But, She was Uncomfortable

The room was dimly lit with Christmas lights over the windows. One of us sat on the floor, one of us sat on a stool, and the other two of us sat on a bed. We had been talking like this for hours. About everything. Grades, friends, sports, our families. We were talking about a boy we all knew. How he was maybe a little bit standoffish―he always pulled away when you really started becoming friends. How he was always really kind of an asshole, which was easy to interpret as some sort of flirting. But then, one of the girls alluded to the fact that their friendship was always a bit weird after ‘what he did’ to one of the other girls and to her.

Naturally, I was curious. What had happened?

He was drunk and so was she. It was late and he did not want to walk home drunk all alone. They were good friends and so were he and her roommate. So he slept over.

The details of what happened next aren’t mine to share. But, she was uncomfortable.

What’s important is how the next girl started her story.

She and the same boy were at a party together. They were good friends and were both very drunk and tired. So, they walked home together. She offered for him to sleep in her room. Her roommate was not home and he could sleep in her roommates bed. His room was quite a walk further from her dorm. She was trying to be a good friend. He insisted on sleeping in her bed with her.

The details of what happened next aren’t mine to share. But, she was uncomfortable.

What’s important is how the next girl started her story.

They were good friends. So, he invited her to his date party. She said yes, why wouldn’t she? They came back to her dorm. The difference in this story is that this girl knows as much as you do now. She offered him a sleeping bag but he refused. He wanted to sleep in her bed.

Luckily, there are no more details of this story.

It is important to know that one of these girls confronted this boy on what happened, yet, he adamantly claimed she was wrong. So, maybe he was drunk. Maybe he doesn’t remember.

But, a lack of memory does not excuse one’s actions. And a lack of memory certainly does not permit an adamant denial.

How many other girls have stories that aren’t mine to share?

The first girl was interested in confronting him, months later, on what had happened. But she was worried. What if he denied it?

But, who cared if he denied it? She knows what happened and at the very least deserves an apology.

This got me thinking. What is it about girls failing to confront boys about behaviour that is not okay? Even if it isn’t rape or ‘assault’ as you traditionally think of it? Even if he grabs you just a little *too* close? Even if it is just an uncomfortable comment?

Why had my friends let themselves feel uncomfortable, awkward, and out of place? Why had they let this boy continue on with his life as usual while they thought back on everything that had happened numerous times?

I was really confused. But then, I stepped back and realized that I had done the same thing once too. We are all smart girls who know right from wrong and can tell you that this was wrong. But why didn’t they say anything? Why hadn’t I?

I don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that too many girls are willing to protect boys, friends, who hurt them.

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