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Statutory Rape

When people think of the word “Rape” they picture some stranger grabbing a woman in a dark alley, holding her forcefully, maybe a gun involved and having their way with her.  But what about the act of statutory rape?  One of my daughters has a vlogger on youtube that she has been watching for awhile now and today he was accused of raping a girl when she was 15 years old.  In her video she says that she never tried to stop him but she was only 15 and she and him were drinking and she didn’t feel like she was in control enough to tell him no.  In his response he never denies what happens and he says he was young and he made a mistake.  Now we have two lives that were changed for ever because of one night.  How do I know that their entire life was changed?  Because I was a victim of stautory rape when I was 14 years old.

I have only told one or two people my story and it’s something that I am not proud of….and that’s the thing why now over 25 years later am I still so ashamed of what happened to me?  Why do I still feel like I am the one who did something wrong?  I was 14 years old.  The guy I was with was a “friend” and we went to church together.  All the girls in our youth group had a crush on him and the day he paid attention to me I knew if anyone else knew he was talking to me and flirting with me they would be jealous.  I did nothing wrong that day but yet I still blame myself.  I have gone to counseling and I blame myself less for what happened then I used to but it’s still something that I work on daily and it’s something that I know I have to share more about.  The guy I was with was 18..He was barely an adult, he was still very much a kid as well and yet together we were making adult decisions.  We were alone and started flirting and talking and one thing led to another.  The whole time I was with him I wanted to stop, but I also didn’t want him to hate me either.  I mean he was the popular guy that everyone had a crush on, wasn’t everyone going to be jealous of me when they found out that he had paid attention to me and that we had made out?!?  So I just did what he was leading us to do.  I hated every minute of it.  It was not what your first time was supposed to be like.  He wasn’t violent, he didn’t “hurt” me in a way you think when you think of rape but he did take away my innocence and leave me feeling violated.  After we were done he was like ” How old are you?”  I told him 14  and his mouth dropped.  He was like “you know we can never speak about this right or I will get in trouble?”   The rest of the afternoon we pretended nothing happened and then after we went our separate ways he stopped going to church.

Every once in awhile we would run into each other again and he would say something to me to make sure I knew he remembered what happened between us and to remind me not to say anything about what happened.  And it was almost 5 years before I even told my closest friends what happened.   The thing is when I finally told them what happened one of my friends ended up hating me because of what I had done.  In her eyes I was to blame.  That is the thing with statutory rape that is hardest.  I never said “no” so how can you fully blame the guy for not stopping?  He was a kid too and his hormones want one thing but I was 14 years old and I was not old enough to make that decision.

After that experience I had a hard time trusting guys and I would make sure not to be alone with them, I never really dated in high school because I didn’t want to be put in that same situation again.  I had guy friends but I always came across as either the “little sister” or “one of the guys” where no guys ever saw me as date-able.  It took me many years before I was ready to try and trust someone again and I know I probably should have gone to counseling right after it happened so that I could have come to terms with what happened to me and so that I could have not lived my life in “fear” and missed out on many years of experiencing true teenage experiences  but I was ashamed to admit what had taken place between myself and this person. I kept telling myself “I didn’t say no” so I wanted it to happen.  I can’t tell anyone or else he will get in trouble for something I wanted.

Young victims of rape need to realize they are not to blame for what happened to them,  they have to understand that they aren’t alone, they always talk on the news about rape being a “silent crime” because so many victims are scared to tell the world what happened to them.  And it’s true, in many cases the victim knows the person and has a crush on them, they are looking for acceptance and want the attention from the person who is all of the sudden offering it to them.  Afterward the victim is full of guilt.  Their first time is nothing like what they ever pictured it would be and all the sudden the person they were with is walking away like nothing just happened.  I thought my first time was going to change things… I thought after I was with this person I was going to be his girlfriend and we were going to go back to church the next week as a “couple” and all the other girls were going to be jealous.  Instead he used me for sex and walked out of my life like I didn’t matter.  The thing is I did matter and what happened to me that day changed my whole entire future.  I can’t run from the past and try and pretend it didn’t happen because it did.  It has made me a completely different person then I would have been.  It has taken me too long to realize that things in my past never really leave me and that hiding from them, and ignoring them don’t make them go away.  You have to learn to accept what happens to you and while you don’t have to be happy about it and proud of it you do have to take it and find away to find what your experiences can teach you and learn the lesson so that you can become someone even better, even stronger then you would have been if you hadn’t lived through it.