One of the issues talked about in Chapter 10 was rape and the feelings associated with violence towards women. I actually tensed up a bit when the statistic that at least two women in our classroom might have dealt with rape previously. I have firsthand experience with the feelings of male entitlement and coping with the repercussions of such. A few years ago, I found myself caught in an oddball courtship with a guy—his only hang-up being that he was in a relationship with a mutual friend. I chose to avoid the clearly marked signals telling me this wasn’t a healthy friendship. We weren’t seeing each other in a similar light. We pursued a casual flirtation via text messaging and the occasional casual dinner.
One night, we were both at his apartment, and things took a turn for the worse. It began innocently enough, playing video games and eating pizza. Then, he comes onto me physically. I liked him, and was invested in the thought that he had a deeper interest in me, so I allowed things to progress. At the time, I had been with one guy and had just ended said relationship (badly, If I may add). My self-esteem had more than nose-dived. Playful kissing turned into below-the-belt touching, and here I am, down to my underwear and tee shirt on his couch. To be clear, I had never made any action towards sleeping with him, and after years of unabashed foreplay, I assumed the ground rules were clear. They weren’t. Quicker than I could comprehend what was happening, I’m on top of him, and he’s fully inside of me. I stammer out a, “–No, N-We’re no—We shouldn’t! What about—You—No.” I’m in a panic because he’s condomless and I am in no position to be having unprotected sex, and I’m shocked because he hadn’t asked. We had never clarified. We had never even officially been on a real date. Then he blurts, “Just–one—mo–It’s okay. I’m finished.”
And there I am in my tee shirt, ejaculation from a guy I don’t even truly know running down my legs. And there IT is, the hard reality that I’ve now been with TWO guys. That I now could be pregnant. That I need my first Plan B pill. So, I began to cover it up the best way I knew how. I tried to pick up the pieces. I tried to keep him around. I tried to justify. “Oh, I liked him…it would have happened anyways.” I slept with him once more, this time prepared. The justification didn’t work. I was repulsed. The sex was terrible, he was inconsiderate, I didn’t like him at all, and I regretted having put myself in a pants-less situation with a man who would take such advantage of me. The truth is, I felt so guilty. Like I deserved it. After all, didn’t I give him the wrong impression? I let him grope me and explore with his hands–would it not be the assumption that I was setting up the stage for sex? I thought not, but maybe he thought yes. I made excuse after excuse for him. And maybe that’s why rape is so prevalent. Because we’re too busy feeling guilty and making excuses for men to take action. One bad guy doesn’t make all guys bad. One bad guy shouldn’t ruin ALL guys. But we’re letting them, because we’re neglecting to root out the good from the bad. We’re neglecting to eliminate the bad–To make it NOT OKAY to do those things. We need to stop sweeping these things under the rug because we’re embarrassed, or we’re afraid, or because we feel that we put ourselves in a compromising position. I made a bad decision that night. But so did he. And my bad decision had no hold on his actions. We can’t keep taking responsibility for actions that we don’t allow.