December 28, 2015

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Women-Only Spaces Aren’t Necessarily Safe Spaces.

When “Helen” (not her real name) was 19, she woke from a deep sleep to find her friend “Jane” (who was staying in a second bed in Helen’s bedroom) on top of her, saying that she wanted to “experiment.” Helen tried to push Jane away, clearly told her “no” and “get off”—but after it became clear the other girl wouldn’t take no for an answer, Helen gradually stopped resisting and waited for it to be over. “If a guy had done that to me, I probably would have screamed. I would have got my parents, who were in the next room. I don’t know why I didn’t call my parents,” Helen told me.

“I think she felt entitled to [rape] me because I was interested in women, and because she thought that because she was a woman, she was incapable of hurting me. I guess I would just want other women or girls in my situation to know that that was rape and that it was wrong,” she added. Back when the assault happened, Helen didn’t tell anyone about it. Only many years later did she begin to ask close friends to help her find the right language to describe it.

Helen is far from alone. I’ve heard other stories like it, directly from friends and second-hand from acquaintances. I’ve also been raped, by a much older woman, during a mercifully short-lived relationship that was characterized by abuse, manipulation, and intimidation.

Plus, the top comment: “I’d like to add men-only spaces aren’t necessarily dangerous either. Almost all of my jobs have been in male-dominated fields where I am the only woman around – at least where I do the bulk of my job. I even worked a second shift job with nothing but blue-collar guys doing the warehouse grunt work all night. I’ve never had a moment where I even kind of felt in danger.”