Sunday, October 9, 2011

you didn't look so good and you didn't feel so well...

I didn't drink all the way through my college years, except for the occasional post-work glass of wine over dinner and the Big Lebowski with Tegan, due to watching countless freshmen girls in my dorm go out for their first weekend away from their parents' house and then stumbling home at 3am half dressed and wasted. There were certain weekends where I would walk through downtown late at night past the bars and house parties, subcultural androgynous in a hoodie pulled up, bandanna over my hair and leather jacket that gave my skinny frame some bulk, and see from a distance the combination of girls dressing to impress, male piggery and alcohol and know that this could only end badly for those involved.

I remember being out with some people who lived down the street from me shortly after I moved onto that street in Kent and got locked out of my apartment. He was in my English class the previous semester and we got along well but there was pressure on me that raised the mental red flag, and when we were all sitting around and they started trying to get ahold of their dealer, after he kept pouring me glass after glass of cheap red wine that I kept leaving behind the endtable when he wasn't looking, I slipped out, hoping my landlord left the key under the mat (he did) and figuring that if he didn't I'd find another place to crash because I knew that where I was wasn't safe.

Knowing that date rape or something like it happened to someone you love is even worse, and every time this has happened, it's hit even closer to home. I know that this isn't preventable, that the strong have often taken advantage of the weak, that people make bad decisions every day that lead to things they never thought would happen to them. I wish I could shake the girls I know and scream "what the hell are you doing?" and inflict some serious injury on the male species that somehow feel entitled to take what someone's not willing to give when in sound mind. I know that isn't the answer. I wish I had one.


Randal Graves said...

Educate this, educate that, words home & abroad, it's their fault, no, it's theirs, and still.

I don't know if there is an answer.

Anonymous said...

this always make me so ill, got to the point back in the day when i couldn't stand to got to parties/bars anymore and was part of my support for straightedge esp. young betties who hung around in their various stages of neediness. keep the ones you love close and an eye on anyone else who might listen.

Flo said...

I actually think the answers to the problem of the rape epidemic are pretty clear. It's just that the actions we need to take are challenging and will lose you friends.

1) Accept that young women, like young men, are going to drink, party, pursue sex, and hang around men. Instead of encouraging them not to do so, which is both unrealistic and unfair, teach them those contexts do not make them fair game for someone forcing sexual contact on them. That way when a rape happens, we can name it and get help for the fallout, instead of being in denial and living in silence with ptsd.

2) When someone describes a "oh, I don't know if it was rape, she was drunk, we weren't in that room" situation, cut out the bullshit and call it rape. Shun the person who raped. They very probably will never get punished by our legal system, but we can create other punishments and show the predators we're watching them and there are consequences for their actions, no matter how "gray" the rape they commit appears.

3) Show no tolerance for non-raping guys (who are the vast majority) making comments and jokes that trivialize sex being forced on someone. YELL. Make it clear that when they do that predators are taking it as tacit permission to keep harming people. Yelling might not change someone's mind, but it will make them think twice before they make a joke again. And keeping those jokes from infecting the atmosphere is important.

We'll never get rid of psychopaths, but we can contain the harm they do by refusing to enable them. But if we're going to change the culture away from one that enables rapists, we have to be ok with being really unpopular.

And Anonymous, I recognize your heart is in the right place, but I was raped at 19 and my neediness had nothing to do with it. The guy who raped me's lack of empathy was the character flaw that created that situation.

thatgirl said...

People suck and do terrible things to each other when they can get away with it.

There's only so much one can do, and I do what I can.

Welcome to my corner of the Internets. It was nice to meet you yesterday. Thanks for your words of insight. There's details of the situation (I probably spilled the beans a bit much on here as it is) that I'd rather say over an email or a cup of coffee than on the Internet, but I'm with you on this.

Flo said...

I actually would really like to get a cup of coffee. I wanted first blog contact to be a lot less intense, but man, do I just GO when rape comes up.

Flo said...

I actually would really like to get a cup of coffee. I wanted first blog contact to be a lot less intense, but man, do I just GO when rape comes up. It's like I blackout and when I wake up I've written a thesis.