Things That Upset Me

**possible sexual assault trigger**

I had bunches of thoughts in class today but I wanted to reflect on them more before discussing them. So I’ll leave them here. 

I get really upset whenever I hear the term “asking for it”. It makes me feel a wide range of feelings. These feelings include confusion, sadness, paranoia, shock, grief, and above all anger, a gigantic amount of anger. I hate living in a society where “she was asking for it” is a legitimate excuse. I hate the guys in this world (and there sure are a lot of them) who believe it is their right to do what they want with the bodies of women around them. I just don’t understand how you can consider yourself a decent human being and hold that mindset. However, the real tragedy is the fact that some girls also buy into this mindset.

This topic hits kind of close to home for me. My old girlfriend (I say old instead of ex because we’re taking this time to try and figure out how to make the distance thing work and we’re still incredibly close. Ex just doesn’t sound right, but that’s a whole other story) had dealt with a situation before we were together where she was, in her own words, “almost raped”. This never bothered me or put a strain on our relationship, I just knew there are some asshole guys out there and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and had a bit too much to drink. What really hurt me was the fact that she blamed herself for getting into the situation. I think a lot of girls have been in similar situations and they don’t speak out or do anything against it because they’re the ones who feel like they did something wrong. I’m once again left incredibly upset and angry.

I’m especially passionate about this subject right now because the girl I care about more than anything is in a world (much like I am) where rape culture is more prevalent than anywhere else. I’d go so far as to say it has become socially acceptable. If it’s not socially acceptable than why is it happening now more than ever? I’m sick of waking up every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday morning and hearing guys talk about who they “nailed” the night before and simultaneously complaining how much alcohol it took to get their mission accomplished. There have already been sexual misconduct cases among my classmates and it’s the same conversation every single time, “Oh yeah well she’s a slut, she was asking for it.” 

I still can’t fully process my thoughts on this topic, but this helped. The last thing I want to address is a pretty pathetic mindset many men hold. It seems to me a good number of guys dehumanize most women to an extraordinarily level. Women are only real to them if they’re their mother, sister, or girlfriend (and unfortunately the girlfriend is sometimes just a body too). In my Catholic grade school we had a terribly awkward anti-pornography talk towards the end of seventh grade. The example given to us was “what if that was your mom or your sister, then would you like the porn industry?” This worked to an extent, but it’s a shame that was the only way to break through to a good number of the guys. To be honest, I’m angry with my gender. I don’t like our reputation and I don’t like the way we treat our supposed partners on this planet (and by partners I mean we’re all equal humans here trying to live our lives, not making a comment on any one’s sexual orientation). 

I guess to close I want to highlight my belief that some women are so used to this culture that they let themselves be dehumanized. Something my “old” girlfriend said that really struck me was that she’ll always be thankful to me for letting her know how she deserved to be treated. I think that broke my heart more than anything. 


So that’s my rant for the night.


One thought on “Things That Upset Me

  1. First of all, I wanted to thank you for sharing this. I’ve been going through SHARE training this week, so in addition to our discussions in class, and what has particularly upset me is addressing the problem of self-blame. The sad thing that blame is sometimes the only way to regain control in a situation; i.e. if it’s my fault, it’s in my power to stop it from happening again. But what really strikes me about this post is the comment about her being grateful to you because you let her know how she should be treated.

    To this day I am rocked by a statement that was made to me my freshman year of high school: “It hurts that he saw me as just part of a person, a part of a thing. But I’m mad at myself mostly. I’m mad at myself for expecting someone to love me in the way that I should love myself.”

    I think, even without sharing the full personal context of this story, it is pretty clear why it has continued to affect me so much. The reality seems to be that once you internalize that other people can or do see you as not fully human, you begin to find it okay to think of yourself that way. The problem is that how we deserve to be treated doesn’t arise from some purely internal understanding; it is so much more work than that. And while I agree to some extent with Joy Ladin’s statement that we shouldn’t try to control what others think, and we can think whatever we want, the truth is that our thoughts have impact. And we have to make it explicit how bodies deserve to be treated in how we interact with our peers.

    Six years later I’m still trying to figure out what to say back to her. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, enough to say that I love her.

    She is not at fault for expecting someone to love her. In fact we should expect those around us to treat us better than we treat ourselves, because in that interaction those outside of us have a greater degree of responsibility; they are affecting some one else. I wish she knew that the world owes her everything, that she cannot love herself by herself. I don’t want to take away the power she has found, from time to time, in her blame. But she needs to know, too, that her blame is not really her own.

    I guess I shouldn’t say that I love her. Maybe that I love her, BUT, expect me to. Expect me to love you MORE than in the way that you should love yourself, because you can’t always. And just by being here with you, I am bound to show you respect even when you don’t respect yourself. I stay because I embrace that bind; you are worth it.

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