I’d been drinking. I was crashing with an acquaintance during the gap between ending one lease and beginning another. That evening, we’d spent hours sipping martinis and gabbing at the bar. Exboyfriends. New York. Travel. Other Things. Having met her via a friend, I didn’t know her well. So, we had those conversations where you think: Oh, we’re such casual friends that I almost forgot I barely know you. I’m thin, she not. Two beers and I’m done. She drinks rum. At night’s end, back at her place, she gave me a cocktail. I was on the edge of passing out on her couch when she approached and slipped her hands under my shirt and against my bare breast. I sat to a sharply to a spinning room, prepared to stand and confront her. Frightened, she jumped back. Physically immobilized by inebriation, I angrily glared at her. Her quick explanation as she avoided eye contact and looked at the wall? “I was just tucking you in.” She’s in her 40s. I’m in my 30s. The next morning, I told the friend who introduced us — and many other friends who’d met her — what happened. They responded: “She’s fucking psycho.” “What a weirdo.” “Who does that?” “She’s crazy.” I think the fact she’s a woman blurred the context. If had happened with a guy, friends would have condemned the person more harshly. Imagine: I’m crashing with a dude I barely know. When I get drunk and nearly pass out on his couch after he gives me a cocktail, he touches my breasts. Even I was caught off guard by gender; had it been a man, I would have talked sexual assault. (Should a woman ever attempt again, I will.)
I’m very interested in stories about sex and consent because Americans are shitawful at talking about sex like fucking grownups. I’ve heard the consequences of this tumble from friends’ lips — women AND MEN — who tell me they’ve been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by someone they trusted. I’d never violate their trust by sharing their stories here or elsewhere. When I’m dead, their confessed secrets will accompany me in the casket. If you want public stories about the assaulted and assaulters, read this:
Anonymous’ faulty logic isn’t only that he’s a rapist, it’s also that he care to understand and/or admit his victims are the actual victims, not him. Explaining his actions, he asks, “Do people who’ve been in car accidents give up driving?” A better analogy for him might be: If I was a drunk driver who committed vehicular manslaughter, would I stop driving drunk? Possibly he wouldn’t, but that doesn’t absolve him of his crimes. Nor, does it make him a victim.
This is Why We Published a Rapist’s Story by Joanna Schroeder for The Good Men Project
“In my piece, ‘Why It’s Dangerous to Say Only Bad Guys Commit Rape,’ I talk about how ‘No Means No’ consent education doesn’t work […] As long as we continue looking at people who commit rape through this black and white lens of ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ we won’t be able to see how close many of us are to becoming victims … or even rapists.”
While I don’t see eye to eye with Joanna on everything, I couldn’t agree more with her about the good/bad dichotomy. Clearly, these things can be the same; ask Jerry Sandusky, found guilty of 45 counts against him and currently imprisoned. It’s possible to be a good — even beloved — football coach AND a child molester.
Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too by Alyssa Royse (of The Good Men Project) for XO Jane.
“I am used to getting the call in which a reluctant voice says, ‘I was raped.’ […] However, I was not used to getting the call in which a dear friend of mine says, ‘I am being accused of rape.’ And I was certainly not used to saying, ‘Did you do it?'”
We have to stop pretending people who perpetrate crimes are victims. We need to avoid blaming the actual victims — even if, for example, they’re drunk. And, we also have to quit letting criminals off the hook by pretending nice people don’t do awful things. In sentencing Sandusky, presiding Senior Judge John Cleland stated: “It is the remarkable ability to conceal that makes these crimes so heinous.”
I do hope you read the stories above; it’s only in making the hidden bare that we begin protecting all women and men from sexual assault.