I started a new job this week at a raw-vegan restaurant and it's been great! I've had to get back into the swing of being on my feet for hours straight, but it's been a welcome adjustment. The people I work with are stellar; they're super helpful and upbeat which helps when things get crazy. Yesterday it was just me and this other guy working (at the bar) the evening/closing shift and he was (nicely) grilling me on my music taste. Every song that'd play he'd ask me what I thought about that musician. As the night was wrapping up he asked me my thoughts on his favorite director...Woody Allen.
"The rapist?" I asked.
He said they're still on trial about that and I said that doesn't make someone less of a rapist. He said there wasn't enough evidence, again not less of a rapist. He asked if I'm gonna judge someone's body of art based off of something they may or may not have done, I said if they're a rapist then yes. I was aggravated at this point and tired and annoyed and disgusted that this guy is fighting so hard for this rapist, then he said something that triggered me. He said 'they were in a relationship.' At this point I shut the conversation down, "I'm not talking to you about his anymore!" And then I called him a rape apologist.
Flashes of my history with sexual assault came before my eyes; my face felt flush, my heart beat faster. I wanted to escape.
Here's the thing I couldn't stammer out last night: most assaults are by someone known to the victim. People tend to think of sexual assailants as random guys jumping out the bushes, but for most that's not the case. Also, even within relationships there must always be consent. A 'no' is a 'no' in every context/stage of a relationship. An enthusiastic 'yes' must be present.
My coworker went from being just some guy I work with, to a rape apologist who's now unsafe to me.
People tend to have a very narrow idea about what constitutes as sexual assault; it's not just rape which means it's more common than realized. This guy thought/thinks that since they (Woody Allen and his victim) were dating/in a relationship that everything was permissible, that there were no boundaries, that consent was a given. Consent is never a given; both parties must be on board at the same time and consent can start and stop at any given point.
So here's how to not be that guy/gal:
1) Don't defend sexual assailants
2) Don't joke about sexual assault
3) Don't be a sexual assailant
4) ALWAYS get an enthusiastic 'yes' when being intimate with someone (if they say 'no' in the middle of something, then you fucking stop)
5) Don't call victims of sexual assault liars
Now go forth and don't be a fucking rapist.