Dear Drunk Girl,
First thing: I’m sorry for calling you “Drunk Girl.”
Your driver’s license probably reads Holly, Kristen or Kelly. But since your incoherent, confused, maybe even desperate nature was reminiscent of of 1970s Jenni in “Forest Gump,” let’s call you that. Your dignity deserves better.
So Jenni, you probably don’t remember, but we were in the same bar Saturday night. We shared nary a word. But I remember you. You made short conversation with another gentleman before saddling upon his lap. In a bar. With people watching.
Your eyes, your posture, your slurred speech all indicated “intoxicated.” But what happened next was unacceptable, and I, as a bystander, am ultimately to blame.
A man in green pointed to you, shouting to the crowd, “He’s going to get some of that. I’m not going to get some of that!” Then he made lude gestures that weren’t funny to anyone, although no one said otherwise, either.
A few minutes in, your new friend tossed you from his trousers and left you unsteady on a bar stool, adjusting your skirt which onlookers observed.
Not more than a minute passed, and the guy in green, the lude dude, had a coat around your shoulders, leading you out of the bar.
I’m sorry Jenni. I didn’t think about what I could, and should have done, until you were gone.
I hope nothing happened, or that whatever did was totally safe, consensual and fun. Because nights like that can make for good stories. But as a woman soon leaving the fun, frisky decade of my 20s I know that’s not always the case.
Because while you demonstrated interest in Guy #1, Jenni, I’m not so sure how you felt about Guy #2. The stumble in your walk told me you didn’t know either.
Had I seen this video a couple days ago, a video which is part of the diplomatically named “It’s on Us” campaign, perhaps I’d have reacted differently. Because what it really is, is the “Cock Block” campaign. And I’d have done that for you, if you wanted. In a nice way, without causing a lot of stir, I’d have gathered you and your things, grabbed a cab, ushered you home and tipped the driver extra if he waited while I walked you to the door.
I’d like to blame the guy in the green shirt, but his whole life any number of influences have told him that sex = manly, blood alcohol content be damned. He didn’t do what was right, but he didn’t know any better either.
I hope this campaign alters that. I hope it reminds men like him to leave ladies like you alone. And I hope it teaches me what to do if he doesn’t.
I hope by the time my sons are old enough to bar hop, an intoxicated woman is someone they choose to help, rather than to hump.
Because manliness, lude dude in green, is defined not by the number of drunk girls you bang, but by the number of drunk girls you tuck into bed and leave alone.
The lines of sexual assault are grey at best and blurry at worst, especially with alcohol involved. And even if you prosecuted, which statics say you likely wouldn’t, 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail.
I’m not saying he raped you, Jenni. I hope he didn’t.
My point is: I’m mad at myself. I didn’t have the foresight or the confidence to intervene. Today instead of thinking “I hope he didn’t.” I wish I could just know he didn’t.
“It’s on Us” commercials are to air during college football games all this weekend. Wonderful. An excellent first step. I challenge the administration to share it with a wider audience than that. Because rape doesn’t begin and end with college campuses.
So Jenni, I apologize again for my lack of action on Saturday. I hope your fun lasted until sunrise Sunday morning. But in case it didn’t, I make you a promise:
My sons will hear your story. And not just your story, but the stories of women and men around the world. I’ll show them how to intervene, without causing a scene, and how much more manly it is to do so.
Because the relationship between dignity and drunkenness is not inversely proportionate. You deserved better. And I’m sorry.