- I remember the first time I heard the word “slut” directed toward me. I was 10 or 11 years old. It may have even been the first time I heard it, period, but definitely the first time I was ever called a slut. Now you may ask yourself, “How in the world does an 11-year-old little girl get called a sexually-loaded, pejorative, usually reserved for wanton women?”. In my case, I still had done nothing more than hold hands with a boy at the skating rink, ( and that hesitantly). I was interested in boys, but not really in “doing” anything with them. Their fascination with trying to convince me to kiss them or show them my panties was confusing and uncomfortable. I still played with dolls. I still wore Laura Ingalls Wilder nightgowns to bed, and pretended I lived on the prairie, milking imaginary cows, pretending to churn butter. I still played outside, climbing trees, in the dirt, making fairy villages. I was very much a child.
- I am not entirely sure how the incident in which I was labeled a young slut came to pass, but I remember either at recess, or immediately after school, the boy who was my “boyfriend” (this consisted of us couple-skating together at the roller rink every weekend, and talking on the phone. It was pretty innocent.) told me he wanted to show me something behind the school building. So he, his friend, and myself walked behind the building. When there, he pushed me up against the building, and kissed me, trying to press his tongue into my closed mouth. His friend laughed hysterically. I was more annoyed and disgusted than threatened. I didn’t have a concept at that age of people trying to hurt me in that way. It ended quickly, he stopped what he was doing and laughed. I told him he was gross and not to do that again. For me, the incident was over, and I forgot about it. By the next week, people in my class were whispering about me. Never one to shy away from confrontation, I asked one of them what they were saying, “_____ said that you “did it” behind the school last week. J said he was there and saw everything. You are a slut!”
- I was horrified and confused. I didn’t have a real idea of what “slut” meant, only that it was really bad, and that made me a bad person. I was also not totally clear on what “it” was. All of my knowledge up to this point was gleaned from the high school kids at the back of the bus, and my 14-year-old babysitter and her friends. There was a lot of alluding to the point, but never clear explanation. To be accused of doing something I clearly hadn’t done, something that I had no real idea of HOW to do seemed completely unfair. When I tried to tell people what actually happened, no one believed me. The whole rumor blew over in a short time, but I had already learned two things: 1. That a boy will always be believed over a girl, no matter how fantastic and ridiculous the story is. 2. When girls do sexual things (or are just accused of doing sexual things), this makes them bad, and we can call them names. Boys don’t get called names, or made fun of for doing sexual things. That’s a pretty rough life lesson at 11 years old.
- So how did my initiation into the Ways of Rape Culture affect me later?
- Fast forward to Junior year of high school. I had an on-again/off-again boyfriend throughout high school. He was away at college during my Junior Year, so it was mostly off-again during that time. In the interim, I dated a few people, but no one seriously. There was a guy, J, that I made out with on a few occasions. He was a lazy stoner, who was a year older than me, and dated someone in college too (but locally). We would drive out to the lake in his suv and listen to terrible popska “punk” and make out after school sometimes. Those times never went further than kissing, and maybe over-the-clothes feeling-up.
- One afternoon, a mutual friend of ours invited everyone over to his house after school. His parents were always out of town, had a full liquor cabinet, and gave us free reign over the basement while they were there, and the rest of the house when they weren’t. I went, along with about 10 or so other people, that I didn’t notice until later were all guys. Even when I did notice, I wasn’t threatened. These were guys I had gone to school with since we were kids. I lived in a very small town. I knew their parents. I had gone to preschool with a couple of them. We sat around talking and drinking for a while. At some point, J (the guy I sometimes made out with) and I broke away from the group. We went into one of the bathrooms, and were kissing. There was an enormous sunken bathtub that he sat down on, pulling me down beside him. I was drunk, but not to the point of passing out. Everything was fine, until he unbuckled his belt, pulled out his penis, and began to push my head toward it. I swatted his hand away. “No. I don’t want to do that.” “Come on. It’s no big deal. Just a little bit. Just for a minute.” “No!”, I said, and started to try to get up. He held me by the arms, and started kissing me again. “Fine. That’s fine. Just come here.” We kept kissing, even though I was disgusted by his behavior. A few minutes later he tried the same thing. This time, when I protested, and started crying, he shushed me, and kept pushing my head down until his penis was in my mouth. I tried to get up, but he was stronger than I was. “Come on. It’s fine. Just for a little while.”, he whispered, as I cried choking on his penis. He kept his hand on my head, never letting up. To add to my distress, I heard, “What?! Look!” coming from the doorway. Three of his friends were standing there, looking through a crack in the door. They thought it was hilarious. J finally let me up, laughing, buckling his belt, and leaving me to “clean up”. I stayed in the bathroom for at least an hour, crying. Wondering how that had just happened. When I finally went downstairs, every guy there looked at me in a completely different way. At the beginning of the afternoon, we were buddies. Now I was a cock-sucking whore. I got my stuff and left after the friend whose house it was called me a fucking slut and said he was disgusted by my behavior. (Just mine) At school the following week, the rumors were flying, no one questioning that I had willingly seduced J, talking about his “poor girlfriend”, the guys who had witnessed a part of it never saying anything about me crying or choking, but pantomiming a blow job every time we passed in the hall. I never told anyone that he forced me. I knew that the status of those boys as popular athletes, as well as their families’ wealth promised them sympathy that I would never get.
- I knew what I would get, because I had said some of the same things about other girls in situations that I suddenly realized were eerily similar to mine:
- Why were you there alone? (I wasn’t, I was with people I thought I could trust. So “alone” just means only one of my sex? Men can’t be trusted?)
- Why were you drinking? (Well, I am a bored teenager in a tiny town. Why are all the guys drinking? Or is that not important…?)
- You shouldn’t have started something…. (Because a kiss is a promise, right? If I grant you access to my lips, you automatically are granted entry to any part of my body, with any part of yours.)
- Why didn’t you fight…Why didn’t you run…Why didn’t you say no..
- When really what they want to know is why are you telling us what we don’t want to hear? So I didn’t tell. I kept it to myself. My grades suffered, I engaged in almost every kind of self-destructive behavior imaginable. I kept it all inside, until recently, when I decided that even though this happened 14 years ago, it was still there, hurting my relationships, and my self-image, allowing others to be victimized in similar situations simply by my silence. I sometimes wish I had spoken up at the time, even though I know that in a small, southern town, there were few allies to be had for me.
- Writing this fairly short entry took over two months, in which time, I considered killing the project entirely because of the emotional repercussions. Every time I would try to write about the actual event, I would become nauseated, and feel dirty. That feeling of deep-seated filth was actually what made me go on. I know this happens every day, to thousands of teenage girls. Some of them come forward, but most, like me, do not. So for them, and for myself, I keep writing. I will keep telling the stories that pain me most, stories of victimization that I never admitted were rape or assault, sometimes not even to myself. I will keep writing to shed that feeling of psychic stain that never goes away. You aren’t the dirty one. I am not the dirty one.
and it’s amazing
but wait there’s more
omg and then
"Why, is your nose bigger than your dick?" OMFG so good!
wow i really got around on the second day of school
i met her once and I’ve never smoked anything
…I don’t even drink alcohol
i’m a socially awkward virgin and i’m 99% sure that wasn’t gospel music
i don’t even have her number????????????