I opted to dedicate the month to #SAAM because of how strongly I feel about the topic. I was in a conversation today with the boyfriend and the girlfriend and I found myself saying something that I often do: someone has to do it.
I’m reminded of why when presented with thoughts that make me want to weep openly.
It was a chance encounter on Facebook. A story about a man assaulted, threatened with a knife and forced to perform sex. In other words rape.
I watched as men and women both laughed at the plight of this man questioning his manhood and his inability to fight the woman off.
I realized that it was no different than the hundreds, if not thousands of women who’ve told a tale of being coerced and/or forced into sex that is mocked and ridiculed.
The question was not why would any other human being find it acceptable to violate someone in that manner. The question was why couldn’t he just fight her off, he was a man she was a woman, he SHOULD have been able to fight her off.
I’ve heard these things – and similar refrains over the years about how a woman can’t possibly have been raped because she didn’t fight back.
I’ve heard it from both men and women, victims and perps. Like it cannot possibly be rape if there isn’t a rape boogey-man doing boogey-man things during the rape.
I heard it from kids, to doctors, to your average Joe. That can’t be rape because ___________.
Yet, if we switched the genders and said it was a man, holding a knife to a woman, would we still encourage her to fight him off? After all, he’s got to cum sometime, use that moment to punch him in the jaw and run?
When women recount an assault and describe the process of shutting down – not resisting we balk. What do you mean you didn’t fight? Could it be that you wanted it? Is that why you didn’t fight?
Or how about a more gray area. Two people are alone and one consents to certain sexual activity, and the other uses that limited consent to take things beyond what was agreed. After all you said it was okay to digitally (with a finger) penetrate you, that must mean that it is ok to fuck you right?
Or how about you tell your partner YES! I want to have sex with you! But you have to use a condom. They say YOLO and dive in bareback.
In these scenarios when recounted to the masses get met with ridicule, and judgment. The victims find the courage to step forward only to be met with a different kind of assault.
One on their humanity, their existence, and their fundamental right to control their own body.
Why is it so much simpler to joke a victim than address the issue – that rape is never okay and it is well beyond time we stopped excusing and apologizing for rapists?
And how many more of these will I write this month at the expense of my own peace of mind?