The other day I was dropping something off in a local office building and out front there was a young woman, I am guessing early to mid twenties talking heatedly with a man about the same age. It appeared he stopped her as she was coming back from lunch or something. She was being polite, but firm. "No I don't want to see you again." and "Please stop coming to my office."
I made a point of stopping and observing, long enough to get some key details clear in my mind. She knew I was making a point.
Then Saturday night after L's dance show, I was walking my sleepy Diva to the car and one of the older girls was in the parking lot, walking to her car and a young man, with a dozen pink roses. She kept telling him to "please just leave her alone."
He kept insisting he was "sorry" and "please just take my flowers."
I was just about to suggest he move it along, when one of the fathers in the parking lot, walked over, walked him away from the girl. The father was saying, "son, she said no."
She got in her car.
This summer my book club read The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker.
They are the guy with flowers, who knows if you will take his flowers to shut him up and not make a scene in a parking lot, that maybe just maybe you will go out with him again, if he stalks you in a very public place and asks for a date in a few days.
During this very awful and overly drawn out Presidential campaign and highly contested Congressional campaigns, rape has, in my opinion been made light of by some under enlightened assholes. White men, who have never been in the position of having their consent violated, a foreign body shoved inside them. Held down, choked or otherwise threatened. They have never had their decision to stop at the grocery after a evening yoga class, judged as fool hardy or a sign they "were asking for it." All I can say to the Paul Ryans and Todd Akins and Robert Murdocks of the world is Karma is a bitch and I hope you are ready, because some day she will get her do.
Sexual assault by a stranger is a legitimate concern, but the reality is more women, will be assaulted by some one they know or have been friendly to intimate with previously.
Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.1
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.1
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.1
28% are an intimate.1
7% are a relative.1
In less than 10 days, I witnessed two such examples, women being pursed by someone whom they had a relationship and ended it, and each time, these men were not hearing the word "NO!"
Even more shocking:
(also from RAINN)
I can remember in high school, college and when I was first working, being faced with the relentless pursuit of a man. As women, we are socialized to be nice. So I would always try to be polite. To be kind. To put them off. To say No, 1000 ways. To be not heard. When I finally got to No... a few times I had to yell it a few times... because they were NOT about to take no as an answer. Understand I am not talking about sex-- I am talking about invitations to date, ect. Or another date, after the first one was lousy. Or the guy who stalked me at my first job, convinced he could treat me way better than "other guy."
The cute but uninteresting guy who stood by my locker every day after math class, trying to get me to go out with him... for a year.
De Becker covers this and more in his book. Our culture rewards persistence. The Little Engine that could. Try and try again. Bring on those pink roses, even when she is yelling "go away."
Business breeds this sensibility too. One of the last seminars I took, before leaving the bank, was "Overcoming Objections." It was basically sales techniques to turn a "NO" into a "Yes."
This is dangerous I think. When the wrong person is in the audience. I think we should as a culture, learn to respect the word "No." In all cases.
No means No.
And if you think I am being dramatic-- let's consider this sobering thought--
Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.Here's the math. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey --there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.
There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 207,754 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 152 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.
And those are the assaults we know about... or think we know about... given that so many people do not report being assaulted or seek medical attention, it is hard to get a handle on the actual number.
So while I know this song is annoying and people don't like it... I for one am glad it is out there. We need to be having this conversation more often. We need to push back-- so that under enlightened assholes like Ryan and Akin get tarred and feathered for suggesting that sexual assault, all sexual assault isn't valid or it is rare or whatever random rape denying shit rolls forth from their mouths. It happens-- EVERY TWO MINUTES. Sometimes at knife point and sometimes while in shock and sometimes at the hands of a man who swore up and down he loved you and would never hurt you. Until you tell him "no" and he forces you down and takes what he feels his for the taking.
I cannot stand the rape deniers. They have no place in our government. They have no place making laws. They need to be told-- HELL NO.
We need to teach our children that NO means NO.
But first we obviously need to teach politicians this lesson first.