Female Testimonies

AN INTRODUCTION TO A PERSONAL NARRATIVE

In a course I teach entitled “Oral Interpretation,” my students are required to perform a textual selection that explores an essential aspect of his or her character development or marks an important moment of identity formation.  Ideally, the performance serves as a “vehicle” for the person to better understand him or herself.

During this spring 2012 semester, a female student  hypothetically “spoke” to a former boyfriend she dated when she was 16 years old.

The purpose of the performance was to attempt acquiring some closure to a disturbing memory.  My student also desired that the portrayal would give some of the other female student audience members hope to possibly reconcile a similar event that they might have experienced in their lives.

I intend the posting to give girls and women a fabulously strong female role model who based on her intellectual and moral inner strength refused to remain a victim of a sexual exploitation.  I also wish the text to be enlightening to male viewers of the potential damage that can be inflicted by pushing one’s sexual desire on a female date when she is not psychologically prepared for the event and/or imposing heartlessly cruel treatment afterwards.

I strongly encourage you to view the video at the link below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZM3x7aSCpA

 

On this page:

Female Testimonies

1) These are real dating experiences and recommendations of Cornelia, 32, from Germany.  She is a feminist researcher and a reader of my website.

As a teen I was severely sexually harassed by three possessive guys.  All of them wanted to pressure me into sex and two even wanted to bully me into a committed relationship while one would have been okay with just demanding sex.  They were all possessive, jealous, intrusive and didn’t respect my boundaries.  One was verbally and openly sexist.  At least I kept them from raping me by telling them repeatedly that I would report them to the police and take them to court and also defend myself as much as possible.  In my experience men who commit violence against women are sexist, patriarchal, domineering, jealous, controlling, exploitative, and deeply possessive.

Whether they are into a committed relationship or not, it doesn’t matter because domestic violence offenders want to force women to commit or keep committed to extremely abusive relationships.  Either way, they are bullies.

I agree that it is important to maintain boundaries and stand up for what one wants or does not want as soon as possible in order to prevent misunderstandings and trouble.

Also if somebody—either male or female—is in a situation of emotional abuse, verbal abuse, bullying, possessiveness, not respecting themselves and their preferences, decisions, and boundaries, the very best thing to say [at least for me] is :

"I won’t have that/I won’t accept that/I won’t put up with that and I do not want to talk to you even if I need to seek redress in court!"

That hammers home the point that I mean business and I will not let them do me in and that they will not get away with bullying and abuse, and that I will not keep in touch with abusive contacts.

 

2) This is a real dating situation of Nancy, 20, from Urbandale, Iowa.  She is a former student worker for Dr. Weitz:

My date and I had been watching a movie and were bringing the night to a close.  I was getting ready to leave his room. 

"I need to use the bathroom, I'll be right back," he says.

He left and I waited.  When he returned, he had a condom in his hand.

I looked at him, then at the condom.

"What are you doing?  I'm not going to have sexwith you!" I exclaimed.

"But I…I…thought…," he stammered.

"Well obviously you thought wrong.  You don't know me at all!  We've only known each other a few weeks! I'm so offended," I answered.

"Alright, alright, well, I was a bad judge of the situation," he said.

"I guess…"

As awkward as it was, I'm glad I confronted the situation head on when I could first see what he was thinking.  This allowed me to stop the ideas in his head from progressing any further.  We have stayed friends since this occurrence, but I decided not to pursue a relationship with him.

 

 

3) This is a real experience of Hannah, 19, from St. Louis, Missouri.  She is a former student worker for Dr. Weitz:

During my freshman year of college, I lived in a co-ed dorm, and after a month at school, I started to develop an interest in one of the guys that lived on the same hall as me.  He liked me back and we started to explore the idea of dating.  One night, we decided to go for a walk.  We walked for a long time, and then sat down because we had started talking about being in a relationship together.  I was excited about dating; however, sex was not something I wanted in a relationship at the time.  I decided to face this issue head on.  This is how the conversation went:

          [After sometime of talking]

          "Are you going to want sex in this relationship?" -Me

"Yes, with my last girlfriend, I waited a year for her and I don’t want to wait that long again," he stated.

"Well, I am not going to sleep with you." -Me

"Maybe I could change your mind." – Him

"No, you are not going to change my mind on this." -Me

The conversation changed to other topics after that and then we walked back to the dorms.  I decided not to pursue a relationship with this guy even though the topic was presented again.  We are friends now and I can confidently say that I am thankful that we pursued a friendship rather than a dating relationship in the long run. 

 

 

4) This is a real experience of Stephanie, 21, from Bloomington, Illinois:

 

One night my junior year, I was hanging out with a male friend whom I had known since my freshman year of college.  We had lived in the same dorm and been close friends since then.  Earlier in the evening, we had been to a small get-together that ended early.  Since the night was still young, we decided to go back to his place to watch a movie. 

 

I was leaning against the back of the couch while he was booting up his computer when he came over next to me and leaned against the couch.  He reached over and gently lifted up the hem of my shirt.  I did not know what he was doing; my mind went blank and I did not move.  I grew nervous and asked myself, "What should I do?" "What is he doing?" "Should I be letting this happen?"

 

Then I realized that he was looking at my new tattoo.  It is just below my ribcage on my left side, and my shirt needs to be lifted to see it.

"Oh, that's right!  I haven't shown that to you yet, have I?"  I said, then taking my shirt into my own hands.

 

"Nope, does it still hurt?" he replied.

 

"No, it's been nearly two months since I had it done, so it's pretty well healed."

Then I put my shirt back down.  I was not sure what to do with myself, so I stared at the floor in front of me.  He moved around so that he was standing in front of me, and gently wrapped his arm behind my back and pulled me off of the back of the couch into a hug.  This was awkward, but it was not aggressive or forceful. 

 

He started massaging my back, but I became more and more nervous as his hands moved further and further down my back.  I thought to myself, "I have to stop this while I can; this is a bad idea."  Then I pushed myself away so that I was looking into his face.

"Umm…I feel kind of uncomfortable with this.  Can we watch the movie now?"

 

"Sure.  I'm sorry…I didn't mean anything by it."

 

"It's okay," I said.

Although my language was not very assertive, I did look him straight in the eye.  My face conveyed my fear and uneasiness to him.  I feel that the combination of these two factors convinced him to respect me and stop.

 

Immediately following this conversation, we sat down on the couch and watched the movie.  Surprisingly, it was not awkward.  He treated me respectfully.  We have never discussed this incident.  Despite this, I am not uncomfortable around him.  I do feel that our relationship has been strained somewhat, but we still spend time together.

 

5) This is a real experience of Jessica, mid-twenties, from Long Island, New York.  She is a reader of my website.

Let me just begin by telling you how therapeutic it is to come across your site. Although, regretfully, my “date rape” as it is referred to, could not have been averted and so I’ve had since been scarred because of it. But it was a relief that many young women can voice out strongly their disagreements with respect to sexual intimacy and of course, there inclinations to taking part of it. It seems that more and more women do not feel obligated to become passive. My incident is something I’d like other women to know so that maybe they see the signs and perhaps avoid what I had to endure.

It was all very innocent really, we were co-workers and he pretended to be an introverted, very quiet cute guy. Honestly, we must have known each other for at least a year, working side by side. I was a loan processor and great at my job, I may have been about 23 or 22. I was the only girl in the office, which was full of young, mid-20’s loan officers/brokers so you can imagine the obscenities I had to deal with and witness. It was all fine since for some reason I shared a comradery with them all, since I was one of the guys or so I thought. I should have seen it coming, apparently all the men at the office were talking about me, I was attractive to them since it was almost this transparent quest to see who would “bed” me. It’s like I really wanted to believe the world is perfect and trust that no one would truly mean harm towards me.

So, he, my long time crush at the office invited me to meet up with his friends and then I said, no because I didn’t trust the situation, it was my sister and I and they were a bunch of men. So right so, it was a strange situation, but he assured me with this sweet, soft voice that it is ok, that we were friends from work and that I shouldn’t worry. So I accepted the invitation. We went there to where they had been and then decided to go to one of their houses for some drinks; I should have listened to my gut feeling. But he kept making me feel like I was insane for thinking or not trusting him, so we went along.

We had drinks and we were having a great time, laughing and talking but then I noticed 3 of the guys had left. It became obvious but then at that point the “Ecstasy” pill he talked me into taking or at least the one I thought was Ecstasy started to make me feel “woozy”. It was nothing like Ecstasy, I had taken it before about 3 times when I was 21 I remembered being alert, awake and just very talkative and honest, as if I could talk about anything. But this made me feel as if I was in a daze or in a dream. Everything he asked me to do I said yes to and did not disagree with, until he asked for us to go together and be alone, I followed him while he guided me by my hand.

And there we were finally alone and I remembered feeling very aroused that I was finally alone with him since I had this biggest crush on him, he was this tall, dark olive Russian with an accent who looked like Enrique Iglesias, the singer. I remember him telling me how sexy he thought I was, so at first it was consensual sex or at least began that way. He was a little aggressive, never tried to kiss me and then next thing I know he flipped me around and bent me over violently onto this massage bed (I remember thinking it was nothing like how I had pictured it). Next thing I know he was trying to penetrate me anally. I felt it right away and it was excruciatingly painful, so immediately I pushed him away very strongly. He still kept trying, I couldn’t speak, it was like someone robbed my voice box and I was so tired and weak, it was like my strength just faded away and I felt powerless laying there. I remembered feeling like I just couldn’t move because I was still conscious and could still see, blurry but still was awake.

The next thing I remember was: waking up in a fetal position, curled up wearing nothing but a thong. My face drenched in black makeup smudged, as if I was crying all night. I had the most intense pain but in my anus. I felt so ashamed and guilty, especially filthy, just really dirty, as if worthless. He had left and my sister came into the room so that we could leave and we spent the night in a nearby motel in the same bed and I remember sleeping far away from my younger sister, as if I’d “dirty” her.  I woke up and we never spoke of that night ever. When I got home, I locked myself in my room and slept all day, curled up, sleeping, when I woke up it almost felt like it was a bad dream that I imagined. But when I went to go to the bathroom, my body ejected his seamen anally and all I could do was open and close my watery eyes, as I looked down, wipe myself and go to work the next day to see his face.

I worked alongside him and blocked out the whole incident, so much so that he did to or at least he pretended like nothing happened wrongly, called me up to “hang out” again.. I deleted his number, left that job and never looked back. I never really forgot what happened to me that night but I know I’m definitely much closer to healing than I was before. I think when horrific things like this happen, we block them out and never utter a word but the truth is they happened. I mean I had not even told my sisters what happened until 4 years later, my older sister snapped at me and thought I was being self righteous about my abstinence and I broke down, it just blurred out of my mouth. It was the first time I said it out loud: “I was raped” ! It felt good to scream it out and I cried immediately as I started telling her every little detail. We cried together and I remember it was so over due. Finally, had someone to hug me and hear me say “I was raped” and it didn’t make me feel like a victim. It was just the truth and I came to terms with it.

Sometimes you don’t say anything because you think people won’t believe you or people will feel sorry for you.  The site you have is incredible and touched me in a truly beautiful way, dare I say: moved me.

6) This is a real conversation held by Kristy, 21, from Columbia, Missouri. She is a former student worker for Dr. Weitz:

This conversation occurred on a Sunday evening on AOL Instant Messenger.  I was not expecting any of this to happen, but a guy I had known for about two and a half years sent me a nice message and we ended up talking for two hours.  We have the same major, many of the same classes, and we also have several common interests.  We had spent time together before with mutual friends, so I felt comfortable saying these things directly to him.  I believe these facts resulted in the honest conversation we had.  I asked him many questions before I asked him about his views on sex while dating.  We talked about swing dancing, movies, our family, our past relationships; we even talked about how we both want to have children when we grow up.  It was a really good conversation and even though this all happened rather quickly, I am glad I was prepared to ask questions to lead up to the question that really mattered to me: What did he think about sex and dating?

 

  This conversation began with him saying, "I missed you at swing dancing last Saturday.  I was a sad panda."  I thought that was funny so we got to talking from about 11:00 P.M. Sunday night until 1:00 A.M. Monday morning.  I can't recall our initial conversation, but I assume we talked about how I missed dance practice because I was tired and wanted to watch a movie instead.  I mentioned that Rent was one of my favorite movies because I knew he liked it too.
Him: So, do you want to watch Rent on Saturday?
Me: Sure, I love that movie.
Him: Well, I can't wait for you to come over.
  At this time I knew pretty much what he was thinking.  We had both been flirting and testing the waters, so I knew it would be okay to ask him about the important issue – sex.This may seem hasty, but all I can tell you is that it was a very natural progression and I had no hesitations.  I knew that he would be honest with me and if the outcome was negative I knew not to waste my time.  I knew he would be honest with me because of the face-to-face conversations we had had in the past.  During one conversation in particular, we shared a lot of personal and private things with each other.  
Him: We should kiss.
Me: ???
Him: Yeah, that would be a good experience.
Me: Don't you think we are moving too fast?  We should probably watch the movie first.  You have to get to know me again, we haven't seen each other for a while.
Him: True.  I haven't even seen you naked yet.
Me: I know, there's a reason for that.  You're not going to see me like that until I'm ready.
Him: L
Me: Don't be a sad panda, we'll spend time together and see how things go.
Him: But I so want to make love to you right now.
  I paused here to take in this statement because I had not seen it coming.  I admit that I had thought about similar things, but I was not ready to tell him that.  The fact that he was so open about it made me feel justified in saying what I really believe – that I want to wait until marriage for a sexual relationship.
Me: What?  For real?  Seriously?
Him: Oh yes, definitely for real.
Me: Well, I probably won't be ready for quite awhile.
Him: Okay.
Me: Is that a problem?  Because I know you know that I'm worth waiting for.
Him: I know.
  After we talked for a few more minutes, I finally decided I should bring up the issue of sex very directly.  We had strayed from the very serious talk and were now discussing our favorite pastimes.  I found out that he likes to ride horses, golf and play video games, and that he doesn't like to cook.  I told him that I love dancing and playing piano, and that I like to cook, watch movies, and spend time with my family.  Then I knew it was time to bring it up because we had been talking for two hours and I wanted to go to bed.
Me: I just have to tell you something.  I am not going to have sex with you.
Him: Ummmmm.  Okay.
Me: I just want you to know that I am not going to have sex until I am happily married.
Him: Well, I support that.
Me: Great, then I can't wait to see you on Saturday.

  I Need Your Help!

I need your accounts of potential date rape situations, and what you did to successfully prevent it.  Your real-life experiences will give girls and women a better understanding of how to protect themselves, as well as more options for doing so. 

Please provide your first name, age, and the city or town where you live.  This information makes the situations seem more realistic to our readers.  I will not publish your email address or provide it to any third parties.  If you are uncomfortable with providing this information, I will incorporate your experience into this site anonymously. 

Please email me with your story or any questions at aweitz@truman.edu.  You can also send me your scripts by mail with no return address.  My mailing address is:

Dr. Albert J. Weitz
Associate Professor of Communication
Department of Communication
Barnett Hall, Room 1108
Truman State University
Kirksville, MO 63501

What is important is that I can provide as many examples as possible of girls and women using direct and explicit language to avoid date rape so that other girls and women can use your language as a model for keeping themselves safe from sexual assault.  Thank you for your help!