Let me ask you a question today. If you are getting to know someone, you usually go out for coffee, or go for a walk, or talk on the phone, or maybe go to dinner. As you get to know each other over those first few weeks, you are learning more and more. It seems you have a lot in common. Let’s say this new acquaintance is a cousin of a dear friend. That, too, creates a kind of trust and commonality.
OK, so let’s say this new friend says, when the check comes “i’ll buy dinner tonight”. You say, “OK, I will buy next time”. Well let’s continue the story. Let’s say this new friend invites you over for dinner a couple of weeks later. You come in, you put your purse over on the couch. You go out to the kitchen to help your friend make dinner. The friend leaves the kitchen to go to the bathroom. Let’s say, unbeknownst to you, the friend takes your credit card and bank card (and either keeps them or runs up on-line charges and empties your bank card — and takes all your cash).
You come in and try to stop the friend, but it is too late. You try to file charges, and the police explain that you probably won’t win, as you were at his house and thus should have expected this. To continue the story, let’s say the bank refuses to reverse the charges (because let’s say the law says that the burden of proof is on you, and it is your word against his). Your friends say that you should have known better, and you probably led him to believe it was ok for him to take all of your money. They say “of course he did; what did you expect?” But that isn’t how it works in our courts, because we have laws to protect our money. well, at least in theory we do.
Then WHY is it different for sexual assault? If a good girl is felt like she is being FORCED to submit to unwanted touching, and she files a complaint, people think it is no big deal. They find it impossible to believe that one could be so naive as to be unprepared for some guy forcing her to do a lap dance on his lap (basically forcing her to well, you know). Since they are both fully clothed, it isn’t rape, according to the law, as no actual penetration has occurred. He can reach right down under her clothes and grab her breasts. If she is terrified because he is big and strong, she is at a loss as to how to stop him. Again, both friends and strangers say “well, it’s hard to know who is at fault”. I say that it is NOT hard to know who is at fault. I recall events in my own life when I hear that said, you see. For if they believe it about that girl, I know they may also believe I have no ‘logical reason to be upset’.
Good girls do NOT expect someone to violate them. When they are violated (even if they are not penetrated), it is a shock. Sometimes they are so intimidated and frightened that they are rendered speechless. Sometimes they try to stop what is going on but cannot stop it and cannot get away. It is an assault on their bodies, spirit, heart, and soul. It is traumatic in an extreme way.
It is nearly impossible to win a court case on sexual assault charges. Remember, sexual assault involves intimidation or feeling intimidated, and unwanted touching. Why do friends belittle good girls when something happens to them? Why are they NOT outraged? Why do they continue the intimidation by minimizing her feelings, doubting her word, or saying that the event was her fault. Why do they try to intimidate and ostracize her if she does file a complaint? By the way, that outrage and sticking by the girl should be just as forthcoming if someone is a wild girl, but that is not the subject of this post.
My point is this. Someone should ALWAYS have to have ACTUAL permission before touching someone. Not implied permission, actual permission. The person should have to ASK. Some might say, “well maybe the guy had a different upbringing and it was ok in his culture”. I find it odd that they wouldn’t find it understandable if the same guy hot wired their cars, emptied their bank account, poisoned their pet, or vandalized their homes. Why the different standard when it comes to sexual behavior?
I do know this, in social settings, similar and even worse situations happened to me. The reaction of friends was just like it was for the girl above. It is minimizing, humiliating, belittling, and more. You see, no one should expect to be violated—and when one IS violated, there should be predictable consequences for the violator. There aren’t. You know it, and I know it.
All kinds of new laws have been written and enforced when it comes to identity theft and fraud. Apparently, our money and our credit records are worth far more than our women, at least as far as legal precedent is concerned. Some might say “well, what are YOU going to do about it?”. Here is my answer: “I will let you know. But I do know this, it is another form of subtle bullying.”
I have never been a resident of the town of Stepford. I do not intend to live there when it comes to this issue. My husband is not a Stepford husband. If we do not stand up for someone who has been wronged, what does that say about us? If we do not stand up for our “sisters” how surprised can we be if the behavior continues.
My name is Kate. Hear me roar.