On Queer: On sexual assault

When I went home for the summer after my freshman year, I decided to go on Tinder. There would be no chance of running into someone from school, and thus it couldn’t be awkward. After many conversations that started and ended without going anywhere, a girl and I decided we would go on a date. It was my first Tinder date, my first date with a woman and essentially my first date ever, other than awkward straight high school dances.

We decided to meet at a coffee shop near the state university and would see how it went. By all accounts the date went well; we drank our coffees and chatted about anything that came to mind: school, work, family and future plans. Light-hearted conversation to get to know each other was better than the limited conversational forums on dating apps. We finished our drinks and sat at the university duck pond, watched kids run around and the ducks move out to go eat in the grass. We held hands and talked about desires to work out more and funny stories of people we knew. Eventually, we decided to go to her place.

I wasn’t sure what I expected. I had hoped for maybe a casual make-out session and then I could leave. Mainly I wanted to see her dogs, which she had talked about. Slowly, our conversation shifted into making out on the couch. Casual questions became more and more demanding. “Can I touch your boob? Just over the dress.” Turned into touching my boob under the bra. She soon had me responding and touching her as well. At that point, I thought my feeling bad was simply due to lack of experience. “Can I touch your legs, I’ll avoid the crotch?” Morphed into, “Just over your panties?” Shifted into, “What if I just don’t penetrate you?”

Gradually, the boundaries that I had thought were firmly set slid away. It felt good physically, though I grew nauseous the farther we went. We moved to her bedroom and took off the sundresses we were wearing as she pulled me into her bed. Eventually, the night ended with me relaxing into her before getting up and saying, “I have to go, it’s late,” and practically running out the door.

She expressed her concern, saying she hoped she hadn’t pushed me into anything and that she was worried I did not have a good time. I said it was fine, ran away and never replied to her messages. The pit in my stomach grew every time I thought about what had happened.

The next day, when my friends asked me how my date went, I said it was fine, told them,”We got coffee,” and quickly changed the subject. I denied what had happened for a long time, because queer rape doesn’t happen: I was just overreacting. 

But rape is not just a straight people problem. It can happen to anyone regardless of identity or orientation. 

  • Dude

    Seriously? You’re going to call that rape?? That’s insulting to any actual rape victim. At least based on your description, that girl is not a fault of a single thing.

    • Other Dude

      The author didn’t want it, the other girl didn’t care about whether the author did or not. Verbally asking is not the same as being given the choice to back out.

      • Sam

        1. She obviously cared because she asked permission.

        2. The whole reason for asking questions is to provide an opportunity to back out.

        • Dude

          Was it obvious? We weren’t there. I mean in this in the most polite way possible. The first thing you’re doing is doubting the account of the story. Why are you doing that?
          Another thing: you believe that the literal words is equal to the intention. What if it doesn’t matter if you said yes or no, the girl was already decided on her actions regardless? Maybe without malicious intent, asking questions does provide an opportunity to back out. The entire perspective from which the story was written places malicious intent on the other girl. You can doubt the story, sure, but it’s completely unfounded to say that anything was “obvious.”

          Also, I’m just repeating myself above in different words. Learn to listen and understand before forming an opinion. Again, this is not to be rude, but to point out that you aren’t engaging me in conversation or replying to any point I’m making. It is neither respectful, meaningful, or persuasive to simply ignore what I’m saying to plop a reactionary opinion without consideration to the words your replying to.

          • Sam

            Frankly, you’re a jerk for saying that I’m not listening or that my arguments are no more than reactionary. There is no reason to say such a thing except to discredit me and to look down upon me from your high horse. I listened to you and I listened to the author. I made counter-arguments to the parts I disagree with.

            The only part of the article I’m doubting is the author’s indication that this was a case of rape based on the facts-as-presented. I don’t doubt that the author carries hurt from this encounter; I have great sympathy for them. And I don’t doubt any objective statement that they wrote.

            Fine, it’s not obvious that the author’s date had benevolent intent. It’s equally dubious to attribute malicious intent. Discussing intent is irrelevant, thought because neither you, I, nor the author is a mind reader and so we can’t know the author’s date’s thoughts. What matters is evidence, and there is no evidence that the date coerced, trapped, or physically forced the author to have sex. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that the author gave consent at each stage along the way! Call me crazy, but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a person who asks for permission at every stage of sex and “expressed her concern, saying she hoped she hadn’t pushed me into anything and that she was worried I did not have a good time.”

      • Please

        So the other girl is supposed to be a mind reader?

        I hope you don’t plan on a career in law.

  • Sam

    I want to state assumptions based on evidence in your writing before I comment. One is that you gave permission to continue after every request. Two is that you do not state that ever communicated clear boundaries, even if you had them in your head.

    What you are describing is the feeling of regret when you move too fast with a new partner. Its a normal feeling to have; many if not most people have experienced this feeling, especially when they are young and don’t have much experience with dating.

    It is not rape, assuming things progressed the way you describe them. She asked for permission and you gave your consent. You didn’t actively set boundaries, so it’s not reasonable to think that your partner would assume that asking for anything was unwelcome. It is important that you understand this distinction. As it stands, there is a poor queer girl out there who did everything right, got explicit consent, very reasonably thought she was with a willing partner, and now she is unreservedly labeled a rapist, even if anonymously.

    Please take this as a lesson in self-discovery. You better know your limits, so please have the courage to withhold consent when the feeling isn’t right. You owe it to yourself and your partners to be clear about your boundaries, so speak up!

    Not all bad feelings are indications that you were violated.

    Queer rape is real, but this wasn’t it.

  • chick

    I absolutely believe that Queer rape is real. I am so sorry you had this experience.

    I don’t want to push my experience onto you but I want to share this. I’ve been raped and I’ve also regretted consensual sex. When I regretted consensual sex, I regretted it even in the moment. I consented even though I knew that I didn’t really want to have sex. It was more a moment of weakness and numbness, honestly. My partner did not know that I was feeling this way and did try to make sure I was okay and asked for consent. He didn’t rape me. After the fact I did resent him but mostly I resented myself. I’m not telling you to resent yourself, of course. I’d just like to point out that regretting your behavior and the signs you gave to someone may not be your partners fault. I can’t presume to know all the details of your situation and I do not wish to invalidate you. I wasn’t there and this definitely may have been rape and I’m very sorry you had this experience. If you felt like you did not consent to later acts or you couldn’t have said no, then it absolutely was rape. Nonetheless, as someone who has had both experiences, I just want to make this distinction.

  • R U Kidding Me?

    That’s not rape. That’s regret. There’s a difference. A big difference.

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