If you think this is easy for me to say, get real. Okay, I'm going to tell you things of which I am ashamed, but of which I would urge someone else to not be ashamed.
I'll first take you to my freshman year of college. I was a part of a group that was really fun (and let me feel like I belonged even though I really felt I never did). That group had parties with lots of alcohol (in college! I know, it's shocking). Sometimes I would get really drunk - it wasn't something I did in high school; I was just kind of experimenting with it in college. And I wanted to belong to my group, and everyone got really drunk at parties, and I wasn't yet sick of hangovers. So I invited a guy to one of the parties - he was in two of my classes - small classes, too. We were friends - we ate lunch together several times a week. We got really drunk (or I did), like blackout drunk. I don't remember a lot but I know we got food and took it back to his dorm room. And I know we had sex. I didn't like him like that and I wasn't wanting to have sex, but I don't remember how it happened. I don't remember much of anything. I don't remember if he used a condom or even if his roommate was still in the room. That's how drunk I was.
Do you think I was able to give consent? This is one of the most important experiences of my life because I don't know if I'm supposed to feel ashamed or not. Sometimes I have called it rape; sometimes I've told myself it was my fault for being drunk and in his room late at night, or at least that he didn't do anything wrong. But I know how I felt afterwards. I felt gross. I felt worth less than I was the day before.
How does that work? I don't know. What does it mean? I don't know. Mind you, this wasn't the first time I'd had sex. It wasn't even the first time I'd had casual sex. It also wasn't the first time I'd had sex when I didn't really want to. But that story holds so much shame for me... I cannot tell it yet. It is also exactly the kind of story I want people to hear who think we live in a society free of what some call "rape culture," but I'm just too ashamed of my inability to withstand the pressure I faced 11 years ago.
I think there's something wrong with that.