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Amy Schumer combats myths of sexual assault as she opens up about her teenage rapist

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Kayleigh Dray
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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Amy Schumer attend the New York premiere of 'Paint it Black' at the Museum of Modern Art on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Amy Schumer has discussed being sexually assaulted by her boyfriend when she was a teenager.     

There are many misconceptions about sexual assault – one of the most common of which is the idea that the perpetrator is usually a stranger. While this can be the case, according to Rape Crisis England and Wales, approximately 90% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

Perpetrators of the latter might be a date, a classmate, a neighbour, a friend’s significant other. The list is endless and no matter the relationship to the attacker or previous sexual history, sexual assault is sexual assault.

Now, Amy Schumer has made that point loud and clear by talking of her own experience of assault by someone she knew.

Sitting down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her show Super Soul Conversations, Schumer, said: “When we hear about rape when we’re children, and we’re being warned about it, it’s about a guy popping out from a bush… and some villain. They don’t say it’s probably gonna be a guy you know really well.”

The actress continued: “It could be your husband. It could be your friend. And so you think, when that happens you, you say, ‘OK, this isn’t someone I want to see rotting in a jail cell, but what he did to me was wrong, and I didn’t consent.’ And for me, I lost my virginity while I was asleep. And that’s not OK.”

Going on to address her sexual assault in more detail, Schumer confirmed that her assailant was her then-boyfriend — and that she felt it was her duty to comfort and reassure him after he realised what he had done.

“The first thing he said was, ‘I thought you knew,’” she recalled. “I didn’t say anything yet, and he says, ‘I thought you knew.’

“I loved him, and I had to comfort him. I also felt really angry… it’s like a rage that has stayed with me. I don’t think you lose that. You know, as women we’re really trained not to get angry because that makes people dismiss you right away. There’s sort of no place for that anger. But I felt I wanted to comfort him because he felt so bad and he was so worried. And I just tried to push my anger down.”

Schumer says she and her boyfriend eventually started having consensual sex, but added: “I personally feel like I lost my virginity through rape. I didn’t consent. We hadn’t discussed it. We weren’t there in our relationship. We weren’t at that moment. And we talked about things.”

Of course, this is not the first time that the comedian has publicly addressed what happened to her: she initially began telling the story about the assault — which she called “grape” or “grey area rape” — in her stand-up routine in order to “make people laugh while they learned.”

She explained to Oprah: “So, in my standup I would say, ‘If she’s asleep, that’s a no.’ Just hoping that a couple guys would see that and it would be met in that moment, like, ‘This is a no. I heard that somewhere.’”

Schumer’s story is a stark reminder that a relationship is not consent – and many have praised her for using her platform to make people more aware of intimate partner rape.

Rape Crisis England and Wales explains: “Only around 10% of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men, and often by someone who the survivor has previously trusted or even loved.

“People are raped in their homes, their workplaces and other settings where they have previously felt safe. Rapists can be friends, colleagues, clients, neighbours, family members, partners or exes.

“Risk of rape shouldn’t be used as an excuse to control women’s movements and restrict their rights and freedom.”

If you would like more information or support, visit Rape Crisis UK – or, alternatively, call 0808 802 9999 (usual opening times are noon–2.30pm and 7–9.30pm any day of the year and also between 3 - 5.30pm on weekdays).

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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