Spring Break will be descending on the world over the next few weeks.
It’s made me think of this one time, when I was in college, my friend and I decided to go “car camping” at Yuba Lake. We threw some beer and hot dogs in a cooler, packed our bikinis and threw some blankets and pillows in the back of my Yugo.
We were having a good time. All sorts of adolescent and young adult adrenaline was pumping around the lake. Girls, ourselves included, were taking bikini-clad strolls up and down the waterline, fishing for a little attention. The collective blood alcohol level was rising. I’m sure there were other drugs – marijuana, methamphetamine – being passed around.
We jumped over huge bonfires at a neighboring camp. It was thrilling and intoxicating really.
As dark descended over the lake though, I started feeling what I can only describe as a “rape vibe.” Now, people often have sex, hook up, make out and generally become more uninhibited than they normally would during spring break. It is practically the whole point, isn’t it?
This time, though, I didn’t get a “maybe I’ll find The One here” vibe. I didn’t get a “throw caution to the wind because this is a safe place,” vibe. I got a “rape vibe.”
My girlfriend and I listened to this vibe. This is the important part of this post. We felt it. We acknowledged it, to ourselves and each other. We got in the car with the windows rolled up and the doors locked and hid under the covers – essentially, we played dead.
A couple of times some guys came and tried to rouse us by banging on the windows. Assuming we were passed out, they soon moved on for easier targets.
The next morning we packed up and left early.
If I recall correctly, the next day the news said there were three rapes at Yuba Lake that night. That decision we made changed our lives. We didn’t become victims that night.
Here’s what you need to know, and what you need to tell your daughters, about rapes in crowded, inebriated social situations.
1. None of the girls at that lake caused those rapes. The men who chose to rape those girls caused those rapes. The responsibility lies with those boys only. (If girls and women could control men’s actions I think we’d actually choose the other option: no rape of anyone ever.)
2. Every girl and woman has a built in “rape vibe” detector. Its part of our innate system, as females, because we need it. Tune into it. Believe it. Listen to it. Don’t question its validity or talk yourself out of it. Just, believe it and follow your own survival instinct.
Tell your daughter about her “rape vibe” detector and tell her how to use it. Tell her your own experiences with it, so she will know to trust hers.
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