Rape, by definition, is a type of sexual assault that involves intercourse against or without the consent of another person.

By these concrete standards, it seems like rape is something that is painted in only black and white. However, these colors smear together and form a gray area that is unable to be fully distinguished. Is it mostly black? Or white? Or is it neither? I only thought about rape as being the act of being pinned down and forcibly penetrated by a criminal, having the tears stream down your face as they hold a gun to your temple. My naive nature has matured to show me that these rape incidents are not just from masked men in alleyways.

They are from fathers and mothers.

They are from boyfriends and girlfriends.

They are from best friends.

They are from brothers and sisters, classmates, teachers, tinder dates, team members, frat stars, youth group leaders, roommates, lovers, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

With the boisterous calls of survivors ringing out across the country, the urge to stay silent is diminishing and we begin to piece together the incidents of life. Rape is no longer defined as just intercourse without consent: it is intercourse with coercion, intercourse while intoxicated, intercourse with guilt, intercourse in exchange for power, intercourse without recollection.

With these new ideas, and that of the budding feminist idea of rape culture... we can't help but ask?

Was I raped?

These new ideas of non-consensual intercourse have people shouting rape from the hillsides. Now, I am not saying that these instances are not rape. That being said, what is rape for one person and consensual to another? How do people define this line, and how can we interpret it ourselves?

I personally will never admit to being raped, but with heavy reflection and consideration of these standards, I have been raped.

I have had boyfriends trick me into having sex when I was not ready.

I have had sex with people and not remembered the next day.

I have had sex where I cried and vomited from shame and disgust.

I have had sex not for pleasure, but for sheer boredom or pity.

I have had sex with people without protection... and my permission.

I have said yes to sex and not wanted to.

With all these considered, I would feel ashamed to say I am a survivor. Where does this leave the thousands of men and women who fall trapped in this gray space, hidden and silenced by the cries much louder than our own? We chose to stay quiet from shame, but can't speak up for fear of exclusion. How can we give ourselves closure, and reflect on events that have happened to us?

We go with our heart and say fuck these Wikipedia definitions.

If you feel like you were violated, then you were.

It doesn't matter what happened to another person: it's about your incident and how it affects your life, your growth, and your ability to move on. It took falling in love to realize this, and it will take the rest of my life to continue to fall in love with myself. But every day, I feel better, I feel whole, and you will too.