Trigger warning for description of sexual assault. Also warning for this Serious Post being illustrated with So Many Humorous Gifs. So, you know, skip it if you have a slow connection or just don’t like that kind of thing.
This weekend, at a convention, I met my boyfriend’s high school friends. I wanted to make a good impression, of course, and I hope I mostly did.
Depicted: Pinkie Pie jumping, aka Ozy making an excellent first impression. Gif is from My Little Pony.
As these stories tend to do, the subject wandered off onto Great Con Stories of Yore: the time that they got Free Hugs signs banned! The time that one of them impersonated a semi-famous voice actor! The time that one of them wore cat ears and had a paddle with two boys kissing depicted on it, wandered off with some gay men he barely knew, and then was paddled without his consent!
…Wait. One of those isn’t a funny story at all! One of those is a story about sexual assault. One of those is, in fact, a story about sexual assault, complete with victim-blaming about how if he hadn’t had cat ears and a yaoi paddle, and if he hadn’t been so annoying his friends had ditched him, he wouldn’t have gotten sexually assaulted. One of those is, in fact, seriously not okay.
Joan Holloway disapproves. Gif is from Mad Men.
I should have said something, probably. I mean, my ethics say that it is necessary to say something when people are fucking blaming a sexual assault survivor what the fuck. But I don’t do well with confrontation, really, even confronting friends. And I wanted to make a good first impression, not seem like Queen Femicunt of Nofunnington. Everyone else seemed to be okay with it, even my feminist boyfriend; surely if their friend were really traumatized by it they wouldn’t be telling it as a humorous story to people they had just met. Right? Right?
So I didn’t say anything.
I do not like the Cone of Shame! Gif is from Up.
So instead of getting all RIGHTEOUS ANGER or calmly explaining that this was sexual assault and not okay or even employing my girlfriend’s patented “huge eyes, well up with tears, how could you say such a thing” technique, instead I just kind of sat there with an unhappy expression on my face.
Depicted: unhappy Ozy. Picture is from Hyperbole and a Half.
This is not one of those posts with a grand, stirring conclusion or a call to action. It’s just a lot of doubts and questions and of course humorous pictures. We say righteously that we ought to call people out, but for a lot of people– even well-intentioned people, even people who know everything about rape culture– it’s very difficult to do so. I think everyone has those days when instead of calling people out we just hold still in the hopes that no one will notice we’re not invisible. It’s one thing to be righteously social-justice-y on the Internet, and quite another to be able to do it in meatspace.