On mostly a whim or curiosity, I read the "gray area" rape section on Pandys. The logical side of my head knows that there is no such thing as "gray rape." Consent is either affirmative or negative. But emotionally, I can't bring myself to think that at all. Deep in my heart I place myself and my experiences in this sort of nebulous "maybe it was... maybe it wasn't... maybe I'm just a crazy person who was victimizing my "attacker" with false allegations." I get incredibly guilty because I know there are people who went through worse, reading Pandys always affirms it. Even on threads I initially feel connected to, I see the much worse abuses of others and get overwhelmed with guilt. People here have been raped by their own family members, how DARE I even pretend what happened to me was close to the same? The gray rape thread though was both comforting and the most disturbing thing I have ever read here. It hit so close to home. Reading other people's experiences shook a lot of blocked memories loose too. I had no idea I had even blocked them, but now I remember it so clearly. I saw that what happened to me had happened to many other people, and how the “gray area” haunts them as well. I was groomed. I can see that now. I was practically stalked by this very persistent person since high school. I sort of want to talk to my high school friends now just to see what they say. I can see the roots of it, and I think they saw it too. I just thought he was some awkward kid who just wanted to be my friend so much he memorized my class schedule and what route I took. He was very persistent and very odd. I gave him a lot of trust in college for some reason. His dogged persistence wore me down a long time before, and I even sought out hanging with him on my own. I fancied that I had converted a feminist, and he worked at the college Women's Center and sought an “androgynous” look. By this point, I no longer identified him as potentially harmful since he didn't have that masculine look I associated with danger. We had an off/on friends with benefits arrangement. I was in love with another man, so there was both relationship tension and sexual tension. I'm not sure how this played into the later abuse, but it seems relevant. Our relationship was non-romantic but I let him continue this sort of infatuation towards me. I won't lie, it seemed flattering. There was a lot of sexual power play, we both enjoyed it (with him topping), if it ever strayed into a “red flag area” (I'm sure it probably did many times), I didn't see it. I was aware of some complaints against him at college. At least one of violent assault, and another of stalking and unwanted touching. I, being his friend, blew them off as unwarranted. He was just some kooky guy that people had difficulty understanding, in my mind. Some of those charges were dismissed, and I am unsure to this day whether they were true or false. The lesson I should have taken away from it though, was that this was a man that people were already starting to look askance at and getting red flags from. I didn't get that message from it at all. One day after a drag show, we went back to his dorm room. He was in drag. He had his makeup on, a corset and an extremely short mini-skirt. We hung out for a bit, just chilling or doing homework. I had decided I wanted to walk home. He whined at me not to, to stay for just a little bit longer. He had gotten an erection, and it was very clear under his skirt. It felt awkward, instead of sexy like other times, so I got up to leave. He was whining and cajoling me the whole time. I kept insisting I had to go home. I reached for the doorknob, and he put his hand on the door and slammed it shut. I asked him to let me out. He asked for a blowjob. I said no, and reached for the door again. Again, he slammed it shut, but this time he got all the way between me and the door, and was getting really touchy with my face. He told me I couldn't leave until he got a blowjob. I was incredibly uncomfortable and scared. I wouldn't say it was a dramatic personality shift, to be honest. He was a persistent person and this just sort of seemed like the next step. I did it, I left. He called me to apologize the next morning just for “what happened”, but at the time I don't think the incident really registered in my head. Months later, I reported it. My boyfriend of the time heard me tell my story, with me just thinking it was a story about how weird this guy made me feel, and encouraged me to report. A processes that was just as painful and a whole different story. Where the “grey rape” thread gets uncomfortable for me is the guilt of calling it “rape” or even “sexual assault.” I wasn't held down, there wasn't a gun to my head, I wasn't beat-up, I wasn't drugged and I wasn't verbally threatened exactly. It was uncomfortable for me to see how other women had this same discomfort with the terminology. I don't feel like I have a right to the same resources and support as these other people who went through so much more and can emotionally feel certain it was rape. I just feel emotionally like I was probably responsible for it and that I'm crazy and making a mountain out of a molehill. I was also simultaneously disturbed and comforted that some of the women in situations like mine continued to seek friendship with the person. I was constantly driven by this urge to make things “right”, and try to understand why, or what it was that I had done to him to make him act like this. I really just wanted things all better. Of course, it was a mistake to try to patch it up or continue contact, but in that headspace, it's impossible to see that or take care of yourself emotionally. Through the entire thread, the common theme was “no is no, no matter what their body seems to be doing.” There's one quote from the thread that was completely triggering of some memories I had forgotten. It's still pretty shaking to me. [On the “mixed signals” of a woman “coming onto someone” but verbally saying no] “Yeah, I think that's particularly common with someone who has abuse in their past where they were expected to 'perform' - their body is on automatic and doing what it had to in order to avoid being punished while the brain is recognizing that this is a different situation and that the person is going to be 'allowed' the right to say 'no.' But if that 'no' is ignored, then the brain shuts down and the person goes into survival mode and just lets it happen. “ Not too long after the college incident, I had another one I hadn't even put the pieces together about until just now. The man I was in love with had certainly wrapped me up in some very complex situations. At 18, I was naive and gullible. I was a virginal nerd with a bad haircut and who had never had a real boyfriend. D found me online. He saw my major (an engineering field) and offered me some tutoring before I took my major specific classes. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and I was anxious to do well in my field, so I agreed. We of course fell “in love” and messed about a bit. He was more than that to me though, he was my tutor, my idol. I wanted to be just as cool as him, and just as smart when I was older. He was my role model in every way. And of course he was married. He assured me his absent wife (in France for a year) was in an “open marriage” with him and had girlfriends of her own in France, and fed me some amazing bluffs and lies to that effect. It took me far too long to discover the truth. But I digress. We were in his room, gaming with each other. He was at his desktop, I was at my laptop. He left his desktop, and started coming on to me. I had a lot of other things going on at the moment and kept saying “No... no I don't want to. No.” This in fact was during when I was reporting my previous incident with the college. But I loved him so much, and wanted him to have what he wanted, and he was ignoring me, so I just went with it and let him touch me and fuck me. At the end I just sort of curled up into a little ball and cried a bit. We never talked about it. I had never put it in any sort of manipulative or abusive context before the Pandys thread.