Clark Gable was a date rapist + When is rape actually rape?

by alittlehoneyformyheart

Disclaimer: I’m not an activist or an expert on these matters, these are just my personal thoughts on it.

I was reading about an old Hollywood scandal earlier today about the actress Loretta Young and infamous Clark Gable and the heartbreaking story about how they conceived a child out of wedlock and due to their fame and her strict Catholic upbringing (plus, not to mention, Gable was still married at that point), Loretta Young ran away to Europe to have the baby under the radar. She then gave up the baby for adoption after that… only to re-adopt her a few years later when the baby was older, however, still under false pretenses and never really coming clean to the rumors that never went away. However, today another nugget of information surfaced in this Hello Giggles article which claimed that only in 1998, “more than 60 years” later upon hearing the term “date rape” on a Larry King episode did it occur to Loretta Young that that was what Clark Gable had done to her.

Cue gasps. How. Scandalous. Clark Gable, you date rapist sleazebag you. 

However the article stayed with me as i pondered its definition. “Basically when you’re with someone that you trust, or literally on a date with them, and you’re not compliant, or you’re saying no, and they’re not listening.”

For me, i feel like my definition of date rape would be a situation in which you’re on a date with someone and somehow, the person you’re with is under the impression that they’re owed something or perhaps have already had some pre-conceived notions of what to expect from the date. Hence, any rejections to their sexual advances are basically useless because it’s already so heavily ingrained in their minds. So in a nutshell “date rape” to me is rape as a result of entitlement because in the rapists’ head you’ve already agreed to put yourself in the situation by going on a date with them hence allowing them a certain right over your body cause in a way, “you wanted it”. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have gone out with them.

Which led me to thinking…is it true that some victims don’t even know they’ve been raped, such as in the case of Loretta Young? Is it possible that some victims actually blame themselves into keeping silent because the idea of giving explicit consent is so foreign to them?

Which led me to thinking even more...have i ever been “date raped”?

I can remember clearly a certain point in my life, many, many stupid years ago where i had been pushed into a corner into doing something that i wasn’t ready for. Despite my shy smiles and averted glances and occasional giggles trying to make light of the situation, the word “no” had been uttered more than once on my part. Because admit it, no one wants to be that girl who makes a scene when a guy comes on to her right? How uncool would it be to run screaming bloody murder whenever a guy starts to feel you up. And at that age (15) when one tends to be “boy crazy” a guy’s attention is always a good thing– even when it isn’t.

But after it was all over and done (and no, we didn’t go as far to do it but for me, it already felt one step too far from the beginning), my confused brain scrambled to make sense of what had just happened and eventually came to the conclusion that there was no way that that could have been against my will. Not once did it officially occur to me that i had been forced into doing anything.

So why did it feel so wrong even though i hadn’t let him go “all the way”? Why did i feel such disgust and regret, i could barely look at him in the eye whenever i saw him after that? And even though actual sex did not take place, then why did i feel so used?

Maybe because no one expects “rape” to happen quietly. To most girls and to public knowledge, rape has to involve a lot of screaming and struggling and crying. It doesn’t occur to people that “being taken advantage of” can also occur with just the victim feeling helpless and left with no choice. So with that mentality, i put it to rest. I hadn’t run out of there screaming, right? And I didn’t fight him off or bite him in the arm or scream for help either, did i? So i must have wanted it, i was just inexperienced so i probably didn’t know any better.

After that, in the typical fashion of kiss and tell, rumors started making their rounds and i remember more than a few people, some who i had considered as friends even, had started avoiding me. Most of them were guys, surprisingly, the exact same guys who ironically went around talking about all the different places they had sex in around school with how many different girls they had done it with. And yet here these rumors were about me and there they were looking (or not looking, for that matter) at me like i went around with the scarlet letter emblazoned on my school uniform.

But there was this one girl who had caught wind of the rumors and she stood out in my mind because out of all the people who had heard it, she was the only one who had reacted differently. She had pitied me. And not ironic pity as in “aww how terrible it must be to be such a slut”. But actual sympathy. I didn’t know her that well personally, she was mostly a friend of a friend but until today seven years later, she still sticks in my mind for being the only person mature enough at the time who understood that perhaps i was the not the slut that everyone was saying i was. That perhaps, there was another side to the story, a side in which, for once, the girl had a say in how she was supposed to feel about what had happened instead of the labels that did it for her. I have to admit, her reaction threw me off track and i remember mulling it over repeatedly in my head and just wondering, why had she pitied me? It confused me and has stayed me with me to this very day. But for some reason, i am grateful (so thank you, K).

While doing some research on whether this was actually possible, i found another interesting article on unaware victims and though i’m not a fan of Lena Dunham, after reading a few excerpts from her book Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What Shes Learned, you come to an understanding that perhaps rape is not as black and white as everyone thinks it is. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of struggle, it doesn’t have to be by a stranger, it doesn’t have to take place under seedy circumstances, in fact, you could be married to the person for 10 years already or even be on a romantic date together right before that… but without your consent or willingness to take part, it would still be rape.

It doesn’t matter if he spent hundreds of dollars on dinner or if he bought you a hundred roses, you should still have the right to say no and pick what you think is best for your body.

SPOILER: It’s never okay

Leaving you with something i found on my twitter feed last night. Apologies if my thoughts seem all jumbled up throughout this post.That’s all for now!

xx

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