“Oh come on, I thought you were going to be the fun Katie,” he says to me, pulling my wrist and pushing his body against me, his breath tickling my neck as he speaks. Tim* (*Names have been changed) has been drinking as long as I have, since 9 am and it is now well past midnight, almost one.
“Get off of me, Tim,” I say, twisting my arm in a way that doesn’t feel good, trying to relieve myself of his grip, trying to get closer to the door.
“It’s not funny. I didn’t come here to sleep with you.”
“But Katie, I thought you were going to be fun.” He grabs hold of me once more in an attempt to make me succumb. I try to pull away but he is stronger than I am. He rubs his face against my neck.
“No.” I say it firmly and his playful yet possessive manner quickly turns to anger.
“Fine, if you aren’t going to be fun, I don’t want you here.”
Suddenly the door is open and he pushes me out. I stumble for a moment and turn back to face him in the doorway. “What the fuck, Tim?”
He gives me a look, like a child disgusted at a toy, and then slams the door in my face.
I’ve been in these situations before. It is all too common. He pushes, and sometimes, you have to give in because you can’t get out. It’s easier. But it shouldn’t be.
I head back to my car, shaking. I dial a mutual friend, hoping she is awake. “Hey, what’s up?” Jennifer* asks.
“It’s Tim…” I begin, relaying the scene that just happened, the one I felt would have ended in rape if I was not careful.
She tells me what I need to hear. She makes me calm. I am to my car, opening my door, when Tim is coming back to me. “Shit,” I say into the phone.
He stands next to me, testing me. His look says DO NOT GET IN THAT CAR. His mouth says, “Come back inside.”
“Go,” I tell him, trying to stay strong, trying not to cry. I completely forget about the pepper spray dangling from the keys in my hand. I will later think, Why did I not pepper spray him? I put Jennifer on speaker and her words make him realize he needs to go. It takes time but he is gone soon and I am back in the car, trying again to keep my composure. I leave and when I get home, I have texts from him telling me that everyone thinks I’m crazy and he was trying to give me the benefit of the doubt. He says he could get laid anytime he wanted.
I don’t cry. I don’t want him to win.
Why is this okay? I wonder this all too often. Why are men constantly feeling that because a woman is comfortable in her skin, because she is sexy, because she is friendly, that this means it is okay to belittle her by turning her into play thing for their own enjoyment? Why do these men think that aggression toward women is okay? Why do these men think that this kind of behavior isn’t rape when she can’t get away?
Why do they think alcohol is any kind of excuse for these actions?
I am not perfect. I may sleep with more guys than I should. I may flirt with everyone out of kindness. I may go on more dates than I can count. But what makes anyone think that because of these things, I am less of a person, and therefore you can do what you wish to me?
I refuse to let this be my normal. I refuse to let other women feel belittled because some guy thinks that they are their property.
This is the 21st century. We are strong. We are independent. We are EQUAL.
That is what feminism means to me. That is why I’ve joined the movement and consider myself a feminist. That is why I refuse to ever let someone think that whether I”ve had twenty drinks or one drink, that I am theirs for the taking simply because I am in front of them. That is why I refuse to keep quiet about what rape really means. Because I’ve been there. Because no means no, and if she is too wasted and cannot even say no, then silence means no too.
There is no way to justify why any of these things are okay. We are human, just like them. We are equal. Always.
Will you join me in becoming a feminist?