How to Know If You’ve Been Raped

by Jennifer Hargis

A handy checklist based on the federal government’s (FBI, UCMJ) — recently updated — definition of “forcible rape.”

1. Are you a man or a woman?

-If you are a man, you have not been raped. Stop here.
-If you are a woman, and have always been female, proceed to the next question.

2. Were you “raped” by a man or a woman?

-By a woman: Whatever. You weren’t raped.
-By a man: Great, could be. Keep going.

3. Were you penetrated by a male appendage or an inanimate object?

-If it was an object, you’re done. Go get a sandwich or something.
-If it was an exclusively male appendage, please continue.

4. Are you married to the “rapist”?

-If he is your husband, you’re being a bad wife by reading this. Step away from the computer before he sees you.
-If he is not your husband, you may move forward.

5. Are you related to the “rapist”?

-You may proceed whether your answer is yes or no to this question, just trying to embarrass you.

6. Is someone having to read this for you, due to mental incapacity?

-If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t even really know you were raped, would you?
-If the answer is no, keep reading.

7. Were you on a date with this man?

-If the answer is yes, you should have expected this. And if he bought you dinner, you’re ungrateful.
-If the answer is no, please proceed.

8. Were you drinking prior to the incident?

-Yes? Maybe you actually DID want to have sex.
-No? Good girl, keep going.

9. Were you drugged without your knowledge?

-If so, you probably only hallucinated the “rape.”
-If not, you may move forward with the questioning.

10. Are you under the age of 16 and did you have consensual intercourse with someone in authority over you?

-If yes, well now, that’s not “forcible,” you said yes, and you know exactly what all the ramifications of being sexually active are. Now, go play Barbies or something.
-If no, read on.

11. During the course of the rape, did you attempt to fight the rapist?

-If no, then you should be ashamed of yourself. You must have wanted it.
-If yes, there’s still a chance it may be rape. Go on.

12. Was he wearing a red shirt?

-If no, I’m sorry, you don’t qualify.
-If yes, congratulations! You have been raped. I was rooting for ya!

Jennifer Hargis is a single mom from Texas who enjoys reading, writing, and, occasionally, getting her dander up. She’s also a survivor of sexual assault.