Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I'm a 23-year-old female, and a few months ago I decided to start dating. I've been raped before, so I had never had much interest in dating anyone. My best friend at the time set me up on Tinder, and I met this nice girl. We really hit it off, and I had her meet my friends. They liked her and thought she was really nice. I met her friends as well, and it all went pretty well. After we had been talking for a month, I went and stayed the weekend with her.
My last night there we were at her friend's house, and I was smoking marijuana. I got extremely high, the highest I've ever been. She drank a beer, but that was it. Later that night we were back at her place (I don't remember much of what happened between leaving her friend's house), and I woke up, kind of, to her having sex with me.
I was constantly in and out of sleep throughout the whole ordeal, but I didn't say no.
I didn't think no. I didn't think anything. I was so tired I really didn't pay much attention to what was going on. I definitely didn't reciprocate anything though.
The next morning she apologized to me because she said she felt like she had taken advantage of me. I hadn't even had time to understand what happened, but I told her she had nothing to worry about and it was fine.
I've been raped by two men, but I had never been with a woman and didn't think anything like this would happen. I don't feel raped per se, but I do have a lot of emotions about it that I still haven't been able to figure out.
The more I think about it, the more confused I get.
It makes me so upset to think about, but I'm still not sure why. I don't feel like this counts as rape. It wasn't violent, and she didn't drug me. This feels like one of those grey areas, but is it?
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I am so very sorry that you went through this, but I am really glad you wrote in and that you are asking this question.
I want to make something very clear with my answer — yes, a woman can rape another woman. A woman can also rape a man.
Rape is nonconsensual sex. The legal definition of rape, as defined by The United States Department of Justice is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
This woman did not obtain your consent. Being asleep or too high to give consent does not excuse her.
The reason this is still bothering you is that she did rape you.
No, this wasn’t violent, and no, she didn’t drug you, but she engaged in sex with you while you were asleep, and that is a violation.
She knows what she did, or she wouldn't acknowledge it with an apology that downplays what occurred. Addressing that with her is a personal decision and one that should be made with consideration to how safe you feel doing so.
I also want to add that as someone who has been raped in the past, this undoubtedly revives that past trauma. No matter the gender of the person who assaulted you, the feelings that settle in your body and mind are the same. And I speak from experience.
The most crucial thing right now is that get some support.
I am not sure if you have accessed any help for your past traumas, but regardless, now would be a good time for some guidance. I urge you to seek the help of a therapist and possibly a support group.
Below are a couple of resources that can direct you to further help. If you have any other questions about where to find help in your area, please email me again.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Dioptase, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share with you my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo