Was It My Fault

I’ve watched the media coverage of the Steubenville rape this week. I’ve watched boys crying. Boys who raped a girl. I’ve heard the media talk about how these ‘promising’ young boys have ruined their future. I’ve heard people slam the victim for being drunk. One of the saddest thing though is that nobody reached out to help this girl that night. No one stood up and protected her. Instead they laughed and took pictures and now continue to threaten her and actually stand up for the boys who committed this crime. The fact that she is continued to be blamed for this crime. THIS RAPE, is not okay. We can do better. We can do better for our children, our neighbors, our friends, and the strangers we meet. We can do better. But mostly, remember… rape is a crime. And it’s not her fault.

I have three daughters. And I’m scared because while I want them to make good choices, I also want them to live in a society that watches out for others, and I hope they will be that ones to always help a friend or stranger.

But no matter the choices they make, the parties they go to, or the dances they attend…no one, NO ONE, is even allowed to violate them. It is not their fault. It will never be their fault. Ever.

* * *

I was 17 and a cheerleader. I lived in a small town and dated the popular boys.

It was my fault.

I liked to party. We’d drink too much. Sometimes way too much and we’d go to parties when we should have already been home.

It was my fault.

I dated these boys. I thought they liked me, but they didn’t. I thought they were boyfriends and sometimes I would sleep with a boy I liked.

It was my fault.

I was the drunk girl. The drunk girl in the small town with the reputation.

It was my fault.

Then one night, when I was this drunk girl at a party, I had sex with my boyfriend. I thought he was my boyfriend.

It was my fault.

At one point he got off me and excused himself to use the bathroom. It was dark in that bedroom. He came back and got back on top of me and I reached for his hair. My boyfriend had straight hair.

This boy had curly hair.

It was not my fault.

I screamed and tried to push him away, but he was bigger than me and stronger than me..and pretty soon my ‘boyfriend’ was there holding me down while this boy raped me.

It was not my fault.

And then he invited more friends.

It was not my fault.

I was drunk and stupid and only 17. But none of that was my fault.

And it’s taken me 27 years to realize that it wasn’t my fault.

Because they called me a whore and left that drunk girl curled up on a bed crying alone..and told me it was all my fault and that they would do worse to me if I told anyone.

Boys will be boys they said as they walked out. I remember their laughter.

Bullshit.

It wasn’t my fault.

It was never my fault.

About the writer

Tracy is neither British nor a nun - she's just a Midwesterner with a headache. She has been documenting the lighter side of parenting on her personal blog Sellabit Mum since 2008. Tracy is a mom of three girls, addicted to fashion, and a freelance writer. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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David 1 year ago

You need to purchase the CD, pop it into your comp as if it were any other proagrm, and run the setup. To do it for free, you would have to download from an illegal source like a torrent site or something.

sellabitmum 2 years ago

I’m so sorry this happened to you too. it’s not your fault. xo

sellabitmum 2 years ago

It wasn’t Jessica. It wasn’t. Love to you. xo

Jessica 2 years ago

wow. a link with the article in Yes magazine brought me here and I’m sitting here crying…. it wasn’t my fault either and this it the first time I ever think about it like that. I’m 43, on my own and sometimes wondering in a remote way about why I will not let anybody really near to me. back then, I was 19, in love with a boy I looked up to – because he told me so many times he was better than me and I should count myself lucky that he let-me-be with him.
right. writing it like that it seems like a piece of stand-up, but I was told often enough that I believed him… we lived together for about four years and he raped me often. sometimes with emotional blackmail, sometimes with just enough physical force so that I would leave my body and just let him get on with it. afterwards I would cry quietly, not to wake him, wondering how I would be able to ‘make myself want him more’. that’s what was lacking, he said. if only I would start he would not have to, okay?
it wasn’t my fault.

Steph Ed 2 years ago

I can’t post what I really want to say…well, actually, I will. You MUST be a man, a rapist.

Take driving for example. When a wreck occurs and someone is obviously at fault, by your reasoning you are implying the wreck is the victims fault, too, just because they are driving!

Unknown 2 years ago

Hey Linda, guess fucking what?

Women who aren’t drugged or drunk and walk down perfectly well lit streets or in broad daylight in nun outfits still get raped because there are such things as rapists. Women’s choices regarding where they are or in what situation don’t change an outcome when rapists are involved.

Well I suppose they shouldn’t have put themselves in that situation by walking all by their lonesome when they know they can’t rebut an attack. So now, all women require a male escort when going anywhere outside the home like in some “other” places I’m not going to mention.

So not only are you a rape victim, you’re also a victim of media brainwashing where the victim is still to blame regardless of the fact it was someone else’s choice to commit rape. And I feel sorry for you. Genuinely.

anonymous 2 years ago

I was 17 and a cheerleader, too, when it happened to me. Thank you for this.

Denise 2 years ago

Steve Tanner Evans Mills, NY

I am so thankful for you and many others, the above is one of many that attacked me, I have been informed by my “mother” “I asked for it.” I was dating him, i was home alone at 16 and my parents were two hours away from home. He showed up at my home with a gun, made me go with him and had his way with me. I still feel horrible from this after almost 30 years. I never turned him in because i was ashamed, i had tried in the past to tell my parents about being molested for many years but was told i was lying and they did not want to hear it. To this day my mother does not want to hear it and because i had dated him she believes I ASKED FOR IT. I still feel it is my fault not sure i will ever get past this, i still can smell him, see the gun hear it jam when he pulled the trigger and hear the music in the background. I am terrified to go anywhere alone. I do not wish this on anyone, deep down i know i am not at fault but then my mind plays the game well your own mother thinks you asked for it, so who knows. In the end, i have to keep reminding myself no means no. I feel bad because my husband has always been so patient with me and still is, however, this rape still affects me and sometimes i cannot stand anyone even touching my arm, it makes me jump it has also caused for severe emotional distress that continues to this day, i relive it constantly and know i must heal to go on, however, how do you heal when your own family does not stand behind you.
When i heard about this poor girl and the fact that these idiots not only laughed about it they posted it online and the community still blames her it made me physically sick to my stomach. As a society we need to stop these attacks, even one rape is way to many. Thank you ladies for sharing your story and helping us heal.

MaidMirawyn 2 years ago

Thank you. I have friends and family members who have been raped. Sharing that can’t have been easy.

It wasn’t my friends’ faults; it wasn’t my loved ones’ faults, whether they made stupid choices or not. (Some did, some didn’t.) And it WASN’T your fault. A rapist is a criminal, no matter how tempting the “target.” THEY make the choice to commit a heinous act, not the victim.

I applaud your courage.

Kat 2 years ago

I was 21. I was strung out on street drugs. I was in a crack house. I was raped. I did not deserve it. Now, 12 years later, I am 8 years clean and sober and in therapy so I can heal from that night.

Rachael 2 years ago

Jordan Gilbault, Phoenix, Arizona
Nameless man, Oakland, California
Nameless man, Brooklyn, New York

Those are my rapists. I wish I knew the name of the other two. My first rape occurred when I was 15 years old. The scenario was very much like Jane Doe’s. But I wasn’t drunk. I had been drugged. I was a virgin.

I called the Rape Crisis Line and was told to call the police. They and the firemen came and talked to me about what happened. The police put me in the back of their car, like a criminal, and took me to the hospital where they took all my clothes and forced me to call my parents and tell them what had just happened to me. a rape kit was done. I was sent home to my friends house, where I was staying for 2 weeks, but her mother wouldn’t let me back in her house because she didn’t want girls “like that” in her house. I tried to prosecute him from California, where I now lived with my mother. To this day no retribution has been paid to me. No apology has been offered. Nothing has been done. It’s almost as though it didn’t even happen. Except that it did. And for 25 years I’ve paid for what was done to me. Psychologically I ‘ve paid. Emotionally, I’ve paid. Financially – through years and years of therapy and medications, I’ve paid.

It was not my fault. It wasn’t Jane Doe’s fault. It was not your fault. Someday I hope that the people who are responsible for the pain caused to women like me will be held accountable. Even if it never happens, I’ve learned; it was not my fault. I am NOT a victim. I am a SURVIVOR. And so are you.

Andrea 2 years ago

It was not your fault! You and your friend were victims of a crime, and it is sad for our society as well as for the two of you that you have not had justice. I wish you peace.

Jen 2 years ago

She got drunk with friends, with classmates and people she knew. She was with TRUSTED people. Saying that she should have known better is absurd. You are suggesting that every time someone gets drunk (male or female) then he/she must expect to get raped. Negative. The point of all of this is that we should be raising children who would never think of hurting another person that way. You’re disgusting.

Anuddahmuddah 2 years ago

No, sweetheart, it wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault then, and it isn’t your fault now. You’ve risen above it, gazed calmly back at it, and conquered it with your wit, your courage and your wisdom. Now, with your words, you’re helping others do the same with your strength as their beacon. Go well.

KC 2 years ago

Thank you, David. So many times people forget that men and boys can be hurt this way too. I’m so sorry that you have had to live through this and send thoughts of healing your way.

KC 2 years ago

Thank you, Bill.

KC 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. It wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t mine. I’m turning 30 this year and I still have to tell my 9 year old self it wasn’t her fault. It changed how I thought about sex, about myself for so many years. It wasn’t until I met my husband, true gentle man that he is, that I was able to forgive that little girl who blamed herself, who shamed herself… who thought she knew ‘what she was getting into’ hanging around high school neighbor-boys… who thought she knew what ‘yes’ meant even at her age.
The fear I felt confirmed to me it was my own fault and I thought I would never find a time in my life I could talk about it freely. But thanks to the bravery of people like you and Kim Simon (“Dear Jane Doe”), I can, we can. It wasn’t my fault and it’s not the fault of so many other victims out there who’ve grown up with shame. At least now we can unburden ourselves of some of the guilt, knowing we’re not alone.
Thank you again, you’ve helped me.

Anon 2 years ago

It wasn’t your fault. Just like it wasn’t my fault; not even when the coward told my boyfriend & said *I* seduced *him*; not even my boyfriend believed *him* over *me*.

My mantra has to be, “It wasn’t my fault.” I’ve buried the feelings, and the memories, and don’t want to face it again. It wasn’t my fault.

Roni 2 years ago

I was not a drunk fool. I was sleeping in my bed only to wake up to find a stranger kissing and touching me…No worries my ass! He got sentenced to 31 years :)

Becky Routhier 2 years ago

It was spring break, 1989 & the eve of my 15th birthday. I accepted an invitation to a party where lots of cool juniors & seniors would be in attendance. The invite came from a boy I had known since I was 9, as we attended the same church & the same tiny schools. I would have to sneak out as the party was at the home of a boy whose parents were conveniently out of town. At that young an age, the risk of getting caught by my mother was outweighed by the possibility of popularity.

This small southern town worshipped at the altar of God Almighty but also the holy football field. I was neither rich nor a cheerleader, so my path was NOT pre-paved. When we got to the empty house I was told everyone was on a beer run. (We lived in a dry county, meaning alcohol was not sold or bought legally. The nearest beer store was almost 30 miles away.) So, it was me, my “friend” from church, his football teammate & the boy that lived in the house, though he was passed out in his bed. I drank a whiskey & coke, something I had never done. Every time I questioned the absence of those on the beer run, I was given another & stronger drink. My requests to be taken home were politely denied with, ” But you’ll miss the party!”

Finally the front door was locked and I was told I WAS the party. I was raped repeatedly by 2 upstanding boys, football players from ” good” families. I was later helped to put my clothes on & dumped unceremoniously at the end of my street with the admonition to “not tell anyone.”

I needn’t have worried. The following Monday when school resumed EVERYONE knew, or so it seemed. All the upperclassmen were discussing it. The girls called me a whore & the boys wanted a piece of the freshman action. See, these upstanding boys had told the story themselves in the football weight room. In their version I was a hot & fun freshman up for anything. My phone rang off the hook. I was derided by my classmates & even chastised by a faculty member for not “protecting my reputation or considering my family that lived in the small town.”

Now, if the school counselor believed their version, what hope did I have with the legal system? I faced a harsh truth- I would be victimized all over again if I went to the police & later, to court. Who was I compared to these heroes? Who was my family in comparison to theirs? No one. I was nothing.

Thankfully my family left the area shortly after due to a transfer. But the memories followed. The damage stayed with me. The scars would not fade. I had tearful arguments with my mother over my sudden & vehement desire to NOT celebrate my birthday. She didn’t know. My sister didn’t know. My closest friends didn’t know.

I lost my innocence that night. I lost my self-respect. I lost my boyfriend because, for some inexplicable reason, he believed their version. I lived in fear that my older brother, whom I idolized, would hear the story. Would he risk jail & beat them senseless? Or much worse, would he believe his troubled little sister was a whore? In my eyes, I was ruined. Damaged goods with little to no value. I began drinking to escape the pain and shame that I had brought with me over the 1000 mile move.

Naturally, my grades slipped. I became closed off from family and friends. My life had been divided: before and after. I began to carefully craft a facade which I would project for decades. I was the girl that made everyone laugh. I was the keeper of all my friend’s secrets. I was the peacemaker in quarrels. I was the dependable friend.

It all came crashing down when I moved back to my hometown at 19. As my birthday approached, I began to shut down. The idea of having a birthday in that same town was nearly too much for me. At the urging of the only true life-long friend I ever had, I admitted the truth. I acknowledged the damage done. I screwed up all the courage I owned and told my mother & sister and watched with horror as they struggled and failed to contain their numerous emotions. My mother wanted blood. Or even better, their testicles. She wondered what she had done wrong. Why hadn’t I told her before now? My sister was immersed in guilt. How could she not have known something was horribly wrong with her little sister? I had always been a bit of a rebel but they suddenly understood my absolute defiance when ordered to attend our country church. Now they understood that I simply couldn’t stomach sharing a pew with one of my rapists. NOW they finally understood so much: why I took punishment over church attendance, why I was so bitterly adamant about NOT celebrating my birthday, why I had pulled away- from them, from friends, from church & even God.

My mother urged me to prosecute. I flatly refused. The reasons I gave are the same this Steubenville case has reiterated. I would be victimized AGAIN while the perps were lionized in our small community. Everyone would take sides. Everyone would know my name. The defense would humiliate me & my family name as they insinuated that I was a drunk & a party girl. My clothing, my friends and certainly my decision to sneak out & drink illegally would all be called into question. Unfortunately, the same is still true, 24 years later. Poor Jane Doe knows, doesn’t she?

I bore the scars and muddled through every birthday, dreading its approach & relishing its leaving. One friend I did tell attended prom with one of my rapists & maintained a friendship with him long after graduation. Another friend began dating the other one when we were 19. I felt I HAD to tell her, so that she could run as fast as her legs could carry her. And run she did- away from me & to the altar. After over a decade of being in an abusive marriage with the sadistic monster, she finally divorced him. And yes, she apologized to me.

Was it my fault? Not just no, but hell no. Did I attend my 20 Year High School Reunion? No. Have I forgiven myself for making the stupid choices that led me to be in a house alone with 2 boys & intoxicated? Yes. Do I now celebrate my birthday? Yes. Have I gotten closer to family & friends? Yes, mostly. Did I cry with fear when I gave birth to a daughter? Absolutely. But I WILL teach her and my son to respect themselves and stand up for others- at ALL times.

Have I talked to therapists and members of the clergy about the ordeal and all it’s horrible after effects? Yes. Did I return to my faith? Yes. Have I quit hating those 2 boys? Yes, but mainly because I learned they both are now fathers of daughters and not only do they have to live with what they did, they also have to hope & pray their daughters never come across a version of their younger selves.

Have I ever told my story in a public forum? No, not until now. All you strong & brave women gave me the bravery to do so tonight after 24 too-long years of silence. Thank you seems inadequate here. I have found my voice. The shame is NOT mine & never should have been. I am NOT ashamed. I survived. It is part of my history, part of what made me who & what I am. There will be no more shame for this girl. Ever again. THANK YOU, ladies for freeing me tonight.

Jody Kristina 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this. I haven’t had the guts to tell my story. I hope the time comes, until then; I enjoyed reading yours. :) Very healing. I constantly have to remind myself it’s NOT my fault. I know it isn’t, but society is so messed up. I hope we can all come together and end victim-blaming. It’s not right, it keeps people quiet.

Estrella Luz 2 years ago

Linda,
The failure of your logic implies that a person is like an unlocked car left running or an unattended purse, and that the logical result of any irresponsible behavior is rape. Bu your corollary any of the boys who were intoxicated that night should have been raping each other like wild dogs.

The fact is, a person sick compromised or having made a bad choice is still a person with rights to the sanctity of her body. Rational humans do NOT leap to the conclusion that rape is a reasonable next step to a bad choice, and that a bad choice in company, recreation or substance does not open oneself to limitless violation without consent. Humans who do otherwise? We call them rapists. People who think otherwise? We call you rape apologists.

Christine 2 years ago

Now this is a great idea!!! Maybe the walls would come tumbling down. Maybe they won’t. But these lower than pond scum boys/men should be held accountable for their actions, however old they are now. There should be a website that has names of rapists listed, with the city and states they live in.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Angela – It was not your fault. I am so glad you know that now. I’m thinking about you. I’m so glad you now know. xo

Angela 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. It is eye opening. Not that rape is not a girls fault, because it isn’t. But that it wasn’t my fault. I’ve lived in denial for a very long time and until reading this and another post, it didn’t really hit me that it wasn’t my fault.

It was 2002, I was a sophomore in college. I went out with a friend and we met some of her guy friends at the local bar. I wasn’t of age so they were buying me drinks. I only knew one of them. My friend left the bar with her boyfriend. My glass was never empty. I vaguely remember walking back to my dorm with the one guy I knew. I don’t remember anything that happened in that room that night. The only reason I knew something was ‘off’ was because I woke up naked.

I went to church the next morning and almost passed out from suddenly getting extremely hot. I had to run out of the church to get fresh air. Something just wasn’t right. I went to my friend and told her what I think happened. Her idea was to go and confront the guy, so we did together. He smugly answered the questions my friend asked: did you have sex? was there a condom?

I went to the doctor after that. I explained what happened and she said words like: rape and date-rape-drug. I didn’t associate this with rape. I just figured it was my fault for being too drunk. I was too embarrassed to ever do anything about it.

Today I sit here and think, he doesn’t even know. He doesn’t even know his actions were rape. That single night ruined the rest of my sophomore year. I left that college before the summer term to go to a different school, only to return my senior year to graduate in 4 years. The guy was idolized by many. Was the class president. Graduated with honors. I felt ashamed. Still do.

It wasn’t until your post that my eyes have been opened. Thank you. A weight has been lifted.

AlwaysARedhead 2 years ago

I just wrote a similar post, it wasn’t my fault either, but it took a long time for me to admit that to myself.

Nicole @MTDLBlog 2 years ago

This….exactly how I feel. So difficult to be so far away when you know a friend could use the extra support during such a revelation. I think you assume everyone’s life is as it is today and you forget the path that brought us here and made us who we are…but that’s the gift of blogging. We can help others heal through our stories if we are willing to share them and you truly paved the way for that with this post.

Tracy…you are remarkable and strong and lovely. It wasn’t your fault.

Kelly 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. Like many others, I was moved to tears.

This has been a difficult story to watch unfold, and I’m still trying to make sense of it as a mother of a 5-year-old girl and another girl on the way. I recently wrote a blog post on how I’m responding to it at home with my girl, but it just never feels like enough.

Lori 2 years ago

I am sitting here crying and applauding your bravery for sharing your story in this post. I am a rape survivor but most people don’t know that because I wasn’t brave enough to report it way back when it happened in the fall of 1978. I was that girl with a reputation. I drank and even used drugs. But on the night I was raped I wasn’t even drinking. My friend and I walked from her house to a gas station to get a pop. On our way back, a group of guys came out of nowhere and chased us down, drug us to the house they were having a party at and they gang raped us. They were the town jocks, brainiacs and good ole church boys and we were the towns party girls and I suppose some would have called us sluts or whores just because. They held us down and poured alcohol on our faces and into our mouths while they took turns raping us and when they were done they threw us out on the front lawn with threats of what would happen if we told. Yeah cause who would believe us over a preachers son???? We ran home and made promises through ashamed tears to never tell anyone let alone report it. Because of who they were and who we believed ourselves to be. They would walk past us in school with smirks on their faces. Their stinking arrogance over it all makes me sick to this day. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve begun sharing this here and there in powerful posts like this. It’s easy to share it here where no one knows me. It’s taken me a long time to really see that this wasn’t my fault. For years whenever a rape would play out on a movie or tv show or the news, I would hide in shame and deep down I believed it was my fault. Add to that being ashamed for not sharing my story or speaking out and for not being courageous like this young girl or you for sharing your story in this post. I am finding my voice each time I respond to these posts in the comments. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault.

Megan R. 2 years ago

I’m so sorry that happen to you Tracy & I am also soooo proud & glad that you were eventually able to distinguish what you were responsible & were not responsible for. You are to be commended for your bravery in sharing your experience so publically.
I wonder if the boys who assaulted you have ever contemplated their crime now as adults. Do they ever look at their sons & wonder if they’ve raised someone capable of such a horrific act? Do they ever look at their daughters & wonder if the same brutal behavior is awaiting them in the future? Does she have a guy friend who is just as much of a pussy as he was at that age?

It does seem in this case that the victim was on trial which I don’t understand because most states now have ‘victim protection’ laws prohibiting victim info from being made public. However, this girl’s name was aired on at least 3 of the mainstream media channels – more than once. I signed a petition on Change.org to protest the ‘one-sided’ disgusting coverage done by CNN’s Candy Crowly & Poppy Harlow. I counted no fewer than 6 comments which specifically implied that the defendant’s deserved consideration because their ‘lives were ruined’ as they’d have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives for something they did as teens.

I also firmly believe that every person who stood around & did nothing or worse yet; recorded the assaults hoping to post the next ‘viral video’ sensation, should be prosecuted as accomplices. To say nothing of the coach & other adults who tried to protect the defendant’s from prosecution.

Thank you again Tracy for your bravery!! Maybe your story will help parents realize what’s at stake if they don’t teach their child what responsible behavior is.

Maureen | Scoops of Joy 2 years ago

Thank you for speaking out and sharing your story. It is not your fault. You are so very brave to share this. Rape is rape it is our society that needs to change and STOP blaming the victims.

Megan 2 years ago

I think I need to see a professional for my Linda-loathing issues.

Megan 2 years ago

I can’t fathom what possible type of brain or soul injury Linda must have endured. My husband is a police officer and he is honestly grieved when he sees a prostitute get raped, which is often. NO ONE EVER deserves, asks for, or has rape coming to them. I wonder is Linda was either raped and refuses to deal with it or is actually a rapist and not really “Linda”. I will say this, this is the talk the enemy puts in our mind. Put in my mind. If you hear something in your mind that is tearing you down call on the work of the one who renews. My healing was found at the feet of Jesus. I have had the opportunity to speak to women on this issue from personal conversations to a room full of women. We don’t need minions like Linda to spread the lies of the one who desires to take us down. Shame upon shame on Linda

EC 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing. My story – I was 26 and a virgen, crazy drunk for the first time in my life, when two co-workers decided it was their chance. They told me not to tell anyone, or people at work would say I was a slut. Even though I had worked on women’s issues, even advocating on sexual and domestic abuse issues, I was still unable to process my own rape. It was my fault – I was drunk. I couldn’t physically move. I just said no, I didn’t fight. I couldn’t even scream, lying like I was dead, trying to get my mind together enough to move. So it was my fault. Three months later, I told someone what happened. They told me it was rape, and that’s when I finally started dealing with it. I reported it. The guys were fired. But nearly all the other guys at work started harassing me – it was my fault. Then I realized, quite frighteningly, that most of those guys would have done the same thing. They thought that a drunk girl, unable to defend herself, was their right. I hate the world sometimes. I used to see the beauty in people, the good in others. Not anymore. We have a serious problem with rape because “good guys” are the rapists, and everyone assumes the “drunk girl wants it.” I didn’t want it. What have we taught our boys…

Cassie 2 years ago

It’s so sad how some people have no sense of right or wrong, how they have been taught that they can take/do what they want without consequences, how they will blame anyone else if it will get them off the hook. Thank you for sharing your story. It was NOT your fault, nor was it hers.

JC 2 years ago

Respect yourself enough not to be held down by your “boyfriend” while he lets another man rape you?

Purposefully Anonymous 2 years ago

I was 9. I neither asked, nor consented, nor knew what those things meant.

My fault?

Hell no.

And not your fault either. Keep writing. Some situations should be obviously non-consenting.

Tammy 2 years ago

It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

This reminds me of the scene in Good Will Hunting. There are things we have to let go of, and it’s amazing how sometimes it takes so much time and courage to do that.

I’m glad you finally found your time and courage. I’m sure it will help others find theirs.

Heather of the EO 2 years ago

Making the vulnerable choice to get wasted has consequences. Like a hangover. Like being late for curfew. If you drive, get a DUI, that’s your deal.

But getting drunk cannot make the people around you rapists.

You are pissing people off here for good reason and you stay on the defense because who wants to be told they’re an idiot? But you know, you play, you pay.

Please stop to think of the purpose for making your comment in the first place. Is it productive? NO. I can assure you, no one is going to suddenly change their minds on this one. Those disagreeing with you can see the truth. You obviously cannot, so step away and keep your judgments to yourself. Please. Your words are only hurtful, that accomplishes NOTHING.

Amy 2 years ago

I echo what so many others have said – you are so brave to share this, and I’m sorry and horrified that it happened to you and so many others.

M. 2 years ago

I’m so very sorry that happened to you, and I’m so very glad you now realize it was NOT your fault.

MommaO 2 years ago

Thank you Andrea! Your kind words are wonderful. I came back here today, after I calmed down, just to try to read some more of the comments. It is heart-wrenching to see the sheer volume of similar stories. I feel like women and children are so marginalized. I know men are also victims of being raped. I don’t want to exclude them. It just seems that when this subject comes up, like with the Stubenville case or with Tracy’s amazingly powerful post, the outrage is felt with those of us who have either been the victim or those who know what it is like to feel powerless. I want to do something, I feel the need to shake those that don’t “get it.” I want to wake society up to the reality of living amongst “normal” people who can not see rape unless it is done by some stranger, jumping out from a dark alley, and even then, ask why she was walking alone in the dark!

Green Mama 2 years ago

Here’s an idea- instead of telling girls not to drink, not to walk down the street alone etc etc etc let’s tell boys not to rape.

Rachel 2 years ago

Your comment is very insightful; people blame the victim because it makes them feel protected. It’s been 13 years and I’ve never thought of it that way – it helps me, thank you.

just JENNIFER 2 years ago

OH MY WOW. Just….. You’ve taken my breath away. I am in awe of your bravery here. Big (((HUGS))) to you!

anna 2 years ago

Oh Tracy. What strength you’ve shown here, strength that will be inherited by your dear girls. You’re fearless in the speaking of this truth, and I thank you for it.

As the mother to a little boy, I will teach him. I will raise my son to be respectful and good, to demand respect for others, and to stand up for what is wrong – no matter what.

Crying with you, for you, and thankful for your voice.

Donnamay 2 years ago

So glad “most” of the commenters are supportive. You are brave, and I’m glad you have stopped blaming yourself. Its scary to be raising young girls these days, but I know you will be able to give them the knowledge to keep themselves safe. Hugs.

ShariLee 2 years ago

Dear Tracy,
“I was drunk and stupid and only 17. But none of that was my fault.”
Your story is horrific and painful to read. I have never been raped, but I was molested at five and again at sixteen, and I was a severely battered wife for twelve years. I also have daughters, but mine are grown now. I wanted to add a slant to this thread because I believe it is important for women to remember that as you say, rape is never the victim’s fault—NEVER–but the choices leading up to the rape often are the result of faulty choices. It was, indeed, not your fault that you were 17 when this happened to you; however, it was definitely your mistake that you were drunk and made a few stupid choices which ultimately landed you in a position to be raped.

I am much older than you are, but I made many of those same stupid choices back in the 60s and 70s. For most of my life I believed I was an awful person. Then one day I met Jesus Christ and made Him Lord of my life.

In closing, I want to leave this post about what I believe to be a strong truth. None of us get through this life without making mistakes, but those whose strength and power comes from Christ have made the Free Choice to allow Him to receive us into His love and forgiveness for those mistakes and set us completely free of them. That choice lands us in a place where 1Peter1:2bAB says that He (Jesus) gives us His spiritual peace to be realized in and through Christ, and it is freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts. It is a place of total well-being that the Lord provides.

Those boys (now men) who raped you, Tracy, will have to face their maker one day and answer for what they did to you. In the meantime, that same kind of entitlement mentality will plague them–and their offspring–for generations. Never think they got away with it. They didn’t, and in the meantime–one night you were attacked by animals, but you have survived. You are courageous and strong, and that is what you are passing on to your children. I admire your courage.

Corey Feldman 2 years ago

I can’t believe how bloody sick I am after hearing your story. I am so sorry that happened to you. I am so glad you know now it wasn’t your fault.

Lori@TheLyonsDin 2 years ago

Wow. This gave me shivers. I had to read itt twice. No. It was NOT your fault. No woman deserves that. Nor was what my stepfather did to me — after telling me no one would believe me. And they didn’t. God bless you. I hope you find your peace.

Rachel Cotterill 2 years ago

No-one should ever have to go through this, and certainly no rape or domestic violence victim should ever be held responsible for the actions of their attacker (I’m carefully avoiding gendered pronouns on purpose – men and women can both be victims of abuse). I’m proud of you for sharing your story, and I hope everyone who reads it will be able to borrow just a little of your strength.

Leslie @ The Bearded Iris 2 years ago

Oh Tracy. My dear friend Tracy. I am shaking with rage and crying as I read your words. I will never forget your story as long as I live.

We all know the statistics. But reading this comment thread and seeing how many of us have had similar experiences makes it all the more real and horrific. I was 24, and drunk, and foolish. But you’re absolutely right. It is not our fault. Ever.

Big fierce Mama Bear hugs to you for your courage and beautiful writing, and to all the people you’ve inspired here to share.

neo 2 years ago

Oh my god. That is horrible horrible horrible. And it happens all too often and something similar happened to me. I’m so sorry this happened to you. So very sorry.

Shell 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. I’m so sorry. I’m glad you realize that this wasn’t your fault.

This is why I’m trying to teach my boys what is okay and what isn’t from a young age. Because if I never expect them to respect others when they are young, I can’t suddenly start expecting them to as teens. Something needs to change.

Leslie 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. We don’t know each other, but my heart breaks for you, and for all of the women who have disclosed their own rapes in the comments.

Mine happened when I was a sophomore in college, with a popular boy who I never would have even spoken to without alcohol. One minute I was at the party, and the next I was waking up in his dorm room, naked and injured. I went to the hospital, but didn’t tell anyone what had happened to me (although I’m assuming the doctor knew, based on my injuries).

I didn’t tell anyone for 20 years. I’ve never remembered the time between the party and his bed. I have been disclosing it here and there now; I’m in recovery from alcoholism, and I see new women to the program all the time who have had this happen to them as well. I try to take what has happened to me and do something positive with it.

That said, though? I’ve always blamed myself, but something about the Steubenville rape has changed that. If cell phones and cameras were around when I was raped, I could have just as easily have been the subject of a video or pictures. When I realized that, my whole perspective changed.

It wasn’t my fault. Just as it wasn’t yours, or anyone else’s in this comment thread. I wish I could hug all of you.

Carolyn 2 years ago

I feel like the only way we will ever stop being blamed is if the blamers are also raped or violated and thereby permitted that horrific ability to truly empathize. I too, was raped. I too, got drunk at a party along with my best friend. She and I were so drunk we passed out and were given a secluded room together to sleep it off. Sometime later, I woke up to someone raping me in that very dark room, too drunk, too delirious to say anything or fight back. All I remember is that horrible realization that I was being raped and when I looked over at my friend passed out a few feet away from me, she too, was being raped. Our eyes met, feelings of horror filled me and I closed my eyes and passed out again. Those few seconds are the only memories I have of that horrible night. My friend and I thought it was our fault. We only spoke briefly of it the next day and never talked about it again. I have no idea who raped us.

Karin 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing that. I had an experience too, when I was 16 and hitch-hiking. I got pulled into a car, was raped by 3 men, and left by the side of the road. The men were caught, but I was talked into not pressing charges because I was out there hitch-hiking. This was the late 70’s and for many years (and still a bit today) I feel responsible. We need to do better for our girls and women. It’s not our fault. And I’m sending you a hug and my admiration!

Dawn Beronilla 2 years ago

You are beautiful.
Thank you for this gut-wrenching and honest post.
xo

Katie 2 years ago

Tracy. Oh Tracy. This was so hard to read. I am SO sorry this is part of your story. I am also so glad you KNOW it wasn’t your fault. As a mom of boys, it is my JOB to teach them to NOT be those boys. To not just NOT rape, but to defend and take care of everyone so that it doesn’t happen at all to anyone.

Thank you for sharing. Your words have helped others. They have.

Kir 2 years ago

Oh Tracy, thank you for sharing this. For every girl this has happened to, for every bad memory we may harbor about “that party”, “that boy”, “that choice” and “was it my fault all along?”

No matter the circumstances, it was never your fault (or mine or the girl out there who still thinks it is)

HUG.

Sahnya 2 years ago

Powerful. Moving. Meaningful. Brave. Thank you Tracy for sharing and helping to diminish the guilt often felt by being a victim of sexual assault. You, strong mama, rock.

Connie 2 years ago

I was thinking the same thing. I’ve been through a similar experience, as have several friends of mine. I never really thought about how common this experience is though, until right now. I have two boys and I am constantly reminding them to do what’s right. That means going beyond just treating people with respect and kindness but also stepping in when they see something happening that isn’t right or letting someone know about something that has happened that should never have happened. Tracy and Arnebya, thanks for coming forward and sharing your stories – maybe we all need to come forward to help make a difference.

C.J. 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. It was never your fault, it is never the victim’s fault. You are very brave and I wish I could give you a hug. It is sad that there is so little support for victim’s of rape and so many are afraid to come forward and blame themselves. The things I have been reading about the case in Ohio just make me sick. Everyone keeps talking about everything those boys are losing, what about everything Jane Doe lost. Those poor boys are being punished and will be on the sex registry for life and that might affect them later in life, what about how this is going to affect Jane Doe later in life. It is her fault because she was drunk, really, how many of us can say we never got drunk when we were young. So everyone who has ever got drunk when they were young deserved to be raped. How does that even make sense. A 16 year old boy knows that rape is wrong. If they don’t they have a serious problem. When I was 17 I got drunk for the 1st time. It was just my boyfriend, his friends and me. I was the only girl with 5 guys getting drunk. Probably not a very smart thing to do but teenagers aren’t smart. I threw up of course. My boyfriend came in the bathroom to help me even though he had a weak stomach when it came to vomit. He ended up throwing up worse than I did. Wanna know what those boys did while I was drunk and sick? They held me while I cried. The comforted me and told me I would be ok. They even held my hair while I vomited. They didn’t rape me. Judging by their actions the thought never even crossed their minds. I will never believe that a boy that age doesn’t know any better. Anyone capable of rape will likely end up raping someone somewhere along the way. As a society we need to stop making excuses for them.

Sara at Saving for Someday 2 years ago

Not your fault! Never was, never will be. I’m so glad that after all these years you’ve put down THEIR burden. There is never an excuse for rape. Don’t care what the gir is wearing. Don’t care that she willing went to a party and made poor choices. Don’t care that she smiled across the room and flirted. Don’t care that she kissed the boy.

You are strong and brave and you’ve given us this gift of honesty. Too many of us have similar stories. Stories that women have told for generations. We need to put an end to this. This isn’t something we only teach our girls, we need to teach our boys better, too.

You are now free! Feel the release and live in the lightness.

Jenn@Fox in the City 2 years ago

No, no, no. Drunk, sober, high as a kite . . . it still does not give anyone the right to violate another person. Yes, she made a poor choice in getting drunk but my god, it still do not give those pathetic excuses for human beings the right to violate her. There should not be the expectation that if we “put ourselves in compromising situations” this would/could/should happen. That is what is wrong with our society today.

Alison 2 years ago

Jennifer, I have been looking up flights to the US to go see Tracy, I so badly want to hug her!

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Exactly. Oh Annie, I’m so sorry.

Alison 2 years ago

What Kristin said.

Linda, it is that kind of attitude that perpetuates this ongoing “the victim is to blame” when rape happens.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

We’re friends forever, my love. Forever. Now get your butt to MN stat! Love you. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Kathleen, I’m so sorry. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t. And we should not have to live with this. I’m so sorry.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

V, I’m so sorry. Feel my hugs today, okay. I’m so sorry.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Thank you so much, Momo – the kind words of support have lifted me up..and let me know..it wasn’t my fault. Or hers. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

27 years for me to say this. 27 years. It wasn’t my fault. Or yours. We need to speak out.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Sarah, It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t. More women need to share their stories. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Exactly – we should not be afraid to talk about it. We need to be strong and no that it’s not our fault. I’m so sorry for what happened to you. xo

The Next Step 2 years ago

I have 3 girls as well, and this is one of my biggest fears for them – that they will grow up in a world that blames them for being women.

I hope every woman who is victimized can see the truth and never, ever blame herself. And I hope the rest of the world can see the light as well.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Loriann, You are so brave to share your story. Thank you. And I’m so sorry.

David 2 years ago

It took me 25 years and the passing of my mother to realize that it wasn’t my fault that she molested me.

I’ve read others’ statements (not here) about what a tragedy it is that these boys have ruined their lives. Lots of people blaming the alcohol. The alcohol doesn’t put these desires in your heart. It removes your inhibitions, and frees people to do what they really want to do, deep in their sick, twisted hearts.

Libby 2 years ago

NO. Rape is NOT a consequence of drinking too much. A hangover is a consequence of drinking too much. No one has the right to violate someone else’s body without their consent. Ever. Period. STOP.

Jack 2 years ago

I think about how to teach my daughter and niece to be fearless but to still make sure they understand that they have to be aware of their surroundings.

My son and my nephews hear their own set of stories about how they need to be smart and to watch out for their sisters, female friends and girls in general.

But I worry more about my daughter and niece because I want them to be safe and to feel like they can do anything but I want them to understand they have have to be careful.

The question is how do I teach them that without making them afraid of the world because they really shouldn’t be yet, there are real reasons for them to look out.

It is troubling.

Loriann 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing what is a very sad, but all too common story that is often kept hidden.
As a survivor of molestation my entire childhood, I feel for you. I know that as much as we can move on, come to terms with these things, and survive, it will always be a part of who we are.
It makes me sad, disgusted, and fearful that these things can happen in this world today….still…and the women are still blamed. Its disgusting and alarming.
You are not alone and none of this was your fault.
Thanks again for sharing your painful story.

Jenna Glatzer 2 years ago

Chills. I’m so happy that you’ve had this revelation, Tracy.

I blogged about the same thing yesterday. It’s the one good thing to come out of this rape case– the fact that we’re all talking about this.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Amanda. Exactly – we must demand change. I love you for your voice and strength. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Talia. It’s so not your fault. I’m telling you now – and telling that 14 year old. It’s not. It’s truly not. Do you feel my hug. xoxoxo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

I’ve been shocked, humbled and saddened with the many stories told to me today. Something needs to change. It’s not our fault.

Thank you for your very kind words of support today. xo

christine 2 years ago

Much love to you, Tracy. And I’m so sorry that it took you so much time to know that IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. This is an ultimate fear of mine, raising girls. I cry for women everywhere.

SamiJoe 2 years ago

Wow. Just, wow.

mamikaze 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I cry for all of the women in this thread that share the common bond of sexual assault and/or abuse, myself included. As more of us bare our scars, we help protect more girls of the next generation.

mamikaze 2 years ago

According to your logic, bars should have backrooms with mattresses and cameras. Those women drinking and laughing deserve to be assaulted. It’s a calculated risk every woman takes when imbibing in public.

mamikaze 2 years ago

I am glad that people of your ilk are going the way of the dinosaur. You should see a professional about your self-loathing issues.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

It’s not you fault. That took me 27 years to say. But you’re right..there’s not a rational thought after a rape. Ever. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Kristen Mae. Thinking about you and sending you hugs today. It’s not your fault. You are not alone. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

I would love a hug. I’m taking it as a huge IOU.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Thank you Renae for your kind words of support today. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

I’m so sorry. Sending you virtual hugs today. It wasn’t our fault. It wasn’t.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Thank you Carissa, for what you do. You are making a difference. Thank you thank you. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t my fault. Sadly it took me 27 years and a bunch of bullshit media coverage this week to work through that.

My 10 year old this week “Mommy, why are you crying so much.” I’m broken.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

It is mind-blowing to think about. Truly xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Thank you so much for your love, your words, your support today. Truly, I’m humbled by the beautifully strong and fierce women here. xo

Nina 2 years ago

Jill– I had the same exact thought. Wish we could think Tracy’s terrifying story was some random, crazed event. Sadly it just isn’t.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

This comment gave me chills, Mandy. Everything you said – how very true it all is.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

I’m so sorry that you had to endure the double stigma of being blamed for your rape and the abortion that you chose – that you had every right to choose – in its wake. Do NOT blame yourself for either one. You did what you had to do. And those so-called “good people” who chose to condemn you for it are not even a fraction of the Christians they no doubt claim to be.

Jennifer 2 years ago

So many well-spoken people have posted comments here before me, and there’s precious little I can say that they haven’t. I will just thank you for your courage and bravery in sharing your story with others, and wish you and your family a lifetime of goodness and joy.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

This is why I’m proud to call you my friend.

Amanda 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your very painful story. I’m sorry you had to go through such a horrific time, and I only hope that we can progress and try to look out for one another (whether male or female). We should all be teaching our children how to make the right decisions, no matter what the consequences.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

Fuck you. Just… fuck you.

Liz 2 years ago

Not. Your. Fault.

AJ Collins 2 years ago

This makes my heart ache.
It wasn’t your fault.
It wasn’t my fault… though even still I don’t like to talk about that night and if I do, I sort of do blame myself. I really try to remind myself that it’s not my fault. But maybe I should have been smarter, wiser, maybe I shouldn’t have kissed him.
You are very brave. Thank you.

Sarah 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. Totally not ever your fault. Mine either.
(A trigger warning might have been nice though)

Kari 2 years ago

Brave.Girl.

pauline (aspiringmama) 2 years ago

It wasn’t my fault either. there’s so much to tell and I’ve hedged and beat around the bush. easier to focus on hating my body but wanting to be the best example i can be for my daughter. walking the fine line between family and responsibility and just saying “fuck it” and speaking my own truth.
your words a brilliant, beautiful, and strong. it wasn’t your fault. and anyone who thought it was okay to say so deserves to know you are stronger than they gave you credit for and are here, speaking out.

Kari 2 years ago

Brave. Girl.

My Inner Chick 2 years ago

—Thank you for sharing your story.

It. Wasn’t. Your. Fault.

Never. EVER. EVER.

Julia 2 years ago

This breaks my heart that this happened to you. This should never happen to anyone and it is absolutely not your fault. The only thing more heartbreaking than your story is the comments on this post that imply it could possibly be your fault. It makes me sad that we live in a world where someone could possibly even think that. Hugs.

Lisa J 2 years ago

Thanks Andrea! It seems to be a trend on here.

Lisa 2 years ago

wow
“I would have named them all first and last, age and hometown.” What if every person in America named their rapist? Would the walls come tumbling down? Mind-blowing something to think about…

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

“The hardest thing about having blogging friends is not being able to give them a hug in person when you want to. This is one of those times.” That’s exactly how I felt when I first read this.

Momo Fali 2 years ago

Oh, damn it, damn it, damn it. Damn those boys, damn Steubenville, and damn the thoughts that ever made you feel that horrible experience was your fault. I’m glad you lived to tell this tale so that we can teach our children what it means to be cruel and also what it means to have strength and forgive yourself.

Love, hugs, and respect to you.

j 2 years ago

Holy fuck I am sickened and shaking. How you ever recovered from those sick fucks is a miracle. My words of sorry do not even begin to explain how terrible.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

Thank you, Arnebya and Kiran. Exactly.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

This comment gave me chills.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

Oh, Arnebya, that is horrible. I’m so sorry you went through that.

What has struck me so much about the comments are how many of you can relate. It’s terrifying.

V 2 years ago

I understand how you all feel, I was 12 when my father raped me.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

I don’t even know what to do with all of these comments and ALL of the women who commented with their own stories. What can we do with this? We have to do something TODAY.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh Monika. I’m so sorry. :(

Angela 2 years ago

And if someone…anyone at that party had stopped those boys they wouldn’t be on trial right now either.

Heather H. 2 years ago

What an amazing woman to openly share such a difficult story. You are indeed a beautiful and caring person, Tracy. Love and hugs.

Laura 2 years ago

It was NOT your fault. Thank you for sharing.

Kat 2 years ago

I am horrified that this happened to you and that you actually have to live with that memory in your brain. And I’m equally horrified at the number of people commenting with their own stories. I’m so sorry so many have to experienced this and I just can’t even fathom how parents help their kids cope…if it happened to my daughter I most certainly would be jailed for the fury I’d unleash on the perpetrator(s).

Cindy-The Reedster Speaks 2 years ago

Holding you and that 17 year old girl in my arms and my heart. I was the drunk girl too. It could have been me instead on any given night. It is all of us. Xoxo

Lisa J 2 years ago

Thanks TechyDad! You are a great Dad! I also have a great husband to teach our 2 teenage daughters and 2 teenage sons the right and wrong ways of this evil world we live in! Kudos to you, sir!

Sarah 2 years ago

Tracy,
Sharing this story took tremendous courage. I commend you for it. Proud of you.
Sarah (www.mamalode.com)

Tammy 2 years ago

So were you so drunk you couldn’t stop? Did you say No? Are you just regretting a bad decision or were you raped? You can blame yourself for poor choices and bad decisions. You can’t blame yourself for being raped. Whoever is telling you this needs to be cut out of your life.

Rose 2 years ago

You are so strong! Thank you for sharing! It is NEVER our fault, I keep telling it myself for 14 years.

Michele C. 2 years ago

No, tracy, it wasn’t your fault. I’m so inspired by your bravery in sharing your story. The Steubenville story and the way the media is treating it makes me sick to my stomach. The 2 girls harassing the victim? Just as trashy and horrible as the boys who committed the act. And the fact that no one ever stepped in and helped that poor girl, or stood up for her, as they brought her from place to place, breaks my heart for our society and for humanity.

Tammy 2 years ago

Linda…. you are not to blame for what happened. Please say that over and over again every day to yourself. No means No, Rape is Rape. Doesn’t matter if you were drunk. If you said no, if you told them to stop… it’s rape. If you were so drunk that you couldn’t say no or your couldn’t stop…. it’s rape. There is no mutual blame when it comes to rape. We shouldn’t assume because you got drunk, that you were asking for it. No means No and you are not to blame.

Kristin 2 years ago

Those who choose to harm, to exploit, to abuse, to rape are always the ones responsible. I’m sure this post will reach many people who need to hear its message – and that is so very important. Especially if we can reach those who need to hear it – on all sides of abuse – PRIOR to acts that destroy lives. Thank you for writing and sharing.

Monika Melsha 2 years ago

Tracy, you continually inspire me. I wonder if I’ll ever have the strength to write about my own story. Kudos to you for breaking apart the stereotypes and reminding folks that it really can & does happen this way to many. And it wasn’t any of our faults. This is one experience I wish we didn’t share in common.

Nicole Melancon 2 years ago

Tracy, thank you so much for sharing your tragic story. It took a lot of courage to tell and it is my hope that by telling it, things will change. My sister was also raped. It was her first month away at college and she was a virgin. She liked a boy and invited him over to watch a movie at her dorm room. Little did she know, he would manage to put a pillow over her face, pull her down and rape her while pushing the pillow into her face to block her screams. She went to the hospital to get evaluated and treated but mentally she was never ever the same. She dropped out of college, fought years of depression and even got a DWI. She never pressed charges against the boy who remained in school and living a great life. It is so unfair. It was years ago yet it still outrages me to this day how cruel and unfair rape is. Thanks so much for your bravery in telling your experiences. Yes it is bullshit. It is NEVER a woman’s fault. Ever.

Lisa Curtis 2 years ago

I have read it fully thank you, it’s the same as saying if your clothes are a little revealing, your asking for it, same as alcohol, if your drunk then your asking for it. She was sure she was having sex with her boyfriend and he held her down while his mate done it, she said she was screaming and such, if she was sober do you think she would be able to fend these sick people off ? No, I don’t think so. Drunk or not you should be safe in knowing that No means no. Some people think they can take anything whenever they want it, how sick are these people to want to have sex with someone who has no feeling, it’s obviously to do with power. What if it was a boy that had been raped, it’s ok for boys/men to get drunk, these sick people need to be thrown into jail with a load of perverts, teach them a lesson, hey.
I am all for teaching young girls in how to protect themselves and not to put themselves in danger, but hey, we have all been there and thrown caution to the wind, (myself many times) hoping some sick pervert isn’t lurking around the corner, these people should be locked up and not lurking and waiting for the next girl to rape. Absolute no blame for the victim, my heart goes out to her. I wonder if you would say the same if it were your own daughter ?

Andrea 2 years ago

You are brave, too, hugely brave, for sharing in your comment here. I am sorry and pissed off for you, too! (Hugs) to you and your 16yo self.

Andrea 2 years ago

((Hugs)) I am so sorry that you hold such painful memories. I hope you’re stronger every day and that you know this was not your fault, regardless of what people said back then.

Andrea 2 years ago

Lisa, I am so sorry that you, too, experienced so much pain. Hugs and strength to you.

Andrea 2 years ago

Tracy, you are so incredibly brave to share your story. Thank you. Because of you so many will think about their reactions to these situations, and maybe rethink, maybe remember your words. It was NOT your fault. Bullshit, indeed. I am so sorry that you experienced this and I cry for that young woman you were, and for you bringing all of this forward again. I send you love and hugs.

John (Daddy Runs a Lot) 2 years ago

Oh, dear god, Tracy – I had no idea. And no, this was not your fault. At all. And I’m quite glad you see that.

I hate how the attention is on two boys who committed a horrendous act and not on a girl whose life is, forever changed. Though I do think (hope?) that this would reflect back on society, as there are FAR too many people who are trying to find sympathy for horrible offenders. I think the incident needs to be investigated – to see where people could have stopped it…or at least stopped the evidence from spreading even further. How did two “promising” young men ever think that it’s right/acceptable to treat a human as an object?

I wish we could investigate this societal breakdown without causing more harm to the victim.

Lisa J 2 years ago

Thank you Tracy, for sharing your story. I have also been having a lot of trouble with this story of the boys in Ohio. Your story is almost a parallel to mine. They were football players, too, so this also hit home with me. I had to drop out of my high school my Senior year because basically the whole school knew by Monday afternoon!! I couldn’t tell anyone because they threatened to kill me. So, I told no one, dropped out and moved to another school that next fall (basically telling them that it was ok to do that to another innocent girl, that we would just disappear into the woodwork and their secret would be safe). I now know that was the absolute wrong thing to do!! I should’ve told someone, anyone! But I was scared to death! I didn’t get to graduate with my class or my friends because of this, it wrecked me socially and emotionally. I just got the courage up to finally tell my Dad last year, I am 43! I had to tell my husband a few years ago, it was so hard. I know now that it wasn’t my fault, but it took me this long to work through it, unfortunately!!! My 25th reunion is this year for my old high school, I don’t think I can face all those people, again. They also took that away from me!!! I have 2 teenage daughters and 2 teenage sons and my husband and I have used this incident as a teaching moment for our teens. Again, thank you for sharing. Have a good day!

Andrea 2 years ago

I hope you find the strength and support you need, when you are ready to share, if you are. (hugs)

Bill 2 years ago

I don’t know if any other males commented in this blog. What She Said directed me here. There is a lot of interesting discussion and, obviously, emotional discussion. I felt compelled to reply here because there is an important point to be made – and I’m making it as a male. I don’t say it a point of pride or honor, but I’ve never taken advantage of a female nor felt compelled to do so. This isn’t because I’ve got some sort of impenetrable moral compass but it was because I was “taught” by my parents that it wasn’t right. It wasn’t a direct sermon “If you see a woman passed out, don’t take advantage of her.” It didn’t need to be. I was taught to treat people with respect. All people. And if I didn’t, it wasn’t the law I feared the most. It was my parents. On any number of occasions, my parents made it clear to me that their love was unconditional but their support was not. That may sound contradictory but the best example I can give is when my sister’s ex-husband (husband at the time) chose to snort the family’s life savings up his nose and ignore the needs of his children. My mother looked at me when she told me about the impending divorce and said, “If you ever do that to your wife, we are taking HER in, not you.” Believe me – the lesson sticks. Repeated application – it sticks. You teach young men to protect the vulnerable around them. And yes, I’ve removed a female friend from a situation that could have led to something similar to what is being described here. And yes, I had to do it to the protests of some guys that simply didn’t pass the smell test. They were up to no good. I took her home, got her in the door, and left. We never talked about it again. I haven’t come across the situation many times, but I did what I believed to be the right thing. Because I was taught to do so. It can be done.

Sarah 2 years ago

It was not your fault! Thank you for being brave and sharing your story.

Andrea 2 years ago

Oh, Linda, I am so sorry. So sad that someone convinced you to think this way. It was not YOUR fault, either. Perhaps those words have not been said to you. Or not said enough. But you need to hear them. Drunk or not, you need to know this. Consider finding someone to talk to about this, but do not bring such hatred and hurtful words here to someone pouring their own heart and story out. This is not the place. Feel free to take them to your OWN space. While many won’t agree, maybe you will find what you need there.

Kathleen 2 years ago

I was 21. I was with a bunch of people at the beach, in the middle of the afternoon. I was drugged. I was gang-raped. I went home and told my roommate what happened. She told me it was my own fault for hanging out with those people. I’m now 63. And, while intellectually, I know it wasn’t my own fault that a group of young men decided to rape me; emotionally, a part of me still feels like it was. This opened up that emotional wound, and let some more of the self-blame out. I’m sorry Linda still carries so much of it.

MommaO 2 years ago

I am so fucking pissed off right now…. WTFFFFFFFF!!! I HATE the way we were treated. I HATE the fact that you had to go through this. I hate the fact that SO MANY OTHERS can share similar stories!!! I HATE the fact that as a confused 16 yr old, I too, was violated. I FUCKING HATE IT! It’s a goddamn epidemic! I mean what makes so many guys from so many different walks of life think it is ok to do things like this????? How can we make it stop? How can I make sure my boys, never, in a million years, even consider treating a fellow human with such disregard!!? I am sick about this. I have been following the Stubenville case too. I can not read the comments section following any article. It is so painful and nauseating to see the hate and vitriol for the VICTIM! IT WAS ON TAPE! IT WAS EYE-WITNESSED and STILL there are people who don’t believe it was a crime!!!! Uhhhhggg I am so fired up and sick about this.

You are goddamn right it was NOT YOUR FAULT. It was NOT your fault and I am heartbroken for your 17 yr old self. I am heartbroken that your trust was so violated and that those pieces of shit, committed such a horrible crime that you were the victim of.

I am calmer now, but I wanted to say that your are one Bad Ass MoFo, for being so brave as to put your story out there. I am humbled to read it and I love you for it! Thank YOU! My 16 yr old self thanks you too.

Much love to you and all those who have had to deal with this in their lives.

Meagan Paullin 2 years ago

If a girl gets too drunk, and gets mugged – no one says it’s “her fault.”

When she’s out on a date with a guy she thought was nice, and he beats her up, no one says it’s “her fault.”

Why is it that with other crimes, we don’t look for reasons to blame the victim? Why is it ONLY with rape that we do that?

Sad society we live in sometimes….

Erika 2 years ago

You are so brave & strong. I have to daughters as well & it scares the living hell out of me that one day they’ll ask to go to a party & I won’t be there to keep an eye on them. I’m working hard to teach them right from wrong & especially that they need to love & respect their bodies as well as others at all times.

Jen @WorldMomsBlog 2 years ago

You are a brave woman, Tracy. So glad to know you. You will prevent this happening to many daughters because you have spoken up. Keep shouting it out from the rooftops. Keep standing for change. Don’t ever give up. I commend you for standing up and sharing your story. Giant hugs. It was not your fault.

Jen :)

Robin | Farewell, Stranger 2 years ago

Oh my God. Nowhere did she say she didn’t know who it was with. It was with her boyfriend – someone she should be able to trust. If the circumstances changed in a way that way beyond her control it doesn’t matter if she’s drunk or not.

Is there any part of you – any part at all – that can stop and say, THIS IS NOT OKAY??

Robin | Farewell, Stranger 2 years ago

That’s an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. You never did anything in your youth you’d rethink now? Are you saying if your daughter came home and told you this had happened to her you’d tell her it was her fault?! Unbelievable.

Michelle 2 years ago

Tracey, I am so sorry this happened to you. I cannot even imagine. I think you are very brave for sharing their story. I have no doubt you are a great mom and will raise your daughters to be as brave as you.

Elaine A. 2 years ago

You make a really good point about the shame they SHOULD feel, Mandy. I wonder too… Also? Karma is a bitch.

Elaine A. 2 years ago

Exactly, Kiran!!!!

Kristen Brakeman 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. Of course we should teach our daughters to minimize risks by not being in the situation, but if it happens the child is without blame and so were you.
I’m sure a lot of moms are talking to their daughters about this subject (I know I have) but I hope that mothers of boys are defining rape and talking about this subject as well. Obviously we can’t assume that our boys know right from wrong because these boys clearly did not.

Elaine A. 2 years ago

I’m crying, Tracy, I was so scared to read this because well, I was scared of what I would read. And rightly so.

I am SO, so sorry that happened to you. I’ll never understand how ANYONE could stick up for behavior like that, in ANY way.

I love you, you are beautiful and faultless. xoxoxo to infinity.

Beth 2 years ago

You are:

Unbelievably brave. Utterly honest. Incredibly strong. Beautiful and Amazing.

AND

Absolutely NOT responsible.

Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac 2 years ago

Oh Tracy. Thank you for sharing. I hope you find peace and healing through your brave, brave words.

Lady Jennie 2 years ago

Tracy, every time you reveal a piece of yourself, I think – I would be friends with that girl (that 17 year old girl, the girl with an eating disorder, the girl who wasn’t sure she wanted to be a mom …) I just think you’re lovely in every way.

And no, it was never your fault.

Annie 2 years ago

This is very powerful. What you have done by telling your story is gather a support group of people making a stand. Banning together to change what is obviously broken. I think it is a little lame for those who have taken this forum to criticize the intake of alcohol as if whatever fate befalls is deserved. I was a five year old kid who was fingered by a teenage babysitter. Was I drunk? Wearing my Little Kitty t-shirt too tight? This has nothing to do with outside factors…it has to do with basic respect for other human beings. Period.

Kiran 2 years ago

One day, I hope that we don’t excuse rape because a girl was drunk. One day, I hope that someone won’t try to justify that another man that was not her boyfriend climbed on top of her, or even touched her as being ok because she was drunk. You keep saying, but she didn’t know she was with her boyfriend. Huh? No means no means no. At any point. Whether it was dark, whether it was because she was drunk, no group of men were ever invited to assault her body.

Kara 2 years ago

Not your fault. Not her fault. Not the fault of those here sharing and empathizing.

We must be the change. We must be sure that this would never be the fault of our children. Let us make a world with no more victims, no more violated, shamed girls losing sleep, no more children wondering “was it my fault?”. No more. It must stop.

Carolyn Y 2 years ago

No words, other than I’m sorry to read this and thank you for sharing.

April Haldane 2 years ago

They were both doing something that their societies deem inappropriate for a girl and were victimized. Why is the girl in India more of a victim and not to blame?

Allie 2 years ago

I think you are extraordinarily brave. I am so sorry for you and I feel ill. I’m mad. Those Ba******. It is NEVER ok! I believe in Karma, and I hope life took care of those boys. What animals. I don’t understand where people come from, or what happens to them that can make men so violent.

I’d only heard the Ohio story today, and was horrified. All the news lately about women and how far we’ve come…and then something like this.

MomsUnite 2 years ago

God bless you as heal, continue healing and as you reach out to women on this board who have expressed the need for healing. I’m so sorry you had to go through such a awful experience and as a mom of two girls, I will work hard to impart lessons about this unacceptable behavior and culture of blaming the victim. My only encouraging ray of hope was this story about a woman blogger in that town who is also undergoing horrible abuse in her community for doing the right thing. Also, this story should make all of us keenly away of our teen’s social media usage and how to best manage it. Take heart in this SM community and in the fact that there are women like this out there too: “I Am The Blogger Who Allegedly “Complicated” The Steubenville Gang Rape Case — And I Wouldn’t Change a Thing” http://www.xojane.com/issues/steubenville-rape-verdict-alexandria-goddard

Alexandra 2 years ago

Words seem ridiculous here, when I want to run over there, and hold you.

You, you, Tracy.

NEVER anyone’s fault. Overpowering and using force and threats and abusing and hurting and attacking: how could this EVER be anyone’s fault.
I am crying for you, so gut angry at them, thinking of this and wanting to just come over and hug you and look at you and say, “never your fault.”

I AM SO SORRY.

Rea 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story.
I was very nearly raped. I was the drunk girl, passed out (or so he thought), when he started pulling down my pants. I let him get his down…and then I kneed his groin, pulled his hair and punched him in the nose. My one friend, the only one of 10 who was there at the party with me that night that didn’t leave me in the house with strangers to make her curfew, heard him yelling and came to see what was happening.
It may have been one of the only times I was genuinely thankful for my abusive home situation, because of it I kept my cool and saved myself from being raped. I never told my parents why I was coming home at 4 am, I took my punishment because I knew it was better than what almost happened to me.

I’m the mother of a boy and I struggle daily with how to raise him to be a good man willing to stand up when he sees injustice and help the victims of the world without making him a victim. The whole trial of those boys is criminal, the victim is being forgotten and the criminals are begin treated as the victims because they “had promising” sports futures? That’s what’s wrong with our society. A collective we sees more sadness in the future of rapists being taken away by getting justice for a crime then the actual shock at the crime that was done in the first place!
Drunk or not, no girl ever deserves to be raped. Rape is never okay!

Linda 2 years ago

Better choices–partly to blame—all semantics for the same.
Don’t go off the deep end and equate with the girl from India—completely different situation–you cannot and should not equate.

Linda 2 years ago

Agreed…

Allie 2 years ago

People blame the victim because its easier to say that they are safe from such violence if they just don’t make the same mistakes, if they aren’t drunk, if they aren’t that whore. I am sorry that it took you so many years to know it wasn’t your fault . It was something that happened to you, not something you did. It took me years to accept the same thing , years to realize that the “friends” who blamed me not my rapist were doing it out of fear . It was easier to say it was my fault and explain to themselves they would never drink like I did or get in that cab than it was to say they might get raped by our friend too.

Linda 2 years ago

Lisa–read…it has nothing to do with dress and such…it has to do with part 1 of the story…if you drink beyond comprehension and have sex and not sure who it’s with in the first place, then yes you share the blame

Stacey 2 years ago

Oh Tracy, It was NEVER your fault… I am so sorry.
XO, S0

Lisa Curtis 2 years ago

I can’t believe I am reading this utter rubbish from a woman, a person should be able to wear what they like, get drunk if they so wish, it gives no-one the right to rape her, don’t you get it ? NO means NO, if there are parents out there teaching their sons that phrase there wouldn’t be a problem.

Carli 2 years ago

Cases like these make me sick among so much more that goes on in this world. I spent the better half of my sexually active life saying “I don’t want kids. I can’t and don’t want to raise a child in this world with each passing day I lose more hope for the human race”. Now I’m married and my husband and I are expecting our first child, a little girl. I too was a victim of sexual abuse but at much younger age. I’m scared to death for my daughter and wonder what things will be like 10 years from now. This poor girl on trial is taking a beating from her peers and I can only hope she finds peace with facing her attackers and naming them for what they are, MONSTERS.

April Haldane 2 years ago

There needs to be more dads like you out there! Kudos for having these kinds of conversations with your sons. Men like you will shape the men of the future.

Laura 2 years ago

Tracy,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes great courage to do so, but know that it isn’t in vain. By your sharing, there will be many that will come forward and share their stories in order to begin the healing process that is needed to move beyond the “victim” role. It took me 21 years to share my story. I am still living with some of the scars that will never let me forget, but it is also a reminder to stand tall and know that it wasn’t my fault. While reading about these horrific stories, it is both tears of joy and tears of sorrow that I cry. The tears of joy come from knowing that sharing is the beginning of the healing process. The tears of sorrow is that the cycle of acceptance and excuses still exist. There are many of us out here. If those of you sharing are out there, imagine the arms of all who have experienced this personally giving you hugs to give you strength and courage to share your stories. The more of us that stand up for the injustice that still exists, the more powerful of a voice we become as a group.

April Haldane 2 years ago

Linda you’re confusing “could have made better choices” with “partly to blame”. If this was a boy who was drunk and got say hit by a car we wouldn’t be having this conversion. Blame should never be placed on the victim for any reason, period. I guess the girl in India deserved it too because she was riding a bus with a friend and not accompanied by an elder male in her family? She should have known she was at risk? Bullshit.

jd 2 years ago

It was not your fault.

I am having a second son in July. I will raise them to call the police and be on the girl’s side if they see something like this happening. I’m sorry no one did that for you.

Kris 2 years ago

Good for you, writing this. I was held down, too, once. I blamed myself for a long time, for not being smart enough to (not be in that apartment alone with him, for not biting his arm, for not having enough money for a cab, or for not knowing exactly where I was (new in town, not particularly drunk), for not fighting harder. Even worse, I got pg from the event and will have to live the rest of my life having people, people who think they are good, kind people, calling me a murderer for coming to the conclusion that that kind of family creation was not meant to be. …we find our strength when things get tough and we just have to keep at it, keep at it with our heads held high.

Christina Gleason @ WELL, in THIS House 2 years ago

I am so sorry you had to go through this, but thank you so much for sharing your story. It was not your fault. It’s not any rape victim’s fault. Until we can come to a place in society when rape is almost unknown, at least we can help the victims understand that it’s always the RAPIST who is at fault. Not the victim.

Leighann 2 years ago

This makes me so angry.
Thank you for writing this post.
No, it wasn’t your fault.
It wasn’t that child’s fault either.
Enough standing in front of the mistakes and asshole acts children are making and make them accountable.

Kay 2 years ago

First of all, I am very touched and amazed that you were able to share such a personal thing with the world. Going through something like that must have been devastating to you, and I’m so sorry you ever had to go through such a thing. I’m thankful that you realized it was NOT your fault, no matter what circumstances led up to what happened. Things like this should be told over and over so more victims can realize it’s NOT their fault. I wish I could give you the biggest hug ever.

TechyDad 2 years ago

I’m the father of two young boys and I hope and pray that I raise my boys to NEVER even CONSIDER something like this to be appropriate in ANY circumstances. Boys will be boys? If the boys are playing football and knock each other down? Sure. If they skateboard and jump down some stairs? I can see that. Playing video games all day? Definitely. But rape is NEVER a case of “boys will be boys.” It’s a CRIME.

As for the Steubenville case, those crying about how those boys’ promising football careers are ruined need some perspective. First of all, what about the poor girl’s promising future? She’s going to have to deal with the consequences of this long after the sentencing falls out of the news. That’s the tragedy of this, not some potential football careers.

But if we must consider those potential football careers, it’s important to note that those boys ruined THEIR OWN futures. They were the ones who did it and nobody else. Certainly not the girl who was passed out while her body was being violated.

Come to think of it, there are two tragedies here. The rape is the primary one, of course, but the fact that some people still try to blame the victim and/or excuse the rapists’ actions is a big tragedy too.

JDaniel4’s Mom 2 years ago

This is the kind of post that changes lives! Thank you so much for writing it, sharing it, and showing us how to learn to be better people when we hear about this happening again.

Mady 2 years ago

No, ofcourse it was not your fault, no girl goes out the door to a party thinking they might get raped. They think, i need to blow off a little steam, i need some excitment, i need some fun tonite. This is a scary world we live in. I am also a mother of 3 beautiful daughters, and I raised them as a single mom. 2 are away in college, 1 is still in High School. I bought mace for the two in college each time they left for school. They took it reluctantly, and rolled their eyes. I cannot protect them at this point and hope everything I taught them is in the back of their minds. A few years ago when my oldest, then a proud freshman at Boston Univ was giving me the campus tour during parents weekend, and we turned down the street known as fraternity row, she simply said “and this is where I go to parties” all the terrifying images flashed across my overactive imagination, and I started to say things like ‘never leave your drink unattended, never go upstairs to lie down no,matter how much you’ve drunk” and she cut me off with a very impatient “mom, I’ve seen all the same ‘law & Orders’ you have, I’m not an idiot” and I realized she was finally, truly, on her own. She ‘s in London this semester, her other sister at college will be in Israel for 2 weeks this summer and all we, as parents, can do is prepare them. I grew up in the 70’s where drinking was legal at 18 and although I look back now, in my 50’s, and wince at some of the pranks I pulled and chances I took with my life, I recognize I was incredibly lucky nothing more serious than a bad hangover or minor fender bender ever happened to me. I knew enough to never stay at a party without my friends, or go home with a guy I just met, no matter how cute he was. The rapes are not the fault of the girls, but we can instill in our daughters some preventative behaviors that may mean the difference between going home drunk and throwing up in the safety of your own bathroom and getting gang raped at a party. As I said, I was incredibly lucky. We can’t count on luck for our girls. It is never their fault, no matter how impaired they get, they did not invite rape or abuse. But they wind up paying the consequences so it makes sense to fill our girls with some healthy self preservation paranoia. I can’t imagine what you had to go through in terms of healing after that kind of violence, but the fact that you now have 3 daughters shows you’ve moved on with your life. I pray your daughters, mine and everyone else’s never have to know that kind of terror and trauma.

Katie Hurley 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. Yes, you’re brave. No, it wasn’t your fault. And for the love of girls everywhere…parents need to do better.

Kiran@Masalachica 2 years ago

Scary. I think she is.

julie 2 years ago

So much love to you.

YES. It is not the victim’s fault and keeping silent and letting it happen again to someone else is something we can’t let happen out of fear that we’ll be blamed for the attack. And that ability to protect future potential victims can’t happen until the mindset that “the VICTIM had it coming” changes. If I get mugged–even in a poorly chosen situation and even if I’m drunk–that IN NO WAY reduces the justification for calling it a crime and seeking justice. Same rules apply to rape.

Mandy 2 years ago

Oh Tracy! No. It wasn’t your fault. Never your fault. A woman should be able to pass out naked on the side of a road and not be molested. We are not animals. Men should not be animals.

I wonder, now, how those men can live with themselves. Because they’re men now. Likely married. Maybe with daughters of their own. Do they look back with shame and self hatred at what they did to a girl they knew? Does it eat away at them in the middle of the night?

I hope so. I hope it causes ulcers and anxiety. I hope there are times they can’t look their wives in the eye. I hope when their daughters tell them they want to meet a man like their daddy, it sends cold fear through their blood.

Because it was not your fault. It was theirs.

Sommer 2 years ago

It was not your fault. You are so brave to share this story but I hope it helps others to realize that a young girl who gets drunk does not mean that she can be rapped and taken advantage of. No! It is sick is worse is that these boys are now men and I bet they don’t feel bad about what they did, they justify it in their sick minds and they’ll raise boys that are just like them. I hope that is not the case but it makes me sad to think that it probably is.

Tracy, hugs to you!

Jamie@SouthMainMuse 2 years ago

Wow. This was a sobering and powerful post. As a mother of a 12 year old girl — who is on the verge of everything — I do need to have lots of talks with her. I was pretty tame in high school but my daughter is wide open. No. Of course, it wasn’t your fault. It’s HORRIBLE the pack mentality men get. I think all the exposure now to porn makes it worse. They (some men and esp. young drunk men) see girls and women as things to be used. I’m so very sorry that this happened you.

Kiran@Masalachica 2 years ago

BRAVO. You are right, Arnebya.

Diana 2 years ago

It’s taught through omission… parents who immediately say “my child would never do that” when informed of bad behavior. I’ve heard parents tell their kids, they did nothing wrong, when someone else (in this case, the teacher)stepped in to correct the child. Kids listen to the comments their parents make. When you don’t condemn bad things, you condone them.

Lisa @ A Little Slice of Life 2 years ago

You’re right it was not your fault. Sadly because of how the media is treating this case of rape more girls like you will continue to think it is their fault.

Linda 2 years ago

Yes–can’t go on a binge and then blame everyone else, especially when you have no idea who you are with to begin with…it’s not pretty but when you are impaired you have to know you are putting yourself at risk…

Linda 2 years ago

I have experienced this but I can’t say that I was ever blameless, especially if I chose to get drunk. It’s not the same as short skirts, etc….when we make a choice to be that drunk that we don’t even know where we are or with whom then we have to hold ourselves accountable. Does it suck–yes. But, it we as women make those choices, then we MUST hold that circumstances like this will happen…again..been there, felt awful, but eventually I learned not to get myself into that mess ever again.

Linda 2 years ago

It’s different if your sick or have diabetes–those are not circumstances under your control–drinking beyond your means is under a person’s choice.

Jillian K 2 years ago

I really couldn’t agree more. I take the same stance on this as I do on teen pregnancy. If we teach our son’s to respect their partners, and our daughter’s to respect themselves, we are better off. If we teach our children to look after one another, and stand up for what is right, and our morals, we do more for them in the future. This is the most important thing we can teach our children, when there are so many out there looking to hate and harm. Teach them to seek out others like themselves who care for the well-being of the whole and not just the few. We also do them a favor by being honest with our children about the dangers they can face when out alone in the world.

Robin | Farewell, Stranger 2 years ago

Tracy, you are so, so brave. It was NOT your fault. xx

Linda 2 years ago

Agreed :)
And, I’ve been there…

Linda 2 years ago

Don’t be a drunk fool and no worries…

gigi 2 years ago

Thank you for being who are you are, Tracy. And for using what was a horrible experience in your past for good – to give comfort to others who might still be beating themselves up in their heads, saying it’s their fault.

I’m honored to know you.

Kristin 2 years ago

I seriously doubt that their parents taught them to behave this way! Yes, there was probably some neglect, but come on!

Emily 2 years ago

Tracy, This was very brave of you to post this, and I’m so glad you did. Although I don’t know you personally, I do follow your blog. As I’m sure you know, by sharing your story, you are helping so many others know that it was not their fault either. Thank you.

AnneB 2 years ago

Tracy, first, I am SO sorry for what you went through. Second, I get it. I was molested by a boyfriend when I was 16. Like you, it was “my fault”. I shouldn’t have been alone with him. I should have known. I should have. But I was and I didn’t. And I blamed myself and kept it a secret from all but two friends (one was supportive and the other told me she was disgusted with me) and two boyfriends (one who became my husband) until about two years ago. It still haunts me.

Then two years ago, I was catching up with an old high school friend. One I hadn’t told. And she mentioned, “Didn’t you date ____ back in high school?” I felt the panic attack coming on at the mention of his name. She then mentioned that in her job in Human Resources, she has to check applicants against the sex offender registry and she just happened across this guy listed there. She was shocked. And I looked her in the eye and told her, “I’m not. He molested me when we dated. It’s why I broke up with him.” You could have heard a pin drop when I revealed that to her.

And then, I started thinking about what happened. Really thinking about it. It wasn’t my fault. If any young woman came to me and told me the story, I would be the first to tell her it wasn’t her fault. But a part of me also thought, “What if? What if I had told an adult? What if I had reported what he did to me? Maybe that would have saved another girl from being assaulted.” And at that point, I decided I wasn’t keeping it a secret anymore. Because I was a 16-year-old girl and this wasn’t my fault.

I’m currently pregnant with a daughter. I hope as she grows up she knows that I am a safe person for her to come to if, God forbid, anything like that ever happens to her. And I hope she has the courage to come forward.

Laura 2 years ago

I have a story as well. It was my beat friends birthday party in her appartment in college we had jello shots. Extremely strong jello shots and everyone ended up smashed. I was coherent enough to make everyone leave but me, my two best girl friends and one of their boyfriend’s. I locked the front door and even managed to bring a trashcan to my sick friends who were all passing out and I pass out in the same room as them. I woke up to a man’s tongue down my throat, a man I didn’t know on top of me groping me. I tried to s ream but couldn’t I bit the man and s reamed for my friends boyfriend but he would not wake up. I had left the back door unlocked. This guy may or may not have been at our party but he let himself in. Yes I was drunk but it was not my fault. He came into a dark appartment and took advantage of an unconscious girl. I was three feet away from my friends. I was not raped by some miracle my friends boyfriend heard me saying I don’t know you over and over to this man and he threw him out. But if I hadn’t woken up. Would I have really been blamed by this society????

Kristin 2 years ago

No, dear. Walking down the street and smiling at someone is not the same as being wasted off your ass at a party. I’m NOT saying she is totally responsible. I AM NOT saying that these boys are right! What I am saying is that you need to respect yourself enough to not be put in a situation like that. I’ve never been raped, but then again I’ve never had sex at a party. When there are numerous kids drunk, do you really think the best decision is to go to a room with one of them (even if you think he’s your boyfriend? Again, no it’s not you fault you got raped and yes the boys are to blame. But you also need to make wiser choices to not ever put yourself in a situation like that. Again, yes I realize that is not always possible sometimes bad things just happen but you do need to do what you can to avoid bad situations.

Jenney 2 years ago

I read your blog because it usually cracks me up. This one made me cry. Either way I want to thank you for honesty. I admire your commitment to the truth and willingness to speak it. You’re kind of a bad-ass. <3

Leigh Ann 2 years ago

Are you fucking serious?

Wendy @ mama one to three 2 years ago

The bravest post I’ve read. I am so sorry this is part of your story. And so fucking mad about the coverage of the Ohio case.

Jillian Mitchell 2 years ago

Thank you for posting this! I have never been through anything like that, but I do not believe it is the girl’s fault. There is nothing ok about a person forcing themselves on another, male or female. No matter how provocative, no matter the reputation it is not her fault! We have the responsibility to teach our daughters to respect themselves and to behave like a lady and be careful. We have the responsibility to teach our sons to do the same! It is never ok, it is never the victims fault. I will always teach my sons the difference!

Ariana 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing something so difficult. What you wrote is brave, and also helpful. So many women above and here confronting our memories of being treated like objects. So many of us who have shouldered the guilt and shame that belonged to someone else. Each mother of sons here that is teaching her sons to respect women, and that rape, touching without consent, is just wrong…we can make a difference.

Heather Bush 2 years ago

I second this. I am so so sorry that you had to go through this.

Triplezmom 2 years ago

I am so sorry this happened to you. So, so, sorry. Thank you for sharing your story, for being such a brave and wonderful survivor. It was not your fault, was never ever your fault. But I understand why you felt that way so very well. I hope by sharing our stories we let others know that it wasn’t their fault either.

TheMomFactor 2 years ago

I’m so sorry for what happened. I have three sons. I hope and pray every day that MY sons are the guys who beat the ever-living shit out of those spoiled, entitled assholes that do fucked up things like that. I hope that MY sons have the stones to stand up for the girl getting raped, and save her from the people taking pictures and mocking her. I hope that my sons are the good guys.

Yana 2 years ago

Wow…I am speechless. Thank you so much for your story. Some of us still have to face our demons and fears. I see you found your peace, thank God, bless you and your family. I still have to find mine…

Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey 2 years ago

Tracy, thank you for sharing your story. You are right, it was NOT your fault. Just like it was NOT my fault that my father abused me. It took me a really long time to admit that, but I am proud of us for finally getting to that place. Sending you all my best thoughts for continued healing.

Ariana 2 years ago

No. I’m in complete agreement that we need to teach our daughters what to do to stay minimize their chances of being raped, but not taking those precautions, not staying sober, does not make it her fault and does not relieve the rapists of their responsibility. Would we say the same if she were unconscious due to illness? What if she were diabetic? Would we then say this? She she have known better, those boys were just taking advantage of an opportunity to rape an unconscious girl? No

Sandy 2 years ago

To suffer through such a horrific experience and believe that you were somehow to blame deeply saddens me. The cold hard truth is your story is played out far to often, to this day, Steubenville, and the victim is left feeling alone. Shamed. Guilty. And blaming herself for something that is NOT her fault! I’m sure a poll of women responding to this post would reveal a large percentage of them have been sexually violated at some point in their lives. It disgusts me that in this day and age young girls and women can be violated in unspeakable ways and are lead to believe they could have prevented it from happening. The “boys will be boys” mentality can be changed. It can be changed starting now, with each and every young mother out there. We are raising the next generation of men and women. We can teach, guide and inform them. It is time women world wide unite for the right to be safe.

Jessica 2 years ago

Oh my god I am reading this and just feel sick, completely sick. When I saw this post on facebook and saw that you had written it Tracy I hoped that it was wrong somehow. There aren’t enough words to tell you how sorry I am that this happened and how brave you are for sharing.

Angie Kinghorn 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. Much love and many hugs to you, babe.

I’m in awe of your strength and courage to share this with all of us, and shocked by how many of the commenters have similar stories. This culture has got to change. I’m raising a son and a daughter; as soon a they’re old enough, you bet we’ll be talking about this topic. A lot.

No matter what anybody says, no matter what the circumstances, hold this to your heart and know it: it was not your fault. It was never your fault. A million of us could easily have been in your shoes.

Marinka 2 years ago

This was hard to read, and I’m sending my good thoughts to you. It wasn’t your fault. I know others have said it, but I feel like it can’t be said enough. I hope that our daughters live in a time when it won’t ever even be questioned.
xo

Stacy @bklynstacy 2 years ago

Oh Tracy, my dear almost-namesake. Thank you for telling this horrible, awful story, because it does the most important thing of all: remind every single one of us that the burden of our vulnerability as women means we all must speak the truth and stand together and say “no more.” It was not your fault. Lung cancer is not your fault even if you smoke. My divorce was not my fault, even if I was a bitch to my ex-husband sometimes. Our culture is desperate to push away the darkness that lurks in every corner of humanity, thinking if we lay the blame on others, we can keep the darkness from our own lives. Thank you for reaching up and pulling the light switch to shine the sun in your story — and into this community of women who know you and love you so well. There are many stories to tell our daughters and sons, and one of them is that some actions can never be taken back, that there is a line that gets crossed and from which you never return: rape is one of them. And no matter what the woman or girl (or boy or man) did to find themselves in those vulnerable situations, the rape IS NOT THEIR FAULT.

Lindsey 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. Wow. I am so sorry that this happened and so grateful that you shared it here in all of its bald, horrifying truth. May we all learn. xo

anna whiston-donaldson 2 years ago

Aching for your 16 and 17 year old selves, Arnebya and Tracy.

Jody 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story.

GirdyOlee 2 years ago

I was that girl, too. It was only one guy, but I felt like it was my fault. Like I asked for it, or deserved it, or had it coming.

Alex@LateEnough 2 years ago

I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you know it’s not your fault and if you ever forget, as sometimes we do, reread your post and all the comments (but ignore the ones that don’t understand– rape myth is so deeply embedded in our society and I look forward to the generations to come who will know it’s not their fault so much early than we did or perhaps never have to go through rape in the first place).

Brittany 2 years ago

My God, Tracy, this was NOT your fault. At all. My heart is broken for you and other young women who were ever out in this position and ever made to feel like it was their fault.

While I want my kids to remain innocent of the things that happen in the world, I am constantly reminded by the bravery in posts like this that I must talk to my girls and my boy before the time of sexual activity so they know in absolute terms what NO means and how to say it and how to fight and how to live and how to love.

If I were there I would wrap my arms around you now and tell you how proud I am of you and that your heart will be strong and give you the continued courage to help spread the message and change lives.

Queen A 2 years ago

I have boys who are 7 & 9. I am on them every day to treat people how they want to be treated. I heard my 9 yeat old defending his step sister by saying you have to be easy with girls because they’re feelings are softer. Bless your heart for sharing your story. I have tried not to read about the trial because it sickens me the way we treat one another. We all have to do better than that

Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) 2 years ago

You are the bravest person I know right now.
It took me 22 years to say the word “Rape” out loud, and it wasn’t my fault, either. I sure as hell wish I had reported him, but seeing how the media treats survivors of this crime, and puts the blame on them, I’m not sure I wanted to go through that either.
All we can do is let go and try to teach our children to do better
I love you!

Rita Arens 2 years ago

You are very brave. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

Jennifer 2 years ago

I’m in tears. Thank you for sharing. “Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point” (New York Times). That’s absurd. Our responsibility here is to teach our sons and daughters about this statistic and tell them how desperately it needs to change. I was one of those five. My son will always know that a girl saying ‘no’ twice is once too many.

Leigh Ann 2 years ago

Tracy, I’m speechless and in tears. What a burden to carry for 27 years, hut I’m so glad you did at last realize it wasn’t your fault. There are so many stories coming out from women thanks to this case, and I have my fuzzy “was it…?” stories too. But this…this is heartbreaking and I ache for you.

You know I have three girls too. I want them to be good people, to stand up for and watch out for their friends. But I also want to lock them in a bubble and never let them out.

Marta 2 years ago

It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t any of our faults. I am so proud of your bravery. I am so proud of the fact that you are such a kind and compassionate person despite a terrible incident that could have changed that. You’re an amazing mother to three beautiful smart daughters that I pray and hope will live in a world that we have changed by standing up and saying this is unacceptable.

Because it is. Because I couldn’t help but read the stories and I even watched the video of them making fun of the whole thing and I had that moment of doubt where I thought, was it my fault? I was 13 years old, but maybe somehow unknowingly I was bad and need to be punished. But I wasn’t and I didn’t and it was wrong. And I never stood up for myself. And I never talked about it. And I still haven’t really ever talked about it. Because there is that shame. That question, “was it my fault?” lingering.

Christie 2 years ago

Oh, how brave you are. Thank you. It was not your fault. I hope you know that down to your bones. Thank you for sharing.

Sid 2 years ago

It is wrong to be taken advantage of if you are drunk but it is also wrong to absolve yourself of blame if you are drunk.

If you put yourself in a vulnerable position (like being drunk) then you hold some of the responsibility.

Rainyday, it is your fault if you are drunk and you fall into the path of an oncoming car.

If Tracy and all other victims had been sober then they would have been able to move out of the way of the jaggernaut called drunk rapists.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 2 years ago

It was not your fault.
It was not the fault of that girl in Steubenville.
It was not the fault of the Indian student who died.
Hugs.

denise 2 years ago

Tracy. Tracy Tracy Tracy. I am sending so much love to you right now. Sharing our story, sharing YOUR story, is so important.

It heals.

Giant, Huge kisses and hugs and love. Brava, you. Brava. xoxo

Megan 2 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that someday I will be able to share my story in hopes that it helps someone else that has gone through this.

It is not your fault. It wasn’t Jane Doe’s fault. And it wasn’t my fault. We were all victims.

Here’s hoping someday society ends all of the victim blaming/slut shaming.

Shanan 2 years ago

It’s not your fault. No one has the right to do that to someone else, no one! Speaking up helps everyone understand that this kind of violence is NEVER acceptable! What do these boys become? Do they even care?

Kim S 2 years ago

huge hugs Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave and so right. It was never your fault and it isn’t the girl in Steubenvilles fault either. I can’t believe our society isn’t passed shit like this. A woman has the right to say no, it doesn’t matter how she is dressed, if she is drunk or anything else. No means no!

tiffany 2 years ago

I have 4 daughters. This scares me. I know it can happen so easily. It’s never your fault. I’m sorry this happened to you.

Nancy Davis Kho 2 years ago

No, it sure as hell wasn’t. But it’s to your credit that you’ve shared a story that reminds us that it can happen – HAS happened – to the most pulled together, successful women around us. And that we have to speak out until the shame lands where it should – on the boys and men who perpetrate these crimes. You’ve got ovaries of steel, lady – thanks for using them today.

Shanan 2 years ago

Arnebya you are so right. No one has a right to violate another person regardless of the circumstances. It’s a sick excuse to try blame it on alcohol. How many of us have been drunk? How many of us thought of raping or violating someone while drunk? It’s not normal.

Ilene 2 years ago

I am so, so sad for you, at 17 and you now, to have to live with that. It was NEVER your fault. It will always be THEIR faults, those boys with the “promising futures.” Always. xo

Diana 2 years ago

It was not your fault…the fault lies with the ones who excuse reprehensible behavior. The fault lies with the ones who’ve taught their children, it’s okay to take advantage of someone… when that someone is not in a position of power. The fault lies with the “she’s asking for it mentality.” The fault lies with those who don’t know the difference between right and wrong.

I’m so sorry you had to endure such a nightmare. You are strong. You are a survivor. Be at peace…because it was not your fault.

Lady Estrogen 2 years ago

My stomach just ached for the both of you.

It was SO not your fault.

Jennifer 2 years ago

The hardest thing about having blogging friends is not being able to give them a hug in person when you want to. This is one of those times.

It was not your fault, and nothing you ever did was to blame. This could have easily happened to anyone. The girl who slept with her boyfriends, or the girl who didn’t. The girl who partied, or the girl who didn’t. Who you are doesn’t make you a victim. The person committing the crime does.

Julie 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing what must have been a hard story for you to tell. Never your fault….but much easier to say than to believe. I have a 17 year old daughter and we have talked much about this subject. It is indeed so sad that nobody that was there looked out for the young lady in Steubenville. We all have to teach our kids better than that….and pray they have the balls to actually do it when the time comes.

darcie 2 years ago

oh dear sweet girl – thank you for sharing your story, for being brave. we CAN do better, and we NEED to do better, for our girls, and for our boys.
this is not ok.
much love to you –
xo

Maggie 2 years ago

Very brave. Thank you for writing this. I haven’t read the details of the Steubenville story, because I’m afraid it will make me too sick. From what I’ve heard though, it just sounds so horrible. So scary to raise a girl in a world where this happens. I can’t imagine people standing around laughing and taking pictures while someone gets raped. I am also scared for my little boy to grow up in a world like this and think that he could possibly ever be that boy at a party. It makes me shudder. All of it.

Weezie 2 years ago

Tracy-
I am crying reading your post – I hope that your letter will help someone who has had to deal with this (type of horrible event that you endured) in her life – As I look back today at our (my age) 17 seems like a baby – 17 – old enough for my parents to let the “reigns” out a bit – but not nearly old enough to know what was best for me –
Cyber big hug to you

Jennifer 2 years ago

And YOU are the reason things like this will continue to happen. That’s your blame.

Arnebya 2 years ago

Y’all. Stop. Don’t feed into this ignorant load of absolute bullshit. Let Linda do her usual goading, her adolescent, I’m gonna shock them all by saying something immature and heartless business, but do not engage her. It’s not worth it. Because any of us who has experienced anything even remotely similar to what Tracy describes asked for it to some degree. Don’t you see? Our skirts were too short, it was already dark when we left work, we were too willing, we smiled too fast, we drank too much, others drank too much and didn’t know what they were doing and why would we be at the party if we didn’t know what was going to happen…the more we feed into this the more powerful she (and others who think like her) feel.

Christy 2 years ago

Tracy-
Kudos to you for sharing! No, rape is never our fault, we didn’t ask for it, doesn’t matter what we wore..NO means NO.
I was raped by a friend when I was 16. He had come over to hang out, I was dressed in sweats, he beat me up first and raped me.
No I never said anything as I was embarassed and blamed myself for having him come over to hang out. Thought I had led him on. It took me a long time to get over those feelings, and there are days when it still haunts me and it was almost 25 years ago!

As a mom with 2 boys, I am raising them to respect people, to treat girls the way they would want someone to treat their mom. And when they get a little older and girls don’t still have cooties, I will teach them about no and respecting the girls that they know and the ones that they don’t.

Noone should have to live with the guilt and the feelings that too many of us live with every day. Thank you again for sharing your story!

Galit Breen 2 years ago

Ohmygod, you. xo

Suzanne 2 years ago

Thanks for bravely sharing your story!

Linda 2 years ago

She was so wasted she didn’t even know it was her bf???? And, because she had a lucid moment, now she can blame? No way–gotta shoulder some of what happens…are we even sure she said no or was it a thought and she couldn’t verbalize it because she was too drunk? Sorry, but having been there I can say different–you have to assume responsibility for putting yourself at risk and being so drunk…

Amanda 2 years ago

Oh, honey, never your fault.
I have three daughters too. I am a survivor too. It was not my fault. They told me it would be too hard to prove.

20 years later, still as real as it was then, I wonder how something so real and heinous could be so hard to prove.

The only fault any of us have is if we do not demand change.

Love to you now and to you then.

sarah reinhart 2 years ago

no, it wasn’t your fault tracy. this all makes me feel so sick. I want to raise my daughter to believe that other people will reach out and help her, but I don’t know. I want to raise my sons to understand how important their actions and words are too. by the way–it wasn’t my fault either. It took me way too long, just too long, to wrap my brain around that. Love to you xoxox.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

I meant to add – that night has continued to haunt me for the past 13 years, so I can only imagine how your rape has haunted you, Tracy. I hope writing about it has finally given you some peace and the power to let go of your guilt and shame. It was NOT your fault.

Michelle 2 years ago

I’m so sorry you had to go through this.

Linda 2 years ago

Really–so you’re drunk, the guy is too and it all seems ok for awhile? No one is in their right mind because of the alcohol–not like the person is drugged or sober and this is forced. We as women have to assume responsibility for putting ourselves in this position–I’ve been there and guess what–I know I had myself at risk and bad things happen. I had NO RIGHT to go blame someone else because I was a drunk fool.

Carrie 2 years ago

First of all, it wasn’t your fault. Second, thank you for being so brave to share this with us.

Stephanie 2 years ago

I am so sorry for what has been done to you. You are a strong brave woman to stand up now and open yourself up to all of us. Thank you.

Linda 2 years ago

Yep–having been there too, I CAN say that. If you’re THAT drunk, then you put yourself at risk knowingly–not like she was drugged. People have to take on some responsibilty for their actions and work to share that with other girls so they know that the outcome will be difficult.

Kristin @ What She Said 2 years ago

Oh, Tracy. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know.

I had a near-miss when I was in my 20’s. I was drunk and passed out and woke up to find a complete stranger on top of me, groping me. I was at a friend’s condo, on her couch, and can remember turning my head to see her passed out in a chair beside me and knowing that I was completely alone and helpless in the moment. And so I said to him, “So, this is the way it’s going to be?” And then I passed out again.

The next morning I awoke in that very same spot on the couch, fully dressed, cocooned in a blanket – as if someone had taken great pains to tuck me in. The guy – the stranger – was passed out in the guest bedroom where I was supposed to have been sleeping. We had picked him and some friends up at a bar the night before and they’d come back to the condo to party with us, but he was the only one left. My friends drove him back to them; I made sure I wasn’t around when he left. I was too embarrassed to face him. And looking back, I don’t know whether to hate him for climbing on top of me in the first place, or thank him for taking such care with me when he realized I was too incoherent to know what I was doing.

I only know that I did a very dumb thing that night. That WAS my fault. But getting raped would not have been. And so I’m glad someone was looking out for me that night, be it that perfect stranger or some higher power.

Linda 2 years ago

She was drunk–made bad choices and put herself in that situation–if you’re under the influence then you HAVE to shoulder some of that…been there too..and guess what–I can’t say that it was just someone else’s fault. Gotta stop blaming everyone else.

Melissa Maser 2 years ago

Amazing bravery. It was not your fault. It was not her fault. I am at a loss for words to describe the sadness I have for this void in our society that follows the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality. Those girls who threatened her are poisoned by the void and it sickens me. We have to stop raising our children to turn a blind eye and to destroy each other for their pleasure.

Talia 2 years ago

IT’S NOT MY FAULT! It took me a long time to figure that out and believe it as well. I only wish I could go back and tell the 14 year old girl I was the same thing.

Candy 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. We all should. The sad part is, perhaps from a more global level, is that more women than not probably have a similar story. The tiny little details might change, but the big picture stays the same. We need to do a better job of raising our sons to know THIS IS NOT OK and it never will be. Perhaps we need to have an “It’s not my fault” blog-o-thon….we all share our stories, perhaps create some sort of statement. Something needs to change. Thank you for starting it.

Kristen Daukas 2 years ago

Thank you for telling your story. I, too have 3 daughters and I’ve been very open with the oldest (14) about this case and “dating” in general. Things are about to go full throttle in our lives with dating and high school and older, stronger boys. And the internet. Thank you for sharing so that I can continue to share with them and pray that they never find themselves in the same situation.

Natalie 2 years ago

It is absolutely NOT your fault. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I, too, was the girl who liked to party and often drank too much. It scares to me to think of some of the things that COULD have happened.
The fact that no one at that party stepped to help that girl is what saddens me the most. The media coverage and the apologies sickens me. My goal as a mother is to raise my daughter to be careful and my sons to be the better person and stop these things if the see it.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Thank you for having the courage to share yours, my friend. xo

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Oh god, Arnebya. I’m so sorry. xo

Wendi 2 years ago

I’ve never done anything even 1/8 as brave as what you just did in sharing this story. xoxo

Talia 2 years ago

No, the girl has no blame. She CONSENTED to have sex with HER BOYFRIEND. Not some guy who crawled on top of her while he boyfriend held her down. She said No, she fought, and they held her down. THAT IS RAPE. A woman should be able to go out and party and be safe, just because she is a woman does not mean she isn’t allowed. MEN need to learn it is NOT okay to rape. It is NOT okay to take advantage of a woman and it is NOT okay to shame a woman for having been sexually assaulted. The minute a woman says NO it becomes rape.

Susan 2 years ago

It’s attitude like this that prevents rape and other sexual assault from being reported. Being under the influence does allow us to make poor decisions, which is why you are not allowed to make decisions while under the influence, not allowed to drive, not allowed to get married, not allowed to sign legal documents, not allowed to consent to medical care, the list goes on. Rape is rape, drunk or not.

Suebob 2 years ago

I’m so angry on your behalf. I want to go back in time and go all Mother Bear on these boys. No, it was not your fault.

Tracy 2 years ago

“You play you pay”?! Am I reading this in response to someone’s incredibly moving, heart-breaking, brave post about gang rape?

No, Linda. You’re wrong.

Mamarific 2 years ago

Thank you for courageously sharing your story. I was a “date rape” victim in college, and I will never forget how cruel people were with their judgements and the way they blamed me because I was drunk and the guy was supposedly a model citizen. Your girls are lucky to have a strong mama like you to guide them.

Payayajambalaya 2 years ago

It was NOT your fault. It is NEVER the victim’s fault, yet somehow we continue to have a society that tries to blame them. Thank you for sharing what must be such a painful memory for you. I hope through stories like yours, our world slowly changes towards knowing what is right and what is most definitely wrong.

Melissa 2 years ago

No hon… it was never your fault. My heart is just breaking for what you have had to live with. Thank you for your courage and for sharing. {{{hugging you in my heart}}}

Murphy Must Have Had Kids 2 years ago

Big hug!!! That is all. :)

Alaina 2 years ago

It was not your fault by any means. Wow. Your story is so powerful, and like you, I don’t want my daughters to ever feel that way. Or get in that position. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re so brave for doing that.

Loukia 2 years ago

Oh Tracy… I am so sorry for this horror you went through. Of course it was never your fault. Hugs and love to you, my friend. xoxo

Rainyday 2 years ago

She didn’t chose gang rape. If you read the words “holding me down” and “do worse if I told anyone”, does that sound like someone who chose that path?

Yes, our actions can make us more vulnerable. But so can driving in a car. That doesn’t make it our fault when someone runs a red light and smashes into us.

Trish Sammer Johnston 2 years ago

What can I say except you’re right. It wasn’t your fault. I wish you healing and peace with this. I commend your bravery on sharing the story.

dlt 2 years ago

The blame on this girl in the media was horrid. What year is this and the girl is still blamed. I have two boys, one 13 and one 19. They have been taught to respect, and that no means no. And a drunk girl is always a no. I hope each day they remember that as they are young adults and still growing up to be young adults. Your story is a brave one, but unfortunately still a common one.

Rainyday 2 years ago

Well written, very powerful. Thank you.

I still choke a bit when saying or thinking that it wasn’t my fault. Rationally, I know this. But there’s nothing rational about the aftermath of rape. Even 11 years later.

angela 2 years ago

I love you. It was not your fault, and I’m so sorry it took you so long to understand that. And I’m so sorry that I am realizing how many people have these stories (myself including, though different than yours). The choices you (and I and so many other girls) made don’t give ANYONE a right to do anything. I hate that there’s this idea of teaching our girls how to stay out of the situation, as though assault is inevitable. We need to teach all of our children how unacceptable that behavior is :(

Laura 2 years ago

Before having boys, I didn’t want boys. I wanted girls. I didn’t want to raise boys in this culture, where “boys will be boys” is the norm. I didn’t to deal with them as teenagers. I didn’t want to have to fight society when I taught respect for others and respect for one’s own body. I didn’t want to be the lone voice in their universe shouting “It can wait!”

But now, I think maybe it is good that I am raising these boys. Maybe the world needs parents like me raising boys to stand apart from our culture and stand up when no one else will do it.

Tracy, this is an incredibly brace, incredibly powerful post. It isn’t your fault. And through writing, I realized there is something I have to let myself off the hook for too.

Titania Jordan 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story Tracy. You are a beautiful, brave, and incredibly strong soul.

Momchalant 2 years ago

Sometimes things happen to us, good and bad, so that we can and know how to help others that go through the same thing. I’m sure someone read this that has a similar story, and you just made them feel a little better. It was most certainly not your fault, but now it is a part of your history, and you can share your history and help others future. I think sharing your story is such a beautiful and inspiring story to share. Thank you for that. *big hugs*

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

This is so incredibly powerful. I have a story too, that is so horrible I still can’t seem to muster up the courage to share it with anyone. I was 15, and consenting… I don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking it was my fault. Thank you for sharing your story.

Linda 2 years ago

I think the girl has to shoulder some responsibility for putting herself in that position…sorry but it’s not like everyone was sober and knew better–you play you pay…can’t blame everyone else…it hurts but c’mon…

Paula M-B 2 years ago

I am so angry that we live in a world that treats girls and the women they become like this. Our children deserve so much better. Thank you for throwing yourself out there like this. Victims are often faceless and voiceless. You are incredible. Incredibly strong, incredibly brave and totally without blame. We have all made poor decisions when we were younger. However, boys who rape have not just made a poor decision in their life…they have ruined the life that could have been for a young girl who deserves so much better.

Di 2 years ago

My heart aches for you. It was never your fault, drunk or not! Slut or not! I have a daughter and am pregnant with a boy and will taise him and her to know the difference!!! Watching this trial is so disheartening on so many levels and this IS why our boys think its ok to rape !!! It’s our pathetic media/adults reaction. Thank you for sharing.

Crystal 2 years ago

Sadly the fear of offending is stronger than the fear of death.

DarleneMAM 2 years ago

Holy shit.
No, it wasn’t your fault.
What a weight to carry.
I wish I could hug you.
Right now.

Laura 2 years ago

Arnebya,
I completely agree. – I have a daughter and a son -and one of my wishes for them is to feel confident about themselves and to teach them empathy and strength. I was honestly so shaken when I read that post that I couldn’t write my thoughts… I’ve been thinking about this for days – how as parents we must do better and do make the change within our children and to make sure as a mother/woman I model the right behaveor too.

Mamaintheburbs 2 years ago

Tracey, you are such an amazing person to share your story. Thank you on behalf of all the girls, daughters and women in this country. Huge hugs!

Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo 2 years ago

Yes.
“You just learn how to turn on the lights to make the shadows disappear.”
My life exactly.

Charisse 2 years ago

WOW! Thank you so much for sharing that. It was not your fault. It was never your fault. The blame lies totally on them for choosing to commit that heinous act – that C-R-I-M-E. They knew it wasn’t your fault, too. That’s why they told you not to tell. I hate that any woman, girl, or child ever has to go through that.

renae 2 years ago

We live in a society that seems to blame victims. I don’t understand this. Why can’t we teach our sons and daughters to be ladies and gentlemen? Why do we have to provide them with drugs and alcohol so they can party? Why do we encourage the objectification of women? Until society takes a stand… No it its never the victims fault.
If they can’t be taught that this is wrong and a violation, then they need to be put away where rapist belong.
So sad… So sorry you were subjected to this. You’re a survivor and one of my hero’s. God Bless you and yours.

Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo 2 years ago

You are brave and remarkable and you’re right – it was never your fault. We have to do better… and we will.
Thank you for telling your story.

Kiran 2 years ago

Oh Tracy. It was never your fault. You beautiful, beautiful woman. Who was a beautiful, wonderful young girl. It was NEVER, EVER your fault. Thank you for your bravery and for this amazing, heart-wrenching post.

Sending my love. It’s always there for you.
Kiran

Angel 2 years ago

Unless they’ve been there, people don’t understand. They say that rape is about “Power.” But they don’t think about the LOSS of power that we suffer, the loss of self-respect, the loss of security, the loss of trust in ourselves to be an accurate judge of character, the loss of our “self.” It took me 20 yrs to come to grips with it. And I still have problems some nights around 2 am. It happened. It’s over. But it never disappears. You just learn how to turn on the lights to make the shadows disappear.

Arnebya 2 years ago

But you know what, Laura, we have to teach the girls to be better people too. To trust themselves, love themselves, protect themselves. The two girls arrested for threatening the victim? Those girls need to be taught to be better people. All of our children need to be taught to respect one another and know that at no time is the violation of another person, whether boy or girl, justifiable. Ever.

M. 2 years ago

This brought back horrible flashbacks. It wasn’t our fault. It wasn’t Jane Doe’s fault. Rape is never ok, regardless of how much alcohol one has consumed. Rape is rape. And rape stays with you for life.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Amanda Martin 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. I think it’s important that people realise it does happen and it has consequences and it shouldn’t be hidden and it should be talked about. And it is never ever the girl’s fault.

We need to bring our sons and daughters up to respect each other. Somehow. I don’t know how. The most I can do is teach my son to respect his sister and hope that’s enough.

Becca 2 years ago

Thanks for having the courage to share this. The double standard disgusts me – and I wish it disgusted more people.

Katherine Stone (@postpartumprog) 2 years ago

Tracey, you are amazing. That is all.

Arnebya 2 years ago

I love you. No, it wasn’t your fault. I am sorry it took you think long to realize, understand, know, and believe it was not your fault. It wasn’t my fault either as the grown man rubbed and fingered me, took pictures of my 16-year-old vulnerable self while my father and sisters sat in the next room waiting for our “photo shoot” to end. I should have known better. I was old enough to know better. My father paid $200 for a grown man to abuse his daughter and never even get proofs. I still feel like it was my fault. I know it wasn’t, but the feeling is still there. It was my fault. It wasn’t my fault. It is never our fault.

You will talk to your daughters, Tracy. That is key. That is where it’s all going wrong. Those boys should have known better. And what’s worse SOMEBODY’S CHILD, even if the two who raped her didn’t have morals, somebody’s child should have. Someone’s kid should have said don’t do that. Stop. Leave her alone.

Natasha 2 years ago

It was NOT your fault. It was not HER fault. Thank you for sharing.

Alison 2 years ago

Oh hon, I am crying for 17-year old you. It was not your fault. Not ever. This hurts my heart, so very much.

What happened to that girl in Steubenville, hurts my heart. I have two boys, I want them to grow up to be gentlemen. I call BS on the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse.

Love you. xo

Meagan 2 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this. So much strength! It was not your fault. It was not her fault. This whole thing has made me heart sick. Thank you for coming forward with this. <3

Carmen 2 years ago

It is not your fault. Thank you for sharing and defending victims everywhere.

Shannon 2 years ago

Tracy, I don’t know what to say except I love you and wish I could hug you right now.

Laura 2 years ago

I am crying right now. Thank you for sharing. I hope you can heal – and I think we must teach our SONS to be better people. Much much love to you.

Keia 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts.

I’ve tried to stay away from reading this trial for the very simple reasons you stated. You are right we have to do better…and sooner than later.

Carissa Conway 2 years ago

I provide counseling to survivors of sexual assault. I just want to say thank you. I am sure it was difficult to share this experience.

Sarah 2 years ago

It wasn’t your fault, and it wasn’t my fault either. It also took me forever to say that. Thank you for your story. You’re strong, remember that! I’m so impressed at your strength and I am so sorry that you’ve needed to be this strong.

J 2 years ago

A very brave step for you. And you are way nicer than me. I would have named them all first and last, age and hometown. They deserve the humiliation they put on you.

ngaire stirling 2 years ago

Absolutely not your fault. What a weight to live with. I hope this is a step towards letting go and moving onwards and upwards x blessings to you x

Kristin Kraabel 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story, for your bravery. It wasn’t your fault ever. The trials have made me sick for this young girl. Sick for my daughters. Your words full of hurt and truth are beautiful, they are needed. Thank you, Thank you for standing up and speaking your story for those who can’t. Thank you for when you tell your self it wasn’t your fault you tell other girls, women, men that it isn’t their fault either. Thank you.