Chalk off FetLife, a members-only social network run by and for fetish enthusiasts, as yet another purportedly non-judgmental, welcoming online community that hosts a shocking number of slut-shaming misogynist assholes.
FetLife user Dayna posted about being sexually assaulted on Halloween on the site, where she has a "bunch of friends" who she thought would be interested in hearing her story. By the next day, her piece had over 500 comments — many of which were from people telling her that she wasn't really assaulted, just an irresponsible idiot who got what was coming to her.
Dayna was walking through a populated campus area in Belfast, Ireland on her way to a bar — sober, dressed in men's jeans and a zipped-up hoodie — when she was approached by a "gaggle of revelers" who asked her what she was dressed up as. She smiled and said she didn't have a costume this year. Should she not have smiled, she later wondered?
From her story (which is only accessible if you have a FetLife account):
"She's not dressed up, give her a kiss!"
I'm laughing. Should I not have laughed? I'm still walking, not even slowing down. I roll my eyes and dismiss them. Yellow crayon circles around the front of me.
"Happy Hallowe'en! I like your outfit."
"C'mon, you gotta gimme a kiss for not being dressed up, it'll make you feel better."
"I've gotta get somewhere, but you have a good night, okay?"
"Just the one and I'll go. Come on! The sooner you do it the sooner I'm gone."
He's standing in my way and the dog [man in costume] is behind him watching and urging him to follow. Whatever, I bump my jaw against his mouth and try and walk off. He grabs my wrists. Apparently that wasn't good enough. I notice he's actually holding them really friggin' tight. I'm trying to laugh it off, and I tell him my sister's waiting in the car for me and I'm late - he's still not letting me go. Dog is walking away bored. I don't see anyone else. I'm afraid. My voice is getting a little too shrill and a little too loud. He's really hurting my wrists. I twist one arm and get it free. He grabs my boob instead, and uses it to literally pull himself towards me, tonguing all over every part of my face he can get. It's so painful I cry out.
I am quite clearly struggling. I am being loud, shrill, and panicked. No one, but no one, could have mistaken this for acceptable.
She said two women witnessed and ignored the incident, which made her so angry that she continued on straight to the bar, where she tried to dance and forget what happened, but couldn't stop blaming herself:
Why did I bring it on myself? Fuck, why am I blaming myself? My bad it happened, my bad for thinking that, my bad for not doing this, or this, or this. Angry at my friends for not being mindreaders and then angry at myself again for expecting them to be. Angry at the world that allowed this dude to get to his early twenties without learning what is and is not okay to do to other people. Angry at the world that made those two ladies too afraid to stop him. Angry at the world that makes me too afraid to tell my mother who would hold me and soothe me and cry with me if she knew. Angry at the world that had sexually brutalised her to the point that this information would destroy her. Angry that the justice system (scoff, scoff) doesn't give a fuck and can do nothing. The I don't care, get over it, it wasn't a big deal and also kinda your fault, system. I'm so angry.
I'm so angry people still try and deny rape culture exists as a pervasive, damaging, unacceptable part of our society.
I'm so angry about what has to happen for people to notice.
I'm so angry about what happens and they still don't notice.
I'm so angry.
Here are just a few responses to her post:
I'm sorry for your terrible experience but I don't read anywhere that you kicked him in the gonads, fought like a banshee, screamed right in his ear, yelled "Fire! Police! Help!", drew blood with your nails, went fuckin' primal on him!!!
Expecting passers-by to help or guess you are truly in distress by your eyes is simply not enough. YOU are responsible for YOU.
there is no rape culture. That's just the new mantra of those who would rather bitch up a storm in protest then actually do what is necessary to change their local culture. It also is being used to tell women they have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever in any incident. And it means they'll get a rally of support no matter the actual circumstances.
I've no idea why you term this day & age a rape culture when it is far less so than ever before in history. the examples are endless and need not be pointed out to those who are literate, or educated-as history speaks for itself.
I do know that when two or more males get together (add alcohol), the pack mentality allows them to do things they otherwise never would attempt. That is one reason females instinctively feel apprehensive when approached by a pack of males~it is a survival instinct kicking in to try to save our asses from ourselves. ~you see, we walk alone in the dark without the protection of a man because we have been told a modern woman can take care of of herself, needs no escort and need not take sensible precaution-she can go where she wants anytime and handle anything that comes up...well she better be damn sure she Can or be prepared to feel the consequences, because women's lib never "fixed" the pack mentality nor lit up the night.
So what do you do after this...instead of going to the police you go off and get plastered to a stupor clubbing with your friends and later after you get home you get plastered yourself on rum. That tells me you handle much of your problems with alcohol. Your bad.
why is no one here talking about the FACT, that you sort of LEAD THEM ON BY SMILING AND LAUGHING! Next time this happens, dont smile and laugh ok, ow those guys might get the wrong idea that you are ok with it, coz smiling usually means sure fine.
Dayna's experience with FetLife reminds us of Rebecca Watson's horrific account of rampant misogyny in the skeptic community. You'd expect a certain amount of enlightenment from a social network that celebrates alternative sexuality, right? Well, looks like you'd be sorely disappointed.