Insert yourself in these uncomfortable real-life scenarios. Are any familiar? If so, you may have been a victim of sexual assault. As we know, rape rarely happens between strangers. It's important to never blame yourself for sexual assault, even if you believe that your own actions were questionable or you feel emotionally confused. If you haven't given consent for sex (or have done so under duress/threat) and it happens, you've been raped.
1. A boyfriend and a girlfriend have been together for years. Over time, he becomes verbally abusive, then occasionally physically abusive. She still loves him, though, even if she fears him. Sometimes she enjoys their sex life. But there are times when they fight and he forces her to have sex to show her who’s boss. She makes it clear she doesn’t want to. He pins her down and has sex with her anyway. She feels depressed and violated afterward but goes on with life and her relationship.
2. A man and a woman have had a few dates. They’re enjoying spending time together. On their next date, the drinks are flowing and the flirting is hot. They even talk about wanting to have sex. She drinks more than she can handle and passes out. When she wakes up, she’s naked in his bed and sees a used condom. He’s acting like they just had a passionate night of love making, but she can't remember actually having sex and knows in her heart that having been as drunk as she was, even though she was excited, she didn't give consent.
3. A woman likes hanging out with her male cousin and his boys. After an afternoon of chilling with the crew, one of the guys who’s always been friendly offers her a ride home. He hits on her but when she says slow down, he playfully calls her a tease. She doesn't want to be a tease, she's likes the guy, after all, so she continues the heavy petting. Then he starts taking off his pants. Despite her saying no and trying to stand up and leave, he forces himself on her. Afterward, he drives her home, walks her to the front door and says, "Hope to see you soon."
4. A private in the Army goes to a party with some friends. He strikes up a conversation with a higher ranking soldier. He can’t believe someone of this stature is paying him any attention. The older soldier offers to give him advice about succeeding in the military. They decide to leave, buy some beer and watch movies alone. Half-way through an action-adventure flick, the soldier starts rubbing the private’s back. The younger man feels uncomfortable and says he suddenly feels tired and wants to go home. The soldier starts barking orders and threatening to end the private’s military career if he doesn’t do what he’s told. The next thing he knows, they are having sex.
Lori S. Robinson is a journalist and the author of “I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse.” Her work has been published in the Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and several national magazines. She is the special guest editor of the EBONY.com series: ENDING RAPE 4EVER.