had her baby October 31 and I met her last week. She's tiny and curious and amazing, and her name is Cecilia Ella. Her mom and I became good friends throughout her pregnancy, and I am completely invested in both of their lives--like, knitting socks, babysitting, call-me-when-you're-stressed type of involved. I still really don't like kids, but this one is pretty different because she's close to mine. I was in her life from the start and I couldn't believe how much I felt when I had my hand on her mom's stomach and she kicked.
Yesterday at work, I made an appointment for a 14-year-old who's having her second abortion this year. The first time it was rape, this time it was consensual, and both times, it's heartbreaking. My heart went out to her and her mom, who is completely her daughter's number one advocate and who was pouring her heart out to me because she kept it all in for so long. Every time we have a rape case in the clinic, it gets you on some level. On Friday, I was the only one in a room of six people (client, friends, employees) who kept it together, but I went home and had to sleep it off because when you sleep, you don't think. But yesterday was the first time that I had the jarring thought that I can be there for Cecilia, but I can't protect her from things like this. Someday, she is going to be 14 and she is going to be amazing, but the world will probably still be against her because she's a woman, even in 2022, because let's be real
. And honestly, protecting her isn't the thing. I went home last night and read "But if I ever have a daughter, she will wander the world in a full-length parka." in this thread
, and it makes me fucking angry. That is exactly what I will NOT do for Cecilia. I will talk to each and every man and boy in the world and I will tell him not to fuck with women, but I will not cocoon my girl. I don't cocoon myself. I have a right (which I don't really exercise because it's not my style) to wear a short skirt wherever and whenever I want and you CANNOT tell me to be careful because it's the men who rape and assault who need to be fucking careful. That's the only way it's going to stop.
And you know, I understand where the "be careful and take XYZ precautions" people are coming from. So I don't need to hear that, and I'm sorry if you're one of them, and that's fine if that's what you believe. But also take a minute to think about who's really to blame in any assault and go to them and stop them and make them take precautions not to rape. Have you read this?If a woman is drunk, don't rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her. If a women is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her. If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her. If a woman is jogging in a park at 5AM, don't rape her. If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her. If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her. If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her. If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her. If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her. If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her. If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her. If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her. If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her. If your step-daughter is watching TV, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her. If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend. If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police. If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and report him as a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, and sons of friends that it's not okay to rape someone.
Don't just tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape. Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x, y, or z. Don't imply that it's in any way her fault. Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl. Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can too help yourself. Rape is not about sex, it's about control and power, and what kind of power comes from taking advantage of others? No power anyone should ever desire.
Have you read Jackson Katz