My friends, how they frustrate me
I live in a conservative part of the country. Most of my friends are white guys. Most of my friends are total nerds. These intersections mean, most of my friends strongly disagree with me ideologically.
Most of the time we all deal: I talk about politics, they generally ignore me, we go back to talking about movies, books, and such. Every once in a while, I get them actually listen to what I say, and their mind changes, or they at least think about it. But then again, every once in awhile, they get really, really mad about what I have to say, and feel the need to respond to me.
That's what happened the other night when I was out with P.E. and J. Somehow, the topic of rape discussion came up, and J made the old stand-by of "Well, no one should rape a girl, but she needs to take some responsibility. What do girls think happen at fraternities?"
PE looked at me, with the "this is your area of expertise, I'm staying out of it face" and I immediately fell back in my chair.
"Dear lord!" I said. "What have I done? I just drank TWO WHOLE glasses of wine on an empty stomach, I'm probably buzzed. Not to mention, I've already given you the keys to my car. Two of you against me, and J, you're stronger than me when I'm perfectly sober. Oh, and Christ Almighty, look at me, I'm wearing a shirt that has a plunging neckline! You guys will probably be invited to my place afterwards, and dear Christ, I just realized I'm not a VIRGIN! Oh, I guess the only possible consequence is that I'm going to get raped tonight!"
PE was snickering, but J got really offended at that last part. He got upset and say "Don't be ridiculous, I'm talking about reasonable precautions, not locking yourself away."
"Oh, you seem offended. Don't being like thought of as a possible rapist?"
"To be honest, NO. You should know I'm not a rapist". J said.
"How on EARTH am I supposed to know you're not a rapist, J? It's not like rapists wear a sign. And I do know the statistics: I'm most likely to be raped by someone I know, not a stranger."
"Oh, so it's an access thing?" J asked.
"Probably, but the point still stands. You have plenty of access to me. How am I supposed to know you're not a rapist? You rape me, everyone thinks I'm lying, if I press charges, the cops I'll think I'm lying and I'll be vilified all over the city. So, what is a "reasonable precaution" for me to take to not get raped? And for that matter, what action makes me "deserves to get raped"?"
"That's not what I said!" J said
"What else am I supposed to take from it?"
I don't know if I got through (I rather doubt it) but the point of the matter is simply this: I did not get raped that night. And the reason I didn't get raped, is because there was no rapist present. There is no "personal responsibility" for my prevention of rape: the only person who can prevent rape is a rapist (and, you know, social attitudes and what-not).