This is sort of a continuation of yesterday’s post, and in case you missed it, the general thing I was saying toward the end of it was that it doesn’t matter if sexual assault guy is a prince or an asshole, if he goes to school with me or not, if he’s “good,” or “bad.” I should be able to be alone with him, and not have him put me in an unsafe situation. I should be able to bank on the assumption that I’m not gonna get assaulted – even. if. he is an asshole!
I’ve heard a few times that I should’ve seen all the red flags (…and I should have).
I’m not saying no one should have any personal responsibility, or that we can just shrug off everything that happens to us as “not our fault” – even when we used poor judgement.
And I’m not saying I *want* to be with assholes, or that that’s cool or fun.
But. I don’t agree with the idea that’s been presented all too often along the lines of like, “boys are assholes.” Or “this guy’s an asshole…. So, what do you expect?”
Okay, first off, don’t even get me started (I mean, do, but not right this second), on our society’s often low expectations for men and how when they do something bad, so many people will say any number of iterations of “boys will be boys,” “boys are stupid,” “boys are assholes,” “what do you expect?” Etc. That’s potentially a whole ‘nother post, but minimizing men’s abilities to listen and be amazing – to state that we are expecting them to be harmful in one way or anything is not good for any gender.
But back to the point of this post, and the idea of “how could you be surprised if he did that when he’s an asshole?” – Do you think I’ve never met an asshole in my entire life?
We all have! And yet. None of them assaulted me. I didn’t expect them to, and they didn’t, because that’s not just “some asshole behavior.”
If you’re out with someone and they’re rude to the waiter, or they’re rude to you, or they talk really poorly about every person they’ve ever met, or they say something that’s borderline racist or sexist (etc.), then (in a take on the Jeff Foxworthy bit), “You might be out with an asshole!”
And depending on how well you knew this person before, or what your gut says, or whatever a million reasons, you may or may not still go home with them, or go out with them again…
“You know, I *must* have misheard their remark. There’s no way they meant that in a sexist way…. I should give them another chance.”
Some people wind up with assholes for a long time. And it’s not great. But it happens, and I still don’t expect them to raped. And I don’t expect us to be okay with it if that happens.
I expect an asshole to forget my birthday, or stand me up for a date, or maybe lie to me about something at a mid-consequential level. (Still not excusing that stuff, but that’s what I expect from an asshole.)
I don’t expect him to put his penis inside of me when I am uncontrollably shaking with fear, and saying out loud that that’s why I’m shaking (not ’cause I’m cold, or any other reason, but because I’m afraid – which I voice).
I don’t expect him to ignore me when I start bawling and again voice out loud that the reason I’m uncomfortable is him. I don’t expect him to keep plowing forward as though nothing is wrong.
Is that a asshole move? Yeah! It really is. But is that all it is? No.
It’s one of those many things in life where “a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square.”
Rape is always an asshole move, but an asshole is not always a rapist.
And look at that sentence right there – “rape is always an asshole move.” Did you read that and think, “What? That doesn’t sound nearly serious enough when you’re talking about rape, to just call it an asshole move.”
That’s my point! It’s more than that.
And I think we should be careful about how we talk about this stuff, as too many people say “she knew he was a jerk. She should’ve known what she was getting into.”
I’m not saying you can’t ever call anyone an asshole. If you hear a story of a significant other forgetting an important day (promotion anniversary, birthday, whatever) for like the 10th time, and you see this pattern of exhausting behavior, then I understand if you say, “of course they did! They always do! They’re an asshole, break up with them!”
(I mean, I know. How great if we had unending empathy for our friends, and didn’t have to get all grrr with them about their decisions… But I also believe that part of empathy and love is our friends sometimes giving us a wider perspective things… So, I’m not saying don’t ever get exhausted by assholes…)
I’m merely saying, don’t use the umbrella “asshole-ness” as an excuse for sexual assault and rape. They are very serious issues, and it’s not the same as someone just leaving you on read for a few days.
Let’s please not excuse criminals, or blame women just because we’re supposed to make some magical leap in our minds to somehow “know” that someone who’s kinda rude or just not so great in certain ways is just a rapist-in-waiting.
There is no excuse for rape – certainly not just being a jerk. So, don’t shrug your shoulders and accept that excuse from anyone.