I’m really glad you could take something from my comments and I appreciate your reflection. I had two military parents and have a lot of “uncles” who are former military so I have at least a tangential understanding of the boys culture that has existed there. My mother had to put up with it a lot, even as a captain. I feel like the military is often fetishized by politicians who have no idea what they are talking about but see it as some sort of uber masculinity alpha male fraternity that is just walking around shooting guns and being manly, and sure some of it’s that, but the cost for veterans is so damn high that whenever Trump is all “PTSD is because people are weak” I want to slam dunk him into the sun.
As for your daughter, having been a college student, I would recommend that she be very careful in the dorms (god forbid something happen, that won’t be her fault at all but constant vigilance) and to bring friends with her to parties. Also she might consider introducing herself to the administration of her college so that if something does happen they might take her more seriously and actually DO something about it. Also college security is generally just other college students in yellow polos so I’d recommend going over their heads whenever possible. And campus cops are a super mixed bag so encourage her to come to you if anything happens and, if possible, encourage her to get a rape kit, press charges, and counseling. I don’t want to just assume your daughter is in danger but I really wish someone had had those conversations with me so that when stuff happened to me I knew I had people in my corner and I knew what to do. There is no guarantee that any of this will result in justice but these are the systems we have until we improve them.
When I talk about all the things I do as a woman to keep myself marginally safe, men are horrified. Well most men. Sometimes dudes are just terrible but I generally try to steer clear of anyone who insists that catcalling is “what you get” for leaving your house. And the thing that I tell all of them is that they just have to listen and believe women. That’s it. That’s your activism. And make sure that you see all women as people and not just the ones that have a relationship to you.
Trump is Hot Trash but at least his gross horrible comments are really pushing forward what women have been saying for years. Between Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, and Nate Parker, we’re having more conversations about what it’s like to live in a landscape of rape culture. I wish we were having better conversations about race and class in those conversations but hopefully that’s swiftly forthcoming.
Anyway, thanks so much for reaching out!