Sep 26, 2018

I Was Complicit In Rape Culture



Names have been changed. Jenny, Laura, and my husband have all given permission for this post to be published.

Nearly a decade ago, I was told that Jenny, a friend of mine, had been sexually assaulted by a man we both knew. The man was my friend; he was a cad at best, and I absolutely believed he was capable of what Jenny said he’d done. But they’d both been drinking and these things happen all the time, don’t they, to everyone, and Jenny didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so - to my shame - the man remained my friend and I never told anyone what Jenny had told me.

Months afterward, my friend Laura told me that the same man had more recently assaulted her. The two situations were so similar: they’d been drinking, things may have started consensually (though both women were fuzzy on how, exactly, things started), and both women remember with absolute clarity the moment they realized they didn’t want to be physically engaged with the man. Both women protested, asked him to stop, and struggled against him. The man restrained each woman, told her she really did want it, and kept going. Laura said it took her nearly half an hour to get away from the man after she first said no.

Laura, like Jenny, didn’t want to make a big deal about what had happened. After all, they’d both been drinking and these things happen all the time, don’t they, to everyone?