This is an article I found through a website called Pandora’s Aquarium (http://www.pandys.org/), which is kind of an online support group for survivors of sexual assault and their friends and family.
“Grey area rape”
It is a widely held belief that you get ‘real rapes’ and then those that fall into the ‘grey area’. The idea of grey area rape is bourn out of the way that society has constructed rape – as a violent act carried out by a stranger. This understanding of rape has been built around rape supportive myths and does not reflect the experiences of survivors.
If there can be a half-rape or a grey-rape then it follows that it must be possible to give half-consent. The idea that there is grey area consent however clearly makes no sense. Either someone has consented – willingly and actively without coercion– or they have not. If a person freely and willingly wants to have sex with someone then it is clear. If it is not clear, then that person does not have consent – there is no grey area.
There are many factors that people use to define a grey-area rape such as being drunk, flirting, being in a relationship with the perpetrator, not fighting enough or not fighting at all. However there is no such things as a ‘rapeable offence’ – being drunk/dressed in a certain way/doing a certain job/being intimate with a person/alone with a person/having slept with them before does not make rape inevitable or acceptable. Rape is not defined by the behaviour of the victim but by the actions of the perpetrator. A person either consented to sexual activity or they did not and if they did not then this is rape – there is no ‘grey’ about it.
Male or female, stranger or partner, date or acquaintance, child or adult, drunk or sober – it is all serious and it is all traumatic. If you have experienced any form of unwanted sexual contact then you have been sexually assaulted and you deserve to be here and you deserve to heal.