she obviously wasn't in the best place and you'd have been best off not going there. But don't beat yourself up too much; we've all been there at some time or another, it's called "live and learn". Next time, you'll be able to spot it and you'll know what to do.


I agree with Leo but how can anyone be in a state where they are "whatever" about sex and do it?!?! I have to want it otherwise certain physical things don't happen and it can hurt....if you get my drift?!

I don't think it's really very fair of her to call it rape. It's like others have said she just felt bad afterwards and decided to refer to it as such. Personally if I called all my bad sexual experiences rape then I'd have been raped quite a few times. I don't mean to trivialise but that's just how I see it.
oxym0ronical
Many states are moving towards the notion that just saying no isn't the only way to show lack of consent. Someone can feel coerced or not really into having sex and just go along with it - that doesn't mean they truly consented. Consent now means that you have a clear 'yes' rather than a clear 'no'. Some states are even saying that statements such as "I should go home" or "I don't know about this" suggest lack of consent. This is a very dangerous area and I realize that. I work in a domestic violence & sexual assault safehouse. It makes it extremely difficult to help those who really need help, because we end up having a lot of people who are claiming rape when it was mostly just an experience that wasn't very pleasant. I won't get into the other ridiculous laws that sometimes make me wonder when consent forms will be required before having any kind of sexual encounter.

I still maintain though, if you can't get a clear answer, and someone seems very ambivalent about it, you're best to not continue.

Lenox, I hope it doesn't seem like I am just coming down on you. The fact that you are doing some self-evaluating and seeking help speaks volumes for your integrity.
Daria
Do many people initiate sex with a "Would you like to have penetrative sexual intercourse with me?" "Why thank you, yes- I think I shall"? The line between consentual sex and non-consentual sex can be very fine and blurry at times. Personally, I feel that from what you have said, you two shouldn't have been sleeping together when you were both in such bad places, mentally. It isn't healthy for people to have such casual relationships when they are in such a state, as shown by how she obviously feels about what happened. Unfortunately, you can't turn back time to change it- all you can do is explain to people who may be upset by what you did, your side of the story and hope that they understand that you didn't intentionally hurt her.

Anything else I could add would just be echoing previous sentiments, but I have to say- I completely agree with Oxym0ronical about your self-evaluation.
MistressAlti
QUOTE (Pixiegoth @ Nov 13 2008, 08:11 AM) *
I don't think it's really very fair of her to call it rape. It's like others have said she just felt bad afterwards and decided to refer to it as such. Personally if I called all my bad sexual experiences rape then I'd have been raped quite a few times. I don't mean to trivialise but that's just how I see it.


I'm gonna have to agree on this one. Lord knows I've had sex before when I didn't really *want* to for varying reasons, but consented to it anyway, though have later regretted giving the consent for the experience. It isn't rape in that case. It is a wholly unpleasant regret to have and can be damaging all on its own, but rape just isn't the right term for it by any means.
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