I'm trying to make sense of things. Thoughts are slipping out of their usual neat boxes and I soup them into my hands, attempting to put them back in place.
I want to say something profound. Like: life is the constant struggle to get along with people. At least, that's what it feels like to me. We push and pull and are confounded by how we're suppose to act and what we're suppose to do. Enter into postmodernism, I suppose. Shed the weight of the structuralists and their rules of etiquette, what do you want from me?
No one really knows anymore. That's the glory of our movement, no?
I was listening to the radio this morning on the way to a meeting with my adviser and my gym date (both equally painful, but very necessary). I wasn't paying much mind to the station, until one of the jockeys mentioned a self-defense class for women that they were offering this weekend. I immediately perked up. It sounded great, actually. They hoped to promote awareness over the physical and sexual abuse women encounter on a daily basis and give practical tools for women to exercise in case they find themselves in a compromising situation.
Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Please, take 2 minutes to think about that.
I was very excited that a mainstream station not only brought up a serious issue, but was attempting to open dialogue over a topic so delicate. Many of us are petrified into silence with the mere mention of 'sexual assault'.
Then, to my utter disappointment, the only woman on the show---in proper self-loathing fashion--- says, "Yeah, it'll be a great seminar. I mean, there are things that we ladies do---without even realizing it, maybe---that causes these situations. It can easily be preventable." (Note that I am paraphrasing. I don't remember her words exactly, but that was the general idea). The other two men on the show agreed with her and recanted observational experiences where they felt that women were 'just asking for it'.
What. The. Fuck.
In my rush of anger, I lost my words. The only thing I could think was why? why? why?
I understand the interconnectedness of us all. I understand that our actions cause reactions from others. But what I don't understand is when it became acceptable to negate and displace individual responsibility for individual reactions? We never ask for anything. It is you who decide to shed your humanity. It is you who decide to assault, abuse, rape.
No one ever asks for it. Regardless of how a woman dresses. Regardless of when she decides to go out. She never asks for it.
I shouldn't be afraid to go for walks around my neighborhood after dark. It's not even a shady part of town---it's white suburbia, for fuck's sake! My friend shouldn't have to worry about having her ass grabbed at a theme park. We shouldn't have to carry around pepper spray and rape whistles and fear in our purses. I am tired of being branded the guilty party. I'm tired of constantly taking preventative measures, of teaching my sisters to do the same.
Let the blame fall where it should. Let the guilt fall where it ought to. Not on us. Not again.
P.S. I hope you are well, folks. I'm very interested to hear some thoughts on this.
P.P.S. Sigh. I really hope there are some thoughts on this...