Legitimate Rape? A Rape Victim and Counselor Reflects on Rape Culture Myths
“The events as you’ve described them, Kim, constitute a felony rape. If you do not make a statement, we will still proceed with prosecution and regard you as a hostile witness.”
I was 20 years old, on a semester leave from college. Those were the words of the police officer to me, in a hospital room, after I recounted what had happened to me a couple of days earlier.
It was my first interaction with the police, other than Officer Friendly visiting my elementary school class, or one of the officers my parents had befriended when they started a Neighborhood Watch program in the community where I was raised. Surely I could trust the police, I thought, to understand what had happened and to help me.
Although this was more than 20 years ago, I remember the moment vividly, because it was the acknowledgment, the naming, of something I had been struggling ferociously to reject: I was raped.
I desperately wanted it to be something else, like a misunderstanding between me and this man I’d been dating for a week or so. I felt locked in a life-or-death battle to deny this heinous violation, because it threatened to undo me—my sense of personal safety and well being, my mental health, my personhood.