Women like me

‘What would I report? That I went home with a man I barely knew and then, halfway through, he got crazy?’

The writer of this account prefers to remain anonymous. While her story is in response to several women who dated Jian Ghomeshi, alleging he was physically violent, the writer has never dated Ghomeshi.

This week, all I keep thinking about are all of the times I never said anything. I never reported anything.

I just figured there was no point, or it was my fault for going on a date in the first place, or for being drunk in the first place, or for being single. For being a woman who likes having sex. For being a woman with low self-esteem. For being a woman whose amazing husband cheated on her and now, here I was in some messed-up situation with some messed-up guy I just met, and phew, good thing I fought him and got out of it. Good thing I thought of giving him $50 so he would finally, finally leave my apartment after I physically fought him to stop having sex with me—which he did—but he then refused to leave my place, and yelled at me for changing my mind, until I came up with the idea to give him money to get the hell out.

But report it? Why would I report it? What would I say? That another time I drank a lot and went to the home of a man I barely knew and then, halfway through, he got crazy and not in a good way? And then I didn’t want to be there anymore, the place I had chosen to go in the first place? I felt like an idiot, of course. I am a grown woman with a great career and my own home and a university degree and a beautiful child I co-parent with my ex-husband. I am smart and funny and pretty and have my s–t together, except for the part where I go on dates with men.

Dating seems like an innocuous thing to do, but it isn’t. You are taking your chances every time.

The smartest, most interesting man I’ve met since my divorce turned out to be the one who held me down with his arm across my neck, and wouldn’t stop, no matter how many times I asked him to, until I finally said, so quietly but forcefully in his ear, “I will fight you.”

That worked, I don’t know why. But did I report it? No. For some reason, I sat there talking to him for another half-hour, about religion and soccer and marriage and true love and the concept of forever. And then he walked me home and kissed me goodbye and this all seemed perfectly normal to me, somehow. This all seemed to be just part of dating. But it isn’t. It isn’t, is it?

I’m sorry, but it is.

This is what it is to be a woman who goes out on dates.

So why do women like me, let alone women who aren’t like me, think that this is normal and we were lucky something worse didn’t happen? I will tell you why. Because, unfortunately, it is normal.

That bothers you, I know. You want us to go to the police every time something happens to us, but then, we would be going to the police a lot. I would have had to go to the police three times this past year alone. And then what?

As a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality, and with enjoying sex, and wanting sex, and actively seeking out sex, what should I expect but to sometimes be in the position where it is not good, not what I want, not what I like, not comfortable? It becomes, in fact, dangerous, and yet I have put myself there in the first place.

So what will the police say to that? They’ll say I should choose wiser (as if you can tell which ones are the violent psychos). If I could choose wiser, I would still be married. Or I’d have a lovely boyfriend to have great consensual sex with whenever I wanted. But until that magical day, I have to actually go out with men on dates. And that’s rolling the dice.

These women coming forward with their allegations are brave. God, they are brave. The rest of us, we’ve become complacent.

We have resigned ourselves to a sad truth that to be a single, sexually active woman means sometimes things are great, and then, here and there, things get really bad—and those times, you just suck it up and keep living and keep on dating and keep waiting for a unicorn to come along and be your boyfriend so you don’t have to roll the dice anymore. So you don’t have to take the chance that the handsome, smart, awesome guy you’ve been getting to know just held his arm across your neck and said, “Not yet,” every time you yelled at him to get off you.

These women coming forward inspire me. They’ve inspired us all to talk about this stuff. I feel like an idiot for my silence. I can’t understand why I’ve resigned myself to these facts, but also, short of never dating again and just staying home in my yoga pants binge-watching Scandal, I actually don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do about it.

But let’s keep talking about it. I don’t want to keep it to myself anymore. Do you?

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