Posted by Neha

I was cyber-raped. 

I didn’t say no. I did say yes. But I was raped. I was screaming “no” inside me. But I still said yes. The no wouldn’t come out of me.

The details are still hazy, because I’ve tried to erase my memory of what happened. I’ve tried to move on and forget that it happened. But every now and then, I see someone supporting “yes means yes” or saying consent is sexy… and my doubts and fears come back. The questions come back again, at me. The questions I’ve already asked myself a zillion times. The questions I rushed to ask online when it was over, and he’d left, and I’d left, confused and lost.

After all – wasn’t it me that went there for a hook-up? Wasn’t it me that asked for sex? Wasn’t it me that followed him into the room when he lead the way?

I mean – I could have left at any time. This wasn’t even in-person. This was a virtual world. I could have just closed SecondLife – quit the app, shut my computer and walked away. He couldn’t even have retaliated. He hadn’t met me before. He wouldn’t ever meet me again.

I mean – this isn’t the first time I hooked up. Not the first time I had cybersex. Even with strangers. I’d done roleplay – BDSM roleplay, rape roleplay… and I’d enjoyed it too. I’d chosen what to do, when to do it, how to do it. I’d laid down strict lines of consent with each of them. And I was in control.

I mean – this isn’t even the first time I’d been assaulted or tricked online. I’ve been catcalled. I’ve been harassed by griefers. I’ve been manipulated into threesomes. I’ve even had times when having cybersex that I wanted to say no, I’m done, I’m tired, but I didn’t. Because I’d wanted it when we started it, and I loved it, and I trusted that guy, and didn’t want to disappoint him.

I didn’t want to disappoint him. Yes. That sounds familiar. That night, when I went looking for a hookup, and said yes to him… he made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was no longer in control. That the lines were no longer mine to be drawn. That I was his play-thing.

And I wanted to scream. I wanted to run. I wanted to tell him, “No, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this” but I didn’t.

I didn’t want to disappoint him.

And I was blaming myself. After all – maybe I hadn’t been clear about my lines of consent before I came to the hookup joint. Or when he’d approached me. Maybe I should have spoken first, before he could take control.

He commanded me to strip. I asked if I could keep my dress on. He told me to at least take my panties off. And then he pinned me down on the table, and we had sex.

We didn’t say anything to each other till he was almost done. I kept making sounds of pleasure, because I didn’t want to disappoint him.

I just wanted it to end, so I could go on with my life. I kept screaming “no” in my mind, but quietly waited for him to be done.

He was done. We got up. He asked me if I liked it. I said I did. And then we went our ways.

It didn’t end there for me. I got up, got offline… and I was searching for articles. Searching for more people like me. Searching for if it’s still rape if I didn’t say no. If it’s still rape if I said yes. Searching for another voice that could explain why I felt betrayed and lost and confused. Why I felt like a part of me was broken, and beyond repair. And hardest of all – this wasn’t in person. He didn’t even touch my body. And cyber-rape is almost never talked about, except as a joke, or it’s compared with in-person rape to play it down which – comparing trauma was never the point. Needless to say, it took me a long time to call what I went through “rape” or even “cyber-rape” and my friends had to even tell me what I’d gone through was awful, and not okay.

I never met him again. He has no idea what was going through my mind at the time, or that I wanted to resist. That I never even wanted to start. Because I said “yes”, didn’t I? So wasn’t he “entitled to my body to do as he pleases”?

In fact, I never want to go back to that place. Anything associated with what happened that night – anything I remember at all, after all of the memories I’ve struggled to push out of my mind – I throw away or hide.

But the problem isn’t that man, or that hookup place. The problem is how we, as women, are told that our bodies are for the pleasure of men. The problem is how consent is too often oversimplified. How too often it’s reduced to check-boxes of yes and no.

I’m not here to give a solution to that problem. But I’ve been waiting for a long time, scared of telling anyone what I went through, for the fear of being judged, for the fear of my trauma being invalidated. For the fear of me again being denied my voice, like that night when I felt compelled to say “yes” because I couldn’t say “no.”

I’m here to reclaim my voice as a survivor of cyber-rape.


Neha identifies as a trans woman. She is a member of a plural system, and her primary world is the virtual world of SecondLife. She lives, breathes and acts in the virtual world of SL and she hardly fronts in the real world.

6 COMMENTS

  1. She should have been courageous and rejected uncomfortable advances completely. But to call it Rape? come on, you are diluting the horror of the real rape. Please talk about it, awareness is needed, but don’t call it cyber-rape, one can’t be raped over net. Rape is both physical & mental

      • Rape has to be physical as well. Otherwise it can be called harassment, torture,bullying,abuse not Rape. Sure abuse can mean “extreme” pain as well. Don’t have to use “Rape” to mean abuse, even if its extreme.

        Makes it easy for Meninist types to ridicule Feminism if we use words at well. (I consider myself a Feminist.)

  2. using the word “rape” in cases like this are incredibly misleading and contributes to delegitimization actual instances of rape.

    That’s not to say that cyber rape isn’t real — it is.

    Thats also not to say that I don’t sympathize with what happened to you — it sounds terrible.

    However, it was not cyber rape.

    Why not?

    Because by saying you were raped it implies that he forced you to do it, or even coerced you into agreeing. But it sounds like you agreed out of an imagined disappointment that you didn’t want him to feel.

    By saying it was rape, it implies that he was wrong — but he wasn’t wrong. He was just some guy who had ‘consensual’ cyber sex. By saying that it was rape, you are shifting the blame for your own poor and regrettable decision onto him.

    I think your story is one that is important to share, because you could use it as a platform to encourage both assertiveness and ownership of your own wants, needs and actions in sexual interactions. However, framing it as rape will prevent you from getting out the important messages contained within your article.

  3. Hi,

    To me, your pain must be very real and valid.
    You may have been suffering from PTSD and dissociation prior to that encounter, which has interfered with your ability to say no and to not do things you feel uncomfortable with.
    Did you suffer from abuse/molestation as a child?
    Were you a beaten child?

    Have you ever engaged into self-harm prior to that cyber experience? Risk behaviour?
    Were you suffering from derealisation/depersonnalization?
    Have you had repeated experience that everything surrounding you felt so unreal it caused you great stress and anxiety?
    Maybe you felt like you were a stranger to yourself?

    Also, have you sought psychological support after this trauma you are relating?
    Do you think you can get along just by writing about it? Don’t you think you need therapy to curb the dramatic consequences?

    At any rate, I hope things will get better for you

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