When I was 16 years of age, I quickly and horrifically learned how harsh life could be. See, in my small southern town, everyone knew one another in some way or another. Sure, there was gossip and bad blood between people, but things tragic and horrible rarely touched our citizens. What I also learned was how untrue all of this was. Instead, the things that went on behind closed doors were not spoken of. We didn’t know about them, but that didn’t mean nothing happened.
I went to a July 4th party when I was 16, and I drank underage (gasp!). That, however, was the extent of my crime. Further, I had one or two cups at tops (a small amount compared to the following years when I chose escapism methods to deal with my pain). I went to this said party with friends – there were strangers in attendance, of course, but I did not go alone. After that second cup, I suddenly felt as though I were out of my own body. I was crawling, not entirely lucid, with little understanding of what was going on, but I was not drunk. I know for a fact, now, that I was drugged. I was taken to a bedroom “to sleep it off”, as my friends were told. We were all innocents having a good time, not knowing what would go on behind closed doors.
Some people would say, and they did, that I shouldn’t have been drinking at all underage. True, as it is illegal. But that does not give anyone the right to rape. Being drunk, even underage, is not consent. Being drugged, even when drinking underage, is not consent. Perhaps someone would like to blame the way I was dressed, as people often do. They like to think that if a woman is dressed less slutty, it is less likely to happen to her. That is false. As a 16 year old girl, I dressed in jeans and t-shirts most of the time (maybe a baby tee at times, but still). Yet it happened to me. It took me many years to finally stop blaming myself. So now it angers me when a victim is blamed by others for what happened to her. These stigmas are in place to enforce victim-blaming and to further engrain rape culture into our society, which also causes the victim to doubt and blame herself. I am here to tell you – there is absolutely no reason for rape. Rape is wrong on all counts, no matter how a woman is dressed, is drunk, is high, or even if she was interested in the man who raped her. When no consent is given, no sex should occur, plain and simple. Until recently, even the definition of rape by the FBI would exclude what happened to me – because I did not fight back. I was in and out of consciousness because of a drug that was slipped to me, so I clearly did not give consent. And yet, some would say my rape did not count as “real rape” (what the hell does that even mean?)