Here’s the thing: I’ve hooked up with a lot of men. Starting in high school, when I discovered alcohol, I frequently found myself in dark bedrooms with boys I had just met. Later, as I became a woman, they became men. We were both frequently inebriated. And as my own addictions got worse, so did the states of inebriation.
I could probably give you a rough figure of my promiscuity for statistics’ sake (at the mortal embarrassment of my husband and family), but let’s just say it was a lot. Some of them I liked; some of them were just there. Some of them were nice; some of them clearly could have cared less about me.
But out of all those dudes on all those drunken, drugged-out nights, only two of them assaulted or attempted to assault me. Do you know why?
Because assaulting someone isn’t normal.
Most men don’t grow up thinking it’s okay to hold a girl down at a party and cover her mouth when she tries to scream. Most men don’t think it’s okay to expose themselves and try to make a woman touch their penis. Most men don’t do those things because they aren’t sexual predators. It’s a mental health disorder, and it’s criminal.
In my formative years in Texas in the 1990s, “boys being boys” meant they might attempt to get to second base, third base, or even a home run, but whenever I told them that I didn’t want to do something (no matter how much we had drunk or smoked or even snorted), they responded with, “That’s cool.” Sometimes they had to go to the bathroom to take care of themselves, or they just left. Sometimes they were brats about it. But most times, they would take “no” for an answer, and we just went back to what we were doing, whatever pleasant-enough activity we had mutually agreed to — often snuggling and passing out or going through a CD collection and sharing our favorite music, which in the ’90s always seemed to be the backup activity to sex.
They knew the difference between right and wrong. And no matter how many keg stands they had done, they knew that if a girl or woman asked to leave, told them to stop, or didn’t want to take off her shirt, pants, or underwear, they were supposed to respect that. No matter how much she had drunk. No matter what she might have done with their best friend the weekend before. Because no matter how much they might have wanted to get laid, they didn’t want to hurt someone else to do it.
Eighty-one percent of women (and 43 percent of men) say they have been sexually assaulted, but we lack statistics on the percentage of men (or women) who say they have been perpetrators in said assaults. Yet it’s not surprising when one man gets accused by multiple women. That’s because 81 percent of women aren’t being assaulted by 81 percent of men. The percentage of sexual predators is far, far smaller. And that’s not a conspiracy—it’s statistics.