When we think of rape, we tend to think of a strange man attacking us and threatening us with a weapon or with brute force, and then forcing himself on us. Much like the 73-year-old birdwatcher who was raped in Central Park by a deranged man who had a long sexual assault rap sheet. But there are many other kinds of sexual assault, and 90210 actress AnnaLynne McCord has spoken up about her experience with one of them -- one that, technically, wouldn't even really be considered "rape." But it is one that can be equally as traumatizing.
AnnaLynne recently asked the guests at a charity gala:
Has anyone ever been raped? Sexually abused? Not said 'no' when you felt you didn't have the right to? I know what it feels like.
She then told US Weekly:
It happened to me once by somebody that I knew, and it is a very interesting thing to feel that you do not have the voice to say 'no.' It wasn't an attack or anything like that -- I just had no voice. I did not know how to say, 'I don't want this. Please do not do this to me.'
AnnaLynne said the incident happened in her own home, and that her "hospitality" was taken advantage of. It's easy to sit back and scoff and say, "Well, why didn't you just say 'no'? Why let a guy take advantage of you?" But this type of thing is very common.
I don't know exactly what happened in AnnaLynne's case, but I've spoken to a lot of women who, at some point in their lives, usually when they are young, found themselves being intimate with a man and they only wanted to go "so far," but then somehow, even though they don't want to, they end up going further than they want. Or the man pushes them to go further than they are ready for. And at that point, for varying reasons, they feel as if they don't have the "right" to say "no." Women can still buy into this notion that they shouldn't be a "tease."
It's tragic when women feel they can't just flat out yell, "No! I don't want this! STOP!" Women need to be told they can use their voice at any time. And men need to be told to listen to that voice. In fact, I've read about men who also felt pressured into sex they didn't really want. Or that they felt that "as a man" they should want it, and what was wrong with them if they didn't?
It's okay to change your mind. It's okay to not know what you want, and to say, "This isn't what I want right now." It's not okay to have sex, regret it later, and then cry rape. But it is always okay to use your voice. The difficulty is in sometimes not knowing what you want your voice to say. And forgiving yourself for that.
Have you ever had sex when you really didn't want it?
Image via CW