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Your response to New York City Girl was insensitive. There is no longer any question that you are a man! I was raped (with a dildo) by a female lover. I was hurt and angry but I gave in and forgave her. Needless to say, the abuse continued throughout our time together. While NYCG wasn't penetrated, I'm sure she was scared and confused. She definitely should see a shrink and maybe join a support group. --A Woman Who Knows

Was there some question about my gender before my response to NYCG appeared in the column? And didn't I tell NYCG--the girl who got naked and crawled into bed with an ex-boyfriend, who proceeded to ignore her growing discomfort, ignore the word "no," and come all over her stomach--to see a shrink?

As for the charge of insensitivity, AWWK, there's at least one person out there who disagrees with you: "Thanks, Dan, you were very sensitive," wrote NYCG after reading my response. "What you said made sense and is helpful. I will get help. Sorry the letter was so serious but I needed an outside opinion. I'll keep on reading."

In NYCG's case, I don't see why you needed to discuss rape at all; she didn't ask you that question. She said she was "23 and confused" and asked, "What am I to think?" She didn't ask if she was raped. --No One Thinks She Was Raped

I brought up the subject of rape because it seemed to me that NYCG was dancing around it. I also knew that many readers would consider what happened to NYCG rape, and that these readers would attempt to hand me my ass if I didn't tell NYCG that it was. And so they are:

A man who ejaculates on a woman's stomach after she asks him to stop is a rapist. A man who touches another man at a sex club is a rapist. Pornographers are proxy rapists. Corporations are economic rapists. Advertisers are mental rapists. Your narrow definition of rape heaps condemnation on certain types of rape while excusing others. --Zena

I'm tempted to point out that your expansive definition dilutes the horror of real rape--but I'm not gonna bother. You see, I've been locked in a hotel room for three weeks, trying to finish writing a book, and consequently I've been watching a lot of Judge Judy. When some idiot goes off in her courtroom, Judge Judy just waves him away. Since this is my courtroom, Zena, I'm gonna do the same with you.

Hey, what kind of rapist does that make me?

Shut the fuck up, Dan!

Rape can be rape in hindsight because rapists can drug, manipulate, and confuse the women they are assailing. What happened to the girl was classic date rape--and you tried to make her feel like an opportunistic whore, you son of a bitch! If you have any balls, Dan, you will print the following message:

I'm so sorry this happened to you, NYCG. Now let me break some things down for you: (1) What happened with Ron was date rape. (2) The only thing big Dan the Asshole was right about is seeing a therapist. (3) What Ron did is criminal. (4) You are not to blame.

Print that, Dan, you stupid asshole fuck.

--Detests Idiot Shithead Savage

It's been established that I'm male, DISS, and now to prove it I have to run your letter? Lord, I feel like my gender identity is under siege. Anyway, here's your letter, DISS. Now where are your meds?

Why are Americans so quick to apply the words "sexual assault" or "rape" to any unpleasant sexual experience? In Europe we use these words when a man forces himself on a woman or penetrates her against her will. It diminishes these words to use them for misunderstandings and unwanted sexual advances. As much as I feel sorry for NYCG (I've been through that kind of heartbreak), sperm on her belly is not the reason she's hurt. She's hurt because she was hoping to reunite. She needs to address the issue that is actually bothering her. --Euro Girl

Thanks for sharing, EG.

When I was 15, a cool boy invited me to his house. We smoked a poorly rolled joint. Then he asked if I wanted a massage. I had some idea what was coming. Five minutes later, I wasn't a virgin anymore. He didn't kiss me or touch me beyond the crappy massage, and I wasn't physically ready. I felt like shit, I felt violated, and for a long time I felt like I had been raped. Then when I was 19 two strangers beat the shit out of me and really raped me. Let me tell you, when it happens you know it. It was violent, ugly, and completely unambiguous.

Like NYCG, I'm 23 years old now. I'm also doing well in the sex and self-respect departments, thanks. But when I read her letter, I thought, "Boo fucking hoo!" If that's her sad story, she's pretty lucky. --Fully Recovered

Thanks for sharing, FR.

You have no idea what it feels like to be a woman. You weren't taught to be passive and nice and intimidated by men. That's why rape is not black-and-white. It can happen without a woman knowing it happened, and it can happen because a woman is incapable of withholding her consent. It can happen to a guy who thinks he's going to get a blow job but ends up getting fucked (by a girl) when that wasn't what he wanted. A guy can rape without knowing it if the girl wasn't "clear enough" or was too scared to say no. --You're Not a Woman

Yes, yes, yes: I am not a woman. That's been established. But as a gay man I do have some idea what it's like to be in sexual situations with bigger, stronger men. One of my first boyfriends was 6'5", 240 pounds, all muscle, and a complete psycho. He was quick to anger, and I found him very intimidating. But I reject the idea that succumbing to his pressure (and his charms, which were intertwined) means I was raped.

Call me insensitive, YNAW, but I agree with FR: Rape, when it happens, is pretty unambiguous. (Unless the victim has been drugged.) What's more, ridiculous claims like yours don't help anyone take rape--date or stranger--more seriously. Your rape scenarios are absurd. If regret or getting swept up in the moment and giving consent to something you didn't plan on (or didn't enjoy) is rape, well, then we're all rape victims and rapists.

I don't know about you, YNAW, but I couldn't look FR in the eye and tell her that I'm a rape victim too because I gave a few blow jobs to my big scary ex-boyfriend when I didn't feel like it. And if I did say something that stupid and insensitive, I hope FR would do me the favor of slapping my face.

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