The first time I was raped, I was 12.

*Trigger warning*

It’s taken me a while to get to this point from the first time I ever acknowledged out loud to myself, at 16, that I had been raped. Since then, well…I’ve had other experiences of victimization, both sexually and physically. My intentions are just to share what has happened to me with the world…whoever might read. I know that, unfortunately, I am not the only one out there who has gone through this type of thing. In fact, I know that stories of sexual violence are all too common in the lives of most women, not to say all women. And I know what it’s like to feel like you’re being suffocated by all this pain inside you, strangling you at every breath you take; the silence that smothers women who have been victimized by coward men. Ain’t no shame in speaking up about what we’ve been through, none at all. This silence shoved down our throats is keeping us hostage of our pain, of our perpetrators, of this sexist world that tells us we need to suffer in silence. I say fuck that! Breaking the silence that surrounds gender-based violence is the ultimate act of defiance in the face of this massacre of women’s I SPEAK. And may we all have the strength and courage to speak.

Brasília DF, Brasil – 2000 – 12 years old. 

I went over to one of my then-best friend’s house to spend the
weekend. I did this regularly, but this time would be different. You
see, she lived in a really nice house, as her parents were
diplomats, and they were going out of town that weekend so she and her
older sister decided to have a sleep over, and I was invited. Other
people were invited too: our other best friend came along with her
15-year-old brother and 17-year-old sister. Obviously, her older
siblings had come to hang out with the diplomats’ oldest daughter, not
the kiddos. Still, I was elated…I had a huge crush on my
friend’s older brother and I wanted to be his girlfriend. The thought of
being able to be around him was terrifying and exciting at the same

I remember watching him play video games in my girl’s room. At the
time, Nintendo 64 had just come out and 007 Goldeneye was the hot stuff,
and I watched him and my friend’s sister’s boyfriend play that game for
a long time. He was really nice to me. Every time he talked to me to
say the simplest things, like “did u see that kill?”, I felt butterflies
in my silly little stomach. He’d never really spoken to me a whole lot,
and he was like 3 grades ahead of me in school so, of course, it
probably wasn’t the coolest thing to talk to the girl in the Tweety
t-shirts. But there it was, my chance to talk to my best friend’s older
brother!!!! Maybe he’d like me, maybe I’d be his girlfriend…WRONG.

Ai, was I wrong. The sleeping arrangements were the following in my
friend’s room: she’d sleep on her bed, our other friend (my crush’s
little sister) would sleep on one of those foldaway beds next to hers,
and I would sleep on a mattress on the floor, next to the foldaway bed.
Ok, cool I guess…When it was time to go to sleep I remember being
surprised at seeing another mattress right next to mine. Turns out my
crush was going to sleep there, next to me. I was excited because I
figured that he probably liked me, and, who knows, maybe we could

 In the middle of the night, I have no clue what
time, I started having a weird sensation. It took me a while to fully
awake. I felt that feeling you feel when you’re slowly waking up and it
seems like reality and dreams intertwine a little. As I started coming
to my senses, I realized that what I was feeling was actually my breasts
being touched and grabbed. Shocked, I carefully opened my eyes just
enough to see my crush, my close friend’s older brother, kneeling next
to me. He was kneeling perpendicularly to my body, so his knees were
facing my ribcage. He was masturbating with one hand, and using his
other hand to grab my breasts. My shirt was up above my breasts, and my
shorts were pulled down to just below my vulva. I was shocked. I
didn’t know what to do, so I froze. I was so scared, it just
felt like a terrible nightmare and I did not know what to make of it. So
I froze.
 I could hear him breathing hard and the sound of his hand
jerking his dick on top of me. What was happening to me? So many
thoughts were running through my mind, I was so confused. He moved his
hand from my breasts down to my vulva and touched me for a few seconds,
then he went back to touching my breasts and that’s when I felt
something warm on my belly. He then turned to the desk behind his
mattress and grabbed a tissue, he wiped my belly. The whole time I
remember thinking “please be over, please be over” as I did my best to
remain as lifeless as possible. After he wiped me, I slightly opened my
eyes again to see him turn to the desk and grab a glass of water to
start drinking. I saw that as my chance to “get away”, so, pretending I
was still asleep and just dreaming, I rolled myself under his sister’s
bed…He got up and left. I waited a while, afraid he’d come back, but he
didn’t so I went back to my mattress confused, scared, shocked, trying
to make sense of what had just happened. I felt horrible. 

The next day I woke up and told my two friends (including his sister)
of what had happened while they were sleeping. They didn’t really
believe me. I went back home that weekend feeling so dirty, so violated,
so confused, so sad, so lonely, so shocked…I got home and I cried, and
cried, and cried in my room. I tried to burry it and forget it, so I
never talked about it to anyone ever again until I first got to the US,
at 16. No one would believe me, not even my best friends believed me. I
know they were just girls too, 12 years old like me, and certainly were
as confused as I was and did not know what to call it…but I knew that
what had happened was wrong. It felt wrong, it felt dirty. It
was scary, it was confusing, it was invasive. And now I know, it
was rape.

RAPE. ESTUPRO. Not “oh it was just assault”,
or “oh, you were just molested, not raped” No, he didn’t put
his penis inside my vagina, does that make it any less invasive? Wasn’t
what he did performing a sexual act on me/with me to which I did not
I call this rape because it is rape. Rape is
not only penile-vaginal penetration. Don’t men get raped too? Or is it
not rape because it’s penile-anal penetration? Is it rape if a woman
fingers another woman’s vagina without her consent? Or is it rape only
when there is penetration by a penis? What about if objects are inserted
into your mouth/anus/vagina? What about if someone performs
analingus/cunilingus on you without your consent? There is no penis
involved, isn’t it still rape? What about if someone performs fellatio
on you against your will? Aren’t these rape too?! So what about if
someone touches your genitalia/your anus/your breasts and proceeds to
ejaculate on your skin?

The way in which we define rape is very heterosexist and it
reflects our attitudes on what constitutes “real sex” as opposed to
so-called “foreplay”.
 If rape is only when there is penetration of
the vagina and/or anus by the penis, then it leaves a huge deal of
people deemed “unrapeable” or “incapable of committing rape”(e.g.
respectively, lesbians and women in general: no organic penis). And if
all sexual acts are not equated with rape when performed against
someone’s will, like oral sex, anal sex, manual stimulation, and
masturbation, then we are doing nothing but reinforcing the notion that
there is an “ultimate type of sex”(i.e. coitus AKA straight sex) and
that everything else is “less than”, or “not real sex”.

Rape is primarily about power, control, and dominance, not sex. It
happens in a sexual context where the victim is coerced into/forced
to participate in/receive/perform a sexual act without their consent. I
think we really ought to expand the definition of rape to include and
accurately represent the diversity of human sexual behavior. 


Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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