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Rape? Part 1: Does Yes Really Mean Yes?

Disclaimer: In no way does this article support rape or insinuate that it is consensual.

“We ended up at his place and well he insisted we just do it….we had been dating for two months after all…I didn’t want to but he said we’d have to sooner or later.”

“He said “If you sneak me into your place and you don’t have sex with me, I’m banging every door and ringing the bell on my way out.””

“He set me up, he literally set me up!”

“No foreplay, no anything, it felt like I was being ripped apart and when I tried to say it hurt, he told I was exaggerating!”

“It’s not like I was a virgin but still, it felt…..wrong.”

“She was just crying and shit. I mean she said yes didn’t she?.. I’m confused, bro.”

Welcome! Yes, I’ve started off with a graphic flair and yes, I know you’re wondering what on earth I’m trying to put across. You may even be feeling uncomfortable…guess what. ..so am I.

Rape with a question mark at the end. It insinuates a lot and is confusing enough to leave the gentlemen thinking ‘she said yes didn’t she?’. It’s a whole cake mix of complexity and not even I can expound on it completely.

Most people perceive rape as an act of violence for the purposes of penetrating another. But in my opinion, it has a much broader definition hence why my title is a question as to how my readers perceive it. Methinks that Indian-born Canadian poet, illustrator, and author Rupi Kaur defined it more accurately.

“If one person is lying there and not doing anything, cause they’re not ready or not in the mood, or simply don’t want to yet the other is having sex with their body, then it is not love but rape,” she said.  

In a span of 2 years, I’ve come across countless women who have shared their stories with me. Not helpless weak women by the way, but strong-minded successful women. Sometimes women you’d never suspect to have endured such terrors. Women who have been placed in compromising situations by their lovers and have been forced to consent to sex they weren’t ready for.

Most women’s ‘first’ is something they’d rather forget and even the ones that come after that are anything but tell worthy. Rape happens in relationships and even marriages. It happens every day and it can even be happening to you without your realising it. You find yourself taking whatever your partner wants to give with a part of you silently resisting.

It’s when you have sex when you don’t want to; when you are afraid to say no; when you are compromised; when you find yourself sleeping at a guy’s place and feel his hands on you later on during the night and it makes you feel sick inside but you are unable to say no. When you know that even if you try to protest a person will tell you ‘you knew what was going to happen’. When you know that even if you tell your friends and family they will call you a little whore who bit off more than she could chew. Because guess what? There is no sympathy for the victims of this silent type of “neat rape”. It is a silent form of suffering and private humiliation. It leaves you confused and wondering if you made more of it than you should have. It leaves mind and emotional fuckery in its path.

The thing about trauma is that it always comes back to bite you in the ass. It eats away at your sanity slowly. Till you’re a beautiful woman either sleeping around or running away from sex because of that terrible experience you brushed off.

Here’s the reality baby…you were raped. Don’t try to run away from it or sugar coat it. The more real you are with yourself the quicker you will heal and hopefully move on…hopefully.

It’s not something we talk about because the logic surrounding it baffles most people. I mean ‘why did you stay with that guy then, why didn’t you say no, why didn’t you fight him off, you kept going back so you obviously liked it ho!”. The answer? ‘I don’t know’.

I blame the lack of sexual education for this phenomenon. Our parents and elders have treated sex like a taboo only discussed at kitchen tea and bachelor parties. Sex is wrong and nothing needs to be said about it, case closed! But here’s the thing most people will have it eventually, premarital or otherwise. What do you do when the wedding night comes and goes leaving you like a pendulum oscillating between confusion and trauma?

And before you think I’m attacking you gentlemen, I’d like to stop you right there. Of course whilst there may be some cunning and mean-hearted evils out there even I know that not every man is a villain. Ignorance in this case however is not bliss. How do you know you are committing rape when you’ve never been taught on how to please a woman, read her body signals and know when to stop? All virgins are supposed to cry, right? And when she does be a man and keep going even if your instincts are protesting…..be a man….be a man!

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Rape? Series.

The stories are messy and pretences are not needed. It’s nasty, it’s uncomfortable, your whole world of ideals is about to collapse. I am your pilot into this parallel universe. We might experience some turbulence and tempestuous storms along the way but that’s all part of the journey. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Valerie Tendai Chatindo

Valerie Tendai Chatindo is a biochemistry graduate from the University of Zimbabwe. She is also an entrepreneur and freelancer, writing for Enthuse Afrika's publications #enthuse, Hallelujah Magazine & Bhizimusi.com. Her articles “Big Brother Is Always Watching” and “Marriage-ability” have been featured in The Kalahari Review. Currently, she resides in Harare, Zimbabwe. In her spare time, she films a social documentary, SouthPark Harare, which addresses social issues in Southlea Park. You can find her on Twitter @tendy_vchatndo and read her blog tendyv.wordpress.com

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