Okay, so having written about the damage that is done by casually discussing a woman’s rape, let’s take-on another key part of what happened that night.
Let’s talk about how oblivious those men were to possible victims in that room.
Statistics say that one in three American women will be sexually abused in their lifetime. Let’s say that there were twenty-one women there (this seems about right + this number helps me do math). With this number, the odds are good that seven of the women present have been assaulted. The odds are almost certain that at least one woman has. At our table alone, there were four women.
So three men stood in a room where it is statistically possible that seven women have been sexually assaulted. It is almost certain that at least one has been. They stood in that room and declared that a woman had not really been raped because she waited two weeks to report the assault.
This doesn’t strike you as careless, obdurate, fucking infuriating?
Okay, let’s take-on another exercise (I know, I know. There won’t be any Saved By the Bell references this time, I promise.)
First, let’s imagine that folks like this guy have formed our nation’s policy and women cannot serve in combat (bear with me here).
Next, let’s imagine that more than .5% of our population actually serves, and that one in three men in America have been victims of IEDs.
Awful to imagine, yes? One in three? I mean, how is a generation this traumatized ever to recover?
Not all of the men who are victims carry physical scars, but it should be assumed that in any gathering of, say, twenty-one men, there’s a good chance seven of the men present will have experienced this trauma. The odds are almost certain that at least one man will have been a victim of an IED.
Now let’s imagine three women (who cannot have served, remember, because hypothetical) stand drinking booze late at night in a loud pizza joint. There are about twenty-one men in the room. One woman declares that not all men who say they’ve been blown-up by IEDs have actually been so. This woman says some of them just say they have been blown-up so they can get attention and a check from the government.
Are you infuriated?
I mean, here these men are, just trying to eat some pizza, and now they’ve got these women over there dismissing their trauma, treating it like they know one damn thing about it when there’s no way in hell they could because they are women and women don’t serve.
Someone should say something, right? Someone should let them know they are being offensive?
Look, it’s not a perfect analogy. It falls short for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that rape and being blown-up by an IED are not equivocal. There is also the fact that men do assault other men.
But the part I do think works is how callous these women are being. How are they not more aware of the victims all around them? How do they have the gall to stand there and pass judgment on the legitimacy of an experience they have never been through, while among so many who have?
Heads-up everyone, the women around you have been assaulted. The women around you, all the time, everyday, have been raped.
Women you know. Women you don’t know. Women you find attractive. Women you find hideous. Women who seem tough. Women who seem week. Educated women. Uneducated women. Young women. Old women. Women you like. Women you don’t like. Women with short hair. Women with long hair. Poor women. Rich women. Single women. Married women. ‘Tall women. Short women. Thin women. Fat women. Women of every race and ethnicity and sexual orientation.
One in Three
And those are the ones brave enough to report it. The statistics are probably much higher.
One in Three. All around you. Everyday.
So, stop talking about us as if we aren’t here.
We are here. We are all around you. We are hurting. You are hurting us.
Image by Misha Gordon