I'm just realizing I had a whole ton of posts planned that I never actually made, including the grumpy feminist lyrics review and that whole modesty thing. Ah, well, no time for that now. I have a story to inspire and a story to distress. Which you do you want first?
Too bad. In defiance of all convention I'm going to give you the story to inspire first.
It comes to me via a Feministing post, but the story is here, at SFGate. A man on a date at a bar in Noe Valley slipped sleeping pills into his date's drink, and the waitress and bartender together took the drink away, warned the woman, stopped the dude from taking her home, and called the cops on his ass. Read the story. I can only hope that if I were in their shoes I'd have had the presence of mind to handle it as well as they did, and not, for instance, scream out in the middle of the bar, "Oh my god! He's trying to drug you!" and cause the whole bar to erupt in panic while the dude in question smooth-talked his date into believing it was someone else and coming home with him anyway.
The downside to the story is that after almost two years the man finally got a minor narcotics conviction with no mention of attempted rape or what basically amounts to poisoning. He gets six months in jail and won't be registered as a sex offender. Eh, so it goes. On the other hand, this woman wasn't taken home and assaulted under sedation, which is bloody excellent. I kind of want to go to that bar now and tip the bartender and waitress some ludicrous amount of money, while keeping in mind that you can't put a price on someone's personal safety and they obviously didn't do it for any kind of reward blah blah blah. Still.
Now the one that's pissing me the hell off and terrifying me at the same time, and all this from something that's never made a headline. Cast your mind back a few weeks, to a picture I posted of myself and a co-worker at a silly themed costume party. Fix your mind (though perhaps not your eyes if you have delicate sensibilities, given the costumes) upon the fellow in the picture, my 21-year-old co-worker Wes. Okay? He got jumped and beaten up by a couple of strangers last week, on a wide-open street in Berkeley a few blocks from his apartment. "Mugged" isn't the right word -- they took his cell phone as an afterthought, but only after spending several quality minutes holding him down on the ground and kicking him in the face. They never asked for, or tried to take, his wallet or anything in it.
I know, I know, it was the middle of the night on an empty side street way down in South Berkeley and he got too close to a whole gang of sketchy dudes, blah, blah, never happen to me, I'm careful, blah. Except that actually it was 10:00 in the evening in the middle of Southside and he walked past two high-school kids who whipped around and clocked him in the head and then went from there, just in case it matters where someone is at what time when they get beat up for no reason, which it doesn't. Still: we operate under the assumption that our picturesque campus is surrounded by an idyllic buffer zone of collegiate goodwill and perfect safety. It is in fact not. This is a problem.
What's also a problem is that, well, look at the picture again. Wes isn't exactly buffed out. Actually, he's a scrawny vegan who pretty much disappears when he turns sideways. So who the fuck, in their right mind, would walk past this skinny dude and think, "You know, it's really essential that I put this guy out of commission right now."? Nobody. Somebody who makes a priority of proving his stupid fucking machismo by beating up easy targets. This kind of somebody is not a commodity that I'm pleased to find in any part of my charming city, thank you very much. I happen to be an easy target myself, a fact of which I'm quite unpleasantly aware. I too am a scrawny vegan, lacking any extraordinary powers of flight or self-defense, and I keep an odd schedule which has me walking home late and alone two nights a week. What's more, I'm guilty of that ultimate error in judgement, being female after dark (as much as I would love to grow a penis and some decent muscles every evening at sunset, so far it's failed to happen). And what do people who fuck up other people for an ego boost do to women? Pat them on the hand and buy them a lemonade, of course. We all know that.
To return to Wes for a wrap-up here, because while this is disturbing for its implied threat to others it's also disturbing for the simple fact that one of my friends is hurt, he's had to cancel his spring break plans so that he can have surgery tomorrow to un-collapse his badly broken nose. He's been in and out of work all week trying to make doctor's appointments, in between midterms and without the benefit of a phone (because, remember, his was stolen). Today he got orders to stay at home and recuperate through the beginning of next week, which had him sighing. "I need to work more hours," he said, flipping through next week's work schedule, "so I can pay all these medical bills."
Think about that statement for a minute. Think really hard about it. I think it may actually be the most fucked-up thing I've heard in a really long time.Posted by dianna at March 21, 2007 11:36 PM