The ‘Grey Areas’ Of Sexual Violence Aren’t Really Grey At All

For a decade, Rachel Thompson thought she’d had a fairly positive sex life. If someone had asked her if she’d ever experienced rape or sexual assault, she would have answered with a resounding: “No, I’ve been very lucky”. But in 2017, as the #MeToo movement reached its peak, the journalist started to reflect on past encounters.

One incident, when she was 19, continued to play on her mind. A guy she’d been seeing at university suggested they explore the woods together. He told her to lie down on a mound of moss. Before she knew what was happening, he’d straddled her body, sitting on her chest. The weight of him meant she couldn’t breathe. She panicked but told herself: “It’ll be over soon.” He ejaculated on her without saying a word, and they left.

“When I was 19, I didn’t see my experience as anything out of the ordinary,” she says. “No words sprang to mind in the aftermath of the experience – I simply had no vocabulary to express it.”

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