Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Have you ever been sexually assaulted?

56 Comments

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This post will be a safe zone.  I normally do not agree with censorship but as I will be asking for commentary about very a very sensitive issue I will not allow assault or rape apologetics to remain.  Nor will I tolerate any belittling or insensitive remarks toward anyone sharing their own experience.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines it this way:

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient*. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling*, and attempted rape.

I don’t think a lot of people think of groping or fondling as sexual assault. Sure, it’s unacceptable.  It’s definitely an invasion of personal space. But is it assault?

It most assuredly is.

These types of assaults go largely unreported.  Unless you’re raped it hardly seems an emergency to dial 911. Most don’t think of being groped as a form of violence.

I’m conducting a completely unscientific poll to see how many of you, dear readers, male or female, have been sexually assaulted in any of the ways described by the U.S. Department of Justice.  If you feel comfortable please share your experience in the comments below.

 

 

*Emphasis mine

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56 thoughts on “Have you ever been sexually assaulted?

  1. Yes. Several times. Rape, attempted rape, fondling and groping. Does being dry-humped in a crowded elevator count, too?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, several times. First at age 5. Don’t care to talk about any of it, though.

    And, truth be told, I never counted touching, groping, or being exposed to as assault. (Still don’t, not in my personal history; although “officially” I do — i.e., I know today that it is assault and would not discount it for others, or myself, the way I did in the past.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • “And, truth be told, I never counted touching, groping, or being exposed to as assault.”

      I don’t think most people do. While I might certainly feel violated by such a thing, I have never necessarily thought of it as assault. Which is why it is so puzzling to me why anyone thinks any of these women who are now accusing Donald Trump of such a thing would have come forward before. Come forward to whom? And to what end?

      Here’s the thing many people are missing: They didn’t come forward, even after the Billy Bush video went viral, until he stood on a stage in a debate and denied he’d ever done such a thing. Most people don’t report groping to anyone, but if the person who did it to you flat out denied that they’d ever done it, it would make you come forward to say that they had.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. According to your definition my answer would be yes, but I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to agree with the definition. Especially if we count our teenage years. The other day I read someone somewhere saying that if a boy snapped the bra strap of a girl at school, that counted as assault. When I was a teen, boys pulling at bra straps and girls at boxer waistbands was all the rage. I don’t think any of us was traumatised by the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with part of what you’re saying, here. I mean, unless a boy is trying to undo a girl’s bra or touching her breasts in an attempt to snap it, then I’m wondering if snapping it is even in the context of being sexual. It’s like popping someone with a rubber band. It might be an asshole thing to do, but is that sexual assault? My answer would be no. I wouldn’t put that in the category of being groped or fondled, either.

      When I think of being groped or fondled I think of something a bit more direct.

      Liked by 2 people

      • How much do you think sex being a taboo plays into the definition of sexual assault?
        I ask because in the more liberated sectors of the gay world (the sort I frequented in my early 20’s) a casual touch was no big deal. If one wasn’t interested one made that clear and that would be it. But there was nothing aggressive or presumed malicious in someone trying it on.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Good question Mr. Merveilleux. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • What are we calling a casual touch?

          I’m sure it does play into it somewhat, though to what degree I could not say. What I can tell you is that if sex wasn’t such a taboo perhaps touching people inappropriately would be such a problem. By that I mean, that if young people were taught appropriately about sex they might not grope people in an effort to figure it out for themselves.

          I have questions, though. Are complete strangers ‘casually’ touching people? Or is it something that has been previously talked about and so people felt free to touch as a means of “feeling out” their intended victim amour? And in that particular venue is it understood that the people there are there for the purpose of simply finding sex and not there just to have a nice evening out?

          I can see where if you went to a place where you knew that casual touching was the signal and that you were there for the express purpose of finding someone to have sex with that touching each other might be an acceptable form of communication. Everyone understands the unwritten rules and everyone is on board.

          In situations, however, where that is not the expectation, nor some unwritten rule, I’d just call that groping and highly inappropriate. Time and place. Walking down the street, on the train, out in a pub, on the elevator…not it. It is at the very least a violation of personal space and more than likely sexual assault.

          For it to be sexual assault I think it has to be more than the sexual advances of a person in whom one isn’t interested. It is a violation and disrespect of another. I don’t even think trauma has to be the bar for groping or fondling to be considered sexual assault.

          Liked by 3 people

          • I’d say my attitude to the body and sex changed dramatically after I came out and moved to Spain at 21. Someone you didn’t know putting their arm around you, sharing their drink or being a bit forward was no big deal. I don’t mean sticking their hand down your pants- obviously, but being physical in a way that’s not common in North America or the UK.

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          • I’d say that my attitude to the body and sex changed dramatically after leaving fundamentalist religion. Even before that, though, while it might make me uncomfortable and I might be thinking of ways to divert, someone putting their arm around me would not now nor ever have been sexual assault. There’s a difference between making a pass and grabbing someone’s body. For instance, if someone put their arm around me casually and I took a step to maintain my personal space and they dropped their arm, I wouldn’t perceive that as aggressive. If they put their arm around me and I took a step to maintain personal space but the other person wouldn’t let go, and in fact pulled me back toward them, I’d take that as a form of aggression. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes. Bu you know that already.

    You don’t think messing with bra straps is assault? Er? Oh well. Each to her own. Just don’t fuck with my bra straps. Not that I have any left as Tosca Tea Leaf has destroyed them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As with anything, context is definitely king.

      I’m not sure that teenagers snapping each others’ elastics is sexual assault. Me personally, it pisses me off to no end and I think it is assault, just not necessarily sexual in context. That was my only point of agreement. If a grown ass man came up to me now and snapped my bra strap I would certainly consider it such. But in the context of teenagers doing it to each other? Maybe not so much sexual as just being downright jerks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Also, I’m not condoning teenagers doing that to each other, either. But I do know that it happens. If I saw it I’d stop it and explain boundaries and personal space. I just think of it more as bullying than sexual assault, kind of like a wedgie.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve been fortunate. But it probably has a lot to do with my physical attractiveness (minimal boobs). Of course I realize this doesn’t stop those who are intent upon sexually assaulting a woman, but I do think it may have worked in my favor since this is the primary part of the body that seems to attract men. Also, I was rather stand-offish around guys (been accused more than once of being snobbish) so that might have helped as well. Then again, there are those guys that are just downright pigs … (like he that has been notably newsworthy of late).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you haven’t experienced this firsthand, though it’s likely nothing whatsoever to do with your physical attractiveness. I’d say that with most people who do that sort of thing it’s more of a control and power thing, having nothing whatsoever to do with looks. Just my opinion, but it’s akin to rape in that I don’t really think it has much to do with sex per se at all. I think it’s more about intimidation.

      I’m a curvy woman. I’ve never been groped on my boobs. My derriere, on the other hand, has been groped quite a few times.

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  6. Going strictly by the USDJ definition of sexual assault, yes… I’ve been grabbed/groped as an adult, but also a few times in middle school and high school, hell… maybe even college too. This must also include my assault and robbery on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro in 1982 by five “Women of the night” working the crowds/men — I later found out from the Polícia they were well-known lesbian pick-pocketers — which was a whole lot of groping and fondling to the point where I had drawn my fist up to start punching. But to be fair, me and my futebol/soccer teammates were also “flirting” with several of the Brazilian women along Copacabana that night. 😉

    However, I must add that at no time in my memory during any of these ‘sexual‘ incidents did I feel my life was in danger nor was I traumatized like many (most?) women are and effected. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wasn’t traumatized by the groping, fondling or dry humping. Just thoroughly pissed and disgusted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was. In my late teens I was shaking and totally freaked. Partly I was thinking how much worse could it have been. Why did I feel grateful that it was a minor assault?

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m sadden that this happened to you, RS. This behavior was/is rather common in my world. Perhaps I’ve become desensitized as a coping mechanism.

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      • As Victoria has alluded to, I don’t think trauma is necessarily the barometer for groping/fondling to be considered sexual assault. Having said that all too often it does involve trauma. Just as you said here and have heard rape victims say that they were grateful that it wasn’t worse. You felt that way because you know it could have been, even while assured of the fact that what happened to you should never have happened at all.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Being touched without consent is most assuredly an assault.

    And yes, I’ve been sexually assaulted.

    I was recently talking to someone who said they had had sex at times but really didn’t want to. However, they had consented and felt bad afterwards. They considered this sexual assault and rape. Personally, I disagree with that specific definition of what constitutes a sexual assault/rape.

    Tough topic.

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  9. Yes. More since transition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😦 Thanks for weighing in. Do you think more since transition because men feel more free to assault a woman or do you feel it is because of the very fact that you have transitioned?

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      • Before transition…

        I am Scots, so for black-tie dos before transition wore the kilt. I got the bus to central Manchester because I would be drinking, and walked a short distance through Piccadilly Gardens. A man demanded to know whether I was wearing underneath, held me, and checked. Completely humiliating.

        Oh, and I had a woman pinch my bottom once.

        I think there’s a difference between assaults on cis and trans women, but can’t quite express it. Perhaps different men are likely to see me as sexually available. Perhaps some are not interested.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. No, but being a man that’s unlikely to be a surprise.

    Oh hang on, there’s a memory, oh golly I have, thankfully no long term issues have resulted.

    I wouldn’t count it as either rape or assault. Though clearly it was one person ‘encouraging’ themselves on another in a scenario where they had dominance. Which makes it all kinds of wrong regardless of what label you put on it.

    I can’t imagine getting pleasure from something like that and the descriptions of dry humping I’ve read above just make me shudder. The pleasure from a willing participant is so better than whatever one could get from something like that. yuk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t imagine getting pleasure from something like that and the descriptions of dry humping I’ve read above just make me shudder. The pleasure from a willing participant is so better than whatever one could get from something like that.

      Completely agree. But there are some people whose pleasure is derived from some sort of power over another, not in the sex act itself. Normal people don’t operate like that.

      Like

    • No, I used to be a subscriber but for some reason I can’t recall I’m not now.

      I haven’t had a chance to read through all the responses. Did you reply?

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I’ve experienced various forms of sexual assault, but I got to thinking about Pink’s use of the terminology “traumatized”.

      Some of the forms have left me shaken to the core. But others have been sort of a, “Well, okay, that just happened,” moment.

      In any case, I still don’t feel unsafe going about my daily life. The experiences that left me shaken were family members, family friends, and my own spouse. Complete strangers grabbing my ass seems like nothing in comparison. So going out by myself just doesn’t seem like much of a risk, really.

      I run in my neighborhood early in the morning while it’s still dark. I had someone ask me the other day if I was afraid to go out by myself like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been thinking a lot since you posted yesterday. I do recall a time when I blamed myself, which was due to religious and cultural indoctrination. I can’t say that I am afraid to go out alone, but I tend to be vigilant when I do.

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  11. Hello lovelies💗 I’d like to share my story that I just found the courage to post on my blog. No one deserves this and I just hope to inspire others to be strong 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yep… as have most of my readers. Here is my story (https://centerforsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/story-of-the-freelancer/) and there’s also quite a few others from men and women on there.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Groped, raped, molested…might be better off asking, “who hasn’t been sexually assaulted”….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I know this post is older, but I thought I would still comment here. I am a survivor of being raped at 14 and multiple counts of sexual assault after that. I have finally gotten to a point where I can share my experiences. If you are interested or have the time, I invite you to read some of my post on blog earlier.
    Fingerprintsontheroof.wordpress.com
    I’m always available by email as well. I would love to share stories to people, it is nice to have a support group, even if you don’t know the people face to face.

    Like

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