As I continue to watch Felicity on Netflix (I just finished Series 1 Episodes 7&8) I am taken back to a darker place in my life. Watching the show brought back so many thoughts and feelings that I am not really fond of remembering. I identify with Julie so much. For those of you who didn’t watch Felicity… You should. I like the show as much now as I did in when it started in 1998. Julie is played by Amy Jo Johnson, who I really like so I guess if I have to identify with a character it is nice that I like the person who plays her.
In this particular episode, Julie was raped. Not like the forceful, I don’t know the person and they were mean and forced me kind of rape, but the confusing kind. The one where you are on a date and even though you say no, it happens anyway. You know that you said no, and you said no more than once, but you didn’t scream and you didn’t yell and you didn’t tell the jerk to get out of your room/house because… Well… you are on a date and for some reason in your head you are trying to think of a million ways to make it stop without being the crazy person who yells and screams and tells them to get out of your room so that they don’t hate you kind of rape.
I have been there. It sucks. The part that really got to me today was the part where Julie said to her friend who was trying to convince Julie to report it “It was my fault, I caused it. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, so I must do something”. OH MY GOSH that hit a nerve. I have said that. So then it started a whole bunch of thoughts. I began to wonder why we do this as women? Why do we make excuses for these men? Why do we allow them to do these things and still call them good guys? Who actually gets hurt by it? WE DO!!! Not them. They go on with their lives and act like it isn’t a big deal. If we are dumb enough to keep them around (and I have been) then it is like we are saying it is okay and my no really doesn’t matter anyway. Then things begin to happen in the relationship and we just can’t understand why it is happening and we begin to think that we deserve it or this is just the way things are when in reality, we have just told him that it is okay to not listen to us. If we choose to confront it and say that it was not okay and express that it is bothering us, then the other party generally becomes annoyed with us and tells us that we are dramatic or we need to “get past the sin” and forgive ourselves (I have been dumb enough to swallow that line before too), but again… It is us who is suffering and just another manipulation on their part to feel okay about it. So then, I begin to ask myself… How do we get past this? How can I make this emotion go away so that we can be okay? I begin to think of all of the things that I can do differently and what I can do to smooth it over so that he isn’t upset that I am upset over what happened. Again I ask WHY?????
Is it society that causes us to feel this way? Is it women’s nature to think this way? What is it about us that wants to make excuses for men? How do we stop this? It isn’t okay. Not even for a minute and the truth is that it isn’t our fault. Even when women dress inappropriately, if they say no then it should be a no. I am a strong independent woman, but I have found myself in situations like this or close to this on one too many occasions. I would love to say that I am able to say “you hurt me and I am done” right from the beginning, but that would not be true. I worry about hurting the man’s feelings or making him look bad to others or I think, I didn’t want to take my clothes off for him, I told him no more than once, but he did it anyway, so now I need to find a way to make it work because I really don’t want to add another man to my list. I want to say that I am not sleeping with anyone else. So I try to force myself to create boundaries but to make the relationship work. The problem with that is I am not very good at it. I try, but I am not very successful. I feel betrayed and therefore I must move on.
I wish I could say that I don’t still feel like it is my fault. Like there must be something wrong with me because men all do the same thing. They all want the same thing. Some succeed and some don’t but to this day there are only two men in my life (that are not family) that I can think of who have not tried to take my clothes off. I know that I am not the only woman this happens to, but I still sometimes find myself chastising myself and trying to find out what it is that I do to cause it. I can’t really think of anything though. I dress modestly. I am friendly and flirtatious, but I not in a sexual way. I smile and talk, but I am not super cuddly. I am not all gushy. I am not all over men, so I don’t really understand why men think that I want to get naked with them. I guess what bothers me is that I know in my head I am not thinking about getting to that point, but after the fact I am told that I wanted it. ???? How do they know that? I’m sorry, but in my dictionary the definition of “No” or “We shouldn’t do this” or “This isn’t right” or any of the other things that is not defined as I wanted it.
Oh well, I guess I can’t go back and change the past. I have to live for today. I am stronger and wiser. I am not immune to things happening in my life and there will be more scumbags that walk into my life I am sure, but I am in a different place. I know now that I need to be on guard all of the time. Just because a man is “nice” or is a believer, the truth is that he is a man and a human. I am not going to pretend to know the answers, but I do know that I am going to be super cautious in whom I spend time with and where we spend our time. One thing I do know is that I am a princess (don’t try to tell me otherwise, because I won’t believe you) and I will find my prince. I will someday be spending every day with the most amazing man for me. Until then, I am reminded far more often than I want to be that I absolutely have some work to do internally. I have some emotions to work through and some past hurts to deal with and bury.
Another thing that I know is this… I will not make excuses for a man ever again when it comes to treating me any way but the best. I am sorry men, but you are not a good guy if you can’t respect the word no. You are not a good guy if you have to use control or intimidation with a woman. You are not a good guy if you ever lay an unkind hand on a woman. Fix those thing and maybe you will become a good guy. I’m a little fired up today thinking about all of the times in my life that I chose to accept a man as good even though his actions were not good. I am not a fan of the Women’s Lib movement. I think that women and men are different and that our world as we currently know it is confused, but I do know that we as women need to stand up and stop making excuses. As women we need to stop allowing men to treat us wrong and then make excuses for them. I believe that we need to respect men and men need to love us, but seriously…. when we are dating, we should set the bar high and never settle for less.
Women, I am preaching to myself on this one, but if you are feeling like you can relate… Join me! Let’s settle for no less than the best. I would rather be single forever than to be with a man who does not truly love, adore and cherish me, not just with his words, but with ALL of his actions. This is not to say THE MAN will be perfect and never hurt me, but there are some actions that are just not acceptable no matter what. Those are the ones that I am not going to settle for. Period. The End.