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V-Card Diaries: Kara "Rape was normalized by this relationship. It didn't matter that I didn't want to."

Today we're highlighting Kara from Ohio whose ideas about sex were shaped by a series of sexual assaults by her boyfriend, the first when she was 14. We're very grateful she's sharing her story with us. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission formYou can find all our V-Card Diaries here. According to the CDC, 10% of young women report that their first intercourse was involuntary. This post may be triggering to some readers. 

Tell us about yourself:

I am 20 years old and I'm a student at Kent State University studying Sociology and Nonprofit Management.

How do you define virginity?

Virginity is a social construction that attacks and oppresses female sexuality.

Tell us your story:

I do not consider myself to be a virgin and I never really have. I grew up a very reserved child, preferring to play inside on the computer, rather than outside with...people. I guess I missed the parental and peer socialization of the concept of virginity, or at least its stressed importance. When I was 14, I dated a guy, for the first time, who was 17. He raped me and made me come to completely wrong conclusions about sex and sexuality.

I thought that sex was about pleasing someone else. I thought my "job" in a sexual experience was to ensure the happiness of the other person, while my wants and needs were not supposed to exist. Rape was normalized by this relationship with him. It didn't matter that I didn't want to. The first time it happened I learned that what I wanted didn't matter. After saying no, stop, no, you're hurting me, I was told just to calm down, and relax. To not get too graphic I was also told "No, it doesn't hurt. I'll show you what hurts" and proceeded to rape me anally.

Whats worse, aside from the physical aspects, is that I thought that these experiences were sexual and relationship norms. And it's taken over 6 years for me to realize that they're not okay. They aren't and shouldn't be normal. That, what happened, was not love, like he told me repeatedly.  I don't harbor any ill will toward him individually, but I do recognize the larger problems beyond my individual case—men have sex and women merely participate.

When I was 18 I also entered into a marriage with someone who is very similar to the man who raped me year ago, and I was raped many times during the marriage. I hope that my story can help someone. I'm not out of the tunnel, so to speak, but I'm close to the end.

Any thoughts on virginity in our society?

Women are not encouraged to be sexual—instead, the opposite. Young women are taught to be "pure" (as if sex is physically and morally dirty and unclean), to be virginal. Virginity is a horrible social construct and it is treated like a universal biologically proven state of being. Virginity isn't questioned; largely, it is merely accepted as a truth.  The virginity myth should be abolished and women's sexualities should be promoted and celebrated.

Want to tell your story? Go to our submission page.