With the whole Brock Turner trial coming to light and the arguments and letters surrounding it, it only felt fitting that I right a response to this situation. Therefore, I must start from the beginning, my history and understanding of rape.
What is rape? Rape is non-consensual sex. But what exactly does it mean not to consent? If you say no repeatedly, then give in and say yes, is it consent? I would argue no.
This is how I lost my virginity. It was my freshman year and I was enjoying the fact that I could enter a frat house and drink. Alcohol seemed like a forbidden fruit that I now had unlimited access to, so why not take advantage of it. I grabbed a drink or two and danced with my friends. Later on in the night, I met Will. He was, in essence, the ideal California boy – despite being from New Jersey. He was blond, blue-eyed, and pretty. We kissed, and as the party was shutting down, we both left. Since my roommate was gone, we began to wander back to my place.
As a naive freshman, I did not know what was in store for me. We began fumbling around in bed, I only expected we were going to kiss and maybe a bit more, then he would leave. Then, he asked if I wanted to have sex. I immediately said no, firstly since I did not know the guy, and secondly because I was a virgin and not planning on giving that up. He said “come on baby, just have sex with me.” He was pinning me down, I had no way to get out of this situation. I was vulnerable. I kept saying no, as time went on of him pleading and me saying no, I finally gave in and said yes. It was the most painful few minutes of my life, as this guy I hardly knew was pounding his dick into me as I softly cried and told myself it would end soon. After what felt like years, the pain stopped and he left. He left me there, raw and hurting. I felt more used and alone than I had ever been in my entire life.
I had to push it aside. Forget it happened. It wasn’t technically rape if I ended up saying yes. In order to cover it up, I told my friends how proud and happy I was that I lost my virginity, and they were, of course, supportive. Over the next few weeks, Will tried to contact me. In my mind, the more we saw each other, the more I could justify letting this happen to me. So I kept seeing him. Eventually I grew to accept him, but I would never be able to forget the pain he caused me. As much as he tried to push himself into my life and ask for my love, I couldn’t give it back. He took a piece of me that I would never get back.
After seeing all of Will’s posts on Facebook sharing the letter written by the Stanford victim to her attacker and his comment saying that “sexual assault is not an accident,” I can’t help the anger building up inside of me. What right does he have to say this? He is a rapist too, to some extent. He should be there with Brock but instead he is sharing these posts on Facebook and condemning others. Don’t get be wrong, what Brock did was horrible, but Will is in a similar league to him. A white, male, Ivy-league swimmer attending Olympic trials. He very well could be Brock. But instead Brock will sit in jail while Will is writing about the terrible man Brock is.
With everything going on with Brock, I began talking to my mom about rape. I explained how society needs to teach men that it is not ok to do that to women. Women are not objects of their demand, we need to be in agreement on sex. My mom agreed, but also said if women didn’t get drunk they wouldn’t get raped. To me, it is horrible my mom could say that. As women, we shouldn’t have to watch every drink we finish, expecting that some guy is going to rape us. It is not fair that we have to be so careful while men can pound beers and know they will see the next day with nothing more than a hangover. What if I had told my mom about my “rape.” Would she be able to blame my rape on the amount of alcohol I consumed? How could you tell your own daughter that. Is it my fault I was raped? I don’t think so. I think Will’s aggressive personality was the cause of the rape. Maybe I should have had less drinks, but the rape still would have happened. If not to me, to someone else. If we don’t teach men not to rape, women like me will have to keep living in fear of every drink they take, that they could forced to have sex for someone else’s pleasure.
— Survivor, age 19