So this weekend I escaped to the woods alone and tuned out and turned off the outside world.
And then I came back to this a social uproar over Trump’s comments about women.
At first I was at a loss for words, somehow stunned. It is not just what Trump said that is horrible, but all of the people jumping to his defense. His excuse of an apology and dismissing it at “locker room banter”. Reading that line, I found some words . . .
Fuck your banter.
There is nothing that feels bantering and jovial about these kind of comments.
They feel assaulting, degrading, and at the heart of what rape culture is in our country.
The thing is though, because we have been immersed in a culture “that condones physical and emotional terrorism against women”, so many women are desensitized to this and think it is just normal, that it is OK.
Recently I found an old box of notes from high school. One in particular was a back and forth note between me and a male classmate. It began with normal chit chat about homework and then the boringness of class. The next response was a drawing of a dick, a character of me, and a description of what he would like to do to me. I dismissed it, and replied with something else about class, and he wrote back, “sorry about the sex talk” and I responded “No worries at all, I am used to it.”
"No worries at all, I am use to it."
I read those words from my adult eyes like WTF? A 16 year old girl who went through puberty a mere two years ago was use to this type of talk? But the truth is, I was use to it. And I was use to shrugging it off as no big deal, because all of the messages around me were saying it was no big deal.
It was normal, boys will be boys. It was fine.
It is NOT fine.
It is not fine that when I was 15 years old in a crowded hot tub a man in his mid 50s started making comments about my boobs. Questioning if they were real, stating that I was in “trouble” if I already looked like that, that I better watch myself.
It is not fine that in high school there was a drawing of me in the weight lifting room, a drawing mostly of my boobs, next to my nick name “Double D Savory”, objectifying me to mere cup size. And no one, not the coaches, not the admin, not the teachers thought maybe it should be removed? For months it remained.
It is not fine while walking to the library one day at college I didn’t respond to the catcalls of some of the athletes. The star football player threatened, “Next time I see you I will make sure I see those tits and ass.”
It is not fine that when I found the courage and expressed my fear to the athletic director about this altercation that he dismissed this as “banter” and just how those boys talk sometimes. This was the response he gave a young woman concerned about her safety after already having been raped on campus earlier in the year.
It is not fine that I have hundreds of stories like this and so does nearly every woman I know.
Yes maybe it is actions and not words that you are worried about. But from a woman who has had to hear men’s sexual remarks for the last 20 years I am telling you it is not FINE.
Nothing about it is fine.
I may at the time have shrugged these things off, didn’t say anything about it, didn’t stand up for myself as human and not a fucking object. I was young, grappling to find approval from sources other than myself. I was immersed in a culture with messages that said my worth was in how I looked, how men viewed and ranked me, or these things “are just the way things are”.
But things have changed, I have two daughters of my own and you better believe I am finding my voice to say IT ISN’T FINE.
What Trump said is not banter.
Letting Brock Turner off with a slap on his wrist isn’t OK.
Continuing to blame women for somehow asking to be assaulted is fucking ludicrous.
Grow up America, we all have to do better for our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters.
The quotes on rape culture were from this site http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/