I’ve made no secret about the fact that I was date raped when I was 21. That’s actually how I lost my virginity. You want to talk about awful first time experiences…sheesh.

To this day I have a lot of confusion about what happened and what to call the events that transpired. My own intellectual knowledge that “no means no,” and “NOOOOO means NOOOO,” gets muddied with the common response to the call of rape: What was she wearing? Had she been drinking? Where was she? What time of night was it? Did she struggle? Was she a tease?

I was wearing a black velvet catsuit and a gold smoking jacket with black velvet lapels and some really, super cute shoes. I’d had a glass of wine. I was in the boy’s bedroom. It was close to 2am. Once I realized it was going to happen no matter what I said, or how loudly I said it, I think I must have quit struggling–I don’t know. I’ve blacked that out. I do know Information Society was playing on the radio–maybe that’s why I blocked it out. I never liked that band.

Was I a tease? No. I’d been very frank about what I would and would not do. I was perfectly happy to do anything that could not result in pregnancy, and was precise about what acts that might include. The boy seemed quite pleased with the deal.

I didn’t tell my mother because I was afraid she would kill the boy, and then I’d have a mother in jail. I did not go to the police because of the above. I didn’t figure anyone would believe me. I am exactly the kind of girl This Cop was talking about. Maybe I wasn’t dressed like a “slut” but we can all be realistic about how I would be viewed based on dress, drinking, and willingness to do some if not “it”.

My Great-Aunt is a different story. And her story is much more to the point.

Aunt N was in her 80s when a man broke into her house to beat and rape her. He accomplished his goal.

I have no idea what she was wearing at the time, but I’m pretty sure it involved Granny Panties, not a visible thong. I highly doubt she’d been drinking. She was in her own home, in bed, in the middle of the night–right where she belonged. And she fought as much as an octogenarian can. Given her nature, I can assure you that she was not a tease.

Rape has nothing to do with what you wear, your state of mind, where you are, what time it is, whether you fight, or whether you’ve ever had sexual relations with your attacker.

Rape has nothing to do with YOU.

Rape has to do with the Rapist.

Rape isn’t something you bring on yourself.

Rape isn’t something that you do to yourself.

Anyone who has been raped will tell you how unpleasant it is–it isn’t something anyone would court.

Rape isn’t flattering.

Rape isn’t a compliment.

Rape isn’t a judgment.

Rape is an attack, a violation, and a crime–it is nothing positive, and it is nothing you can force anyone to do to you. You cannot MAKE someone RAPE.

Rape is not a reaction.

Rape is only an individually driven action. It is a purpose driven action.

I support, and have put the WWK project’s support behind the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center because I’ve been there and I know. And because women and men, girls and boys who are hurt need help. They need to know there is a safe place to go, where people will believe them, and help them. Help them understand that the problem isn’t THEM.

The problem is, and only ever will be the Rapist.

Raise your kids to respect themselves enough that they would think it beneath them to take something not freely given. Raise your kids to respect other people enough that they wouldn’t dream of taking what wasn’t clearly offered. That’s how you deal with rape.