Rape culture is alive and well

After the Stanford rape trial sentencing, the interwebs were a buzz with commentary. I read a lot of articles and may have gotten into a disagreement or two with individuals who said things like the problem is girls getting drunk and regretting their decisions and then crying rape, or that girls need to make smarter decisions. Things of that nature tend to piss me off. Anywho, I had my own experience this weekend and I just keep thinking about it so I thought I should share. Probably any idiot that thinks it’s common place for a woman to “cry rape” after making a regrettable choice (you know instead of a rape ACTUALLY occurring), isn’t going to see things any differently but either way these conversations need to keep happening.

Let me paint you a picture. It’s hot as hell outside. I mean like probably close to 100 degrees. We went to AthFest with the kids and then the hubs took them home and I stayed out with friends. I was looking GOOD. My hair was pulled into a tousled, tangled mess of a ponytail after I began pouring sweat earlier and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had on a blue, sleeveless top from Target and some baggy grey cropped pants from Sam’s Club. We had a few drinks at one bar and then went to a gay bar down the street. We hung out there for a little longer and decided we wanted to dance. There were 3 girls and 2 guys. We stopped off to get some cookies on the way to find some dancing.

It was late, sometime after midnight. Honestly, I stopped looking at the time. It was past my bedtime. I decided to focus on the fun having and ignore the fact that my kids were going to wake me up at the crack of dawn. We arrive at another bar and walk up the stairs. It’s pretty crowded. We make our way over to an open corner and form a circle and start to dance. Not more than 30 minutes, best guess here, and I realize I’m being touched. I turn to see a guy walk away after he put his hand on the lower part of one side of my back and rubbed it all the way across grazing my ass. As I search the crowd to see where this asshat went, what I assume were his two buddies since it seemed like a coordinated attack, each one after the other aggressively walked by while grabbing my ass and managing to get a hand a little bit further if you know what I mean. I felt like I had been slapped in the face, it was like a jolt of lightning. I was shocked and told my friends what had happened. The two guys had disappeared into the crowd. Only a few minutes later I feel something on my ass again, I whip around and some dude in a polo shirt has his ass forcibly on mine while gyrating. My male friend realized what was happening and gave him the what for and shooed him off. He left pretty quickly. Another few minutes later and another polo wearing douche throws his arms around two of us and starts aggressively getting in our business. This time it took two of the group telling him to piss off. Then we left.

Maybe I mentally blocked out my college dancing encounters or maybe there were less guys in college when I was that weren’t entitled jackholes who felt like they could stick whatever they wanted in whoever they wanted without first getting consent. I don’t know. I don’t remember being semi-penetrated while dancing with my friends before that night.

To address any of the reasons I’ve heard given prior to go along with victim blaming, I’ll clear the air about the deets of that night.

I wasn’t dressed provocatively. Please read about the aforementioned Sam’s Pants.

I wasn’t black out drunk.

I was standing on my own, dancing on my own, in control of my person.

I was not speaking to anyone I didn’t know. (Except for the lady that sold us cookies to ask her to please give me a schmear of icing. She did.)

I wasn’t kissing, petting or doing anything that would have given anyone any indication that I was down for some lovin’. I was enjoying a kid free night with friends dancing.

I believe rape victims. I’ve worked with them and heard their stories. I believe that rape culture is real. And even I was shocked. 5 different guys felt they should be able to touch, grope and insert themselves in and on my person. FIVE. In less than 30 minutes. What the actual fuck?

On the walk back to the car my girlfriend and I were talking about it and she said that’s why she hates going to some of these dance places. It’s a common occurrence. That’s fucked up. So you can’t even go dance anymore without some douchebag asshole being sexually aggressive with you? What are we teaching our sons? I thought of my sweets as we walked and talked. I’m terrified for her to go to college. And sad. Because she should be able to go and dance and laugh with her friends. She should be able to wear Sam’s Pants or something a little more fashionable or really whatever the hell she wants. She should be able to have her personal space invasion free.

We have to do better. We have to stop making excuses and not believing that our darling boys would ever do something to someone. We have to let our kids fail and make mistakes and take responsibility when they are younger. We have to teach our kids to work for what they want instead of taking it. We have to teach our kids that they aren’t entitled to anything. We have to do better. Because this is fucked up.

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