Girl Stabbed to Death After Rejecting Invitation to Prom

Illustration for article titled Girl Stabbed to Death After Rejecting Invitation to Prom

A 16-year-old Connecticut girl is dead after rejecting a prom invitation from a male classmate. Everything is terrible.


According to Reuters, Jonathan Law High School junior Maren Sanchez was stabbed by a classmate at about 7 this morning. She was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival. Her assailant is in police custody.

Jonathan Law's junior prom was scheduled to occur this evening.


bullshit reservoir is full

Alright, fine. This is as good a place as any. Let's go on the trip. Rape culture, not all men are like that, not all women are like that, generalizing genders this, discriminating without cause that, rightfully afraid because x, exaggerating dangers of y... the whole darn thing. Let me walk you through my head and show you where I think things go.

I don't know the exact number of years, but let's go with five because that's ballpark correct. Five years ago, I had never heard the term rape culture. Five years ago, somebody online used it in conversation with me. Argument, more than conversation, really.

I'm a man in the middle of my 20's. I do not now, and have not ever, felt entitled to women's bodies, or even their opinions or the time of day. I'm reluctant to talk to strangers at all. I DO now, and have for most of my life, feel entitled to answers when a conversation is already going. This usually ends poorly for me when an argument gets heated. I'm unwilling to drop the subject, and that makes the other person, man or woman, mad at me. It's a fault of mine I'm working on, but there it is.

So, here I am online, talking to someone that I assume was a woman, and I put on the brakes. Whoa whoa whoa. Rape culture? Hold on now. I don't know what you mean by that.

They explain. I lash out. BULLSHIT I say. That is not at all my experience nor the experience anybody I know personally has ever shared with me. Every man I know who has been accused of even the slightest impropriety is practically a leper, I say. In fact, this is such a strong influence I am legitimately terrified of trying to make any romantic advance at all.

I'm accused of making things up and being a troll. I do not take this well. The argument gets out of hand, and I'm not particularly willing to drop it. This is an important founding layer in my response to someone being called a troll or not being given the benefit of the doubt. It enrages me. This colors a lot of future interactions on the subjects of feminism.

I'm a feminist. I'm an ally. I'm very strongly pro-choice and believe in equal pay. I think pretty much any form of contraceptive or abortifacient should be readily available to anybody who wants it. I don't think there's a job in the world that should be done by only one gender. I believe transgendered persons should be treated as the gender with which they identify, even if I don't really understand.

But sometimes, when women speak about their harassment or rape experiences and make claims about the mindsets and motivations of the men involved or the attitudes of the people around them, I object. I give the benefit of the doubt or question the narrative as given, because it's my experience that things are completely upside-down from what's being explained to me. Men do not have the powers it's claimed they do, at least not in the real sense. They CAN "take" what they want, but that is a very, very bad idea because of the neverending ramifications.

Over and over, any time these things come up, I butt heads with others. They tell me I'm disregarding women's lived experiences, and they're not wrong. I am doing that, because those experiences run directly counter to the world I think I know. I'm willing to be civil about it, but they are not. They think the only way I could possibly be saying what I am saying is that I'm a troll. That I'm not an ally. That I hate women and want them to suffer. This does not go well. I do not drop the subject.

In time, I learn to engage less in the first place on these topics. I still don't think I'm wrong, but I don't think it will be worth fighting about. It will turn ugly, partially because of the accusatory nature of a lot of feminists and partially because of my problem dropping subjects, and nobody will benefit.

Barring this one topic, I get deeper and deeper into feminist subjects. I become more and more entrenched as an ally in most respects. Even on this topic, I still believe that men who do violate or harass women deserve punishment much more severe than most justice systems will give them. I believe it is no man's right to ever touch any woman. I believe that very large numbers of men do it anyway, and a lot of them are not punished accordingly.

But something still doesn't fit. How and why does that happen? In my experience, men aren't raised to feel entitled to anything. This even goes beyond sexual issues and I don't see where the trope of blind confidence "because man" comes from. Who is teaching them this? Is it TV? Music? I see those things, and I didn't take away those lessons.

Is it parents? Maybe. I was raised by a single working mother. I didn't have a father. I don't know what most dads say to their sons about women. My mom didn't really talk to me about relationships. She taught me the basic biological functions of the sexes, but never really said anything beyond that. Sex ed in school was basically an overview of the biology and then a few weeks of "STDs are SUPER bad".

Some man does something horrible to some woman. There's an article, but nobody gets a direct statement from either party. I come to a site like this one, and there are hundreds of people making claims about the case. It sounds like he's guilty, but I'm not 100%. There are all sorts of things about how "this is why women have to not trust men." I will usually keep my mouth shut these days.

I've never touched a woman. Never gone beyond smalltalk with a woman who isn't already my friend. Never indicated romantic interest in any of those friends, even if it was there. I'm terrified that I'll misread the situation and be cast out, treated as a leper for eternity for daring to disrespect a boundary I didn't know I'd crossed. I don't know where or how men supposedly get this confidence or this entitlement. I don't know what part of our culture imparts or supports that. I can't see it, and I can't talk about it without starting a stupidly overblown argument or being called a troll.

This is how it goes. This is where I am. This topic does not change or evolve. I do not understand, and I don't dare ask when the topic comes up.

Recently, through completely impossible circumstances, I went on a date with a woman a few years younger than me. We saw eachother again this week. At every step, I asked her whether or not she was comfortable with whatever I was about to say or do. I backed every remotely sensitive question with an assurance that she didn't have to answer if she didn't want to. I feel like I'm practically smothering her with inane questions about her comfort, but I'm completely terrified to try anything at all without asking. I feel no entitlement whatsoever. I feel the opposite. I feel like asking her is bothering her because she has no reason to say yes because I am not only not entitled, but do not deserve to put my arm around her. I haven't earned the right.

I don't know where I get it. It's equally baffling to me that anybody could have the opposite headspace.