General Question

casheroo's avatar

Does rape affect a woman's virginity "status"?

Asked by casheroo (18019 points ) February 7th, 2010

This is a discussion going on, on a debate board I frequent. I was literally shocked at the responses…mainly from all women.

If a girl is raped, but was a virgin prior to the rape, is she still a virgin?
It seems many people do believe that you are not a virgin once penetrated (some even ignorantly proclaimed no hymen=non-virgin, or “no vaginal penetration” which means lots of gay people are apparently virgins.) I feel like I discussed this here somewhere…)

Does the act of sex really have that much weight when it comes to virginity? Is it up to the girl to say when she lost it?

Personally, this bothers me because of my first sexual experience was rape. I did not feel like I lost my virginity though. I never count it as a sexual encounter..I feel as if it was more of a physical thing. Emotionally, he did not take it from me, it wasn’t his to take.

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53 Answers

Spinel's avatar

Could there be different kinds of virginity?

In strict, dictionary terms penetration means gone. But in more abstract terms, I believe not. The gal would still have a virgin heart, right?

Mamradpivo's avatar

Technically, yes. But anyone who would somehow hold that against a woman is a terrible person who deserves for very bad things to happen to them.

Oxymoron's avatar

She is still a virgin if the way in which she lost her virginity was from rape. I don’t mean virginity in the sense of her actually body but in the sense of what she would feel her first time to be. I’m sorry that that was your first sexual experience. I agree with you in not considering that to be you losing your virginity. I feel that virginity is emotional as well. I can sympathize with your situation.

phoebusg's avatar

I’m going to agree with you in that it’s a state of mind. The first time you experienced sex, made love – gave yourself and took another.

The technical part of the hymen, is just that.

Jobes32's avatar

Virginity is something that you “give” to someone, not something that someone can “take”- It is still yours/hers, even after a horrible experience.

ETpro's avatar

Technically, she’s not a virgin if she has been sexually penetrated by a man, but certainly in my eyes she would be. Virginity in spiritual terms can only be given away. It cannot be stolen.

JONESGH's avatar

I agree with @Jobes32

liminal's avatar

I think you are right on. If it is about someone breaking their hymen then people lose it all the time to tampons, playing sports, horse back riding, etc…

faye's avatar

This is an word that should be sticken from the rolls, never discussed. How many women have been traumatized by this notion?

Oxymoron's avatar

@faye – Too many.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

She is a virgin if she believes herself to be – others don’t have a right to tell a rape victim whether or not she is no longer a virgin – they’re using their own definitions, the rape victim doesn’t have to follow them.

filmfann's avatar

If a woman is raped, she is no longer a virgin. He has taken that from her.
I wish there was a kinder way to put this, but that is the sad truth.

odali's avatar

I do not mean to sound insensitive, because I believe rape is deplorable. But no, if a virgin is raped, they are not still a virgin. This act is even more heinous, if there is such a thing, than rape of a women who has had sex already. But one cannot be a virgin just because they refuse to accept that they are not anymore. Where would this stop? If you had drunken sex with 20 guys, but were not emotionally attached to any of them, just because she was not emotionally there doesn’t mean she didn’t still have sex with them. If a woman cheats, and has sex, just because there was no emotional attachment doesnt mean they didnt have sex. I am sorry if this offends anyone but it is my opinion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@filmfann it’s a kind of a subjective truth…it’s all about how a person views the experience – I have known victims to believe themselves to still be virgins because the rape was not how losing their virginity would go for them, by definition and so they still had it

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@odali the sex did happen but the definition of virginity is different for people…it’s just a concept we created with meanings that has changed throughout history
http://www.livestrong.com/article/74531-meaning-virginity/
your example with the person who had sex with 20 men – that was, hopefully, voluntary. Yet, if she were to tell me ‘by my own definition, I’m still a virgin’ I’d ask what her definition is but wouldn’t just say ‘you’re crazy’.

Steve_A's avatar

Being raped is against ones will, and I don’t think it counts as losing your virginity.

Your going to have the one person , who technically calls it as it is.
Your going to have the one person , who feels differently about it.

I understand thats it’s reality and it is what it is, but this is one thing I will disagree with.(I try to be a realist but not in this case.)

odali's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Agreed. It’s different for people, as I said I was just stating my opinion. And, I’ve had a couple ex girlfriends who went through this horrible experience, I’m not saying that I would hold anything against them, but yes, in my eyes, it does affect whether or not they are a virgin, because it is, awful as it is, still sex.

Chikipi's avatar

@casheroo I am sorry it happened to you, but I am happy to see you are a survivor :)
I was raped when I was 12 and this was technically my first sexual experience as well. Although some definitions or opinions see as losing your virginity as any act of penetration, I believe my virginity was lost when I willingly gave it away. My virginity was not lost when it was taken from me. He violated my body, childhood, and sexuality when I was a kid so in no way will I allow my rapist have the “title” of the one who took my virginity. I do not include my rapist as a past sexual partner on the list (except to my gyno when it happened) nor do I give him the satisfaction of being the one who took my virginity.

We as survivors have every right to redefine what it means to lose our virginity. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says, it’s what we believe to be true within ourselves.

liminal's avatar

@odali In my opinion, I think it is a leap to equate rape with consensual, emotionally detached, sex.

beancrisp's avatar

No and anyone who says otherwise is incapable of logical thought processes.

odali's avatar

@liminal well it’s being argued that they werent emotionally attached… this is a sensitive subject and I feel as though I will be offending people if I continue this conversation, so I respectfully bow out.

I want everyone to know that I do not condone this type of behavior at all and am sympathetic toward anyone who has endured this travesty of human cruelty. It is not your fault that it has happened to you, and whoever has done it to you deserves an awful fate. I do, however, feel as though they have taken virginity, which adds another layer of evil to this abomination.

odali's avatar

also on a side note – I am being castrated for my opinion, why ask the question if you only want one answer?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@odali castrated? you are certainly not being castrated…the OP hasn’t told you you were wrong, has she?

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Yes it does, for a woman is technically no longer a virgin after she is raped, since the sexual act was already done. In mind, however, she is still a virgin, since she was unwillingly forced to have sex beyond her will. So symbolically, she is still a virgin, since the emotional commitment and consent were never there when she got raped. I would still consider a girl (who I loved and wanted to marry) a virgin even if she was raped, because to me she is still precious and no one in the world can “penetrate” the special and sublime bond between her and the man she truly loves (me). Our relationship is virginal, which makes her a virgin in my eyes.

filmfann's avatar

Lets say I buy a brand new car, and I treat it well, but it is stolen and gets in an accident.
The car is returned to me. I never had an accident with the car. Has the car been in an accident? Of course it has. Just because it wasn’t my doing doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Rape is a horrible crime, and a rapist steals something from you. You can’t say you didn’t have sex with him, even though you were forced.

liminal's avatar

@filmfann The car has had an accident the owner hasn’t. When a person is raped (regardless of gender) one could argue that only a one sided sex act (the perpetrator’s) has taken place. This isn’t to say that something hasn’t been taken from the victim. It is to say, that maybe, it is up to the victim to decide what (and if) something has been has been taken.

filmfann's avatar

Horseshit.
With that line of thought, a woman can say she is a virgin after having sex with 3 different boyfriends who “guilted” her into it. She really didn’t want to, so it didn’t happen? It did.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@filmfann again, the sex act occurred but whether or not the taking of virginity has is up for debate – you sound hostile, how come? and is there really a need to put quotation marks to that ‘guilted’ because a lot of women are guilted into having sex

liminal's avatar

@filmfann it seems like a leap, to me, to say that agreeing to sex, out of guilt, is the same as rape.

Steve_A's avatar

I think theres the physical and factual side of virginity, and the ideal “virginity” in the case of rape and the person.

I think its far more deeper than just “she was penetrated” losing your virginity, and feeling like you lost your “virginity” are two different things in rape to me.

Not sure if I am making sense, do you see what I am getting at?

You may be correct but I am sure the rape victim does not feel the same.

I guess I am trying to say I believe, personally theres the ideal of virginity (which is open to interpretation) and the physical aspect of it which is fact.

Violet's avatar

Biologically, no. But I think psychologically, she could still consider herself a virgin.

SABOTEUR's avatar

The only problem with forums of this sort is, when you ask questions, you give permission to anyone and everyone to invalidate your perspective.

What difference does it make how anyone else feels about your virginity?

If it matters to you as much as you say, then it’s probably best to keep your “virginity status”...or anything else you feel strongly about…to yourself, and don’t concern yourself with how anyone feels.

HTDC's avatar

There’s too much emphasis on the word “virginity”, people need to get over it. Everyone seems to have a different meaning of it. There’s no universal definition.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

The answers to this question say more about the posters’ definition of virginity than anything else.

Clinical time.

A.) If a man rapes a woman, everyone here is mature enough to agree a penis was inside that woman, correct?

B.) If a man rapes a woman, everyone here is mature enough to realize the woman did not “make love” with that man, nor did she in any sense “give herself” to this man, correct?

vir⋅gin
  /ˈvɜrdʒɪn/ [vur-jin]
–noun
1. a person who has never had sexual intercourse.

(Does rape count as intercourse? Intercourse suggests both parties were actively involved, thus the “inter-”. By this definition, a raped virgin is still a virgin.)

2. an unmarried girl or woman.

(Again, by this definition, a raped virgin is still a virgin.)

3. Ecclesiastical. an unmarried, religious woman, esp. a saint.

(Not really applicable.)

4. the Virgin, Mary, the mother of Christ.

(Not really applicable.)

5. Informal. any person who is uninitiated, uninformed, or the like: He’s still a virgin as far as hard work is concerned.

(I suppose technically by this definition a raped virgin would no longer be a virgin as she was forcefully “introduced” or “initiated” to sex.)

6. a female animal that has never copulated.

( cop⋅u⋅late
./v. ˈkɒpyəˌleɪt; adj. ˈkɒpyəlɪt/.
[v. kop-yuh-leyt; adj. kop-yuh-lit] verb, -lat⋅ed, -lat⋅ing, adjective
verb (used without object)
1. to engage in sexual intercourse.
adjective
2. connected; joined.

By the first definition of copulate, a raped virgin would still be a virgin. By the second definition, it could be argued either way.)

7. an unfertilized insect.

(Not really applicable.)

8. (initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Virgo.

(And, again, not really applicable.)

@HTDC: You posted the above as I was typing all this up. I guess you’re more concise than I am, lol.

HTDC's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Haha sorry about that. :D

ETpro's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Looking up “sexual intercourse, if find:
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract.

Sorry. I know where you want the facts to take you, but that’s just not where they go. A virgin who is raped has technically lost her virginity.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@ETpro: Fair enough. I looked up Virgin and copulated, and I thought that would cover it. I should have looked up intercourse as well, but I didn’t.

Tooshay (If anyone here remembers that post, lol)!

My point still remains that it largely depends on how you define the word virgin. Everyone here is right. Except me, because I gave the wrong definition for intercourse, lol.

-Dan

ETpro's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Everyone who says that how she feels counts more than what the dictionary says.is right, so that gives you all the cover you need for one bad definition. :-)

nikipedia's avatar

I agree that (unfortunately) the way the word “virginity” is used, it does refer exclusively to the physical act of sex. So a woman who has been raped has technically lost her virginity.

That said, it seems to me this is yet another reason not to place any special moral value on virginity.

AnetM's avatar

Medically you are not a virgin, and the emotianal size belongs to yourself fully, you can consider yourself a virgin even after 10 years being married and having children, It’s up to you

wilma's avatar

I don’t consider rape to be sex. It is a violent crime.
If someone wants to say a virgin lost her virginity by being raped, that is up to them.
I don’t consider a rape victim to have lost their virginity.
@casheroo I’m so sorry for what happened to you.

Janka's avatar

I’m going to take a radical stance and say that there is no such thing as “virginity”. It is a completely, purely artificial concept that has no reality outside the heads of people.

If you have been raped, but have not had sex, then no, you have not had sex. If you have been vaginally raped, then yes, you have had a penis in your vagina. Trying to put these two under the same concept of “virginity” serves only to cause hurt and confusion.

@AnetM : there is no such thing as “medically” a virgin. Medicine has exactly nothing to do with it. A doctor is not able to tell if you have had sex, or been penetrated. See e.g. Scarlateen on it

thriftymaid's avatar

Well, it’s not subjective. If one has had intercourse, rape or not, they are no longer a virgin.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@thriftymaid the discussion above disproves your point.

filmfann's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Actually, the discussion doesn’t. It just proves that some people disagree about it.
@liminal Obviously that isn’t what I meant. By your standard, a woman can declare herself a virgin, regardless of sexual history.
I am saying it isn’t a philosphical, mental, or psychological condition. It is a physical condition.
It is a harsh truth, and I am sorry it is hard to accept.

JLeslie's avatar

I think she is still a virgin. That was a weapon/object inside of her during the rape. I am not one to give a crap about a hymen being intact, and tend to be very annoyed with people who do care. I do think it matters for the girl if she is a virgin at the time of the rape though. I think it would be that much more terrifying.

thriftymaid's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir No it doesn’t. What one chooses to think about something doesn’t change the fact.

liminal's avatar

@filmfann i said one could argue that when rape occurs the sexual act (there are those who go so far as to say no sex act has taken place, only violence, which I don’t agree with) is one sided and not mutual. Therefore, the person who has been raped is the one to to ultimately decide how they want to describe or not describe their virginity. You don’t see validity to the argument yet using examples of consensual sex doesn’t invalidate it. One would be better off pointing out a rape scenario that results in pregnancy.

I simply disagree with your assertion that virginity is a physical condition and not a “philosphical, mental, or psychological condition.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@thriftymaid sure it does..when it comes to social constructs

hazelhemorrhage's avatar

@janka Thanks for your answer. Finally, something that makes complete sense.

Janka's avatar

Thank you.

beancrisp's avatar

The people that say yes = low intelligence.
The people that say no = high intelligence.

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