The term date rape wasn’t even uttered before the late 1980s. Because unless the perpetrator was a stranger, with a gun, in a dark ally, in the bad side of town, then no violation took place. This is how we were taught … mostly by the rapist catholic school boys we were “dating”. This is after being groomed by pedophile grandparents, uncles or that 15 year old boy from across the street that Mom thought would be a good babysitter while she went to the grocery store.
Weinstein is not an anomaly. His behavior represents standard operating procedure for a much larger population of predators that we all know from our growing years, our school days, our work interviews and our family reunions. As women we don’t report it because of the general acceptance that the actions have acquired in our society. (What were you wearing? How did you lead him on? What proof do you have?) Who did I tell about my encounter with the English teacher? My girl friend waiting in the hall, on her crutches 8 months pregnant … and I’m sure we laughed. Because that’s what we were taught to do.
It becomes a joke. Slapsdick comedy. This is about power. Who has it. And who is being slapped down, put in her place, made to feel less than.
When we challenge the patriarch, we will be chided about our “safe spaces”, our “persistence” or our resting bitch face (come on, give us a smile). When we seem to be gaining ground then the witch trials begin again and trumped up charges and trolls cry out to burn us at the stake. We know how the story goes, we know what happens when we turn the next page. Every image and subliminal destruction tells us to shut up and put out then shut up again.
So now what? How do we find our voice during a time when women’s rights are being chipped away with a sledge hammer and chainsaw. What waterproof mascara do we need for the massacre that follows each time we try and stand up, sit down or bend a knee? Of course I have no answer. But perhaps we start by telling our stories, if we feel it is safe to do so and we are so inclined.