The other night, when I was furious and wrote an email to Notta Goodman saying that his behavior toward me was right up there with some date rapes I'd experienced, he finally broke three weeks of silence to say I had taken a quantum leap in logic. I feel compelled to explain why the two are directly related, even though I don't feel like explaining jack shit to him. So once again, I find myself using this venue like a message in a bottle, looking for connection and shared understanding - or asking the universe for a Reality Check.
It's hard to discuss something like date rape because there are so many subjective definitions. Most people I know think notions like "legitimate rape," are bullshit - but plenty of people think that rape involves physical force which is not always the case. Many Americans couldn't understand how Swedish law worked when Julian Assange was charged with rape. The woman consented to protected sex, and without her authorization, Assange allegedly went bareback. I'm not here to debate the contributions of Julian Assange or whether or not he was set up by this rape charge. I'm saying that when a person consents to one thing and winds up doing quite another against his/her will, that counts as rape even when the man is as smooth as Julian Assange. Maybe no one was left bleeding and unconscious in an alley, but someone's trust and sovereign self was violated all the same.
Maybe you did go up to a man's apartment willingly, had a couple of drinks and made out. That's when you decide you don't want to fuck him, but he ignores or laughs at your resistance. You put up your hands to say slow down. He pushes them away and starts pulling off your pants until you decide your safest bet is just to do it and get it over with as quickly as possible because he's stronger, isn't listening to you and it's getting kind of scary already. Consensual? Not exactly. Physically violent? Opinions will vary. Either way, you're hurrying home to take a shower. Sometimes it is physically violent even if nobody is slapping you around. You may be into a casual roll in the hay - but that doesn't mean you're into somebody slamming his dick into your mouth so hard it bruises your face and your teeth rip the insides of your mouth. Some women might kick up a fight, but some of us figure that if he's fucked up enough to use your body like that, there's no telling what kind of shit he would do and again, he's stronger, ignoring you and it's already pretty scary. So you pull your mind as far inside yourself as you can, disassociate from the situation and get out into the fresh air as quickly as you can.
Half the people in America - both men and women - will say it's your own fault for being alone with somebody you don't really know. How can you argue when you're saying pretty much the same thing to yourself? It's your own fault for putting yourself in the situation in the first place.
When I was in college, and when I was going through a period of risk taking behaviors around the divorce, I found myself in those kind of situations. One was particularly unpleasant, and that's what I threw in Notta Goodman's face the night I found out he was active on Match dot com. There's no crime in a man being on Match dot com when nobody has ever once said anything about an exclusive - Notta Goodman never said anything at all. But when somebody has asked a man straight up where he stands on this undefined association and he doesn't even acknowledge the question - a woman suddenly realizes she's been played by a man who is just as dismissive of her humanity as the fellow who bruised her mouth.
To both of them, she's just a piece of meat.
Players are more engaging and they certainly aren't physically threatening, but recent experience suggests they choose their words with careful calcultion. For example, a man may tell you - as Notta Goodman told me -- that his overwhelming life circumstances prevent him from devoting the time he'd like to "something significant" or seeing that significant person as much as he'd like. He never once said that significant person was me. If I'd have been played before, I'd have recognized his BS when I heard it and walked away at the months ago. I took him at his word because I trusted he was being honest. He was being manipulative. I made a conscious choice based on slippery information - just like a woman who signs on for one situation, then finds herself in a very different one indeed. When I called Notta Goodman on his behavior, he may have been more outraged and defesive than usual because I compared him to a date rapist, but like any other slippery, self-centered character, he huffed and puffed as if he was an innocent bystander, in fact - he was the victim of my twisted narrative and unreasonable expectations. It was total bullshit on his part - just like it's total bullshit when somebody says you were having consensual sex when you've been coerced, or you made the mistake of getting drunk and into a car with a man you've only known for a few hours. Those guys will tell you that the minute you got in the car, you somehow consented to at least giving him a blow job. The arrogance and entitlement are off the scale, and when they excuse their behavior by blaming the very people they've used and manipulated, that's emotionally abusive.
Notta Goodman isn't as awful as Ann Coulter or Dick Cheney. And maybe he wasn't as bad as the date rapist I threw in his face when I was provoked. However, I maintain that they each represent a point on a continuum of abusive behavior toward women, and there's not a damn thing wrong with my logic.
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