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‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’


3:21 pm - August 24th 2012

by Guest    


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contribution by Eliza James

-TRIGGER WARNING-
Everywhere I’ve looked this week, I have seen discussions about the definition of rape. Headlines are full of Julian Assange, alleged to have raped two women and then the bizarre statements of Rep. Todd Akin (MO), explaining that “legitimate rape” can not biologically result in pregnancy.

George Galloway next opened his idiotic mouth to say that consent is not required from everyone for every “insertion”.

But it got me thinking about my own experiences. I have also been the victim of rape. More than once.

Not held at knifepoint or beaten, but in environments where I trusted the person and thought I was safe. The first time it happened to me, I had known the man for a year. He was a PhD student at my University, and I was in my 2nd year. He was older than me, intelligent, witty and I was charmed. I invited him to dinner at my house with a friend to chaperone – it was a fun evening. The following week, he invited me to eat at his flat, and I went. I liked him, sex was not entirely out of the question.

It was friendly, casual even. We looked at photos of his family, ate food, and then, out of the blue, he pushed me onto his bed. I struggled and tried to say politely that I didn’t want to do this, but he continued to push me down, kissing me. I thought he was joking at first, so I laughed to change the mood. But he kept on. I was dismayed. I didn’t quite believe he wasn’t going to stop.

I just gave up. I don’t have a violent vocabulary and it didn’t occur to me to hit him. He simply wasn’t listening to me. I gave up and thought, “There’s nothing I can do”. I kept repeating “No, please, I don’t want to have sex with you. Stop. Get off me. Please stop.” It made no difference whatsoever.

So I lay there and waited for it to be over. I thought: “Nobody will ever believe me. It will look as though I said yes all along if he uses a condom. There will be no semen.” He finished after a bit and got off me. I was shocked. I cried endlessly. Put my clothes on, but couldn’t look him in the eye. And he was confused. He kept asking me what was wrong. He truly believed that he had done nothing wrong: I’m no rape apologist, but I believe he thought that was how dates go.

I didn’t tell anyone about the incident. I was too embarrassed. I hid in my room.

I didn’t go to lectures, and I didn’t go to the library as my friends said he was waiting for me there all the time. Wanting to know why I was avoiding him, why didn’t I come to the coffee bar anymore? I finally confronted him and said I was upset that he had raped me. He was shocked. Amazed. Said to me, “But you came to my flat! You wanted to have sex!” And I replied, “No. I said no to having sex with you. I said no over and over again, even if I did come to your flat.” And the sad thing is, I had really liked him, I might have had sex with him happily if he had actually asked me instead of forcing me.

I had to tell my tutor eventually, as I was too scared to go to the library and encounter him again. She was disappointed in my refusal to report the rape to the police. “Who would believe me? “ I said. “I would,” she replied. The man was issued with a written warning from his head of department, but that was all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I might have had a better chance of healing if almost the same thing hadn’t occurred a few weeks later.

This time, with a friend of a friend, post-exams, who was desperately sad. He had lost his girlfriend the year before, and was feeling low. I didn’t know him well, I knew his friends, but I was worried about him. Everyone else was pairing up and going home and when he asked me to come back with him, I said yes, as a friend, absolutely, but added (unusually directly for me at the time): “I am not sleeping with you, though, ok? Just as friends, yes?” He said ok, fine, it would be really good just to talk.

I thought for years after I must have IDIOT written on my face, or PLEASE DO JUST HAVE SEX WITH ME WHATEVER I SAY. This bloke was a 6 foot 5, 16 stone rugby player, where I was 5 foot 3 and half his weight. I was no match in a physical contest, but it didn’t occur to me I might have to be. We had coffee together, talked, we listened to music and he seemed happier. I said I thought I’d better head off, and then he just shoved me onto the bed and lay on me.

“Oh god, not again,” I thought.

Nothing I said stopped him. This time I did try to push him off me, but he was too big and drunk, and I couldn’t move him. He used a condom. Once again, I thought, “NOBODY WILL EVER BLOODY BELIEVE THIS IS RAPE”. I gave up again and waited till it was over. When he had finished, he rolled off me. He seemed baffled as to why I was crying and said coldly, “I don’t know what you’re crying about. You knew the score when you came home with me.”

What do you say to that? Nothing. I said nothing. Later I told a mutual friend, who recoiled from me and said, “No I don’t believe it! XX would never do that!”

Exactly as I thought. So that rape never went reported either. It was the start of my becoming sexually invisible.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Unfortunately, those two incidents are not the only ones. In one long-term relationship I had after university, I assumed for years it was normal to wake up and discover that my partner was having sex with me. Don’t get me wrong, I was not averse to being woken in a sensual manner, but suddenly waking to find yourself in the middle of actual penetration is pretty unpleasant. Even with someone you love.

My partner’s annoyance when I told him I didn’t like it however, made me wonder if I was the unreasonable one. So I tried to explain that yes, I did like having sex with him, but that I preferred to be an active participant, not just a sleeping recipient. He sulkily agreed to only have sex with me when I was awake. This change happened towards the end of our relationship, but by then I felt less a partner than some kind of sex receptacle, a thing.

In fact, after the two rapes during my university years, instead of avoiding sex I just saw it as trivial, unimportant. My body meant nothing to me. It didn’t matter. I took little care of myself, drank and smoked too much. I had sex whether I fancied a man or not. I didn’t care. And while I didn’t care, neither did I ever feel real pleasure. I lost the ability to reach an orgasm. Any time I got close, my head would sabotage the moment, and I would have to lie there till it was over. Utterly meaningless to me. My body felt dislocated from my brain, far away from any real sensuality or intimacy. It took a long time to recover: it’s an ongoing process.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

In a poetic twist however, about eight years ago, I found out details of my early life that neatly put the lid on the jigsaw box. I had always been told that my late father had been a heavy drinker, a gambler, that he had hit my mother and hurt her. However one day, after a major falling out, my mother finally told me that I was conceived from rape.

The night that I was conceived, Mum plucked up the courage to tell my dad she was leaving, that she had had enough of his drinking, gambling and violent temper. My father lost his temper, knocked her down and raped her. She got pregnant. Her mother-in-law offered to pay for an abortion as soon as she knew of the pregnancy, but my mum refused and had me anyway. She stayed with my father, against her better judgment, she says now, and when he died in a car accident eighteen months later, it was mainly relief that she felt, I think.

According to Todd Akin, that’s not legitimate rape. Must be how my mother conceived. But at least in this country she had the choice to have me or not. She could just as well have had an abortion, and maybe that would have been a better choice for her. We have had a difficult relationship from the beginning. She couldn’t bear to see paternal traits emerging in me. I am strong-willed and volatile, I look like my dad, I even have some of his mannerisms, despite his early death. But I am not my dad. I am me.

I asked Mum, “Why didn’t you tell me the whole story before now? How could you not?”

She replied, with perfect logic, “Well when is the best time to tell your child they are the product of rape? When they’re thirteen, or fifteen, or twenty or thirty?”

True. There really isn’t a good time. Maybe it had to come out by force, like the event itself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

So when I read about ‘legitimate’ rape and a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy I am thinking about a whole raft of experiences that have made me who I am. I was conceived through a violent “marital” rape. It’s still rape. It was not consensual. It may have happened in 1969, 22 years before “marital” rape was not considered an offence, but it was still rape. And the two ‘date rapes’ that happened to me – they were rapes too, whether I reported them or not. Because I said “no” very clearly, a number of times.

And during that long relationship, every time that my ex-partner had sex with me without attempting to wake me, or checking to see if I wanted to have sex, unfortunately, that was the same thing. I don’t want it to be the case actually, as he is a good man and I still love him very much. I don’t know if he has ever wondered about those times since then, but I hope it crosses his mind that he might need to one day say sorry to me.

And then there is my mother. She could have had an abortion – she certainly had the right to choose. I would not be here then, and I am hardly likely to say that that would be better for me, but actually it might have been better for her. As it is, the blurring between rape-rape and sort-of-rapey-rape has been a curious motif in my life. I am keen that rape plays no more of a part in my future or in that of my family, of my children. I certainly would not keep silent again.

Writing this post is the first time that I have told the this story in its entirety. And I decided to talk about it because I am not guilty. I was ashamed for twenty years and I kept it to myself. But I bet I’m not alone. Bet there are plenty of other women who are keeping similar stories to themselves too. You might be too, reading this.

And so I want to say the following to anyone in a similar position, or to men who wonder if they have ever overstepped the line with a partner, on purpose or inadvertently:

Your body is your body. You have the right to say no to sex, even if you’ve already slept with someone, even if you are in bed with them, even if you sleep with them every night. You can say no, and the other person must listen. And if you are asleep or unwell or passed out drunk, then any sex that happens is rape since no consent has been able to be sought. And if rape happens, tell someone. It is no shame on you. And you don’t have to be the victim. There must be an end to that.

The thing is, you don’t have to hold a knife to someone’s throat or beat anyone to be a rapist. You don’t need to leave visible bruises to permanently damage someone. All that you need to do is to refuse to hear what they say, you render them invisible and take away their free will.


Eliza James is a language graduate and teacher, and a single parent.

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Reader comments


Thanks for writing this. Despite all the shit that has been said this week and before, maybe it has been better to get all the common myths and prejudices out in the open in order to discuss what a lot of shit they are. Fortunately I wasn’t under the impression that there’s ‘legitimate rape’ and not-quite-rape, but I didn’t realise that the perpetrators and others actually thought it was acceptable, that someone could be a rapist and think they are not.

Hi Eliza

I just read this through and I just wanted to thank you for being so strong and speaking out about what happened to you. This is the first piece I have read all week on the subject that actually feels human, rather than clinical and detached. I hope that being open about this now makes you feel stronger and makes it easier to move on. I know you will have the support of so many people.

Rosie

Thank you so much for sharing that. I have nothing to add, or query, or say. But thank you.

I have seen a few articles like this in the last few days and the temptation is to read the headline and first few lines and then move on to some other subject. That is the problem. It’s easy to say, “I agree with these women” or “I understand,” but I am a man. I can’t ever truly understand. It is easy to skim these stories and feel bad for the women involved, but that is not enough. I implore all men to actually read these stories and I mean every single painful word. It is important that you do. It is important that you know the damage you, as a male of the species, can do. It is important that you feel something about these experiences and it is important that you question your own behaviour and actions. When I read these stories I feel ashamed. I am not a rapist but I know, as a man, I have the capability to be one, and that makes me sad. Commentators like Galloway cannot have read these stories, and if they have and still hold the same opinions they previously expressed, then they are devoid of empathy, devoid of shame. I applaud the women such as Laurie Penny and Eliza James for telling their stories. It is important that they have.

Anyone can perform mental gymnastics to justify their actions. No still means no, and if you try to have sex with someone asleep or incapacitated through drink & drugs, where they cannot give consent, it is still rape!

Yes, in relationships, I have woken up before my partner with a morning stiffy, but I wait until they have woken up (constant fidgeting does that quickly in my book) and only when consent is given, actually done anything.

I wouldn’t feel right without consent, because I posess something called empathy, and keep it engaged as much as I am capable. When drunk, I can’t anyway, more likely to offensively snore within 5 seconds of my head hitting the pillow!

Thank you for writing this.

I am baffled that some men don’t get this consent thing and try to make distinctions between “types” of rape. We don’t do that with other offences – stealing is always stealing. Obviously stealing something can be done by someone who threatens, hurts or even kills someone in order to steal something from them, or it may be done painlessly when the person does not even realise it has happenned until later. The fact the violent cases have violence added does not mean the non-violent cases are not stealing.

So it is with rape.

Thank you for writing this. I don’t want to use the “brave” word because I know it’s a cop out; we don’t do these things because we are brave, we do these things because the pain is so unbearable that we just have no choice.

In fact, after the two rapes during my university years, instead of avoiding sex I just saw it as trivial, unimportant. My body meant nothing to me. It didn’t matter. I took little care of myself, drank and smoked too much. I had sex whether I fancied a man or not. I didn’t care. And while I didn’t care, neither did I ever feel real pleasure.

Yes. Me too. All of this. Just wanted you to know – because I always thought that reacting that way meant that I was self destructive, wrong somehow; that retreating into self protective spinsterhood would have been the “better” thing to do, proved that I cared about myself more. Helped me work out “my issues with sex” (hah!) sooner.

But that’s bullshit. It’s a bullshit expectation that is placed on us by rape culture. When someone treats us like an object, and object to be used with contempt, it’s perfectly natural for us to take that belief on and treat ourselves like that too.

So yeah, anyway. Thank you, and just wanted you to know that you’re not alone.

Thank you for writing this. I don’t want to use the “brave” word because I know it’s a cop out; we don’t do these things because we are brave, we do these things because the pain is so unbearable that we just have no choice.

In fact, after the two rapes during my university years, instead of avoiding sex I just saw it as trivial, unimportant. My body meant nothing to me. It didn’t matter. I took little care of myself, drank and smoked too much. I had sex whether I fancied a man or not. I didn’t care. And while I didn’t care, neither did I ever feel real pleasure.

Yes. Me too. All of this. Just wanted you to know – because I always thought that reacting that way meant that I was self destructive, wrong somehow; that retreating into self protective spinsterhood would have been the “better” thing to do, proved that I cared about myself more. Helped me work out “my issues with sex” (hah!) sooner.

But that’s bullshit. It’s a bullshit expectation that is placed on us by rape culture. When someone treats us like an object, and object to be used with contempt, it’s perfectly natural for us to take that belief on and treat ourselves like that too.

So yeah. Thank you, and just wanted you to know that you’re not alone.

9. Dick the Prick

Jeez, you’ve been unlucky. All the best.

I have a question. Perhaps this is an appropriate place, maybe not, I don’t know. I’m sure you guys will tell me.

A lot has been made recently of how having sex with someone asleep IS rape – no ifs not buts.

In my relationship my girlfriend has made it clear in the past that she doesn’t just enjoy being woken up by sex – she wants me to do it. She made it very clear that waking up to sex was a massive turn on, and she has no problem with me doing it.

And so I do. And usually she wakes within a minute or so, she smiles, and reciprocates. Only once did she wake up and say “I’m knackered, wait a couple of hours” – and so I stopped.

So, I was given explicit consent *at one point*. I know she’s fine with it. And me and her are very close – I know my boundaries – and to be perfectly honest, if I thought there was any hint she didn’t want to, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t even think I’d be able to.

So after reading many of the replies to Steve Brookstein on Twitter the other day, I was led to believe that many people would consider this rape – plain and simple. Ie, if she hasn’t explicity consented to it for that particular time, at that moment, it’s rape.

In our case, I clearly don’t agree – I have been given consent, actually asked to, and at one point moaned at for not doing it enough. In the eyes of you guys, does this make me a rapist?!

I’m not saying this is valid for all situations and couples, but for us it works. She wants me to, and so I do. If she didn’t want me to, she’d tell me (as she has). But as explicit consent was given years ago, I imagine from reading the opinions of others on Twitter that this immediately means it’s rape – plain and simple.

I got the feeling that Steve Brookstein was in the similar situation, and to be perfectly honest, reading some of the replies made me a bit angry – I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be pissed at it being implied something I do, which I’m 100% sure she’s happy with – is rape. I got the feeling that many people, obviously not being happy with the idea of being woken up to sex, were unable to fathom that *anyone* could be happy with it. Which is fine – each to their own – but accusing someone you don’t know of raping their wife based on a slither of information just seemed insane to me.

What are people’s opinions? I’m genuinely interested.

Thank you so much for writing this, I very rarely feel the need to comment on articles but as soon as I read this I really felt like I needed to add my piece.

Last year I was holidaying on my own, and a similar event happened to me. That obscure feeling of being violated, but simultaneously feeling you brought it on yourself almost destroyed me. I made friends with the hotel manager where I was staying and we went out a few times for dinner and drinks, I told him all about my partner and genuinely had a great time with him. One evening he came to my room, and after about an hour of conversation he was undressing against my wishes, then he was on top of me. I had verbally protested, but he seemed to ignore me. I could have screamed, I could have hit him, but I’m not the kind of girl to make a fuss, so I just lay there feeling more and more nauseous asking him to leave me alone.

The whole experience has made me question the way I hold authority with my words, and also the fundamental fact that, despite what i say, i see myself as a bit of a meek girl. All these things and more disempowered me in this moment and led to the most miserable five days of my life.

I finally verabalised this event with close friends and have built stronger bonds with them in the process. You would be surprised at just how many of them have similar stories.

Reading this made me feel terribly sad, and uncomfortable. Sad to hear that you went through what you did and felt ashamed about it for so long, sad because of what your mother had to endure; uncomfortable because it’s difficult as a man to express solidarity without being patronising. It’s heartening that at least you and other women are now able to speak out, and it’s good to see comments such as John’s above. Men need to speak out about this issue so that those men who don’t agree or don’t get it eventually realise they can’t get away with that any more. Rape is rape, and it’s never “legitimate” or OK or anyone’s fault but the perpetrator’s.

I was first sexually assaulted when I was a young child. Some years later, when I was nine, my parents forced me to have an eye operation I didn’t want (and which had negative consequences). My emotional reaction to this was very similar, and for years that confused and distressed me, until a counsellor observed that the factor they had in common was violation of my bodily autonomy. This is one of the key things about rape. It may or may not be violent – being beaten up isn’t much fun either – but it’s that lack of respect for autonomy, that failure to recognise personhood, that was, for me, the most deeply damaging thing.

When I think about the several other times that I have been sexually assaulted, again, that’s the thing that stands out. The time I was raped by somebody I cared about I just felt overwhelmingly sad. I could have fought, I could have escaped. I honestly don’t think he felt malice towards me. But the fact he persisted despite me crying, despite me saying no – that was the damaging thing, and compared to that the physical act felt almost irrelevant.

“In fact, after the two rapes during my university years, instead of avoiding sex I just saw it as trivial, unimportant. My body meant nothing to me. It didn’t matter. I took little care of myself, drank and smoked too much. I had sex whether I fancied a man or not. I didn’t care. And while I didn’t care, neither did I ever feel real pleasure. I lost the ability to reach an orgasm. Any time I got close, my head would sabotage the moment, and I would have to lie there till it was over. Utterly meaningless to me. My body felt dislocated from my brain, far away from any real sensuality or intimacy. It took a long time to recover: it’s an ongoing process.”

Oh my goodness, yes. I was in a violent relationship in my early 20’s and was raped many times (sometimes violently, sometimes not). After I left him, I went through something very similar. I put myself in some really dangerous situations that I now cannot believe I managed to escape from unharmed. Even though I’m now in my mid-30’s and have managed to undo a lot of the damage that he did, it still hurts, and it still affects my relationship with my husband.

Thank you for sharing your story. I really hope it has helped you.

@ Elouise, I had a relationship with someone who was in an abusive relationship years before I met her, we had an intense discussion one evening, I moved my hand to basically stroke her cheek and say it’s ok etc, in other words try to be supportive and tender. Because her ex husband was a violent monster she automatically thought I was moving to hit her, even though that was the last thing on my mind. She literally flinched and cringed away from me, and I didn’t know what to do. It made me feel shame to be a man.

Peter @10, if you have consent then it isn’t rape. I do not know what Brookstein says he’s done or what he’s alleged to have done.

A lot has been made recently of how having sex with someone asleep IS rape – no ifs not buts.

Many people do not appear to understand the allegation to which I think you allude.

A woman and a man are becoming sexually intimate. The woman insists she won’t have sex without a condom. They have sex using a condom. They fall asleep. The man wakes up, she is not awake, and he penetrates her without a condom.

Does the man have consent or reasonable belief in consent?

I’m glad you’re not ashamed, but you can’t compare a generally progressive figure like Galloway to right-wing Republicans.

@10 – I see this issue in the same light as you. If I were in a relationship and my boyfriend woke me up by having sex with me, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it. So for me to read that some people regard that as rape is utterly beyond my comprehension.

What you are doing is so obviously not rape that it makes me sad that you’ve even wondered =(

Thank you Eliza – it would be good if idiots (like Galloway and the sexist tweeter referred to in the other recent post) read your post.

Peter@10 – yes, like Nikki, I was saddened by your worry – although I am absolutely not in the Galloway camp, I think some of the criticism of Galloway has been framed in a rather exaggerated way which flattens a complex issue. And there’s plenty to criticise without the need for exaggeration.

Chris @17 you can compare any politician to any other politician, I think you mean you can’t *equate* the two and that’s not what this article does.

I am so glad you wrote this.

@18 and 10

It’s pretty simple imo. Say your partner has sex with you while you’re asleep and you wake up during. If a) your consent was sought to this beforehand (e.g. ‘Hey, I’d really like to wake you up by having sex with you, is this okay with you?’ ‘Yeah, fine’) or b) you find yourself enjoying it and being glad he did so (in other words, if consent had been sought you would have said yes), then you can probably say it’s not rape.

If no consent was sought, and you would not have given it if it had been (i.e. you did not enjoy or appreciate it, did not want it to happen, etc), then it is rape. It’s very clear this was the case from the scenario in the OP. She described the sensation as ‘unpleasant’ and asked her partner not to do it any more. Couldn’t be clearer really.

23. Helen Turley

Some people lead a charmed life but yours has been extraordinarily unfortunate. Some women will undoubtedly will have experienced similar encounters to yours – some will have chalked it to experience or convinced themselves that they played hard to get or conversely will have been deeply depressed/frightened by it. I’m saddened that you’ve ‘lost’ years to self doubt and blame but heartened that recent events have prompted your change of attitude to your experiences. You are right to acknowledge those histories and speak of them free from guilt. I hope you can now begin the journey of healing. 🙂 x

24. Robin Levett

@Chris #17:

I was going to make a snide comment about Galloway, but in the interests of not derailing this thread, I would simply ask you to reconsider your description of Gorgeous George the celebrity. No need to reply (at least not in this thread); this will be my only comment here on the issue.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Violet

I think I’d agree with that. It does leave a loophole where a person is either a rapist or a-ok based on whether they’ve correctly guessed that their lover will be happy to wake up to find themselves in the middle of sex. I don’t like loopholes like that, they add too much hindsight to criminal justice.

However, it seems unavoidable. Certainly you don’t want to rule that it’s always ok to initiate sex with someone who’s asleep as long as you’ve had sex with them recently, and equally certainly you don’t want to demand that it’s rape when the man (or woman) acted in good faith AND the woman (ditto) had no problem with it.

Peter above is certainly ok. I think, in the argument over this specific case, some people have lost sight of the difference between “you can’t ever withdraw consent” and “a woman can establish a standing rule that it’s ok to initiate sex when she’s asleep”. And of course that’s leaving aside the whole condom issue in the Assange case.

The only room this leaves for tragedy (on both sides) is when two people have been together for a long time, have not discussed starting sex while asleep, one of them initiates it on the assumption that it’s fine, and the other wakes up and is horrified. Not sure if there’s anything to be done about that.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ Eliza

Thanks for writing this, and respect for publishing something that must be hard to sit and think about. I can’t really add much to what others have said above, but we need to hear from people with your experiences, because I strongly suspect that there a lot of people out there who think that exerting too much force with your partner doesn’t count as rape.

@10 Generally, if you’re stopping when told too, apologising profusely where neccessary, then you’re okay.

28. Shatterface

I’m glad you’re not ashamed, but you can’t compare a generally progressive figure like Galloway to right-wing Republicans.

A mysogynist who plays the race card and panders to reactionary religious fanatics?

No can’t see a parallel between Galloway and the Christian Right there…

@25 Chaise:

I can see what you mean. However personally, I think that assuming your partner will be okay with sex of a certain kind isn’t really on. Mainly because most empathetic people would be horrified at the thought of doing something that would upset or even traumatise their partner.

Especially if your partner is unconscious, I mean, it is a massive assumption that they would enjoy what was happening once they came round. One that may pay off for many couples, and be completely fine, but why take the risk? What’s wrong with waiting til they wake up? What’s wrong with seeking consent in advance before they go to sleep? Or even just having a conversation about the possibility? These are the kinds of questions that spring to mind. It just seems to me like basic respect.

Getting consent is so easy, it just strikes me as odd that anyone would assume, when the stakes are so high (hurting the other person, being accused of rape, etc).

Guy, cummon. Stop arguing the exception corner. Why is it that there’s always someone who wants to make sure they can walk away with the certainty that there’s some tiny hypothetical exception under which you could have sex with someone without consent, and it wouldn’t be rape? Why does the subject always always come up? Is it really so important to hang on to the idea that you could, if you played your cards right, have non-consensual ex with someone and still get to be the good guy? Really?

Anyway, @itsmotherswork says it better than I can, so read her post.

@ Violet

you find yourself enjoying it and being glad he did so (in other words, if consent had been sought you would have said yes), then you can probably say it’s not rape.

If no consent was sought, and you would not have given it if it had been (i.e. you did not enjoy or appreciate it, did not want it to happen, etc), then it is rape.

To be on the safe side, I’ve just asked my wife to sign a contract to say that it’s OK for me to initiate sex first thing in the morning, even if she is still half asleep.

She has refused to sign but says that it’ll be OK if it transpires she’s in the mood.

Where does that leave me, legally and morally?

Marina – I don’t think this is about being determined to keep the thin end of a (potentially horrific) wedge in place for sinister purposes. Your use of the phrase ‘without consent’ doesn’t map fairly onto the situation Peter described.

Thoughtful, moving, obviously true. Sometimes it *is* better just to put sex out of one’s life. It’s a relief.

Thank you for writing this piece. It moved me to tears, and reminded me of long since ‘forgotten’ times when I’ve had similar experiences. As a rape survivor, I can truly appreciate that deadness, the detachment that comes when you are ignored and invisible.
The rape deniers, apologists and explainers have caused a lot of pain recently. I’m hoping that this starts a new way of thinking, one where consent, enthusiastic consent at that, is at the centre.
Thinking of you
X

I have many female friends & I have heard this so many times. The quick gratification of a caveman leaves scars for life.

I have many male friends. Never have I heard them tell of forcing a girl to have sex.

I conclude they all know it is wrong but they get away with it.

Both my daughters are studying serious martial arts. Some days i dispair at my fellow man.

There are good ones out there, i know a few.

My heart goes out to all who have been abused, beaten, assaulted or raped. Be strong, and NEVER blame yourselves, or be self destructive.

Oh god, this is so close to my own story that I’m shaking. I’ve had so much fear and shame over the idea that it wasn’t “real” rape. These politicians need to shut up and stop torturing survivors and polluting thought with their noxious opinions.

Thank you, Eliza, for writing this. Thank you for the courage to share your story with the world.

And thank you, Liberal Conspiracy, for publishing this. It may be the longest piece you’ve ever published, but every word in it needs to be read.

39. Alison Riches

Hi, you brave, brave woman, reading your story had me realise this has happened to me too, although I didn’t think it was rape at the time, like you, I thought I went to his place, who would believe me? And seeing as he was a semi pro football player at the time, I thought i’d NEVER have anyone believe me.

I’m glad you spoke up, it must be a relief to get this off your chest? Again, thank you, I hope you have some peace from this.

Alison.x

40. gherkinette

Thank you for writing this. It needs to be written, it needs to be read and it needs to be listened to if we are to learn from the ignorance of the last week.

I hope it brings you some healing to have expressed yourself. It’s an extraordinary piece of writing and it’s articulated a few things that have resonated with me that I’d never connected with my experiences before. Thank you for sharing….

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 Violet

Oh, agreed. It’d be horribly immoral and bloody stupid to initiate sex with someone who had fallen asleep unless you knew they wanted you to. You don’t have the right to make that choice for them. Anyone thinking “it’s ok, this probably isn’t rape” has made a huge mistake in their reasoning. This issue is that some people don’t think – and presumably in some of those cases the partner doesn’t consider it rape.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 MarinaS

Who are you talking to? Peter? Me? Someone else? Because Peter is talking about his own experiences in which he has consent, and I’m not talking about me (I doubt I’d be prepared to wake my girlfriend up with sex even if she’d explicitly asked me to) but about cases where someone would wrongly assume they had consent – in which case it would be rape. Frankly I can’t see anyone on this thread whose words even vaguely connect to the strange questions in your post.

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 pagar

“Where does that leave me, legally and morally?”

Well, what you have there is your wife saying she doesn’t know whether she’ll consent. In which case, you don’t have consent. So don’t.

I think your contrarian instincts are getting the better of you here.

There is no excuse for rape, no ifs, no buts. However, I wish that more was done to educate young women about protecting themselves, both in terms of awareness of just what some men wrongly think it’s ok to do and also in terms of physically defending themselves. If someone robbed you while you were walking through a dark alley alone at 3 am wearing stilettos, it would be wrong both morally and legally, but if you were wise you wouldn’t leave yourself open to it. That’s not a criticism of anyone who’s been the victim of any crime, merely a sadness about how many young people don’t realise how nasty people can be. My sympathies to Eliza.

David
There have been many self defence courses available for decades. I should know, as I was used as a demo subject in them by my cousin 25 years ago. I am thankful it was only a demo, she pulled her punches!

@ Chaise

I think your contrarian instincts are getting the better of you here.

Possibly.

But my point was that Violet was saying that if she was going to enjoy the morning sex it was OK but if she wasn’t it was rape.

So how is her partner supposed to be able to predict her mood?

There’s a lot of “I’m ashamed to be a man because other men are rapists” going on on this thread. In my view there is no shame whatever in being a man but there is massive shame in being a rapist so let’s not blur the edges of the difference.

47. Shatterface

Oh, agreed. It’d be horribly immoral and bloody stupid to initiate sex with someone who had fallen asleep unless you knew they wanted you to. You don’t have the right to make that choice for them. Anyone thinking “it’s ok, this probably isn’t rape” has made a huge mistake in their reasoning. This issue is that some people don’t think – and presumably in some of those cases the partner doesn’t consider it rape.

Exactly. I mean if you even have to use the word ‘probably’ in the context of sex and rape you ‘probably’ shouldn’t be doing it.

If you wake up with an erection and you can’t maintain it till your partner wakes up then why not go make her breakfast?

“There’s a lot of “I’m ashamed to be a man because other men are rapists” going on on this thread. In my view there is no shame whatever in being a man but there is massive shame in being a rapist so let’s not blur the edges of the difference.”

Pajar – I’d noticed that too – their response seemed a very human one to this upsetting post – but I think you are quite right.

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 pagar

“But my point was that Violet was saying that if she was going to enjoy the morning sex it was OK but if she wasn’t it was rape.

So how is her partner supposed to be able to predict her mood?”

He isn’t. See me @25. It’s not a great loophole but both the alternatives seem worse.

Basically, if someone initiates sleep sex without prior consent, they’re doing something they ought not to do. In doing so they put themselves at the mercy of their partner. The only other options are to legalise sleep sex without consent (no way in hell) or to prosecute even when the partner didn’t mind (can see the argument for that, but sounds like it would create pointless misery).

The takeaway here is still “Don’t starting having sex with someone whose asleep unless they’ve previous told you it’s ok, and don’t even treat that as carte blanche (because someone who says it’s generally ok might still be shocked if, for example, you had a row last night and weren’t speaking when you fell asleep)”.

“There’s a lot of “I’m ashamed to be a man because other men are rapists” going on on this thread. In my view there is no shame whatever in being a man but there is massive shame in being a rapist so let’s not blur the edges of the difference.”

Agreed with that. People spend too much time apologising on behalf of their demographic. Although I agree with Sarah AB’s take on it too.

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 Shatterface

“Exactly. I mean if you even have to use the word ‘probably’ in the context of sex and rape you ‘probably’ shouldn’t be doing it.”

Yup. You’re taking a stupid risk on the part of your partner and yourself.

“If you wake up with an erection and you can’t maintain it till your partner wakes up then why not go make her breakfast?”

Even more likely, if you have morning wood and can’t wait, seek a date with Rosie Palms.

Much needed to counter the misogyny of recent weeks from left and right. In fact I actually picked this up from an Ian Dale rt on twitter.

Powerful and poignant testimony by Eliza James, and, I believe, an account of the traumatic experience of rape suffered by many women.

Shortly after meeting my wife, I discovered that she had been raped by an acquaintance of hers several years before I became involved with her, in circumstances not dissimilar to the ones described in the blogpost above.

She never reported the rape to the police, neither did she tell her family; that she told me was a remarkable act of courage and trust on her part.

Our marriage has been marred and scarred by the rape my wife suffered before I met her, and emotional and physical intimacy for her of any kind is impossible. Indeed, she recently told me that she does no longer wants sexual relations with me at all. In addition to two years marriage guidance counselling, I also suggested to my wife that she seek counselling to deal the trauma of her rape, a suggestion which she rejected.

I fear our marriage is now, after some 20 years, at an end. This is difficult for me, as I have loved my wife very much; however I cannot heal the scars of her rape ordeal.

There is Sexsomnia.=Sex while asleep.
I usually could,nt remember it. Fortunately, it seems.My ex liked it (If not I may have been accused of rape) She did’nt like it when I told her I did not know I was doing it. (Why?)
Sometimes,if told it would come back to me,like a dream comes back to you. Its like sleep walking,I suppose.
Anyway,she left the children and I, for what police and Social Services say is a Schedule ! Sex Offender ! She’s still with it, I hear.

Thank you Eliza for this eloquent account of what rape really means on a personal level, rather than the abstract pontification of recent days. I hope writing and publishing it is helpful to you.

On two side-discussions, Peter’s girlfriend has given her consent to being woken up with sex, or at a very minimum he has “reasonable belief” in consent. Of course she has the right to withdraw consent as soon at any moment, and if she does he has to stop. He always does, so no problem, no rape.

Secondly I agree with Pagar, Chaise, & Sarah AB that comments along the lines of “I’m so ashamed to be a man” are not reasonable or helpful.

55. Chaise Guevara

My sympathies to you and your wife, RO, and to you as well, R. Those are difficult and painful situations that most people never have to deal with.

56. Staropramen

Comparing what Galloway said to what Akin said reduces the impact of what Akin said to triviality. That really is stupid.

Galloway gave an opinion on a particular situation for which nobody has been found guilty yet or had the chance to clear his name on. Akin said that women cannot get pregnant by rape and if they say they want an abortion because they have been raped then the rape could not have been legitimate and the person is just claiming rape to get an abortion. Bit like the old witch’s ducking stool. Now if you cannot tell the difference between Akin’s medieval shit and Galloways measured opinion on a particular case then you need to keep quiet for the sake of thoese who do take rape seriously. It is clear that where prior permission has been given to engage in coetus when the woman is asleep by the woman then not every insertion does need explicit individual permission. Believe it or not some women do like to be woken up by someone making love to them. The issue in this case was the condom and even when it was discovered that a condom was not deployed permission was given to carry on. The complaint was made retrospectively a bit like that woman who thought she was having sex with a Jew who turned out to be an Arab who then claimed rape.

Staropramen’s thoughts move along the tram lines one might expect from a Galloway supporter. There was a bit more to that case than first came out.

http://www.thejc.com/news/israel-news/37939/arab-jew-deception-rape-was-violent

RO and R – I’d just like to echo CG’s comment to you both.

To explain my statement about feeling shame to be a man.

The shame I felt was the initial reaction to her flinching and cringing. I forgot her telling me about how she was treated. It very quickly morphed into contempt of the sorry excuse of a man that constantly assaulted the woman I went out with, and I now extend it to other ‘men’ who abuse women in such ways.

I should have worded it better obviously.

The complaint was made retrospectively a bit like that woman who thought she was having sex with a Jew who turned out to be an Arab who then claimed rape.

I think that case is a better parallel than you realise: specifically, it turned out that the initial reporting on the issue was almost completely wrong. The case was as far as can be told from what’s come out since the original story, a typical rape+battery case, with the claim you make being a bizarre plea bargain made to avoid the trial. Whether the prosecution should have offered that particular plea bargain … well, perhaps not: but the defendant accepted it, they got a conviction, and the victim didn’t have to go through the ordeal of a full trial.

Hey, just like the Assange case in fact, where the original English-language reporting on the case “sex by surprise”, “weird Swedish laws against consensual unprotected sex”, etc. turned out to be a load of rubbish.

60. Chaise Guevara

@ 58 Dissident

Totally understandable reaction. I think Pagar, myself et al were clarifying more than anything.

Thanks Chaise

52 RO Bennet
I would encourage your wife to see a counsellor.

I was sexually assaulted by a relative when i was a child. When i grew up i put it behind me and got on with my life. It came back to haunt me in middle age when my abuser returned to the family circle.

I had counselling, my second counsellor, the first one was out of her depth, was excellent. She helped me to gain insights into my abusers behaviour and see how it had damaged me. I am not a victim, i am a surviver. He was a predator, i no longer feel any guilt.

It may be that your wife feels it is too painful or she’s not ready to discuss it. It sometimes takes another crisis to bring it out as it did in my case.

Thanks Eliza for bringing this suject up.

63. Frances_coppola

When did “going in for a coffee” at the end of a date become “going in for sex”?

64. Chaise Guevara

@ 62 Frances

“When did “going in for a coffee” at the end of a date become “going in for sex”?”

I guess it’s just a handy euphemism. You invite someone in for coffee, they refuse, you haven’t been literally turned down for sex. It’s another of those little rituals that keep the cogs of society turning.

In this context of this thread, of course, accepting a coffee does not mean offering consent to sex. In fact, going in for sex does not necessarily mean offering consent to sex.

Thank you for writing this.

I read this last evening and ever since I’ve been uneasy about certain aspects.
You are taking a line that the Common Law sees you. YOU. It doesn’t. At least not in the way that views you as human. The Common Law sees one as animal. And not a very valuable animal at that. While there is on the statute books Laws designed to prevent rape, the whole codex in incremental ways reduces you. Think how kids are sexualised with Juicy, Sweet and other such tags stitched into the chest and seat of clothing for ten year olds. And that their mothers don’t see anything wrong in that. So in a cumulative way you are trained into seeing your sex as public or valueless.
Following from that. The issue of being awoken to an assault. There, to get it through you need to reverse it. How would he feel if you decided you wanted to impregnate yourself and inserted his night wood to achieve this end.
That you were on the pill/ligated/capped or T-barred, the potential end is the very same, an expensive child.
That your mother told you that that was how you were conceived is downright wrong. Would you ever tell a child you supposedly loved that tale.
You need to ask yourself who owns you. You need to watch each and every small reducing plays and decide one by one if you will accept them. Not just in the bedroom.
And the word isn’t No, it’s STOP.

Just to nudge a point. In order that I Publish this comment what are you requiring me to do !!.

Thak you for writing this, Eliza.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ 66 Vincent

Well, that was weird. I think you need to stop looking at people purely as commodities, to be honest. You’re wrong on some simple points of fact: law very much distinguish humans from other animals, and makes humans valuable (who goes to jail longer: someone who murders a human, someone who kills a cat, or someone who destroys an expensive car?).

It’s messed up to criticise the OP’s mother, who you don’t know and have only heard of in passing, for a decision she made that you know very little about. And it’s even more messed up to suggest that the road to catharsis is taking some kind of karmic revenge on the perpetrator – especially one that involves a rape victim having sex with her rapist, for god’s sake.

Oh, and “no” and “stop” serve equally well in this context. Why the hell wouldn’t they?

Don’t you dare attempt to place words in my mouth.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ 69

What words have I placed in your mouth?

@31 Pagar:

The bit I wrote about ‘if you would have consented’… it was directed at the woman/sleeping partner, not the man/awake partner.

It was in response to Nikki @18 saying that she would enjoy her partner waking her up with sex, and was shocked at the idea that he could be raping her. I was saying that if you find yourself enjoying what your partner is doing and wanting more of it, you’re not being raped.

@ Violet

The bit I wrote about ‘if you would have consented’… it was directed at the woman/sleeping partner, not the man/awake partner.

I did understand this. My point was that your proposal puts the man in an impossible position- he is either going to be a loving partner or a rapist but he can’t be sure which until his partner is fully awake.

I do think this whole “sex with a sleeping woman is rape” conversation is something of a red herring. In my experience, morning sex is initiated by intimate foreplay from one of the participants and, by the time the act is consummated, both participants are very wide awake.

So there is plenty of time, during the preamble, for either partner to opt out if they wish and I suspect that the instances of women awaking to find themselves being raped are actually very rare.

Thank you so much for this!

I’m ashamed to say that even as a woman with friends who have been raped, and a feminist, and someone who has read tons of studies on rape… I’ve had a hard time truly understanding these cases where an adult doesn’t struggle physically, or scream, but “just” says no and cries.
I’ve understood that it’s rape, but I just haven’t been able to connect to it emotionally. Somewhere there have always been this resistance, these half-articulated thoughts like “but how traumatic could it have been really if she didn’t scream or fight?” Or “what if he would have stopped if she had just screamed and struggled? What if he really isn’t THAT horrible of a guy…” Or “either way I would never be in that situation – I would’ve struggled. If only to be able to show the court my injuries!”

This is the first time I can honestly say that I get it. When I read these stories, I knew in my heart that I would’ve acted the same way. I would.
It doesn’t matter that I have martial arts training and know self defense and carry pepper spray. IT’S NOT ABOUT THAT. It’s not about assertiveness! It’s about what you believe your fellow humans to be capable of doing. About the belief that someone who listens to you and treats you like a person one minute will not start stabbing at your genitals against your will the next.

In all of these situations, I would’ve been absolutely stunned. I wouldn’t have had time to find outrage, or even the words for what was happening. I would’ve just been horrified to the very core of my being. I wouldn’t have struggled, I would have tried to reason, expecting him to be the same human he had been minutes before. When I realized he wasn’t, I would’ve panicked. I don’t know if that means I would’ve lied paralyzed, or screamed hysterically, or cried silently. I just know I wouldn’t have controlled it.

Reading this I can feel, in my own body, the intense fear that shot through me that one time in a club when I tried to push a guy off me and his grip hardened and he was so, so much stronger than me. I should’ve known ever since that I won’t ever throw myself into a physical struggle with a much stronger opponent just to “have injuries to show for it”! Even if I wish I would, my fear will likely prevent it. Because it’s there to save my life. And it just might. If someone is willing to rape me, why would I trust he’s not willing to also give me permanent physical injuries, or worse?
When was the last time you heard someone say about a rape victim who was horribly beaten or even killed, “at least she put up a fight – good for her!”? But in court – and sadly, usually even when she tells her friends about it – that hesitance to fight is suddenly strange, suspicious. We don’t get it at all.

Thank you for making me finally understand. Straightforward, detailed accounts like this one help tremendously. I’ll be sharing this with everyone I know. And I promise I’ll be a better fellow human now that I’ve read this.

Oh and Peter, #10 – no, of course no one thinks you are a rapist in this situation.

What would be problematic is if you said that since your girlfriend enjoys this, no other woman would experience it as a rape and have any legal protection against it. For me personally, waking up from someone already penetrating me would be a horrific, it would be a rape, and my partners have always understood that.

So I want the general public to be very clear on the fact that while people are unconscious, they can’t actually consent. Sure, I’m speaking in generalities. Sure, there are exceptions, such as someone specifying before they fall asleep that they would like this to happen!
If I don’t always mention this, it’s because there’s a point where you figure common sense kicks in… But I’m starting to think that when it comes to these questions, you can never be too specific and detailed about what you’re talking about, because people have such very different frames of reference.

@ David –

you are being well meaning, but think about it. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t know that many many men think it’s ok for them to rape, that being alone with a man anywhere could potentially result in being raped.

If I were to act on that information in a way that would actually cut down my risk substantially, it would mean not really trusting almost any man, not becoming friends with men. Not spending time with them alone until we’ve known each other well for several years. Not ever being spontaneous with a guy, always keeping in mind in the back of my head, “he might be a rapist”.

This is what the radical feminist movement has been so derided for supposedly promoting. More importantly, I won’t do that. Most men aren’t rapist, and I refuse to let my interactions with almost every man on earth be so determined by those who are.

We all want to find some compromise, something that lets us both be safe and not live in fear and paranoia. When it comes to being wary of rapes from friends, acquaintances and partners, there isn’t one. You either live in constant fear and distrust or you don’t.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Penny Lynn McConnell

    One of the best things I've read following this week's controversy over definitions of rape. http://t.co/CqqRxgw9

  2. sunny hundal

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  3. Gary Maylin

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  4. Catherine Kearney

    ‘essential reading for @georgegalloway et al http://t.co/9LBgMLyu

  5. Nicola Chan

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  6. Ariela Zibiah

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  7. salomemaloney

    Longest piece we've ever published but a must-read: "I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer" http://t.co/XFqtl0Cb

  8. Are Ausland

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  9. Dave Berry

    One of the best things I've read following this week's controversy over definitions of rape. http://t.co/CqqRxgw9

  10. Melanie Mack

    Incredibly powerful addition to the "legitimate rape" narrative: http://t.co/lgL67gwA

  11. Jennifer D Begg

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  12. Judith Rossall

    One of the best things I've read following this week's controversy over definitions of rape. http://t.co/CqqRxgw9

  13. Christina Wood

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  14. Kimberley Tew

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  15. Kimberley Tew

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

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  16. Eldred J Coke

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  17. Andrew Gillett

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E4Ed9Rng via @libcon

  18. Jonas Vils

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  19. Isobel Hadley-Kamptz

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  20. Mia

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  21. Tony McGowan

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    Plz read & RT

  22. Love Bing

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  23. Tina Raphael

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  24. TheVeganGreen

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  25. Olivia Armshaw

    A good friend of mine has written this powerful article about her own rape, hard-hitting stuff: http://t.co/zWsrpU8Z

  26. Iain Dale

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  27. Zadi Green

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  28. Paul Emanuelli

    @EmiliaDG @sianushka @CathElliott Very moving personal piece (and comments) here, via @meandmybigmouth – http://t.co/sWadZZlI

  29. Ryan B

    Christ. This piece from LC is good, and horrible, and moving, and just bloody read it, OK: http://t.co/4BDdwnsm #rape

  30. Paul Lynch

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  31. Warren O'Keefe

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  32. Jenny Ricks

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  33. Richard Calhoun

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/B4ZCIVqB via @libcon

  34. Richard Earley

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  35. Matthew Collins

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  36. AreWeDoneYet

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  37. Claire McAlpine

    Incredibly powerful addition to the "legitimate rape" narrative: http://t.co/lgL67gwA

  38. Luke Pollard

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  39. Patrick cullen

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  40. RO Bennett

    RT @IainDale: Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/nsnc2Eps

  41. Ed Fraser

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  42. Alex Bjarnason

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  43. Anders Törnqvist

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  44. Hanna

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  45. Gillian Philip

    Terrific & moving post: RT @IainDale: Every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/LbQe6hES

  46. Timothy StJohn

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  47. Brian Edwards

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/yVNqQkL3

  48. Tamarind Lemur

    Christ. This piece from LC is good, and horrible, and moving, and just bloody read it, OK: http://t.co/4BDdwnsm #rape

  49. Seán Dagan Wood

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  50. Met2Moz

    This is a great blog all should read. http://t.co/k1iPyitj it will help many understand, PPass it on RT

  51. Joshua Kaile

    Incredibly powerful article about the whole rape debate on @libcon A must read. http://t.co/GxABERT9

  52. Jennifer C Krase

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  53. Sense of entitlement | Edinburgh Eye

    […] raped because of anything she did or said or wore: she’s raped because a rapist got rapey. The thing is, you don’t have to hold a knife to someone’s throat or beat anyone to be a rapist. You don’t […]

  54. Chris McNicholas

    Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/fFulRc6w

  55. Dr Nic

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  56. Matt Petty

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  57. Cllr Maddy Bunker

    RT @IainDale Not often I recommend an article on Liberal Conspiracy but every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/ryJ3zdzz

  58. Eloise Le Santo

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  59. Ashleigh Bulbeck

    every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/wyukxZO4
    Kinda draws a line underneath the argument really. End of

  60. Colin Vint

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ux3VcBJK this made me cry 🙁 plz read it

  61. Pete Yandell

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  62. Jordan McNamara

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  63. dT

    every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/wyukxZO4
    Kinda draws a line underneath the argument really. End of

  64. Piotr Sarnacki

    RT @marxroadrunner: ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/145Ch1Kj

  65. bob Ledgerwood

    ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ http://t.co/KIaksikA

  66. Joanne

    every man should read this article about rape http://t.co/wyukxZO4
    Kinda draws a line underneath the argument really. End of

  67. Kate Dodds

    Christ. This piece from LC is good, and horrible, and moving, and just bloody read it, OK: http://t.co/4BDdwnsm #rape

  68. Miz

    If only more women could be more open http://t.co/TTh21aLj

  69. Laura Conrad

    A must read -> ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/eKwIAjm7 via @libcon

  70. Two Essential Testimonies on Date Rape | Robert Sharp

    […] Eliza James writes at Liberal Conspiracy how she was raped at university by men she liked and fancied: So I lay there […]

  71. Toni Fish

    A really important, personal article on why rape is rape: http://t.co/GaFssmz0

  72. Don’t Call Me A Rape Apologist « LOUD MOUTH

    […] which I don’t intend to describe here (however, if you want a personal account of rape Eliza James and Laurie Penny have written vividly about their own experiences and I applaud their bravery in […]

  73. John D. Huff

    Christ. This piece from LC is good, and horrible, and moving, and just bloody read it, OK: http://t.co/4BDdwnsm #rape

  74. Susan Jane Smith

    What #rape means – if U don't know
    http://t.co/1mMrwKvX
    @SusanJaneSmith @AuthorsElectric

  75. UBUWomen

    This is proof to all the numbskulls out there who say rape doesn't happen within a rship or if ur already in bed w/him

    http://t.co/VMp7tvj2

  76. Jo Pearson

    Important article! ‘I’ve been ashamed about my rape for twenty years, but no longer’ | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/h6GA8geh via @libcon

  77. mia_oia

    Do please take time to read this. http://t.co/dll0Jtuo





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