Friday, October 05, 2007

Why I Wouldn't Tell

I told my girlfriend last night that if I was ever raped I probably wouldn't report it. She didn't find that surprising but what she doesn't know is that our conversation was a perfect example of why I wouldn't report it.

First I'd like to say that my girlfriend is great and I know she didn't mean any harm in what she was saying and that her reaction is typical when a woman says she feels like she was violated by a man in some way.

It's the, "I'm not saying you asked for it but..." response.

For example I told her I took a shower when a friend of mine was over and even though I expressly told him NO when he asked if he could watch he came in the bathroom anyway.

When I told her I took a shower while he was here her response was:

Did you feel comfortable taking a shower while he was there?


When I pointed out that he has taken a shower at my place before and that even if I was trying to be coy (oooh look at me I'm in the shower) that didn't excuse his behavior.

Her response: Yeah even if you were trying to be coy that doesn't make it right.

Now the implication in this is that I was taking a shower while he was there to be enticing and while it didn't excuse his behavior it may explain it.

But when I pointed out to her that the only reason I took the shower in the first place was because I tinkled on myself because he was tickling me (yes I peed on myself. As a child family members would play the game 'Let's sit on her and tickle her until she's red in the face and pees on herself. Yeah. Fun times.)it was like, "Oooohhhh Okay." as if that justified me taking a shower when he was here.

It's like I needed a reason to take a shower in my own home because I had male company. Now I've been over guys house and they've taken showers while I was there and I guarantee NO ONE would questions their motives. They took showers because they needed to, not because they were trying to be "coy."

The other example was when I was explaining to her how the ATL guy was diddling me in my sleep. When I was explaining to her how I got my revenge (more on that later) by requesting that he sleep in the bed the next night because it was cold even though initially he was going to sleep on the floor, she thought I was referring to the initial offending incident and she said:

Well I'm not saying you asked for what happened but it probably would have been best if he slept on the floor.


First when I asked the guy to sleep in the bed it wasn't "hey come fuck me" it was, "Hey it's cold, you're warm, lets snuggle." And that's what I said to him.

BUT the fact that I asked him to snuggle IN NO WAY JUSTIFIES him fooling around with me WHILE I'M SLEEPING.

I had to let her know that no, I was talking about two separate events and the night where he was diddling me in my sleep he had actually been invited in the bed by our mutual homegirl (yeah).

So once again I felt myself having to prove that I didn't, "ask for it."

And my friend isn't malicious or insensitive. She's a typical woman in this patriarchal, misogynistic society that says if a woman is in any way sexually violated, particularly by "good" boys, then it is somehow her fault. She must have asked for it.

Who wants to report such a violent personal crime in the face of that kind of pressure? Those kind of accusations?

I don't.

And I probably wouldn't.


NYcasanova said...

Yet whose to say his intentions were to cause you so much pain. Even to insist that the RESULTS(or effects) of his actions, matter more then what ever intentions he may have had, inrespect to yoiu as a women.
Me being a man personally, I fell you ingnor the fact that he is a MAN, and we are sexually driven in all facets. It might be what atracted you to him. To throw that all out the window in those situations, just seems a little naive to me(no disrespect). Even the taught in the back of my head which ask "If he wasn't that type of man would he even be there?". You have all the right to fell the way You did, I just cant help to felling like I'm in his shoes. Propably a complement to how good of a writer you are.

JJ said...


The problem with each incident is that neither guy is a "bad guy." None of them honestly believe they were doing anything wrong.

And on e of th guys in question I did talk to after the offending incident. Because I recognized he wasn't a complete ass.

The problem is good intentions don't mean much. What's the saying, "The road is paved with good intentions." or something like that.

This specific dude in this post is an agressive...sure of himself...type. And yeahthat was a part of the attraction. But he just NEVER LISTENED. This wasn't the first time I had to "fight" with him about sex.

He just felt that I should want him and couldn't understand when I didn't.

Anonymous said...

I experienced a situation recently that would be considered date rape which I didn't report. Basically just as you stated my friends reactions were enough to deal with. I couldn't handle going throught that from the judicial system as well. An ex-boyfriend that I trusted came over to watch a movie, I awakened to find him touching me. When I told him to stop he wouldn't. Crying and attempting to fight him off didn't help deter him either. I still had to make him leave because then he wanted to "talk". He text me the next day apologizing for violating me and he knows what he did was wrong. My reply was just to drop dead and if tried to contact me then I would report him. He tried a few times afterwards but he finally got my point. But when I spoke to my girls, their reaction was just, "Man he must have wanted you real bad", "He must have been drunk", and "You mean, you didn't do anything to provoke him". They didn't even find it serious until they could hear me crying while talking to them. Bottom line there is no excuse for that and the stigma that is attached to rape is almost as bad as the act.

Anonymous said...

I was in a similar situation were a coworker of whom I knew for a couple years, went out on casual social gatherings with mutual friends so and so forth, had tried to attack me. To make a long story short, this was our first time just he and I were together and I had been drinking. He was driving me back to my car and unbeknownst to me took a turn down a dark street. Since we worked together we flirt back and forth and are very friendly. But I have had previous conversations explaining to him he is great but I cant pursue anything romantically with him and explained why. When he initially picked me up from my car I even told him "hey you know this is strictly a platonic outing so dont get any bright ideas that we having sex because we are not". Anyways, back to the car. Yeah so he basically had me pinned down in the car and wouldnt get up until he snatched my underwear. Being humiliated and feeling like it was my fault, I sent mixed messages, I should have never been out with him etc etc all went through my head. I didnt know how to feel. He was laughing and smiling the whole way even though I felt what he did was wrong. It was several days before I confessed to friends and told them what had happened and they were outraged! But I was just overwhelmed with feelings that people would think it was my fault and that I asked for this to happen kept me from going forward to authorities. It irked me most seeing him walk around the job like he did nothing wrong and was happy as a lark even when my world was crumbling. I eventually told him he was wrong (which he arrogantly shrugged off) and I never spoke to him again. It has now been six months since the incident I dont even acknowledge his presence. I think he believed I was mad for a while but I'd get over it and things would be back to normal. Never. I think he's gotten the picture but he still has not apologized or expressed any remorse so FUCK HIM! I eventually got past this incident but I cant help but feel like I should have really done more. What if he does this ridiculousness to someone else?

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that there is nothing a woman can do to prevent being rape by a stranger. It's not about the clothes, time of day, etc.


There are a lot of ways women can be proactive and prevent date rape. First, don't go to secluded areas. Don't let them into your home, or go to thiers, unless you know them vey well. I do not trust men I don't know, and like to keep the "we're not having sex" line very clear.

It's too bad I can't invite a first or second date in to drink wine and play connect four...but I prefer to keep access to my vagina "invite only."

gogojojo said...

*I* firmly believe that half the responses to this post have proven your point. I wish that we lived in a different world were more Black women felt like their bodies deserved the respect of only being touched when EXPLICITLY asked.

If I ever didn't report such a situation it would probably only be because I wanted to deal with it personally or you know have my cousins do so on my behalf.

Oh and F*** the noise about dudes not being able to help themselves. I have been in pretty intimate situations with men who managed *not* to grope me. It's called home training. It's no woman's fault that you were raised to know how to be respectful.

Anonymous said...

The thing that is highlighted by both your stories and the others shared in comments is that most people assumed these attackers were normal guys, even had sexual attraction to them at some point. This is why all of those "prevent rape" seminars piss me off. I should not have to feel like I need to deny my sexuality or limit my behaviors because someone thinks they have the right to my body. There should be seminars teaching men what the word yes means and that coy signs or not you should always ask first.

I would rather a guy mistake my subtle hints for sex and have to spell it out for him then have him assume when they're not there and deal with the resulting violation

Noir said...

Via WOC festival.

God damn it, I'm with gogojojo here. The first response was particularity telling. Good Guy, it's not a 'guy thing' to be a rapist. What that man did was sexual abuse, I don't care about the 'men can't help themselves' shit.

I'm just... so tired. I'm sorry you have to deal with that. And yeah the 'she asked for it' and 'men have rights because they just can't help themselves' are just things I want to hit people for.

whatsername said...

Wow, and quite a few comments just prove your point!!!!

Anonymous said...

linked here through the Carnival, and I'm stunned, firstly by the fact that even other women don't get how fucked up the notion that you can't take a oddamn shower with a male friend in the house without it meaning something, and second, in a bad way, by the comments being full of straightup rape apologists, and "but men can't help it" and that women are not allowed to even have male friends without it counting as asking for it. I mean, i like to think such thoughts are rare, and i guess i insulate myself from them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with gogojojo. It hurts me to read most of the comments to this post. Thank you for sharing this; you are brave to talk about it.

EHR said...

I just want to help tilt the comments towards support for you, JJ! We do not deserve this kind of treatment, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

Anonymous said...

Think of the women behind you and do the right thing ... report it.

Anonymous said...

Reading the first comments to this post made me angry beyond words. I wish that there were some way to *brand* men who think that men have some inalienable right to the use of any woman's body whenever they happen to believe she wants them, so that every woman who crosses their path would know not to be alone with them or sleep with them. I really think that only when that kind of thought process reliably gets them shunned by females will they start hearing us.

Rape isn't about sex. Rape is about taking what you want because you can and you don't care if she wants to give it to you or not. Rape is not something women can prevent or solve or cure because the responsibility for rape doesn't lie with women, but with the men who rape them. Rape happens in broad daylight with "good guys" when you're wearing your flannel PJs that cover you from neck to ankles. Rape happens in early evening when you're with the guy you've been talking to for months whose mother likes you and whose children you've met. And given all that, it is absolutely enraging for men to turn around and lecture women on what rape is and how it's natural and men *can't* help themselves (but maybe if you'd done something different, you slut...) and never see that that doesn't absolve them of anything. Either they can't help it, in which case what does it matter what the woman does, they do what they "have to" anyway, or they perfectly well *can* help it, in which case what does it matter what the woman does, because they do what they *want* to anyway.