1. You Can’t Know Everything About Everyone. Perhaps you’d met them or maybe friends vouched for them or the three cups of coffee two dinners and a round of drinks cemented a fleeting level of mutual understanding. Either way, you didn’t know them. You barely know yourself and you’re still learning about best friends and siblings and that questionable weekend your father took away from your mother, so how could you possibly know everything about them? There’s no way you could have foreseen their anger or envisioned their rage or predicted their baseless disregard for human decency.
2. Their Friends. If they were there they should have stopped it and if they couldn’t then neither could you and if they weren’t there you bet your ass they wish they could have been. If their friends couldn’t see this coming there was no way your blind spot could have been anything smaller than a semi tractor trailer.
3. You’ve Paid For Protection. If a street seemed safe for running and a tunnel seemed safe for walking, shouldn’t they be? You’ve paid your taxes for sidewalks and parks and trails and the lights that guide you through them. Yes be aware and yes be smart but why should you fear walking, running, strolling, jogging, living through the neighborhoods you’ve helped build?
4. Parenting. Their parents should have singed “regard” into their spine and burned “respect” into their brain. Perhaps they tried endlessly and wracked their brains furiously for ways to instill consideration in their offspring’s personality. If humanity didn’t take and decency was rejected, that is their failure. Not yours.
5. Alcohol Isn’t Anonymous. A beer doesn’t wash away their accountability or drown their responsibility or simply allow them to disregard your rules. The sixth shot didn’t miraculously change the meaning of “no”. No matter how many sheets they’ve found themselves in the wind, they knew better and know better and should have been better.
Your beer didn’t leave them in charge of your body and your shots didn’t leave a rejection up for interpretation. No matter how many sheets you found yourself in the wind, they knew better and know better and should have been better.
6. Silence Is Not “Yes”. The inability to open your mouth in protest does not automatically result in a pass go. They didn’t have the right to create words with bad intentions and evil endings, stuff them in your unresponsive mouth, and pass them off as your own. No one speaks for you when you’re conscious. No one should speak for you when you aren’t.
7. Your Body Is Not Owed. You don’t owe them in kisses or spread legs or flesh. If they want a toy with every meal they pay for, send them to McDonalds. A flirtatious wink plus a sexy smile divided by a few shared moments does not equal your body on a silver platter. You are not currency or property or a prize. You are not paid for or bartered for or won. And you are not a lawn ornament that can be taken by an impatient neighbor who wants what they cannot have.
8. Clothing Is Optional. If you chose a short skirt or a higher heel or a lower blouse, you didn’t choose rape. If you chose to look sexy and appear desirable and look wanted, you didn’t choose rape. When you are raped, sexy and desirable and wanted are the last things you feel. Some men wear v-necks to their navels and muscle shirts too tight and sun glasses in the middle of a dark bar with little to no repercussions. No more than you have the right to rip their ridiculous outfits off them, do they have the right to rip yours off you.
9. The Definition of Self Control. You have walked or ran or crawled through life understanding the needs of others. Realizing the responsibility you have for others. Consciously attempting not to hurt others. You’ve seen a desirable man and not held him down or caught the eye of a beautiful woman and not pinned her down. If you could can will would, why didn’t they?