This past weekend, I overheard a girl at a party making offensive comments about the alleged rape victim in a highly publicized rape investigation. She called the girl a liar and a “jealous bitch trying to fuck up the life” of the team’s quarterback. She did this quite loudly and I assume it’s because she was quite certain she was expressing a popular viewpoint. You see, she is a huge fan of the team and the school. It made my blood boil. I approached her and the two men with her and asked if she knows anyone who has been raped or someone who’s ever filed a rape report. I asked her if she knew how rare false reports are especially if someone underwent the rape kit process. She looked at me with her oily skin and eye makeup smeared across her cheeks, and answered, “No, but this girl is posting Instagram images of herself and is not acting like a rape victim. Please, she’s a jealous bitch.”
She was so ugly to me, her face contorted in a proud-of-herself nasty smirk, and it hit me: I have rarely come across a woman in the flesh to say those things in my presence. I found it jarring. It made my stomach drop. I would have pursued it further but did not want to embarrass my friends who were with me as I could tell they were uncomfortable already. But I couldn’t shake it and still haven’t. I despise that woman and what she represents. I am mad at myself for not already having a more succinct and powerful way to cut thru someone’s awful words when that kind of opportunity presents itself. I just found it to be so personal. When she said what she said, it’s like she was saying that about me. And I don’t think anyone would understand that unless they themselves have been a victim of this crime.
I thought about her all day yesterday as I prepared for a meeting with a nearby sorority. I wanted to make it clear to the young women there that we can do better amongst ourselves. Believe me, I have my struggles with women who don’t play fair in the sandbox. But this is a crime we cannot afford to be so ignorant or flippant about. We should be the last ones standing in a room, cutting down another woman for filing a rape report. Filing a report and bringing charges – and hopefully, winning the case – is our best bet at preventing dozens of additional rapes by that perpetrator. It’s turning an ugly crime into a beautiful gesture by one woman toward many other women they’ll probably never meet or know. I fervently wish more would look at it that way.
There are so many reasons we distance ourselves from the horror of rape. Unfortunately, one of them is to deny its existence and instead attack those who dare to come forward.
Ohh…I am so sorry you had to go through that. Don’t beat yourself up about not saying more. A few years ago I might have bitten my tongue as well. In fact last week at my Yoga class some of the students were joking a bit about a restaurant called The Red Light. Of course some of the men made remarks about being happy to go there with their wives. I know this seems silly, but it was a little offensive to me…I can be very sensitive to all manner of sexual abuse…..but these were my friends all having a good chuckle before class so I didn’t say anything.
There are places to pick your battles, and it seems to me that waging a war with an uneducated, possibly drunk young woman wanting nothing more than to score points with the QB is not worth your time….going to the sorority and speaking out where women will actually listen and make positive change, or posting the story in a blog like this…that’s where change will happen. Kudos to you Kerri for speaking out and for keeping your cool.