I know Brock Turner.
Heck, I dated Brock Turner. Some of my friends dated him too.
Well not the Brock Turner. But someone just like him.
Plenty someone’s just like him, in actual fact. So did these girls...
‘Girl A’ once woke up covered in ejaculate that had been spurted on her while she slept. She had fallen asleep during a make out session and the guy wasn’t quite done yet.
‘Girl B’ was woken, Christian Grey style, with her then boyfriend bonking away at somewhere in the region of her vagina. Not quite penetration, but damned near close enough.
‘Girl C’ regaled me once with a story of being too drunk to fight off a guy, so she decided to just lay there and let him get it over with. She kind of remembered it the next day and actually allowed it to happen a few more times after that as well, before she dumped him.
‘Girl D’ was left behind on a girls’ night out and forced to go home with a guy she didn’t really know. He had his way with her while she quietly cried into a pillow. The next morning he woke her up with a red rose and a painkiller for her headache. He acted as though they had shared something unforgettable. Well they had, but for entirely different reasons.
‘Girl E’ was sitting next to a guy on the backseat of a car, a complete stranger, and woke to find him fondling her breast. The seat was full (three adult passengers and all) but his hands were still roaming to places they weren’t welcome. She was only fourteen and hardly had any breasts at all, but still wished she had none to start with.
By the look of him, Brock Turner isn’t incredibly sexy, or incredibly popular, or anything extra-incredible (and I say this having never met the man, but based on countless news stories.) He was just a guy who was at a party and had too much to drink.
No accounts report that he was socially repulsive. No accounts state that women were scared of him. No reports indicate any prior cause for concern at all. He was/is just a guy.
So many girls I know have heard these lines from ‘just a guy’:
“If you won’t let me shag you, will you at least suck it?”
“If I can't have that hole, can I at least have the other one?”
“Will you at least let me use your hand to whack off?”
“But I gave you a lift home, you have to…”
All of these guys are Brock Turner.
In my little world, there are countless times where guys have completely misread the signs and made moves when none were wanted. So I wasn’t shocked when the story of Brock Turner broke. Not sure of the story? Click here.It was something I had heard of and seen first hand, countless times. But I do feel quite shocked by my own initial response: Apathy.
And this has resulted in some serious self-reflection.
You see – as I said, - I dated that guy. When I recall countless times I, or my best friends, have been at a party or a club and been separated going home, I am mortified that she could so easily have been one of us. It could so easily have been me. Except I wouldn’t have said anything; I would have woken up, utterly ashamed of myself, very confused about what had happened; but never in my wildest dreams would I have pressed charges and taken the stand this [brave] girl has done.
And I dare say, nor would any of my friends?
You see, the rape culture has penetrated us so deeply (if you excuse the inappropriate pun) that we don’t even know what constitutes as a sexual violation anymore. Yes, education is rampant and campaigns are trying to encourage girls to speak up, but to most of the girls I know, what Brock Turner did to her would have gone completely unreported. She, we, I would have taken the fact that I drank too much as the reason I ‘asked for it.’
His father’s comment, “A steep price to pay for twenty minutes of action,” is how so many people I know would have seen the incident. Sadly. ‘Action’ is seen as something to which one is entitled.
I don’t remember how old I was when I learnt about “blue balls.” I spent most of high school believing that a guy’s testicles could literally explode if he wasn’t allowed a release. There is no female equivalent to ‘blue balls.’ But the pressure it placed on pubescent sexual explorers was enormous. It was real. So many girls succumbed to performing acts they were not interested in performing for no personal pleasure of their own out of fear of leaving the guy with exploding testes.
So this sense of entitlement, which is closely akin to the exploding testes rumour, does make the man feel he should push a little harder to get a little more. And girls then feel they need to give a little more because that is what he needs. And so they do. Even when they don’t want to or feel comfortable doing this ‘thing’ (whatever it may be).
Here’s the clincher: that constitutes sexual assault or molestation or sexual abuse. And in some cases, that constitutes rape.
I was not alone in the belief that we, as women, had inferior sexual needs and our demands were less important simply because we didn’t have anything that would explode should it not be released of any tension built up by arousal.
Most of my friends feel that way too: guys physically need the release, girls don’t.
So, girls believe guys need it. Guys believe they need it too. Girls don’t feel that they need it as much. Guys perpetuate the idea of exploding blue balls. Girls are ‘notoriously indecisive,’ not knowing from one minute to the next what they actually want. Brock Turner felt he was owed an orgasm. He probably felt he was promised one (indirectly.) She almost certainly (unbeknownst to her!) led him on. I may be over simplifying things here, but why else would a young man take what wasn’t even on the table to start with? Unless he felt he was entitled to it.
Here I sit, at the ripe old age of thirty-six, and it has taken me all of this time to realise that people I know and love have been sexually assaulted and done nothing about it. They don’t even know that they have been sexually assaulted. I watched a video by accident, (meaning, I want sure what I was watching at the time,) after the story broke and suddenly the penny has dropped. The video equates offering tea to offering sex. And how you can't force tea on someone when they don’t want it.
Guys I know have, (in my company!) joked about how easy it was to get a drunk girl into bed, how compliant she was and how she often woke up not remembering a thing. So who is to blame here? A lot of folks seem to think it is the drunk chick.
But drunkenness is not asking for sex. Dancing ‘like a slut’ is not asking for sex. Even accepting a lift home is not asking for sex. Kissing a guy goodnight is not asking for sex. Unless someone asks for sex, or replies in the affirmative when you ask for it, you can't give it to them. It seems so simple. If they are asleep and can’t reply, the answer is no. If she is passed out from a drunken stupor and her skirt is hitched halfway up her ass, the answer is still no.
But why then, the breast grope? Why then the late night masturbation on a passed out girl’s back? Why then a dry hump on a sleeping girl’s thigh gap? Who the hell gives anyone that right? And here someone will pipe up that the guy needed the release. And that he had been led on all night. And that she was asking for it. And somewhere deep down is the belief that his balls will explode if he doesn’t get a release and she feels her needs and desires and lusts and prudence are insignificant. Somewhere deep down he believes he can take what he “needs” and that the girl somehow actually wants what he’s giving, but doesn’t know it yet.
If I am making horny, entitled guys a little nervous that girls are starting to wake up to the fact that they too have rights and that they don’t need to be slut shamed when in actual fact they have been abused, then good. About bloody time. The scenarios I posted at the start of this passage weren’t made up and were actual stories I remember hearing first hand at university. Not so long ago. And not that uncommon an occurrence. I’d like to think that by the time my daughters head off to uni, they will be able to report even a lewd glance and have it taken seriously.
Amazingly enough, amongst the countless tales of over-randy, self-entitled young men I’ve heard, I never heard one of exploding balls. You see, unlike the cold shower that can be used to resolve the latter, a shower does not wash off the shame so many young women carry for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It doesn’t matter that Brock Turner is now on a sexual offender list. He could be put on to the “entitled prick” list, or the “ignorant ass” list just as easily. On those, he will find good company with many young men just like himself who have sadly been let off the hook for the same offense. Six months of jail time, or six years, won’t change the mindset of the entitled guy who doesn’t realise that, just like tea, unless someone says: “Yes, please,” the answer is always, “No. But thanks for offering.”
But just like a good butler, making the offer; a man of any worth, (of which there are many around too,) will accept that ‘No’, means ‘No,’ and keep his bloody tea to himself.