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Is Statutory Rape Actually Rape?

10 years ago, when I was 13, I had sex with a 25-yr-old. At the time, I thought that it was normal. I mean, in my culture older men get teenagers pregnant all the time. However, over the years I started to realize that what occurred was not okay, often brushing it off. Who wants to be seen as a victim? Not me.

That day, and the days leading up to it, without realizing it, a part of me broke. For years, up until adulthood, I found myself avoiding commitment and sex. That day was not enjoyable for me, and I feared every future intimate experience would also lack joy.

No, there was no violence; there was no resistance. There was only me, a 13-year-old, and him, a 25-year-old.

Google defines "statutory rape" as having sexual intercourse with a minor, but each jurisdiction is different.

This happened in Texas. In Texas, it is illegal for an adult (someone 18 or older) to have sex with a minor (someone younger than 17). There are certain defenses to this, but, technically, I was raped.

It took me years to finally say the words "I was raped." In fact, I've only been saying it for a couple of years.

When I tell people about my experience, I'm often asked: "But, you said yes, right?" That's exactly what I asked myself for many years, invalidating my experience and trauma.

I never went to therapy. I never made a report. I just lived with it. Being triggered was my norm.

The thing is, yes, I didn't say "no" to him. But, can a 13-year-old really consent? Some people I know would probably answer "yes."

When it comes down to it though, statutory rape is rape. Statutory rape laws are meant to protect children. The child is the victim, regardless of who that child may be. It doesn't matter that I didn't say "no." At 13, I couldn't legally consent.

We have to be better, and we have to stop invalidating people's trauma.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual battery recently, please be mindful of the resources available.

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