Is Bristol Palin’s book the story of a rape?

Is Bristol Palin’s new memoir the story of a rape survivor speaking out?

By Jessica Valenti

It can be hard to take Bristol Palin seriously. The young mother turned reality TV star is a bundle of contradictions — or hypocrisies, depending on whom you talk to.

She was paid more than $300,000 to be an abstinence spokesperson for the Candie’s Foundation, but she has said that abstaining from sex is “not realistic” for all teens. She has framed herself as an average hard-working teen mom, but she has jumped at seemingly every publicity opportunity that’s come her way, be it selling her engagement story to Us Weekly, shimmying on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” or getting plastic surgery (excuse me — “corrective” surgery) a la former reality star Heidi Montag. Just this past week, Palin even filed to trademark her name.

Does Palin want to be a spokesperson, a brand or just a celebrity? It’s not clear. But in her latest stint, as an author, she may be unwittingly stepping into a much more serious role: that of a rape survivor speaking out.

While Palin does not accuse former boyfriend Levi Johnston of rape in “Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far,” her account of the night she lost her virginity certainly sounds nonconsensual. Palin writes that she got so drunk on wine coolers provided by Johnston during a camping trip with friends that she has no recollection of having sex. Afterward, she was distraught.

“Levi wasn’t even there to help me process — or even confirm — my greatly feared suspicions,” she writes. “Instead of waking up in his arms . . . I awakened in a cold tent alone.” Palin realized that she had lost her virginity only after a friend told her what happened.

She doesn’t use the word “rape” anywhere in her book, but what she describes seems to be just that.

She writes that she felt her virginity had been “stolen” and that she “tried not to vomit” when she found out what happened.

Palin describes being devastated as she confronted Johnston: “ ‘You knew I didn’t want to have sex until I was married!’ I whispered. ‘How could you?’ ” She also writes that Johnston apologized.

If Palin’s story is accurate, then what she appears to be describing is a nonconsensual — and likely illegal — assault. She doesn’t say whether she was unconscious, too incapacitated to give consent or just unable to remember what happened the next morning. But, by the account she gives, what took place in the woods near Wasilla that night sounds a lot like what Alaska rape law defines as sexual assault in the second degree, when the “offender engages in sexual penetration with a person who the offender knows is . . . incapacitated or unaware that a sexual act is being committed.”

Erin Patterson, lead advocatefor Alaska’s organization Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), says cases similar to what Palin describes have been brought under that law. (Though without witnesses or confessions, like most rape cases, this one would be difficult to prove.)

Johnston’s lawyer, Rex Butler, told the Alaska Dispatch that Palin’s story was “obviously not true.” Johnston will be telling his own story in a memoir, “Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs,” due out this fall.

A fool’s mouth is their ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)


46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brbr2424
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:35:38

    I’m confused by your last sentence. Did Bristol have good character and was she corruped by the bad company of Levi. Or did Levi have good character and was he corrupted by the company of Bristol?


    • Syrin
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:42:25

      Oh, don’t be confused.. I’ve been adding to each story a scripture. Rape is a heavy claim.. So is saying you’re a Christian. This young lady has personal responsibility and self control issues. Yes, It works both ways.. My second scripture also applies in both cases. Levi has a book coming out. Let’s see how appropriate that will be concerning his relationship with the Palins or if it’s just about teen sex and love.


      • brbr2424
        Jun 26, 2011 @ 17:52:41

        Ok, I thought you were saying Bristol had good character that was corrupted by Levi which is the main theme of her book. Both Sarah and Bristol have become multi millionaires on their claims to be Christians. If you read the 5 star reviews on Amazon there are paying customers who don’t question a word of what Bristol’s ghostwriter has written solely because Bristol is Christian. Many believe that Bristol has set a good example for teens and the book is appropriate for teens to read. Surely there are better books for teens to read. The problematic issue of the rape described, and Bristol blaming herself for the rape is reason alone to look elsewhere for a book for one’s teen.

        Hopefully Bristol’s attack on her child’s father has forced Levi’s hand and he will shed some light on whether Bristol was really the sweet young corrupted thing she describes. The cover design of his book is amateur and I fear he is no match for the Palin machine.

  2. hockeynana
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:40:26

    It would be kind of interesting if they were to prosecute Levi..then they would get to call all those other kids who surely know the truth about Bristol drinking/drugs/sex activities. I know better than to think that it would do any good for them to call Bristol, as she proved in that trial in Tennessee that she lies under oath.

    I have never figured out how the Palin family gets away with blatantly breaking laws like that. She told outright lies on the stand..lies that were easily proven, yet nothing was done. Her parents ignored subpoenas and nothing was done. Seems like they are treated by a totally different standard than the rest of us.


    • Syrin
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:53:51

      Different standard, indeed! Let’s think about redefining a few over used terms. Who does this remind you of?

      A person who holds him or herself to higher standards than those of lesser beings because he or she is naturally more honorable, intelligent, funny, good-looking, and awesome than the rest. Elitists are usually well-groomed and well-dressed, although this is a not one of their defining qualities. Also, elitists have the right to look down upon others but often don’t for the sake of saving the time and effort needed to criticize those of lesser abilities.

      Elitists exercise often and eat healthily to keep their bodies fit and desirable-looking.


  3. jadez
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:48:05

    its amazing that anyone could suspect that anything a palin says is related to truth.

    just look at this girls actions with levi for the 2 years or so after this event she describes and tell me how you would conclude what she says has any truth to it.

    for some unknown reason palin and her daughter continue to attack levi who i admit seems weak and less than bright.

    and what is most telling to me is palin has a long history of accusing men of wanting to “rape” or somehow sexually attack her kids.
    she finally has found the means to project that weird fantasy of hers onto someone and obviously is using this book to do so.

    palin like her sister and like THEIR mother all were pregnant before marriage.

    is this an attempt to remove HER own guilt by projecting this onto her daughter?


    • mar
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:32:43

      Why do the Palins who have Trashy ways are never responsible for their actions of trash,lies and lack of moral judgement.
      I knew that Palin wasn’t called for jury duty. ANOTHER LIE.How can people think the PALINS are good Christians? This is why people are turning away from “organized religion”


      • Syrin
        Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:49:31

        There will be a book coming out sometime next year by a professor of theology who will talk a bit about my thoughts on why I believe that Sarah Palin plays a role in the apostasy ..The great falling away from faith..

        Question: “If our salvation is eternally secure, why does the Bible warn so strongly against apostasy?”

        Answer: The reason the Bible warns us so strongly against apostasy is that true conversion is measured by visible fruit. Jesus warned those who were listening to Him while He was giving the Sermon on the Mount that every tree can be known by its fruit (Matthew 7:16) and that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19).

        The purpose behind these warnings is to counter what some people would call “easy-faith.” In other words, following Jesus is more than saying you are a Christian. Anyone can claim Christ as Savior, but those who are truly saved will bear visible fruit.
        I’ve spoke of this rotten fruit that one, Sarah PAlin has left in her wake on all levels in all areas of her life. This was the first sign that she was a fraud, not who she claims to be. As I’ve said continually actions speak louder and mean more than words…

  4. MurkyWaters®
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:51:36

    Somehow, lessening Bristol’s responsibility in all this gives her the Palin Family Pass to blame everyone else for whatever “bad” happens in their lives. I’m kind of tired of it, and you are responsible for your actions, always. She went camping with a guy. She drank too much. She slept in the same tent with a guy. She drank too much. She wakes up not knowing what happened. Because she drank too much.
    I was a teenager. I was in provocative situations. And I was responsible for those situations. Why do people not expect The Palins to be responsible for their trashy actions.


    • Syrin
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 15:57:34

      Thanks for your comments.. I’ve been asking those same ‘hateful and hurtful’ questions for a while now! Why do people not expect The Palins to be responsible for their trashy actions.


  5. Bristol's Old Chin
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:28:25

    I’m really disgusted at how the MSM is seizing on this “Bristol Palin, rape survivor!” theme. Come on, MSM. If this story had ever seen the light of day before and had even a fraction of truth, the Palins would have given Levi the Trooper Wooten treatment. And outing Bristol as a “rape survivor who chose to have the baby” would have gotten Sarah even more cred with the right-wing anti-abortion crowd than the “teenager who made a mistake but will marry the baby daddy” narrative. You can’t tell me Sarah didn’t want to expose Bristol to more scrutiny, pain, etc–when has she ever tried to avoid exposing any of her children to anything negative? I mean really tried, as opposed to flinging rape and pervert accusations at every male who annoys her.


  6. avahome
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:31:05

    The only person you can control is yourself. That said, when you put yourself in situations and lose control of your wits…it’s on you.

    Maybe Bristol wants to be the next Monica Lewinsky……


  7. freshwatersnark
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:40:52

    It is an understatement to say “it can be hard to take Bristol Palin seriously.” In the past it could be hard. Now it is impossible.



    • Syrin
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 17:20:13

      Hi Kev…
      I’ve tried to keep my distance from the ‘children’ in spite of what Sarah has claimed. But, this memoir is a ‘open book’ into her unbalanced and inappropriate behavior in her private life. Frankly, it’s TMI for me! These people invite the intrusion as they say No, No.


      • moles
        Jun 25, 2011 @ 20:13:33

        How can you possibly “keep your distance” from anything Palin when the whole toxic tribe never stop jumping up and down screaming “LOOK AT ME!!!”? I wouldn’t believe a word any of them said if they swore it on a stack of Bibles, Torahs and Korans. They couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it.

      • Joyce
        Jun 26, 2011 @ 02:37:21

        Palin pimps out her kids, then she bitches when something happens.

        Did Snooki Palin say that she hadn’t drank before that “starryl” night with Levi in the tent? Then what about all those photos that popped up everywhere when Mamma Bare was running for VP, (then they seemed to disappear all of a sudden) where it shows Bristol at parties drinking, and all the facebook posts about drinking and drugs? Did all of that happen after her “starry” night with Levi? Or did all of that happen while she was pregnant? These palin girls have to learn how to read and remember what they lie about. They babble so much in magazine articles, TV/radio interviews, on line and in their e-mails, that their printed word seem to be coming back and biting them in their butts. If they told the truth, they wouldn’t have the problems they have today, with not remember what they lied about in the past.

      • Kate
        Jun 26, 2011 @ 16:47:41

        While I admire those who do not speak of or write about the minor Palin children, Bristol is an adult, wants to be treated as one and is going to have to accept the consequences of her behavior. She’s the one who has attacked the father of her son in public repeatedly and yet I really do not believe that Levi has retaliated against her in the same manner. Yes, he’s gone after Sarah but only after the family attacked him after Tripp was born and I think it also might have been due to him believing $arah was responsible for having his mother arrested.
        What better reason for her to encourage her daughter to break up with the father of her child than to talk about the alleged damage his family would do to their reputation or the possible “danger” of having Levi’s mother around her grandson.
        While I don’t believe there was any danger and believe it was blown out of proportion, $arah would definitely take advantage of the situation and use it against them. For God’s sake, she was looking for info on a preacher she had once admired, hoping to find a record of him as a pedophile simply because he was angry with her for not keeping her word and agreeing to appear at a fundraiser they were having. The Palin’s are vindictive, nasty and spiteful people and yet they just can’t understand why the people they go after are prepared to retaliate or that others will use the same tactics against them. Instead, they immaturely call them “haters” and then we have Bristol on national TV talking about giving the “big middle finger to all those who don’t like her or her mother”. How embarrassing! She wants to play with the big boys and dish it out, she’s going to have to learn to deal with it in return or else STFU just like $arah!

  8. Ivyfree
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:43:27

    Oh, I think if it happened that way it was definitely rape…. date rape. I think Levi has a shot at a libel suit because of this book.

    However, I doubt if Bristol could tell the truth if her life depended on it. She’s spent her entire life at the foot of the master liar. So I don’t think it happened that way.

    However, since she brought the subject up, I think it’s fair for Levi to tell his side of the story. I hope he does. In spades.


    • Syrin
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:56:58

      Hello.. Ohhh what a great idea! Do you think his attorney Rex has enough intelligence to take a shot at a libel suit? As I said rape is a heavy accusation to level against someone who’s your baby daddy and engaged too. Sorry world.. Wasilla the New Peyton Place


      • Elizabeth
        Jun 25, 2011 @ 21:55:13

        I still half believe Rex is really working for the Palins. His actions seem to indicate it. What was that ridiculous statement he just made on Levi’s behalf?

      • brbr2424
        Jun 26, 2011 @ 18:03:09

        What is up with Levi’s legal representation. How was Bristol able to leave the state with their child? That is unheard of in most states. Does Alaska family law favor the mother to a degree unheard of anywhere else? Is there not a lawyer in Alaska willing to take on the poor sap pro bono.

  9. Rosa
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:44:56

    It’s a plan to shut Levi up. Her word against his, and what if the kids there speak ill of Levi because Bristol’s mom has more power to do good and bad things?


  10. mar
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:45:42

    I still believe that Tripp isn’t Bristols or Levi’s baby. Oh Bristol had 1 or 2 pregnancies herself but that’s another story.


  11. akbagirly
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 16:55:03

    Do people who get drunk for the “very first time” really drink so much that they completely black out?

    That part seems pretty unusual to me.


    • Raven Woman
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 19:28:13

      Yes, I work with teens who get in trouble for minor consuming , some are already primed to have problems with alcohol. Blackout drinking is not unusual and most teens actually believe it to be normal.


    • Bristol's Old Chin
      Jun 26, 2011 @ 13:12:18

      I did. But I set out to get drunk (long story) and didn’t know what I was doing. So I had a couple of beers, followed by three or four shots of whiskey, all in the space of about 45 minutes. I was SICK for days, too.

      I can’t imagine how many wine coolers it would take, or how quickly you’d have to drink them, to reach blackout level, though.


      • brbr2424
        Jun 26, 2011 @ 18:08:27

        If she drank enough wine coolers to blackout she would have spent most of the night outside of the tent taking a pee.

  12. NJfan
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 18:55:19

    “She writes that she felt her virginity had been “stolen” and that she “tried not to vomit” when she found out what happened.”

    Of course she felt like vomiting after drinking too many wine coolers that she blacked out….what a bunch of bull crap. Mother and Daughter are the worst liars ever! What idiots!


  13. Raven Woman
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 19:23:50

    Cannot believe that B can write a book that has the common story (theme) of getting drunk and losing virginity, as a teen. Hate to say it , but many of us as young woman in Alaska know this story too well. I’d venture to guess this applies across the country. I hope it was worth it to her for putting it our there for money. As a healthy and mature parent I would have advised her from publishing it. Sounds like a teen diary entry.


  14. MeMaw
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 19:26:01

    Well, well, well, what a story….I would not be surprised that Bristol was drunk the first time she had sex and that experience may have been against her will…but I realy doubt that Levi was her “first” or that the experience was “forced”. It is my impression that this may be the only way Bristol knows how to get “affection” , feel appreciated, or even feel loved …. perhaps she is the typical sexually abused person that has been taught to equate intercourse with love and affection. And has also been taught/learned that one must be drunk/stoned or otherwise numbed to get to that place.


  15. newmeximan
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 19:48:56

    Since the majority of the ‘book’ was ghost written, and Bristol has clearly ‘recollected’ several events that happened to her mother and not to her, this should be treated as a work of fiction.

    From the moment that Bristol lied to her parents where she was going that fateful night, and who she would be accompanied by – she was complicit. She could claim diminished capacity in court if sued, but her defense would have to prove that she blacked out, and she can not prove that. In fact, unless the people she went camping with were in the same tent, all they heard was the sounds of two people in a sex act. And we all know that anyone can make the sounds without actually participating in the act.

    See “When Harry Met Sally” for an example.


  16. Sarah HalfTime
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 19:58:32

    Invite to go Camping=Tent=Booze=Boys & Girls=Hormones
    You do the math.

    My girl, at the same age, announced she wanted to go on a camp out and their would be boys… She asked to go and about “needing a birth control situation…”, whereby I instantly called in my sister, who spent a wonderful weekend explaining a little more than just the birds and bees to my girl.
    I was thankful for my sisters wise words on good and bad choices.

    Do the math folks, it ain’t that difficult to figure out how to send your kids out there with knowledge. In peticular if your kids is already on the pill.


  17. climber357
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 20:58:36

    Bristol and her mother come across as weak and insecure, because both are unable to draw strength and joy from their faith.

    Both tell themselves they must be winning in the game of life because of all the money they are making. Well, newsflash time: Drug dealers and other criminals the world over are beating them in the money game. That is the only game criminals play, because our game is too hard for them. Money is not enough. Education, happiness, and money are our basic yardsticks of success.

    There are no shortcuts to success. None.


  18. Pep
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 20:59:16

    Sorry, as an adult female who drank as a teen and who did not give up my virginity until age 19 while unwed and Christian, I have to call BS.

    Granted, Bristol was probably dumbed down by her parents to “obey” the walk, and they in turn believed she would “never” betray that trust……both parties, in Bristol’s own words, are unrealistic! Young teens have raving hormones, sex can and does happen, especially without sex education.

    Another thing, why oh why, if Bristol felt guilt over “lying to her parents and shamed over how she lost her virginity”, did she go on to have sex again and again and again…….there is something not right with that picture.

    Nope, what I think we have here is Bristol trying to repaint her history, all in order to protect whatever “brand” will come with her “name” in the future.

    Sorry, I do not like not believing a fellow female, but this just does not ring true. Perhaps a lie detector test.


  19. Elizabeth
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:06:05

    Thank you for mentioning the fruits. Since Sarah proclaims she is such a strong Christian we need to start holding her to the standards she claims to hold. Galatians: 5: 16-26 should be quoted to her again and again.


    • Pep
      Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:32:10

      Sorry to hold Bristol’s feet to the fire, but where is her biblical fruit??? An unplanned teenage pregnancy? Admitting lying to her parents and going against her own supposed Christian convictions? Which then bore a child, out of wedlock and against what she was taught and believed. She then takes a nasty public hate meme against the father of her child who she willingly had sex outside of marriage, who then also goes on to “prosper” off of said premarital sex, teen motherhood, giving “talks” on “whatever” that promotes a sex driven Candies industry.

      Seriously, WHERE is Bristol’s Christian fruit??? It’s not there, does she tithe or give to any charity from this weird and strangely ill gained wealth? I don’t see good fruit, I see ill gotten gains and rotten spoiled fruit.


  20. nswfm
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 00:04:12

    See, I read the excerpt and thought she went with the INTENTION of getting drunk so she COULD lose her virginity. If the story is even true. She already admitted to lying to her parents. Why should we believe her “memoir” or should this crap book be in the fiction section?


  21. anon
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 03:21:21

    If Bristol doesn”t remember, how does she know she had sex with just Levi? It could have been “any of them, all of them”.


  22. freshwatersnark
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 20:36:54

    IMHO, it would be very stupid for Levi to sue Bristol for defamation. Yes, Bristol in effect accused him of rape. Rape is a very serious crime, and I assume that under Alaska law (I am not an AK lawyer), Levi would not have to show monetary loss in order to sue. But he would still have the burden of proof, a lawsuit is expensive, he would have a chance of losing, and it is unlikely that if he won a jury would award him enough money to make it worthwhile.

    On the other hand, Bristol’s tell-all has destroyed whatever was left of her reputation for basic decency (her reputation for chastity was destroyed no later than the RNC), with no assistance from Levi. Yes, a drunk woman who crawls into a man’s tent and passes out can’t give legally effective consent to intercourse, but she can’t claim moral standards or self-control, either. It’s very hard to believe that Bristol was a naive young virgin with no notion of the effects of alcohol or the desires of a young man (and young woman!), while it is very easy to believe she is trying to avoid responsibility by blaming Levi for their mutual lapse. But Adam didn’t get away with blaming his partner, and neither will she. Forgive the coarse language, but if Bristol has publicly proclaimed herself a slut, why should Levi assume the burden of proving himself a gentleman?


  23. amberbug
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 11:34:08

    It’s immoral to get drunk? And calling her a slut (like you’re the sex police)? And yet she hasn’t even accused him of rape, people. I don’t know how Bristol’s political connections somehow make her less credible. None of you know what happened, you’re just hating on her because she’s a Palin. A republican. Republicans can get raped too. Yes she’s hypocritical at times, but that doesn’t mean she’s lying.


  24. Syrin
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 12:04:33

    I kinda do know. I know the boys she was with before Levi… I know the guys she was with after she and Levi (her possible rapist and father of her child) broke up. Wait, they were going to get married. Remember that Levi had FREE access to Bristol in Todd and Sarah own home..The facts are that Bristol is classless and vindictive. Kiss and tell is unbecoming!
    Levi has Bristols name tattooed on his wedding finger, for God’s sake you don’t have to DEFEND the dysfunctional behavior of the Palin’s, there is NO defense! Palin’s of Wasilla- The Town Liars!


  25. Hockeynanz
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 12:48:01

    YES Amber when you are 15 and lying to your parents to sneak out to spend the night with a boy and drink so much you ” pass out”. ( I doubt that part of the story) it is definitely IMMORAL, no matter how you look at it. The fact that you defend or condone such a pathetic lie says a lot about you too

    Everything about Bristol Palin sheiks “slut”.


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