Is there Such a Thing as "Almost" Date Rape?

I take the hard-line on any such questions of "rape," even when it is softened (if that's even possible) with words like "almost" or "sort of." Most websites and support groups define any sort of rape as forced sex, but what about forced submission? What about when the victim is bruised (physically and psychologically)? Does that count? Does holding them down, rendering them helpless, and threatening them should they move or make a sound count?

It is widely known that some rapists do so because of deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy and a perverse need to exert control over their victims. So while there may be no law against "Almost" date raping someone, it is criminal nonetheless, and if committed, I'd wager it's by a current or future rapist. 

When I was sixteen I met an "Adonis" looking guy who spent time socializing in a few different high-school circles, one of my own included. He was older, and probably in his first year in college (the fact he was prowling high school circles should have been my first clue).  I was one of those people who fluttered about various circles, so when our paths crossed, I thought nothing of it. I believe I met him at a dance held at the university - the kind where they sold tickets and brought in popular musical acts.  

At the time I was, well, a teen. I was defined by my own unique, pretty, athletic looks, but felt awkward and insecure most of the time, regardless.  I had been a cheerleader the year before, and had just finished up my last year of nine as a figure skater.  I had all the aspirations of doing the "right thing" through high school and having it all: good grades, friends who were serious about doing well, homecoming, prom... all the good things high school had to offer, before I graduated and went on to college. But things at home got a little rough when I felt that despite my excellent grades and extra curricular involvement (at a private Catholic high school, no less), I was under appreciated.  I felt I could never do enough or catch a break from my parents. So, like any other teen before me, I rebelled.  I started getting a little too involved in the music culture dujour, and at this period it was New Age and Punk Rock. Yes, it was that music culture (and yes, I'm dating myself). I shaved the sides of my head, spiked my hair on top and left longer permed strands hanging down the back. It was.... interesting.

David was the one guy who, on the surface, fit the All-American jock persona I had longed to date as a cheerleader.  The attraction was instant (at least for me). He was built, handsome and had an electric smile.  And he was one of the few guys to express interest and follow through with a call.  

At the time, because of my extreme rebellion, I was living with an older sister.  

We met out once more after the dance and as I recall, we kissed.  That was about it. But the attraction was escalating to one that was feverish and driven by a strong physical force - especially in David's case. I could feel it.  

I was intrigued with David, and must admit that I wondered what it would be like to have sex. But for me the intrigue was general. I thought I would one day find that story-book kind of sex: the kind where we would be a couple, he would cherish me, treat me like the beautiful person I just knew I had to be, and I would do the same for him. And truthfully, in David's case, I was of the mindset that I wanted to get on the right track and finish high school strong. I wasn't entirely sure of what I wanted or where I wanted it to go with him.

It wasn't until the time I invited him over to my sister's house when she wasn't home that things took a swift and horrible turn for the worse. We began to kiss on the couch, when suddenly David leaned into me with his very tall, strong, forceful body.  He was unrelenting.  He wasn't leaning in for a kiss.  He was leaning in hard, to dominate, and he did.  Before I knew it he had me on my back and was on top of me with the full lead-weight of his body. I protested, but he held my wrists down. I remember my wrists throbbing and aching the following day from his grip.  

To this day, I can't even recall if anything progressed beyond him simply dominating me, not allowing me to move. I do recall allowing my body to go limp, and my stare going blank. I wanted him to believe I was utterly and completely disinterested.

I'm told he probably did rape me... that I blacked out or blocked the memory.  I don't know that to be true. I've lived some other extreme and horrifying experiences and seem to recall them in minute detail, but regardless of whether there was actual penetration or not - he absolutely and unequivocally committed a very invasive crime against me. Was it date rape? According to the definition, and based on my recollection - no.  He dominated and controlled me against my will.  My verbal protests, pleading and whimpering meant nothing to him. In fact, he warned if I wasn't completely still and quiet, I would regret it. At the end, all I remember is walking him out. I was so afraid of and utterly FREAKED OUT by him I waxed a continued interest as I led him down the sidewalk away from me. He had the gall to lean in and kiss and hug me goodbye. 

I'll never forget that day, or the feeling of fear.  I never returned a call or spoke to him again. I remember seeing him at a distance at another couple of events, and leaving in terror. I never spoke seriously of it, or recounted the story in such detail until now. I wonder just how many more of us "Almost" Date Rape victims are out there.  

Yes, I'd call the entire experience an "Almost" Date Rape. And that's "bad" enough for me.  

I was fortunate that I never found myself in a similar situation, and I became vigilant, developing an extreme cognizance of people and their behaviors.

Rape is Rape. And as I said, "Almost" Rape is bad enough. As the old adage says: "No means no." Period.  

Blogher writer Shannon Colleary put it succinctly in her post "The Date Rape Story I'll Some Day Share with My Daughters":

"Rape isn't just a physical act. It's a spiritual one.

It's meant to completely dehumanize and destroy its target."

 

I whole-heartedly agree.

Teach your children well, especially your boys.  Teach them to respect women and men -- to hold dear every human being. 

Until next time...

Love you people!!!!  Mmmmppphhhuuuhhhh!!!

xoxo,
Ms. Cheevious

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