Rape is real. Please don't stop reading because you're uncomfortable. Just because this violence deals with sexual organs, doesn't mean anyone should be ashamed to talk about it. If I said "muggings are real" or "murder is real" it wouldn't bring up the same emotion that it does when I said "rape is real" and that's the problem.
Let me tell y'all a little story. Don't worry, it has a happy ending.
Dating in Pittsburgh has been easy for me. Cream rises to the top and the successful, eligible men I've been encountering, recognize quality when they see it.
I was in Target minding my own business. I was in the yogurt aisle, trying to find sour cream for a taco salad for a Cinco de Mayo party with my new friends. He stopped me and said "I know this is awkward, but I think you're extremely beautiful and I'd like to take you out for a drink." Freezing my tits off in the yogurt aisle, we chatted for about 10 minutes. He was cute, funny and he's a doctor. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
On our first date, he either really wasn't hungry or he was cheap, but I asked the important questions and found out he's muslim (deal breaker) AND his parents want him to marry someone who's his same ethnicity - a Persian woman. (Deal breaker). Yeah, he's not black. I date men who are not black. Get over it.
I said hey, let's be friends. I meant if-I-See-You-In-Target-Again-I'll-Speak friends. He meant, let's-talk-text-and-hangout friends. I avoided him. He was persistent. We canceled on each other a couple of times. He finally gave me a heart-to-heart about how we should really try to be friends. I obliged.
He goes "I just want to have movie night. I spend so much time at the hospital, I really just want to chill with some snacks and drinks. You can come to my house. You don't have to bring anything."
I get there. He has on cotton shorts and a wrinkled white tee. It could have been his boxers, I'm really not sure. Get in the house, it's a mess. He chalks it up to being a bachelor. The only TV is in the bedroom. Fine. It's a bubble TV (and I have a 46-inch flat screen w/ HD and good cable). Fine. He doesn't have any new movie. Not ok. There's no food, no snacks. AND I SPECIFICALLY ASKED on my way over if I could bring something. I was at the grocery store. Doritos are important. I digress, not fine.
We put on an old ass chick flick (Hugh Grant was in it.) I sit uncomfortably on his bed and he puts his arm around my shoulder. I tense up. He grabs my head to kiss me. I say "No. I'm not kissing you. I was serious about being friends." I look him in his eye when I say this, so he knows I'm serious. He says fine. He starts caressing my leg. I tell him to chill. He puts my hand on his thigh. I move it back. I ask him to stop for the second time. He starts caressing my shoulders.
It's at this point that I realize I've made a bad decision. We CANNOT be friends. I am unsafe. I met this man in Target and even though I've seen his labcoat and stetsocope, I don't even know his last name. I've never been in his car, so I don't have his license plate number. My girls have his address, but this is just completely wrong.
We were about 30 minutes into the movie, I muster up the energy to say "I'm gonna go" put my shoes on and leave. I say to him: "I made a bad decision. We cannot be friends. Do not get up, I will walk myself out." And I beelined out of there. I was scared. I was empowered.
He sent a text that said verbatim: "Hey sorry about tonight. I am not a bad guy. It is just that u are really cute and I couldn't help myself. Can u send me a text when u get home to make sure u got home safe. Sorry once again! :("
I didn't respond.
I don't owe him a response. I don't owe him my friendship. I don't owe him politeness. In the society we live in where men give and women take, it's easy to feel like you owe a man something for being interested in you. You practically are socialized to feel like you owe a man something every time he looks in your direction. How many times have I heard "Oh, he likes you. You should give him a chance"? Like a million times. No matter how many drinks you buy, compliments you shower me with or meals you put in my belly, I don't owe you anything.
After that ordeal. I called a couple of people and got on with my life. The story doesn't end that way for everyone. So many women have tried to be nice or polite and been victimized. So many women don't know that they have options and don't have to stay in uncomfortable situations. At one point in my life I didn't know. I'm 30 now and I'm leaning in to who I am and what I want. I am not a 16 year old waiting for my boyfriend to take me home. Or a college student spending time with a man for free steak and shake. Before this happened my mindset was if I didn't have a car, I may have seriously considered staying until the end of the movie to get a ride home. After that night, I would have seriously RAN home to get out of there. It's a mind shift that I'm happy I made.
And I want to figure out a way to impress upon every woman I meet or come into contact with that she doesn't have to be my age or make what I make or be as vocal as I am to empower herself against the culture of rape in our country.
For women dating, I beg with you, plead with you, if it doesn't feel right, get the fuck up outta there. It's unrealistic to think that you're never going to visit a man's house or ride in his car if you're dating, but you don't HAVE to do that either if you don't want to. I spent so much time worrying about the guy I was dating and what he thought. Seriously, fuck these dudes. Fuck how they feel. Fuck what he thinks about you. Fuck the manipulative tones he takes with you he wants more than what you're offering. Fuck the fact that y'all have mutual friends and you're worried that people are going to talk about you. Fuck our justice system for putting a woman in the defense because a man violated her. Fuck Serena Williams for contributing to that hateful culture against her own gender.
Fuck anyone who ever thought that a man raping a woman was that woman's fault. Asking questions like "Why were you in his house, in his bedroom, on his bed, watching old movies when you have good cable, watching a bubble TV when you have a flat screen and why he didn't have on anything but boxers and a t-shirt if you didn't WANT to have sex?" Fuck that question and any question like it.
If you don't remember anything else after reading this post, remember that as a woman, you are powerful beyond belief. Your gut, your intuition, the holy ghost within you is ALWAYS RIGHT and you don't have to answer or apologize to anyone for it.
I thank God that I got out alive and unscathed and I pray daily for everyone who didn't.