One in six women in America will experience sexual assault of some kind. As many as 96% of these women will never report it. Few will ever talk about it, much less say that it happened to them.
Virgin tells the story that is all too common now: Teenagers go to parties, have a few too many drinks, and find themselves in situations they never banked upon, situations they thought they were smarter than. At 16, Ella Ceron was date-raped at a party. Until now, she's never revealed the details of that night to anyone because of fear, shame, and feelings of utter confusion. This is a story of how, eventually, Ella began to realize that this one horrible event did not define her and even in spite of her unwillingness to deal with it, she found that she had moved past it.
Social stigma and cultural taboo keep victims and survivors silent. But their stories need to be told, because theirs are the stories we seldom hear, and rarely listen to. Virgin is just one story, but it doesn't belong to Ella Ceron. It belongs to every survivor who has learned to cope, every survivor who is still coping, and every person who did not deserve to have something as terrible as rape in their lives.
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That two word phrase became a huge issue in 2012 during Todd Akin's run for the Senate when he made the utterly stupid comment during a discussion on the rape and incest provision in one of the many anti abortion fights in the last few years. Now with abortion legislation still a hotly debated and contested social and political issue three years later; the revelation of administration cover-ups at colleges and universities being revealed. Then finally the revelations concerning Bill Cosby; the questions of what is and what isn't rape are being discussed publicly now.
The author discusses her own rape; one that occurred when she was intoxicated and brings out the difficulty in drawing the line between where bad judgement and carelessness end and rape begins. It is a question that seems to have answers that differ with the age, gender and personal life experiences of the individual being queried. The lines that have changed and been moved so much in the last forty five years are sure to be altered further in the future. I'm old enough to remember many of the different cases during those years that have changed the parameters of what is or isn't rape. Among those I remember the best was Rideout vs. Rideout in 1977. It wasn't until that point that the law recognized that rape could occur; even if the principals were married. Indeed there are probably still men (and women) who still believe that when a man buys, uh marries a woman; it gives the right to her body.
All in all an interesting personal look at what will probably still be an issue that will resonate 100 years from now.
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