Want to know how I lost my virginity?
As a teenager I was in West Germany and a West German woman (not teenager) offered to give me a ride back to my hotel. We met at a beer garden where she was buying me beers “so I could taste her culture.”
I was not used to drinking alcohol. In fact, until three days prior I never had beer or any other alcohol. Later in life I came to recognize she was buying a large number of drinks for me with the intent of getting me drunk.
On the drive to my hotel she pulled off the highway to a park and forced kissing, felatio, and ultimately sexual intercourse on me.
“Hold up!” you might be saying. “A woman can’t rape a man! If a man isn’t interested he won’t get an erection!”
You might also be saying, “A man can easily overpower a woman and get away!”
And you might also be saying, “You chose to accept the beer she offered you. You could have said ‘no.'”
Think about this. A common defense against rape charges relied upon whether the woman climaxed or not during the rape. If she climaxed, she enjoyed the sex, and therefore it wasn’t rape.
A woman climaxing during rape is a physiological reaction. It is not consent.
Likewise, a man geting an erection during rape is a physiological reaction. It is not consent.
The idea of “overpowering” a rapist is also a misconception. Because I am man it is assumed I have greater physical strength than a woman. This makes it easy to escape a rapist.
“Overpowering” is more than physical strength. It’s the mind’s ability to comprehend an unknown, immediate, and dangerous situation and make a rapid decision. It’s being able to push through the psychological and physiological “freeze” reaction of the human body. To say a man can easily overpower a woman is not to understand what happens to a person’s rationality and reactions during rape.
And finally, it is correct, I could have refused the beer she was buying me. If I didn’t get drunk this wouldn’t have happened. I should have been less naive. And I could have said “no.”
I sought the counseling at the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico three years ago to help me make sense of what happened to me 30 years ago.
This is a short list of misconceptions and stigmas I learned from my experience.
- All men want sex and as much as they can get.
- Men are stronger than women so if the man doesn’t leave it means he wants sex.
- A woman buying a man drinks to make him more sexually compliant is not the same as a man buying drinks for a woman for the same intent.
- Men don’t ever regret having sex.
- If a man gets an erection that is proof he wants sex.
- Men don’t feel shame after a sexual encounter.
- Men don’t blame themselves after being raped.
- Without being sexually penetrated it isn’t rape.
- It’s “unmanly” for a man to report any type of physical abuse by a woman.
Because of these long-standing societal stigmas, it’s nearly unheard of that a woman is ever charged or convicted of raping a man. Worse, because of these long-standing societal stigmas, it’s nearly unheard of that a man will report any type of abuse by a woman including rape.
If you’re still skeptical of whether or not I was raped by this German woman, let me share what I believe she thought was a sexy, alluring comment before raping me in her car in that park by the side of the highway.
Epilogue: I’ve been trying to write this article for over a month now. Prior to this, I’ve spent three years trying to draw up the strength to admit I was raped. I’ve shared my story. I hope other men do, too. Stand Up To Stigma.