Elyse MoFo Anders is behind the Women Thinking, inc and also launched the Hug Me! I’m Vaccinated campaign. She was also raped several times in her life. She has the courage to describe these and the aftermath in a article at Skepchick (details are very graphic on that link). If you don’t understand it already, her experiences should convince you that rape is both common and under-reported.
I was raped. I reported it. I was raped. I didn’t report it. I was raped. I reported it but I didn’t press charges. I was raped. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do so I told myself that I wasn’t raped.
These are different experiences that certainly count as rape, but none of them developed in a way that caused the perpetrators any negative consequences. Warning things are going to get graphic.
She begins by talking about all the ways women are taught to avoid being raped.
Funny thing about rape, though, is that sometimes your rapist doesn’t match what you thought your rapist would look like. Sometimes central casting sends in dudes that don’t match the type you were already planning to get raped by. And sometimes these guys go off script, ad libbing lines and their timing is off and sometimes it’s the script is edited so much, you didn’t even recognize that this was Your Rape because NONE of the shit that just went down was part of the original plan.
Once she went to the police and ended up being forced to drop out of school because she faced unrelenting accusations from the man’s friends. No one believed this great guy could do such a thing, despite the presence of bruises and other evidence.
Once she didn’t and her life imploded.
My boyfriend broke up with me. For cheating on him.
This time my life didn’t slowly fall apart. This time my life quickly imploded. Within months, I’d hit bottom. It was brutal. But it was swift. Getting myself back together took years. But those are years I might not have even had if I were facing a trial, or even enduring another investigation….
If I had pressed charges, I would have had to deal with all my problems plus all the cops’ problems. I didn’t have time or energy for all that. I made the right decision for me.
Once she convinced herself she had a choice, as a model with a photographer.
As the days went on, the attempts continued. And all the stories of all the models who fucked photographers and who they fucked and how that helped their careers. And the feigned concern for my mental health continued. Finally, I was told straight out that if I didn’t start fucking him, he couldn’t help me. He reminded me that it was a thing models do. All models. I needed to figure my shit out or he was going to have me dropped off at the airport and I could find my way home on my own.
This man’s wife was very supportive….of her husband.
They insisted I needed to cut out all the jealousy. I needed to understand that I had to share this man. He wasn’t mine. I didn’t get to keep him all to myself. They lectured me and scolded me for days about how I kept trying to tear them apart. They were willing to let me be a part of their relationship, but I needed to respect theirs. I kept insisting I wasn’t jealous. They told me I was lying. I knew I just wanted to get out. I desperately wanted to not have to have sex with them. They drilled it into me that I didn’t want to leave and I was overstaying my welcome and overstepping bounds. And I was sentenced to extra house chores.
The time she said no, then said yes when she was in high school.
Once we started fooling around, he got weird. Silent. Not just silent, but non-responsive to anything I said or wanted. If I said no to something, he kept going. I said no repeatedly, but he kept going. I was having trouble processing what was happening. I kept telling him no, but why wasn’t he getting that? I was confused more than scared. I didn’t know what to do….
Eventually I ended up naked. Eventually I ended up begging him to please stop. “Please, no.” I whispered. But he was putting on a condom.
At that point, I knew there was nothing I could say or do to stop him. So I stopped stopping him and I said yes.
And that’s where I convinced myself I consented. As I drove home, I asked myself, “What happened? Was I just raped? No… I said yes. I did say yes. I said yes. I said yes….
By the time he was coming at me with a condom on his cock, what would another “no” have done?
And he didn’t have to threaten me out loud or with a weapon. It doesn’t have to be “If you don’t consent, I’m going to kill you.” He was going to rape me if I didn’t consent. “I’m going to rape you,” whether those words are spoken or implied, is a threat. He didn’t need a gun. He just had to show me he was going to fuck me whether I liked it or not. And he did. And I didn’t.
But his calm, detached, measured actions convinced me that I didn’t revoke consent early. He convinced me that those refusals didn’t matter.
These events have obviously cost her a tremendous toll in her mental health, but I think it’s fair to assume that none of the men involved faced any consequences whatsoever. I don’t imagine they even felt much remorse. The use of drugs, physical force, manipulation, and ignoring rejections are not obtaining or sharing consent. They are rape, and support or even lack of condemnation of these actions is to support a culture of rape, a culture of violence.
That’s why the conversation needs to move away from “Women don’t get raped” to “Men, don’t rape”.
I’ll say it louder: