He was my boyfriend. I was 17. I lied to my parents about having a sleepover at my friend's house so I could instead stay out all night with him and friends. We rented a room at a local motel so we could have a place to hang out and drink and have fun. I remember drinking some kind of hard alcohol straight up, poured about a third of the way up a red Solo cup. My boyfriend encouraged me to drink it. I looked up and stared at a spot on the ceiling as I choked it down, feeling a little muscle twitch under my left eye. It was nasty, but I tried to just chug the stuff without tasting it as best I could.
The next thing I remember, I felt really drunk. The room was spinning. I felt unsteady on my feet. I was slurring. And then my boyfriend wanted to have sex. I don't think any other people were in the room at the time, but I'm not entirely sure. I don't remember consenting ... not like I had the ability in that state anyway. What I do remember is him undressing me, him on top of me, him flipping me over and moving my limp body around, him essentially masturbating with my body, and me feeling more like a rag doll than a human being.
After that night, I felt disappointed and hurt. But I didn't completely blame him. I mean, I chose to drink. I chose to let myself get that drunk. He was my boyfriend and he claimed he loved me. We'd had sex before. He was a guy, so of course he'd want to have sex. I didn't say no (I don't think I did, but I'm not sure). I didn't know that that was rape. I blamed myself and made excuses for him.
He was my coworker. I was 19. He was cute and cocky, and I had a little crush on him. But he never paid much attention to me. It was his last day of work, and a group of us went out to party and say goodbye. The more I drank, the more interest he showed. Several of us ended up going back to another coworker's apartment. We started making out in a bedroom. I was pretty wasted. He kept pushing, but I resisted. I just wanted to make out, nothing more. I didn't believe in casual sex. I wanted to be in love first. That wasn't what he wanted. I remember us getting kicked out of the bedroom. We ended up on the living room floor, still making out. He kept trying for more. I must've continued resisting because I remember him repeatedly telling me, "Relax. Relax." Clearly I wasn't. I remember him putting on a condom and having sex with me as he continued telling me to "relax."
He promised to call the next day. Of course he didn't. I felt used. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't a big deal, that lots of people have one-night stands. Who could blame him? I was a willing participant in making out, even if I wasn't enthusiastic about having sex. I mean, I chose to drink that night, and I chose to make out with him. Maybe I led him on. Once again, I blamed myself and made excuses for him.
Yesterday, I heard a woman talk about being grateful that nothing bad ever happened to her when she was drinking in her younger years, and how she felt lucky considering the "situations she put herself in."
I used to agree with that idea. I no longer do. I now recognize that I have been sexually assaulted on more than those two occasions while I happened to be intoxicated. I spent years minimizing what happened -- other women had it much worse, I didn't scream or fight so it must not have been that bad, it was more subtle than a blatantly violent act, etc. Instead, I blamed myself for putting myself in those situations and I internalized that shame.
But that stops now.
I will no longer take on shame that does not belong to me. The shame belongs to the men who CHOSE to take advantage of me in my weakened state, who PREYED upon that weakness, who felt ENTITLED to do what they wanted with MY body, who treated me as an OBJECT for their enjoyment. I will no longer blame myself (or other women) for "putting themselves in situations." I will no longer excuse bad male behavior as "boys will be boys." Men need to be held accountable for assaulting women no matter how much we've been drinking, no matter what we're wearing, no matter what situations "we put ourselves in."
I don't give a shit if a woman is naked and blacked-out drunk. NO ONE has the right to sexually assault her. And I'm fucking sick of the onus being on women to take all sorts of precautions to somehow "avoid" being assaulted instead of putting that responsibility where it belongs -- on men who feel so fucking entitled to take what they want.
I will no longer blame the victim, including myself. I will no longer take on the shame that belongs to someone else.
I've designed a line of jewelry with feminist messages! These pendants are a great way to express yourself and they also make awesome gifts. A portion of net profits from this collection will go to organizations that help improve the lives of women and girls. Each purchase not only gives back to charity, but it also supports my efforts in helping women find the beauty and strength within. Here's the inspiration behind it ...
In the description for each pendant, you'll find related quotes by awesome women. Hopefully the messages in these pendants along with the messages from some of my readers will inspire you.
As seen in Buzzfeed:
"... [M]any of the 'sexy' costumes are highly sexualized versions of characters who are supposed to be little girls ... The fact that many women dress up as sexy little girls points to both the sexualization of female children and the infantilization of adult women."The sexualization of girls teaches them early on that their value lies in their appearance, their bodies, and their sexuality. The American Psychological Association found that sexualization damages girls' feelings of self-worth, impairs their mental functioning, and contributes to eating disorders. In other words, it fucks girls up. The infantilization of adult women reinforces attitudes that women should be treated as naive, dependent, and incapable of making intelligent decisions or holding leadership roles. In other words, it fucks women over. Another disturbing trend in sexy costumes is linking sexuality with violence. Here are some creepy sexy costumes, such as female versions of horror movie serial killers -- Sexy Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Sexy Jason (Friday the 13th), and Sexy Michael Myers (Halloween). I guess the Sexy Body Bag (seriously, who comes up with this shit?!) fits in here as well :/ : Of course, many Halloween costumes are intended to be frightening or gory, but turning a male horror movie killer that often targets scantily-clad female victims into a scantily-clad female horror movie killer has some interesting connotations. Horror movie killers tend to murder (punish) the sexually open "whores" early on, while the good girl "virgins" often escape (reward). Underlying the sexy female killer is a misogynistic fear of female sexuality and power -- it threatens conservative social attitudes about women owning our sexuality and our bodies. It also sparks our own conflicted feelings about sexuality or our insecurities about other women being competition or threats. Since all of these fears are uncomfortable, they must be buried or "killed". Clearly, there are lots of "sexy" costumes for women, but those for men are a bit different. This Tumblr page has tons of examples of the same costume idea, but different versions for him and her. The differences are quite striking when you look at them side-by-side. His costumes are typically silly, while hers are always sexy. Here are his-and-hers versions of Tigger, Skunk, Firefighter, and Astronaut: Making sexy versions of non-sexy characters like Tigger or Skunk invariably make sexiness cross into absurdity. However, sexing-up women's costumes of traditionally male careers, such as Firefighter or Astronaut, is another breed of animal. First, how could women realistically fight fires in a mini-skirt, garters, and fishnets or work in zero gravity in a mini-skirt and a top that low-cut? The answer is that they can't. And that speaks to deeper cultural beliefs about what women should and shouldn't do. Underlying sexy costumes such as these are sexist beliefs about a woman's place in society. Women taking on traditionally male roles is treated as absurd in itself, and the only way to make it okay is to sexualize it. This reinforces beliefs that we're primarily sexual objects and that we don't belong in certain careers or positions of power unless we're there to support men. So far, we've only looked at sexy costumes for women, but men have a few choices as well: the Breathalizer (Get it? You "blow" into that straw between his legs), the One Night Stand, and the Pimp (Parents -- make sure to teach your sons early that women are "hos" to exploit for money and status!):
There's obviously a discrepancy between men's and women's sexy costumes:
"... [W]hen women go sexy for Halloween, it usually means being seen as a sex object for others. When men go sexy, it means joking about how men should be sexually serviced, have access to one night stands, or being in charge of and profiting from women’s bodies. A different type of 'sexy' entirely."That's it. I'm skipping Halloween. These are all just too scary for me. :/
Ilana and Abbi from Comedy Central's "Broad City" have the perfect response to a random stranger telling them to smile. :D
Sadly, we lost another movie icon today. RIP Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)
"Little Boy Gets Rejected, Doesn't Understand Rejection And Gets Pushed Over By Little Girl": In this 2-min video, the little boy keeps going in for a hug and the little girl keeps pushing him away. Repeatedly. This would've been a perfect opportunity to teach the boy about consent and that no means no. Instead, the parents film this interaction for 2 minutes and post it to youtube. While they presumably find this "cute" or "humorous" behavior at 2 or 3 years old, it's teaching damaging lessons to both the little boy and the girl. This won't be so cute when they're older.
(I'd recommend muting the sound - it's just goofy, annoying music.)
Political commentator Keith Olbermann goes off on the NFL's acceptance of sexism and violence against women. This rant comes after the league punished Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice with a mere slap on the wrist -- a two-game suspension -- after he knocked out his girlfriend then dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator.
Watch the video:
A Facebook friend posted the original version, so I decided to fix it.
A significant aspect of a culture that condones rape is teaching women how to avoid being raped instead of teaching men not to rape. Rape prevention is treated as women’s responsibility, and we're taught early on about how to take precautions so that we can allegedly guard ourselves against it. Inevitably, discussions about sexual assault devolve into victim-blaming. What was she wearing? Why did she drink so much? Why did she go back to his place if she didn't want to have sex? The focus shifts to whether a woman acted or dressed in such a way that she provoked the man's lust (because boys will be boys, right?). Therefore, if a woman dresses provocatively, she's essentially provoking a man to take advantage of her -- she's "asking for it." Lieutenant Joe Kenda, retired police detective and host of the television documentary program, "Homicide Hunter," sheds some light on what really causes sexual assault.
"Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) ripped apart the stereotype that women are 'too emotional' on Wednesday, moments after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural motion to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act. ...
"Mikulski sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would cut into the gender pay gap by holding employers more accountable for wage discrimination against women. An effort to begin debate on the measure failed 53-44, with all Republicans and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) voting against the cloture motion. All Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted in favor of advancing the bill.
"Mikulski's comments were not just directed toward her Republican colleagues, but were also a thinly-veiled shot at former CIA director Michael Hayden. On Sunday, Hayden suggested that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was 'too emotional' to have produced a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's use of torture post-Sept. 11."