Voices Carry: One Woman’s Experience with Rape Culture

The following is a post from a friend who wanted her story to be told but wasn’t comfortable sharing it publicly. If you have a story that you want to tell anonymously, contact me to publish it here. 


He was older. I met him at work, he told me he loved me after one week, and asked me to move in “part-time”. I was 21, had only slept with two people, and didn’t know how I felt about him. I had been seeing him for about a month, spent the night at his place a couple times, but it never went past making out – clothes on.

On that night – the night that matters, he invites me over for dinner; I accept but know I need to break things off with him soon. He seems to be way too emotionally attached and I don’t want to lead him on with hopes of this casual dating becoming something more serious. We have dinner and he makes margaritas – it’s nice. As I start my second drink, we move to the couch. He starts kissing me, and I feel pretty buzzed already. It’s weird – I know my tolerances and can usually throw back 5 or 6 before feeling anything. I don’t even finish the drink – I already feel pretty drunk and out of it. We move to the bedroom. It feels good to lie down. We’re making out at this point, my clothes are coming off. I don’t resist, it feels good, but I don’t want to go all the way. I’m trying to stick to my convictions and wait until marriage. Not an easy thing to do when you’re not a virgin. He goes down on me. I’m so uncomfortable but don’t know what to say or how to say it. I turn my head to the side . . . and the next thing I remember is waking up to him on top of me, inside me, thrusting.

Oh crap! How did this happen? How long was I out? Does he know? Is he wearing a condom?? “Are you wearing a condom?”

“No.” The thrusting continues.

Crap! Ok, I’m on birth control – won’t get pregnant. STDs? He said he didn’t have any… “You don’t have anything, right?”

“No, I do.” He keeps on thrusting. My world ends. I die inside and fear takes over. Adrenaline kicks in and I shove him off and out of me.

“What do you mean??” Please don’t say AIDS, please don’t say AIDS

“I have HPV.” Not AIDS, but doesn’t HPV stay with you forever?? I continue to die inside.

He goes into the details – he gave it to someone else once before. He acts like it’s not a big deal. I sit on the bed with the sheet wrapped around me, speechless. I pull my jeans back on and stagger downstairs to the bathroom. I want to cry, I want to vomit, I want to call my best friend. I want to go home. I can’t do any of those things. I’m numb. I know I can’t drive. He parked my car somewhere else and even if I knew where it was I am in no condition to drive. It’s the middle of the night so I can’t call anyone. What would I even say? I think I just got drugged and raped? If I was roofied wouldn’t I still be out? But I know I’m not drunk. I didn’t even finish the second drink. Can I press charges? Where’s the proof? His word against mine. His family has money, they’ll hire someone and rip me apart. Do I really want to explain this to the world and have everyone know? I just want it to go away. I just want to go home.

I go back upstairs. He apologizes. I lay down in the bed next to him until morning. He takes me to get food, offers to pay for the HPV shot (like that’ll do any good now). He continues to apologize. What can I say back? You stole my value? I’m garbage now. You possibly gave me an STD for life. I hate you. But that is not how we are called to act. We are called to forgive and turn the other cheek. Unforgiveness and hatred only hurts yourself, not the other person.

Over time, he continued to text and call me. Always to tell me he missed me, he’s sorry, he’s stopped smoking weed, he dreams about me, he knows he screwed up, he hopes I’ll forgive him. I do, but I really don’t want to talk to him or see him ever again. I only told one person what happened. She was there for me the best she could be, but what can you really say to comfort someone in that situation? I walked around, my mind in a haze, trying not to act any differently. I withdrew more and more into myself. My self-worth was so low. Damaged goods. How could any guy want to be with me?? Especially if I had HPV. How do you explain that to someone?

I attached myself to the next guy I dated. I needed validation – to know I was still desirable. I got too physical with him too quickly, although it was always in the back of my mind that I didn’t know if I had HPV or not. It went too far one night, I was forced to tell him what had happened – he may need to get tested. I’ll never forget the look on his face. I’ll never forget how he ran to the bathroom to wash off. He asked why I got involved with that guy – didn’t I know his reputation?? It was my fault this had happened. I should have known better. My self-worth shrank even more. But he came back. I spent the night, he dropped me off at my car in the morning, and then kissed me. I was in shock. He still wanted me even knowing I was damaged goods?? I threw myself into that relationship because he made me feel desirable again. Like I wasn’t disgusting. What a relief when the test results came back – no STDs!

I found out my rapist had a reputation for drugging girls. One girl did press charges and they destroyed her in court. My decision to stay silent was validated. He came back to work, months later, and I almost collapsed. I went back to our department as quickly and discreetly as I could, trying not to shake. Then he texts me, tells me how good I look. Please leave me alone! I didn’t reply. Thankfully, our interactions ended permanently.

Life returned to “normal” but the impact on my life had lasting ramifications. My confidence was nonexistent. What was my value? Am I only useful for that one thing? Those feelings were solidified when I started seeing a guy who refused to call our outings “dates”. I liked him, he liked me, but the world isn’t that simple anymore. There always has to be some manipulative game. I was seeing him for two months before I slept with him. That was only after he said there was no point in us talking anymore if I wasn’t going to have sex with him. My value was in my body and what I could do with it. Thus began a three year on again/off again relationship/non-relationship. During that time he taught me that his only interest in me was my body. He would routinely text me out of the blue asking for pictures, and then drop off the face of the planet again. When we finally became a real relationship he slut shamed me for being with other guys while we weren’t together. I know now it was none of his business. Vacations and gifts came with expectations of sexual favors/experimentation. He lied to me about things that we did sexually when I was drunk, things he did to me, and then he would get mad if I didn’t put out. Sex was a requirement. He was entitled to it. At least, according to him.

When I told him about what had happened to me that night his response was less than supportive. “What did you expect to happen? You were at his house.”

“We had been dating for a month. I thought I could trust him. I thought I was safe.”

“You put yourself in that position. Didn’t you know what kind of guy he was?”

“We worked in different departments. No one told me he had a reputation.”

“It’s your fault this happened.”
“It’s my fault he raped me??”

“Well…no…but you should have known better.”

“How?? How does one prepare for date rape from the person they’ve been seeing for awhile? Please tell me.”

“….” He didn’t say it out loud then, but it came out in later conversations. I was damaged. I wasn’t the girl he had thought I was. I was unclean. The person who had told me I was the love of their life now found me unworthy.

I finally got to the point where I was ready to return to God. I rededicated myself to Christ and began making church a regular part of my life again. Although we had different beliefs, my boyfriend was thrilled! Now I would stop being a party girl. I would be a “good girl” now. To him, “good” meant that I’d do what he told me. To me, “good” meant that I was trying to follow God’s commandments, including celibacy. When you’re a guy who thinks sex is the most important thing in life, this is a big deal. On a weekly basis, I was told:

  • If we’re going to be together you have to have sex with me.
  • Since we’ve already had sex you have to continue sleeping with me.
  • Since you’ve been with other guys you owe me sex.
  • I have needs.
  • This is just a phase. Once we break up you’re going to go back to having sex with a bunch of guys.
  • Come on! Just do something for me. Your mouth…your hand…?

I loved him. I thought. I wanted to be with him. I thought. I thought we could work it out. We couldn’t. He could never forgive me for sleeping with people other than him before we were together, and he refused to wait for marriage because I wasn’t a virgin and therefore owed him sex. We broke up and stopped talking, but then I let him back in my life. The comments have unfortunately continued. The difference is that now I know my value and my worth. I know who I am. I know my value is not found in the perceptions and needs of a guy. Any guy. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past. That no longer defines me. The triggers, sinking me into deep depression, no longer phase me. I have received healing in Christ and been made whole.

The first thing he asked when we resumed communication: “Have you slept with anyone since me?”

“No, I’ve remained true to my convictions. I’m waiting.” He offered to fly me to Paris – a generous offer, of course, if it wasn’t for the strings attached. I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him in Paris. He said he would get mad if nothing happened. I explained that he had absolutely zero right to my body, no matter how much money he spent. I AM NOT A PROSTITUTE. He called me crazy for saying that, but he thinks he is entitled to whatever he wants, because he wants it and paid for it. Needless to say, Paris didn’t happen.

I’ve tried getting back into dating. I’ve tried Tinder, after hearing a few success stories. On my profile, I make it clear that I’m a Christian and not interested in hooking up. It amazes me how many men don’t understand that that means no sex. I’ve gotten unsolicited pictures of genitalia, requests for sex, anger at my responses. Verbal abuse. It prompted me to change my profile to state even clearer: “I’m never going to sleep with you.”

Multiple friends have told me it won’t help. “Guys like a challenge. That’s only going to attract more douchebags”.

Here I am, being as honest and upfront as possible. I’m saying “NO” and yet our society doesn’t get it. “No” means “try harder”. My blunt statement means you should ridicule me and harass me by sending me misogynistic, hateful messages.

I’ve been told “there is no more rape culture” and I “need to relax”. For well over a decade, I suffered sexual harassment, emotional abuse, rape, and a constant lack of consideration for me, my body, and my independence. Things are not improving at the rate they should be. Men grow up thinking this is how they’re supposed to act, and women grow up thinking this is how they’re supposed to be treated. We see it in magazines and television shows, movies and music. Our judicial system and politicians let this be swept under the rug – easier to ignore what is happening than to stand up and say something. Don’t you dare tell me to relax. The last thing we need to do is relax. We need to know our self worth. We need to say no and make it stick. And we need the abusers and rapists in the world to understand that this culture – this abhorrent rape culture – is coming to an end.


Any comments that aren’t supportive or that don’t contribute to the conversation will be removed. Anyone who has a story of their own that they would like to share anonymously, please contact me to have it published.

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3 Replies to “Voices Carry: One Woman’s Experience with Rape Culture”

  1. Michelle Snow

    I’m so sorry you had to go through all this. You are worth more than they would like you to believe, because they have no idea how to respect a woman. Please don’t settle for cretins like this again. You deserve to have someone love you in your entirety, not just your body.

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