No Excuse This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 21, 2013
By , Scottsdale, AZ
Two weeks ago, my 14-year-old sister was raped.

“Hannah” had been walking with a “friend,” who we'll call Adam. They were talking through some of the tough times he had been having, when he made a decision that would change both their lives: he decided that his wishes were more important than hers, and he sexually assaulted her.

The worst part of this is not that she has to worry for the next few weeks that she might be pregnant. The worst part is not that she'll need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases – including HIV – every three months for the next two to three years. The worst is not the fact that if we go to court, Hannah will have to face a jury of strangers and tell them – in graphic detail – how Adam violated her, reliving the trauma over and over. The worst isn't even that she told me when she was raped, she didn't understand why it had happened, because she didn't think she was pretty enough for anyone to want to have sex with her.

Even though these effects of the rape will haunt my family for the rest of our lives, they are not the worst part. The worst part has been the reactions of those we have told: when Adam's mother asked us not to be angry at him, because he had been going through tough times; or when Hannah confided
in her best friend who asked, “What were you wearing?”

These reactions stunned my family and me. My sister has had a traumatic experience that will affect her forever, and the people around us are justifying her attacker's actions – as if a bad day or the wrong outfit could excuse what he did.

It does not matter what is happening in your life. Rain or shine, good grades or bad, happy family or not – rape is never, ever okay. There is no excuse for rape, no “she was asking for it,” no giving a warning or a strike or a note on a record. Rape – including statutory rape – is a felony, and there are no second chances. If someone says no to sex and then is forced to have sex, that is rape.

Hannah was wearing her band uniform – but why is that important? If she had been wearing a short skirt or if her bra strap had been showing, would that change anything? Would that make her “no” any less meaningful?

I see stories all the time about high school girls who were raped by boys they knew. The newspapers talk about how the boys won't be able to play football anymore, that they lost friends when they were arrested, that their future will be impacted. But what about the victims? Why are we sympathizing with the rapists rather than those they attacked?

Instead of implicitly or explicitly telling rape victims it was their fault, we need to show them we are on their side, that we understand how badly they have been hurt, that we will fight to defend them against those who say that they lied or deserved it.

My sister should not have to grow up in a world where people call her a slut for being raped at 14, or say that she should feel bad because she ruined her attacker's life, or claim that she must have been asking for it. She should not have to face any of those things – and neither should any of the other men, women, and children who have been victims of rape.

We need to support these victims, and we need to stop justifying rape.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

redtaylib said...
Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm
Good for you. It took courage to talk about something like this. It also really hits homw because she is around my age, and I have no idea what I would have done if this was me. Tell your sister that she is amazing and strong and that she will get through this-- and that rape is never, ever ok! Thanks for sharing, lovely article and I hope you and your family get along alright.
fictionlover10 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm
I'm sorry that you had to go through something like this! I'll pray for you, too, that you have some peace in your life. Thank you for your kindness!
PhantomnWriter said...
Nov. 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm
This has truly touched my heart. I agree with you, people sympathize the attackers and blame the victims. Something similar has happened to me, but I do not like talking about it. Thank you for getting this out. It means a lot to me and others. I pray for your sister and everyone that is affected. It is a traumatic experience indeed.
LinaOzzie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm
A very sad but needed-to-be-heard story. Just the other day I heard a news story where the parents of the attackers (there were multiple men) did not believe the girl's story, of her being the victim. They thought she wanted media attention and blamed her for not being sober when the assault took place. As angry as this make me, I hope victims all around the world may find hope that there are people out there who believe them and believe in them. Thank you for sharing, and I wish al... (more »)
CrashBagPhoto said...
Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm
You made me cry. This is very good and very sad. Please tell your sister that I am sorry, even though I know it doesn't mean much from a stranger when you've heard it so much. I mean it though. Rape is wrong and I totally agree with everything you've said. Stay strong!
411Ellie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Thank you for sharing—it must have been very difficult for you to do so. This piece brought tears to my eyes. I agree; there is no justification for rape. I will keep you, your sister, and your family in my prayers. Your sister is remarkably strong, and she has a great support system. It is a shame that that idoit had to come along and take away her dignity. Make sure your sister knows that she is beautiful, and that none of it was her fault. I really hope that this article gets published. You... (more »)
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