Maybe you should just go…

27 Aug

Last night, after I made a super fab dinner for my husband and a close friend (who is staying with us for a while), we all sat down in my yellow living room to watch “Police Women of Broward County,” a newish TLC show following a few kick-ass lady cops.

On the show, there’s a policewoman who specializes in sexual assault and rape cases. Her part of the show is always the most heartbreaking, at least in my opinion.

So there we all are, sitting on the couch, and this lady cop is interviewing the victim and her story is brutal. She was accused of stealing this guy’s money while hanging out at this house. Knowing she doesn’t have the money and hasn’t done anything wrong, she says, “Go ahead, search me, I don’t have your money.” So he strip searches her and then things take a turn for the worse. Long story short, two men raped her, while this other female directed and watched the whole thing, all while this woman is crying and asking them to stop.

My friend says, “You know, if these women weren’t all cracked out, and if they didn’t put themselves in these situations, maybe they wouldn’t get raped.”

Ummm…excuse me? So, you’re saying it’s the victim’s fault she was raped? It’s HER fault they forcefully had both anal and vaginal sex with her? Really?

I was pissed. LIVID.  I told her that’s a little thing called victim blaming and it’s not okay and it is NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. Never. Ever, ever, ever. I told her attitudes like that are the reason 60% of sexual assaults and rapes aren’t reported.

She kept saying, “Well, I just mean that if she didn’t put herself in that situation, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Seriously, lady? I sat there, after repeating AGAIN that victim blaming is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and then she just shut up and I could tell she wanted to say something back but she didn’t because she’s staying at my house for free.

So I sat there, livid, thinking of all the things I would say if she brought it up again. I wanted to ask her how many times she’s gotten fall-down stupid drunk with our group of guy friends and how that’s any different than the situation that woman “put” herself in. She’d probably argue that our guy friends are all good guys and would never do anything like that and while I’d be inclined to agree, I also know that 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim, that 38% of rapists are “friends” of the victim, that 28% are intimate partners with the victim, that 1 in 6 women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape during their lifetime (and that’s a pretty conservative estimate).

What hurt me the most, what pissed me off and made me consider kicking this person out of my house, is that she’s a fellow woman. I’m constantly astonished by women, by the way the throw each other under buses, leave each other to rot, and blame each other for rapes, rapes which are never, ever their fault. I just don’t get it. I don’t get how someone I consider to be a friend, someone I felt like I knew well could say something like that, feel something like, be someone that could blame victims.

I guess I’m lacking in aware female friends. I have them, I know them, they don’t live far from me and I think I need to step it up and become closer to these women who get it, women who understand rape is never justified and that a woman’s body is her own, because I miss, really truly miss, the days of sitting outside for hours talking about serious social issues. It’s what I’m lacking in my current group of friends and while I love them all, I really do, I just can’t talk to these people. I can drink with these people, joke with these people, party with these people, but I’m realizing now, that’s about as far as it goes.


9 Responses to “Maybe you should just go…”

  1. san August 27, 2009 at 11:10 AM #

    Can I come over and hang out with you? Because you and me, we’re completely on the same page on that issue.
    Your friend’s comments are just mindboggling to me. Never ever is it a woman’s fault to get raped…never ever did she “ask for it”.
    I cannot believe any woman would actually say something like this.

  2. Margaret August 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM #

    AMEN !!! You are sooooo right.

  3. Liz August 27, 2009 at 3:53 PM #

    In all honesty, most women have the opinion of your friend because that is what we are taught growing up. We’re taught that we have to constantly watch our backs and that we can’t ever be truly free in public because if some sort of assault happens to us, it’s our fault – not the attackers. We will be charged (even if “only” socially) with the crime whether or not the attacker is legally. Examples of being charged socially (for those who don’t know) would be questions like “What was she wearing?” or “What time was it?” because, apparently, the victim should “know better” than to be wearing a certain outfit in public or being out past midnight.

    Sound familiar? You bet it does. Every victim hears it.

    You made a good point in regards to getting drunk. Women should not have to feel like we have to watch our backs at all times (even though we, obviously, do). Guys hardly ever have to worry about getting drunk and when they do it’s normally for health reasons or related to aggression. Whereas, women are constantly worrying about what shoes or outfit they are going to wear out – not because of fashion or comfort, but for practicality. I know growing up I never wore anything remotely revealing because I was taught very early on that it would be my fault if anything happened to me. I haven’t heard a guy ever have this complaint.

    Side Note: Now, I’m not saying that the male gender doesn’t have it’s own issues, but we’re talking about this issue in particular right now. :End Side Note

    We’re a few of the lucky ones. We know that if anything happens to us, it’s not our fault. If anything happens to our friends, we can be there for them (truly, not as false friends who actually believe the crime is your fault as so often happens). All we can do is talk to people about it and argue exactly as you did in your living room.

    I, also, miss late night talks on the porch about social issues. Don’t know if you were references our kickass ones or not, but I figured I’d throw that comment in:}.

  4. Arielle August 27, 2009 at 4:09 PM #

    Baaaaa that makes me SO SO angry when people think it is EVER the woman’s fault. Just because someone is drunk or talking to a man she doesn’t know does NOT EVER mean she’s asking for it or deserves it. Uch.

    PS, I found you because you have my old blog on your blogroll (good things come to those who whine) – I moved a few months ago to, hope to see you over there =)

  5. H to the Izzo August 29, 2009 at 2:47 PM #

    I know how you feel. It’s rather unsettling when you find out one of your friends has beliefs that are so disparate from your own. I’m with you. When I finally stop having this cold, let’s get together and talk soc and girl talk, yes? I’d really like that.

  6. Alverna August 31, 2009 at 9:58 AM #

    Amen, amen, amen!!! Thank you for this post–I think it’s something EVERY woman should read. You know, I was firmly taught that I shouldn’t wear certain clothes and act certain ways because it would attract unwanted male attention, blah blah blah. I don’t blame my mom for that (it’s what she believes and she’s entitled to her own beliefs I suppose), but it made it very hard–impossible, really–to talk to her after I had a bad experience.

    BTW, I found “Police Women of Broward County” this weekend–it’s a cool show.


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