The following is in response to a comment on a Facebook post for the upcoming Netflix documentary, Audrie & Daisy, about three cases of sexual assault against underage girls. The comments made by a man named Matthew on this thread were, while well intentioned, harmful, in that he continually argued with women, enforcing ideals such as “don’t drink too much, and you won’t get raped.” While I don’t ordinarily respond to comments such as this, I felt compelled to recall a personal story from my past that I have never shared publicly. While it was difficult to type this, I believe if my story can help anyone, I need to share it. Here it is:
What if the girl was sober? She was 15, with people she trusted. She did not say yes. She was uncomfortable, having never been in a situation like this before. She tried to push him away. He was a classmate — and when you’re a teenager, the perception of your classmates is everything.
Do you know what women ARE taught? To keep quiet. To put our heads down because “Well, you didn’t say no.” To not start controversy, as is clearly the case with the girls in this documentary. To try and move on, pretend it didn’t happen, see where WE went wrong. That’s why people have a problem with what you’re saying.
You’re saying you don’t like that people are making you seem like a victim-blamer? Well, I don’t like that I was told by friends (girls and boys) not to make a big deal out of it, because I wasn’t “actually raped.” How about the fact that no one knows about it, because I’m STILL (at 28) afraid people will find out who I’m talking about. And if that happens? I guarantee he won’t remember. He won’t have any idea that what he did was wrong, because 10+ years ago, there weren’t a lot of people telling young boys “only yes means yes.”
There were, however, people telling me that I should have done something, should have known something might happen. And, by and large, the women I’ve talked to? Their experiences are quite similar to mine. Telling them not to drink, to watch out, to be cautious of everyone? Wouldn’t have done any good at all.