My heart is pounding like I just ran ten miles. Katie and I had our first disagreement.
I knew it would happen, especially since we have very different belief systems. It doesn't help that we each regard the other's belief system in a negative light. Still, we'd been getting along wonderfully, so it was a bit of a shock.
Not as much of a shock as what we disagreed about, however. We disagreed about something I never truly imagined possible to disagree about. It's something I feel incredibly strongly about, and... her opinion on it made me want to scream obscenities at her until I lost my voice.
We disagreed about rape. Or more accurately, we disagreed about whether women who are raped are sometimes 'asking for it.' She thought some are; I was too horrified to properly explain that I do not believe that.
Am I naïve to be so stunned? I must be. Still, behind my disbelief was a feeling of cynical vindication. Vindication that my fears about her religious beliefs were not irrational. I wasn't wrong in the certainty that it would be a problem, a major problem.
I just wasn't expecting the first problem to be something to utterly... horrific.
In retrospect, it's a stupid thing to have a conversation about. But a question was asked, and I thought the answer was blindly obvious. Why are college girls told not to walk alone at night? I thought it was important to answer that, because it's important to understand that. Isn't it?
She didn't seem to think so. She thought it was silly. She doesn't believe in expecting the worst, she believes in acting as if the best will happen. It was something to that effect, anyway. I didn't agree with that. With every fiber of my body, I did not agree. I may roll my eyes at my mother every time she brings up things like that (which she does, a lot), but I do understand and I do listen, and having a mother that constantly worries about me, constantly warns me about unsafe situations is something that I should be incredibly grateful for. It's something that I am grateful for. I am naïve, I always have been. My mother is a ditz. She is silly and flighty and an airhead, and I inherited all that from her, but she has never been naïve, and when it is important, she won't let me be naïve either.
So, despite my naïveté, I do not expect the best of people. I wish it, but I am not stupid enough to expect it. It was my mother's mantra, and I learned it very well. It was hard not to, since she's been drilling it into my head since the day I was born, and that is not an exaggeration.
My mother also didn't raise me to be rude, so I didn't tell Katie that I thought she was a moron for believing that. Sadly.
That wasn't even the disagreement. Oh, no. That would've been too easy. I'm not sure how the conversation even degenerated the way it did, because it's not exactly a light conversation topic had with someone you barely know.
But it did degenerate, and that's when the real difference of opinion became obvious.
I told Katie that I tended to look on the subject of personal safety in that kind of situation as very important, because more than half my friends from high school had experience with sexual abuse of some kind, whether rape or molestation or something else. I cannot be so blasé because I know it happens. It's real.
She laughed and smiled, just a little, and my heart turned over in my chest. I knew whatever was coming would be bad.
I was right.
"Yeah, well, you also said most of your friends wanted to get pregnant, so I don't think they really count."
That... That, assuming it is even relevent to the conversation, which I do not believe it should be, was not true. Oh, it had a ring of truth. A few days ago, I'd mentioned a friend of mine who got pregnant our senior year of high school. She had wanted to get pregnant, for as long as I'd known her. She was just one girl, just one girl with a stupid misconception and optimistic short-sightedness. Everyone else tried to talk her out of it, tried everything possible to change her mind, but we failed. The only promise we ever managed to extract out of her was that she wouldn't actively try to get pregnant. We knew it was an empty promise, because she didn't use protection. She claimed she didn't believe in it. So yes, she got pregnant. And as every single one of us in our group of friends expected, this friend regretted it almost immediately. Every time I looked at her our senior year, I could see the look of utter terror in her eyes, and I wanted to cry.
But it was not relevant to the conversation. I knew it wasn't, and I still know it. Even if I had a hundred friends who thought it was a brilliant idea to get pregnant in high school, that has FUCK ALL to do with whether they'd been molested or raped, and as far as I'm concerned, every godamned person on Earth should be aware of that.
But that wasn't even the part of the conversation that upset me. No, what really upset me was what came next, after I corrected Katie. My voice was already shaky.
"It was one friend. And what does that have to do with anything?"
She dodged the question, and altered the conversation a bit, still with that little smile on her face. "Still, you know, if you look at what clothes some kinds of girls wear, they're really asking for it. You can't really blame them, not that it makes it okay, but sometimes... well, you know."
Just in case it wasn't clear, by 'them' she meant the rapists.
The fuck? So, if I walk around in, say, a backless shirt and a miniskirt, I'm asking to be raped? Well, holy shit, I'm going to start dressing like a goddamned Catholic schoolgirl. Can't possibly be asking for it then! Unless some guy with a Catholic schoolgirl fetish comes along, and then I suppose I was asking for it then, too.
If it had been any other person in the world except my roommate, I would have started screaming. I would have screamed myself hoarse. I would have had to restrain myself from physical violence. But it was my roommate, and even though my shock and fury, even though I was literally trembling, I knew better than to continue the conversation, because then I wouldn't have been able to stop myself if it had gone on much longer. That would have made for a very awkward living situation, and also, we were walking outside in a public area.
So, voice clearly unsteady, I told her that we should stop talking about it immediately, because I did NOT agree with what she had just said and that continuing the conversation would just lead to bad things.
She seemed amused, but agreed to end the conversation in a tone of voice that clearly implied she thought I was being ridiculous. I didn't respond, and that was the end of the conversation.
I would just like to say that if I was being ridiculous, I would like someone to tell me.