The funny thing about sexual assault…
I didn’t believe it. I first became aware of sexual assault from the TV show Facts of Life. I suspect many people my age did. But I just didn’t believe someone could do such a horrible thing. Or that if it did happen, it had to be rare. Right?
I first encountered actual victims of sexual assault in college. My mind was blown. It was real! Guys do this. What I learned from those first few encounters is how casual it is.
It’s rarely the masked man shown to us in the movies. It’s not some Unsolved Mysteries dramatization. It’s a family member, a family friend, a boyfriend, or even a husband. Sadly, over the years, even more women have confided in me. In fact, some of you are probably reading this post.
It saddens me because at the age of 43 I know more victims of sexual assault than I would like to admit.
More often than not… these stories are from the victims point of view. And as we all know, women who come forward in these situations are scrutinized for their behavior, looks, the way they dress, for how long it took them to share their story, or whatever other reason society can use to discredit them. It’s not easy.
On Friday, that changed… and it has been haunting me.
We heard the predator’s side of the story. Not in defense. We heard the predator’s side, in a most braggadocious way.
He doesn’t even ask. He just kisses them, grabs them, and can do whatever he wants to… because he’s famous. Such an admission at the age of 59 means there is a trail of this behavior, probably spanning decades.
What’s gross about this is the unbridled flaunting. Yes, the action itself… how he narrates advancing on a married woman, but how he flaunts it. It’s haunting.
And to reduce it to “locker room banter.” No. Locker room banter, if I am being honest, is talking about a nice pair of tits. It’s detailing, and I am going to be crude because I think the distinction is important, how you got laid, or how many times you got laid, or a blowjob. Yes, it is crass and about conquests.
But men that respect women, or “respect women better than anybody else” understand the nuance of sexual conquest and sexual assault.
Those words are not locker room banter. And the audience provided by Billy Bush is even worse. The giggles and egging on. It’s nauseating.
You know what’s funny about sexual assault. Nothing.