I put this title in caps because this is about to get real, people. Usually I don’t take on any social shit here, but this is too important. You need to watch this video, now. It has a bit of language, but she is 100% FUCKING RIGHT. Nobody deserves this shit and it’s way past time it stopped. Guys, stop it. Tell your friends to stop it. Tell your sons. Tell your brothers. Tell your sister not to slut-shame. Tell your mothers and your fathers. Tell everybody. This could be your daughter, sister, mother, friend, cousin, wife, girlfriend. It’s all of us, and we are SICK OF IT.
I’m speaking not only as a woman, but as a victim of acquaintance rape. It happened in college, when I was hanging out with a fellow student who lived in the same apartment complex. We had a sandwich and a beer and then a little kissing happened. I didn’t want to go any further, and he MADE ME. He held me down, pulled my jeans down, and did it.
Why didn’t I scream? Or fight?
You know what panic and/or fear can do to you? It freezes you in place, like an Arctic blast freezes a mammoth. It’s such an oh-my-god-what-the-fuck-is-happening moment that you literally cannot move.
I got up, pulled my jeans up, grabbed my purse, and ran. Ran out the door, down the stairs, and across the parking lot to my building. I remember the light over the door blurry through my tears, and then I don’t remember anything.
I blocked it out. For an entire year.
I finally told my best friend C., one weekend when I was visiting home, during a sleepover. She had this huge bedroom, with a scratchy carpet, and we often sat on it in front of her stereo making mix tapes (shut up). I told her right there, on the floor, while staring at the paneled wall.
I remember her shock, her incredulity. What I don’t remember is being judged. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I felt safe there with her. I felt safe with her when she came to visit me at school, and we were at Long John Silver’s, and it was crowded, and to get to the only empty booth, we had to walk right past the one where my rapist was sitting, big as life. I remember the panic that came rushing back, my trembling hands that could barely set my food down before I dropped it. She wanted to kill him. I told her no, it was useless. He wasn’t worth it.
For years after that, I had flashbacks. If I was with a guy, and he got on top of me without me in control, if I didn’t pull him down or he didn’t warn me, that same panic would flood back. I can’t stand being restrained.
God I can barely type this; my hands are shaking just thinking about it.
Men, EVERY woman or girl should feel safe with you. If she doesn’t, you failed. You failed not at being a man, but at being a human being. Because the second you make a woman (or anyone) feel afraid of you because of your behavior, you cease to be human to us. We stop seeing men. We only see threats, animals. Monsters. Anyone who victimizes someone else–men, women, teens, children or pets–becomes a monster.
Look in the mirror. Are you a monster?
You are if:
- You think someone deserves to be raped because of what she is wearing.
- You think she asks for violence because she is walking late at night.
- You think ANYONE asks to be victimized.
- You bully people who are different from you, in race, creed, sexual orientation, etc.
- You make jokes about raping someone because you think they’re hot (women hate this, you idiot).
- You excuse other people who act this way, or keep silent when your tongue could save someone’s life.
Women, you need to stop slut-shaming. We can’t afford not to help each other. We need to keep speaking, step in when another woman is being abused or threatened, step in, step up, call the police, FIGHT. Fight this madness. Hunt it down and kill it. It’s our world too. Good, thoughtful, kind men…I know you’re out there. Won’t you join us?
I want to get married (to a man; I don’t hate men. Far from it.) someday soon, and have a baby while I still can. If it’s a girl, I want her to grow up in a world where she can feel proud of who she is, proud to be a woman and safe at least most of the time. I hope for every woman who survived this horror, and for those who have yet to do so, that they find compassion and understanding, and that it comes as much from the men in her life too. That’s all any living, breathing human deserves.
Don’t be a monster. Be a monster hunter instead.