|In which I'm self-indulgent to purge myself of a brain loop
||[Feb. 4th, 2013|01:31 pm]
Usually my dreams are these bizarre conflagrations of some kind of emergency or trauma or apocalypse where I'm late, being pursued, have a mission, being chased and ten thousand things need to be done along the way, you know, late for the BeeGees concert at Penn State, trying to get friends from my current life to the stadium on time, but along the way I have to stop and help free up a horse that is somehow stuck on the spiral staircase in the middle of the campus bookstore. Not that the BeeGees ever played at Penn State, not that there's a circular staircase in the bookstore. But that's how my dreams go - essentially speeded up, surreal versions of my day. Like if Dali had a go at my appointment book. Thankfully I only occasionally remember them, because they are exhausting.
But last night was different. Last night -- and bear with me, because I do suscribe to the theory that there is little in world more tedious than hearing a play by play of someone else's dream. But there's going to be a point. Last night there was very little surreal in my dream, sadly. My car had broken down and the only surreal thing was that I had a lot of bags of stuff that I needed to bring with me. And a nice guy stopped to help and offered me a ride home -- which wasn't far away. Helped me pack my bags into the trunk of his car. It's getting dark and we head off and we go through this short tunnel/underpass. And suddenly he drives up really close to the side of the tunnel, so that my door is practically scraping the side of the tunnel...and then tries to rape me.
Here's the good news: as the car pulls up against the side of the tunnel, I have a fair amount of panic, and even now, just writing about it, I can still feel a twinge of the fear and despair, but then, in the dream, I'm able to push right past that and move to pissed off, are you expletive kidding me, which often saves me. And when he comes for me, he hits nearly 200 pounds of rage, and it's me on top of him and I I manage to snap one of his fingers and completely cow him. And then it gets more than a bit surreal, in a television show kind of way, because somehow I force him to drive back to my car, help me unload my stuff and then I tie him to a tree and call the cops. Wouldn't that be a nice resolution in real life? Admittedly, I have precedence, having been able to stall date rape by applying my own physical strength twice before. But in both occasions, I was lucky, I know that.
But that's not the point. Here's the thing -- as the car slid along the tunnel side, as that cold, dead, dread feeling spread from my gut outwards, and the no, oh, no, no way, this can't be happening was playing in my head...you know what else I was thinking? "It's all my fault, I never should have accepted a ride from a strange man and it was almost dark and why didn't I wait and..."
Let's call it a bad decision, getting in that car. Fair enough. And if that were only a scene in my dream, I'd totally let it go. Although frankly, I needed to write about it to get it out of my head, because my brain wouldn't stop reliving it.
But I guess you'd also say that about the two times I was almost date-raped. Foolish to be alone in a room with a guy, making out even, and then I decide I've gone far enough and it's time to go home? And he tries pulling me back and then blocks the door, locks it and threatens me. Yeah, okay, not my best judgment being there in the first place maybe. And thankfully, I'm no petite flower, and had years of experience with 1500 pound animals trying to push me, kick me, bite me, get their way and had a fair amount of confidence in my ability to stand my ground and radiate authority. And I was lucky that I could tap into that pissed off bully in me and fair vibrate with indignation and threats of exposure that completely covered up the fact that I was scared and scant millimeters from bursting out into tears.
Foolish again, on a blind date, outside at an event and wanting to run up to my room to get a sweater and my date gallantly offers to come with me and when we get inside my dorm room....a kiss turns into being thrown onto my bed? But I thought it was a good idea to not go back to my dorm room alone, that it would be better to have someone else along...but I guess I was wrong again?
And that's the thing -- over the ensuing decades, whenever I told those stories...it always comes around to "see, that's why you should never..." No one has ever said "what an asshole!" Never mind did you report him or turn him in, tell his coach, call the police.
Twenty eight years ago, that would have been ludicrous. But sadly, it's STILL ludicrous. It's still almost always the woman's fault. You were in a parking lot late at night, you were dressed a certain way, you shouldn't have, you should have. Hell, in India, apparently being on a BUS is offense enough to warrant murderous gang rape.
Yes, there are risks inherent in everything -- hell, I get on a horse and gallop across the countryside, jumping obstacles, there is a risk that I could break bones, snap my neck, die even. And there are some people who would say I was in idiot for doing that. But not many, should my horse shy and throw me onto a fence, would say I DESERVED it, it was my fault for being on the horse anyway. It would be an unfortunate accident. And the horse isn't a sentient being who understands cause and effect, or has much control over impulses, or a has a sense of right and wrong. So, why do the guys get off so easily?
Oh, you were drinking! Well, then, what can you expect, but that a bunch of teenagers will gang rape you, film it, pass it around, and then a good percentage of the community will stand up and defend them, and call you a whore.
Boys will be boys, they said when I was younger, a lifeguard and had a group of teenage boys jumping off this abandoned structure in the lake I was working at. And I asked the men chaperoning them to tell the kids to quit climbing on it and they laughed at me. And then laughed even harder when the boys got bored with the structure and came for me. And about five or six of them picked me up, carried me into the water and tossed me in, everyone laughing. And my co-lifeguard had called the police, who showed up and told the kids to go home and shook hands with the kids' chaperones and laughed and said to me "oh, you're not hurt, they're just being boys."
And I want to weep sometimes. Because I think that so much has changed, but then I realize that really, to a large extent, I've just made sure I'm surrounded by good people. And all that crap is still going on out there.
I will try to get back to the funny, but I needed to deal with my feelings on this first.