Trigger warning: This post contains descriptions of sexual abuse and may not be suitable for everyone. Commenting has been disabled on this piece by the author’s request.
I will be the first one to admit this openly and freely. At one point in my life, I subscribed to a version of victim-blaming that suited my needs. I’ve always been a proponent of personal responsibility: ie, “Well, maybe if you weren’t so shitfaced, you’d have been able to tell that dude was a creeper and get out of there.” But now that five-inch stiletto is squarely on the other foot, and it’s really fucking uncomfortable.
Consent discussions have been running rampant in the sex positive, feminist, and kink communities that I participate in, and I was honestly beginning to feel the blood spatters from beating the dead horse into mush. But then something happened to a member of my inner-sanctum. Some dude had decided that it was okay to take advantage of one of my inebriated friends, and put his dick inside him while my friend was under the impression that there was a condom in place. According to my friend, the last time he saw this guy’s dick, there was a condom firmly in place. Next thing you know, my friend is on his back and has an unprotected penis in his tender behind.
And that shit, my friends, ain’t cute. Especially when the individual who decided it was okay to go bareback immediately starts shaming my friend after he’s shot his wad, assuming he’s caught some horrible disease that will make his penis rot off.
Let’s not forget this little tidbit, though: those being penetrated, male or female, are way more likely to get a disease or infection than to give one.
This situation help shift my mind-set from one of victim-blaming, to a ‘that shit is fucked up, what the fuck was that dude thinking’ type perspective.
And then something similar happened to me.
I went on a date with someone I’d met off of an infamous hipster dating site. I initiated contact. We’d messaged, talked about lots of things, and I decided that I felt comfortable enough to go out and meet this guy. He lived far from me, but I have a car, so I didn’t think much of it. We had a very enjoyable date, and were giving each other lots of indicators of interest. We had pre-negotiated and discussed the fact that I would be drinking, and if it came down to it, I would need place to stay if I were not able drive the long distance home. I felt comfortable with this guy. I went back to his house with the full intention of having sex with him, and having it good.
I’m going to fast-forward past all of the fun, sexy parts, and arrive at the moment where he decided that it was okay to put his dick inside me, number one without asking, and number two, without a condom. I will be honest. I was wasted. I’d had too many gin and tonics and IPAs on this particular evening. I remember thinking to myself “Wow, no condom? Weird”, but was so taken aback and blindsided by his actions that I didn’t respond or tell him to stop.
Because the truth is, I wanted him to do what he did. But I didn’t want him to do it unprotected. After we finished, he told me that he never does that. I immediately felt the need to assure him of my negative STD status, even though he was the one who initiated unsafe sex. He then left me alone in his living room, and went to sleep by himself. There was no affection, no reassurances, not even a condescending pat on the ass. He made me feel dirty for something I didn’t even agree to do. And that, dear readers, is fucked up.
I woke up the next morning feeling shamed and used, and left without looking him in the eye. I’d never felt so sexually disrespected and discarded, ever.
It took about 10 hours for the whole scenario to sink in. My trust and consent had been violated. I trusted this person to have both of our best interests in mind, and he failed, massively. I came home from work that evening, poured myself a glass of delicious rye whiskey, and began writing a blog post about what happened. I was so conflicted that the only way I could deal with what had happened was to write about it.
I posted my writing, then messaged the aforementioned man and told him exactly how I felt. He didn’t respond, but I felt empowered for having stood up for myself. If this had happened to me three years ago, I’d have run away from it. I was proud of myself.
I also discussed the event with a dear friend. She was empathetic, and reassured me that I was, indeed, not to blame for what happened. The people who commented on my blog post, however, did not respond as kindly. One male commenter was sympathetic, and assured me that my reaction to the violation was valid. The other commenters, all of them women, decided that patronizing advice and victim-blaming were the things that my writing warranted.
Let me say that again. WOMEN DECIDED THAT I DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL VICTIMIZED, EVEN THOUGH MY CONSENT AND TRUST WERE CLEARLY BREACHED.
I quickly took the writing down. I didn’t need to feel patronized or belittled.
Women decided to tell me things that I already knew and had already planned for. This didn’t happen to me because I was careless or ignorant. It happened because my date decided to violate my personal boundaries, without my consent. It added insult to injury when other women invalidated the way I felt about what happened. Just like I had done in the past, when I heard stories similar to mine.
And that alone is enough to make me drink.
Photo courtesy of Templeton Rye.