Rape is Rape

It happened to me

I was raped when I was 13.  I was too young to realize what was happening to me.  The man that assaulted me knew exactly what he was doing.  From the day we met, he had one purpose for me.  I have no idea how many other boys he assaulted.  I know that I was not his only victim.  This man assaulted a fifteen-year-old girl before we met.  I have no idea how many victims there were.

Maybe I don’t want to know.

My perpetrator picked me up after a school outing and took me to his home under the guise of calling me a cab to take me home.  Since it was getting dark, I went with him figuring that I would save time if I took the cab ride as opposed to taking the subway and then the half hour bus ride to get me home.  I remember being very tired after the day’s events with my classmates, so my abuser told me to go to his room and relax while he called the taxi.

I woke up the next morning thinking that my room didn’t look right…and then I looked around me to see that I was still in his room.  He told me that the cab never came and then handed me a dollar for carfare to get me home.

My mother was worried sick, but as I approached my home, I saw my estranged father standing behind her. I saw fury on my mother’s face and anger on my father’s.  I tried to explain what had happened but like most black parents of the seventies, the only thing that they knew was that I was disobedient and must be severely punished.  I was never asked where I was all night long.  And honestly, I don’t know what I would have told them if they were inclined to listen.

Rape is not pretty.  Rape happens to women, girls, boys, and men.  We may have fancy words for it like pedophilia or sexual assault.  Rape is rape.  We know it when it happens to us.

I knew all those years ago…I just couldn’t allow myself to say the words.  What my abuser did to me he went on to do it to other boys.  I wish I could tell you that this ended on a good note.

It didn’t.

I’m 59 years old now.  I didn’t start unpacking those feelings until I was 51.  I was fortunate to have a good husband who is an amazing listener.

But before I met him, I acted out without knowing why.  I drank heavily at times…waking up in someone else’s home after a blackout binge drinking event.  I had indiscriminate sex until my mind screamed for me to stop.

What I’ve come to find out is that sometimes our gay brothers can mistreat us to the point of soul breaking pain.

But there’s hope.

You don’t have to wait until you’re 51 or 59 to get help.

First of all, understand that you were not at fault.

Say it with me.

You were not at fault.

No matter how old you were when it happened.  It doesn’t matter if you willingly went home with your assailant.  It doesn’t matter if you had too much to drink.

It is not…your…fault.

If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, please see the contact information for RAINN below.

J.L. Whitehead

Written by Jerome

J. L. Whitehead has been writing professionally since 1989, initially beginning his career as a contributing freelance columnist for “PGN, Incorporated” located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After writing for the publication for a year, he published his first chap book of poetry entitled “Universal Words” while enjoying various speaking engagements and poetry exhibitions.
His works includes being a major contributing writer to a book of poetry and prose for African American men entitled “A Warm December” in 1989.
In 2002, he became a contributing writer and editor for an online magazine entitled “Never2Funky”.
He has been a journalist for a national web site entitled “The Examiner” as well as contributing to CNN’s iReport. These online publications are web sites dedicated to reporting local and national area news and events. He conducts interviews with local area authors and writes unbiased reviews of their work. He also composes commentaries on topics that pertain to the social issues relevant of the day.
He has also founded his own publication company that goes by the name, Four Brothers Publications. He has released his first full length novel entitled Bruthas and has also written the manuscript for his first play based on the characters of his novel. In 2013, Bruthas, The Final Chapter was released as the second installment of this family crime drama. Both publications are currently available at and Amazon.
The Princeton Literary Review Silver Standard of Literary Excellence for “Bruthas” published August 2011 by Four Brothers Publications

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