Sunday, August 26, 2012

Further Ruminations on Rape

Upon review, this post sounds a little angry. I know women aren't supposed to be angry. And I will add that I am not angry at most men. Most men I know are lovely. But my God, the 27% I guess it is that are always waiting to fuck up the world.

And sure, I know, there must be a equal percentage of women out there, fucking it up for the men. But I can't help but believe it's not the same thing. Men are afraid of women because women might mock them, or refuse them, or leave them, or take their money, or refuse to give them children, or who knows what. Women are afraid of men because men might beat us, or kill us, or rape us, or do all of those things to our children. And we're afraid of that pretty much all the time, even when we're pretending not to be afraid of it.

Like when I am standing in a post office looking at the stamp machine trying to figure out how it works with my kid standing beside me. A guy comes in. Probably an okay guy. Who knows. But he's big, and he's alone, and we're alone. So I have to do the little terror assessment: is he a rapist? Will he kill us? Will he rape us? Are we safe?

And maybe you think I'm being an hysterical girl, but I cannot tell you the number of times I've had guys just like that one assault me, verbally and physically. Once at a bus stop, a guy rubbed himself -- his cock, I mean -- against me. When I yelled at him to stop he laughed. I was fifteen or sixteen, I think. Once in a bus station, a guy sat down next to me and asked me if I wanted to eat his cock. He said he would give me twenty dollars. Once when I was riding my bike and the tire went flat, a guy stopped and told me he'd give me a ride home if I would fuck him. When I said no, he drove really slowly along beside me for a long time -- it was a highway without much traffic -- telling me he was a good fuck and I wouldn't be sorry and I looked like I needed a good fuck anyway, why not?

So no. Maybe most guys aren't going to assault me, or my kid. Maybe I am safe in most places. Maybe I shouldn't be so angry because it's only some guys and not all of them.

But here's the thing -- when I yelled at that guy at the bus stop to stop it, and he laughed, no one else at the bus stop did a fucking thing. When the guy in the pickup was trolling me, offering to fuck me because I looked like I needed it, none of the other cars passing by stopped to see whether I needed help. And if I had gotten raped, there on that highway? Lots of people would have said I'd had it coming. What was I doing riding alone on that semi-deserted highway, after all? Being a girl and all? Possessor of a vagina? Didn't I KNOW that someone like me has no business going out into the world, acting like she has the right to ride a bicycle anywhere she wants, just like she's equal and shit?

That's what guys in that pickup are for, to teach little misses like me a lesson: we aren't equal. We don't have the right to go anywhere we want. We need to be taught better.

And I did get taught better, by the way. I had been a long distance cycler before that, riding miles and miles through the landscapes of Louisiana, but I quit after that. I never rode my bicycle long distances again. I stuck to well-lighted parks and tame landscapes. Like a girl. Like a girl should. I got tamed.

The men win. That's what makes me so angry, I guess. They scare us enough that many of us shut up. We don't ride our bikes across the world. We don't finish our Ph.Ds. We don't get angry, because good girls don't. We don't wear that sassy dress. We stay home after dark. We keep our heads down.

And we don't speak up.


Bardiac said...

I didn't comment on the previous post because what I wanted to do was hug you, and tell you yes, you're absolutely right, and I don't know how to change men.

But now I'm going to say: I didn't think that post sounded angry in any way, but totally real, smart, and right. And this post, this post sounds the same, and a little raw in a totally reasonable way.

I'm tired of men complaining because they have hurt feelings and at the same time not recognizing that there's a world of difference between hurt feelings and a raped body, or a beaten body, or a murdered body. I don't want anyone to have hurt feelings, but I'm way more willing to risk hurt feelings than real damage to human beings.

Anyway, a sisterly hug from me. I'm especially sorry for the bad bike experience, because biking to me feels free and I want everyone to feel free.

delagar said...

Thanks, Bardiac.

Yes, the biking I think is what I hate having lost most. I still ride my bike, I'm just a lot more careful about where and when. I used to be fearless, and now I'm not.

Bardiac said...

Thinking further: if I were someone who practiced conceal/carry, and shot that nasty bike ride guy (because he was threatening), do you think the menz would think it was overreacting? Or just plain old good sense?

(Thelma and Louise go biking.)

delagar said...


Andrevs said...

You can still go biking, though. Why don't you carry concealed weapons? Maybe a really good knife or a pistol? Then you can teach those fuckers a lesson!

delagar said...

I did used to carry a knife while I biked and while I ran, but seriously, getting actually physically attacked isn't as much the issue as getting attacked spiritually and mentally, constantly.

Even when guys in trucks and cars don't yell at me, or slow down to smirk and make gestures -- and these days, now that I'm out of my 20s and 30s, weeks will pass without that happened -- I always know some guy COULD do that.

Which I think is really the point of the cat-calls and the street harassment. Guys want women to know that -- that they can be owned, that they are owned.

Unknown said...

I don't want to disagree with this post, because I agree with it. I don't want to say anything that could belittle what you say, because it's a brave thing to say, and it's something that needs to be heard.

So I have to think. Why does this post make me feel uncomfortable? Why, because I'm a man. And I hate the depiction I read here. And I hate it even more because I recognize it, because I know it's true.

So, I won't give you a sisterly hug, because somehow I feel ashamed. Ashamed because this is still happening today. In the age of wireless communications and almost-space-travel. This insane, humiliating, belittling, and ultimately inhumane thing is happening to other human beings.

So, I will tip my hat off to you from a distance. There is anger in this post, but not nearly enough.

Thank you for these words.