I Have A Daughter, and It’s Not OK If She’s Assaulted
If you’ve read my blog at all before, you know I’m not one to delve into political matters. You also know, though, that when something is weighing heavy on my heart, this is my place to share it. The place to write the things that won’t leave your head and you can’t stop thinking about.
Unless you live under a literal rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard about this Kavanaugh situation. This post is not about that situation, but it is about the fallout from that situation.
What’s especially bothersome to me about this is not denials of whether he did it or not. It’s how, even if he did, it was a mistake and he was a teenager and it’s fine. I recently read a post in defense of Kavanaugh. This post was written by a woman who claims she was a partier and had her fair share of unwanted advances. She says that she turned them away and set personal boundaries. In her post she wrote, in capital letters, “I WAS ASSAULTED, NOT RAPED.”
And this has pissed me off.
I have a daughter. And, being a woman myself, I find A LOT of issue with the acceptance of the fact that it’s ok to be assaulted. “Oh, you were just assaulted, not actually raped? Must be fine.”
WHAT?! And let’s be clear, here. Assault isn’t talking about being catcalled or having a guy hit on you at the bar. It’s not a guy following you around or even brushing up against you for a second. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of this is fine.) The definition of assault is “to make a physical attack on.” Assault with intent to “have carnal knowledge of” is a felony. Assault is the definition of someone violating those personal boundaries.
So am I supposed to raise Zoey to know that it’s totally fine if someone pins her up, gags her, and tries to pull her clothes off, as long as he doesn’t ACTUALLY rape her? She should have said NO louder, pushed him away harder? It’s ok if I’m walking to my car and a guy pushes me inside and tries to grab me and take my clothes off? I should have told him I set up personal boundaries against this? My 5’4, 105 lb self should have just turned away his unwanted advances more firmly?
I also have a son. And you better be damn sure I’m raising him to know it is NEVER acceptable to touch, grab, or even look at a woman in an inappropriate way without their consent. And that’s not because I’m “afraid” for my young man in this society. It’s because it’s right. I will definitely not be teaching Oliver that it’s ok for him to grab a woman as long as he doesn’t fully rape her. I can’t even believe we live in a universe where someone would dare argue that.
My husband is a mental health therapist. So I can say after hearing some of his stories first hand, don’t you believe for one single second that girls and women who are JUST assaulted, not raped, don’t experience trauma and that it’s not horrific for them. If you seriously think that, please wake up from your ignorance. If you were assaulted- it’s wrong. If you were assaulted, it does not make it ok for other women to be assaulted. Please don’t teach them that it does. And please don’t let young men think they can get away with it because it’s just something that happens.
The woman that wrote the post was arguing that she was a partier and is now a doctor, so her partying days weren’t a reflection on what she would grow up to become. She says after she could recount a scenario just like Doctor Ford, but now she’s calmed down and Netflix is her idea of a good time. Again, avoiding Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford specifics, because I want this to remain about women and what we’re teaching them about assault versus a political post. But that statement, y’all, implies that being assaulted is not a big deal because she was drinking and it’s just what happens when you party.
Drinking isn’t an excuse for crime. If you’re drunk and commit a murder- it’s a crime. If you’re drunk and steal a car- it’s a crime. If you’re drunk and break and enter- it’s a crime. If you’re drunk and you assault someone- IT’S A CRIME. If you can’t drink without sexually assaulting someone- maybe don’t drink.
I hope Zoey doesn’t party hard when she grows up. But if she does, I’m teaching her it’s NOT an excuse for her to be assaulted. She’s not asking for it because she’s drunk, and the guy doesn’t get away with it because he’s drunk. And I’ll teach Oliver that being drunk is NOT an excuse for his actions. Ever. For any reason.
Above the politics, above the he said/she said, sexual assault is always wrong. Period. There’s no liberal agenda or right wing conspiracy behind that statement. It’s just a fact, and one I cannot believe has been politicized. My anger towards this doesn’t come from a political side. It’s coming from women saying, “oh this has happened to me and I turned out fine, so it’s fine.”
I DON’T WANT THAT TAUGHT TO MY DAUGHTER. The thought of someone holding her down, grabbing her wrists so she can’t move, pulling at her clothes and running his hands on her body- it makes me homicidal. I literally feel my blood running hotter through my veins just thinking about it. So don’t you DARE teach our young girls that. Don’t you dare teach them that assault is normal and part of life. We’re supposed to be raising our kids to make this world better, to do better. That starts with teaching them right from wrong, and assault is wrong.