*TRIGGER WARNING: post contains discussion of sexual assault*
After keeping myself up to date with this entire Brock Turner situation, who is a rapist and should be labeled as such instead of a star athlete with pictures of him smiling, I came across a Pop Trigger video. I like people voicing their opinions about news, and what I like even more is people voicing their opinions that I can agree with. I did agree with them and everything they were saying, in this particular video. Taking it a step further, near the end of the video, one of the co-hosts recommended a documentary on Netflix called The Hunting Ground. Already fueled with anger at 3 in the morning, I found the documentary before the Youtube video even ended, and I watched it.
Two days ago I read the 12 page statement from the victim in the case of a now 20 year old rapist, Brock Turner. In the Pop Trigger video that I just mentioned, they suggest reading it in spurts, like taking a break after a while and then coming back. Unless you have to, I recommend the opposite. Take it all in at once. Go with her as she walks us all through that night and the way it changed her life forever. By the end, I won’t promise that you won’t be crying, but I can only hope that this will influence you to take a stance on the rape culture surrounding us. Even if you have no idea of this entire case and you’ve only read Turner’s father’s letter, which is the essence of stupidity that I won’t even get into, I recommend you read the statement.
I’ll talk about The Hunting Ground and what I thought about it later on in this post, but I would first like to share something personal. No, it’s not what you’re thinking, nothing of that extremity happened in my life, which I am so thankful for, but a memory popped up in my head. I’ll just get into it. Pop Trigger also released another video similar to the one I already mentioned. I don’t remember if it was the one about rape culture in the Youtube community or if it was the one from the Turner case that was made last year or it was another rape case at a school. So in one of those videos, one of the co-hosts, who I often find myself disagreeing with, said something along the lines of we have to teach boys that raping a girl isn’t a good thing. I’m not putting it in quotes because I know those aren’t her exact words.
I don’t know if you guessed it already, but I don’t agree with this. It could have been because I was already pissed off from days of keeping up with this whole thing, but that is what I got from her sentence. “No,” I thought, “This doesn’t sound right”. Obviously, yes, teaching boys not to rape makes sense, but personally, she made it seem like we have to teach boys rape is bad. To me, those seem like two totally different things. Then, the next day, or yesterday since it’s now 5:10 a.m., I was in the kitchen making myself food and it hit me. I was sucked back into my freshman year of high school. It was a Friday, I know this because I was wearing a dress and I never dressed up unless it was a Friday and the marching band had a competition the next day. I was in class. There was a boy I liked that sat next to me. We held hands under the desk and he often gave me compliments. Today, he put his hand on my knee. It was bare today, you know, because of the dress thing. Then he began to scale his hand up my knee and my thigh and he nearly made it to my hip, pushing my dress up along with his fingers. In the middle of class. My question to my past self is “where was the teacher?”, but anyway. The entire time I was doing anything but telling him to stop. I remember looking away the entire time. I probably inspected my nail bed, checked my phone, anything so he thought I couldn’t feel a thing and wasn’t paying attention. I just didn’t know what to say or how to react. Suddenly, his fingertips stopped. I was sure my underwear had to have been out, but when I looked down, I guess the bunching of the dress prevented that. He then said, “Aren’t you gonna stop me?”
Now, again, I could have totally and completely misinterpreted what the co-host of that Youtube channel said. However, if she in fact meant that we have to instruct boys, as if their brains will never fully develop, that raping is bad, we are wasting our time. I know I can’t compare the guy in my class to Brock or any other dude for that matter, but if at the age of 14 he knew touching anyone in a way that they aren’t consenting is bad… These boys know what they are doing. You don’t teach growing boys that stealing is bad. They already know it’s bad. You teach them not to steal.
Something else that I have learned is that I, quite frequently, have encounters a lot similar to the one from ninth grade. My friends and I always talk about how we would do this and that if a guy talked to me like that or touched me in that way and I didn’t blatantly say to him that I was ok with it. We would often find frustration in hearing about people who don’t do anything when things like that happen to them. Then, this case became popular to me and I just started remembering things. Like when a guy I didn’t like wouldn’t let me out of his hold and continued to kiss my cheek even though I was trying to wiggle away. I thought about this and the event freshman year and I cringed. I instantly told my friend about how I’m realizing I do the things I shame other girls for, and she wasn’t the nicest with her response. I think it all came down to him, at the end of the day. He was the one with his hand up my thigh he was the one in my personal space he was the one refusing to let go of my waist. But I didn’t speak, because I was afraid I would ruin his joke. If I freaked out on him, this would turn from him being playful, to me losing him as a friend or being named as too sensitive. What if I report him to the teacher? I don’t want him to get in trouble. What if I tell our friends? I don’t want him to be looked down on.
We have to unlearn this. We must unlearn this. If someone, male or female, is touching you in a way you do not want, you have to tell someone. It’s so easy to keep your mouth shut. But you are too strong and too powerful to be ran over. The guy from ninth grade, wherever he is, could have potentially done this to some other girl, or worse now that he is older, because I turned a blind eye, literally.
As for The Hunting Ground, I got chills. I plan on telling all of my friends about it. If you are my friend, and your my friend on Facebook, you’ll wake up in a few hours with a long post of me explain why it’s so good. The documentary hit all the points, digging deeper into things I already knew and giving me so much more information. Males get sexually assaulted too, and it’s so easy to forget that. I searched for my former “dream school” the entire movie, wanting so bad to see what dirt there was on them. When I finally saw it, yes out of all of the colleges in America there it was, I got really scared. I switched from being the petty one of trying to find out what shit they’ve pulled, to actually being frightened. My bestfriends go there.
Now, all we can do is act. After watching the documentary I have learned that if we don’t act, about 100,000 students will be sexually assaulted next year.
Always remember that you can overcome anything. Literally anything. Even if you feel like your school doesn’t give a shit or the police don’t give a shit, know that there are people out there in the United States of America and in this world that do care. There are people that believe you. There are people that will actually help.
A girl is a gun. She is strong. She is hard. She is powerful. She is filled with fire.
Fuck the “boys will be boys” standards,