Thursday, April 28, 2016

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Total honesty here: I have read exactly zero of the stories my people have posted on this bathroom slap fest that we have going on in 'Murica.

That isn't because I don't care. I have cared about my own personal safety in public restrooms since 1996 when Sidney Prescott overheard the mean girls talking about her and had the longest delayed reaction in the history of ever in her high school bathroom. The message was clear: People wearing Halloween masks were clearly waiting in every stall to gut me like a fish. Stay. Away.

Oh, Sid. Why did you think you needed to get down on your hands and knees in a gross bathroom? You hear your name whispered when you are alone, you run.

Laugh all you want. Dismiss me if you want. I don't like using public restrooms. Freshman year basketball left me terrified of open locker rooms, and I do believe my lack of gym membership can be traced to those damned open room showers.

As an adult, I laugh about my habits. I mean, sweaty, stinky body parts? No one cares that I am naked. I don't care if someone else is naked.

But I have never been assaulted in a bathroom or a locker room.

The biggest issue I have with the sudden religious liberty or freedom or conservative something or other call to arms I am witnessing, is simple:

No one wants to acknowledge the plight of sexual assault victims until it is convenient to their cause.

And that really makes me angry.

It is interesting that we can use scary bathroom scenarios for entertainment purposes for decades (Scream, Halloween, Psycho for starters) or jovial "boys being boys" locker room fun (The single scene I recall from Porkies is a hole cut through a wall in a girl's locker room. So funny. Much fun. Good times.

Our fears about rape and assault as they are coming to light with this latest frenzy have always been there. They have always been real enough to exploit for entertainment value. They have always been real to victims.

There are real concerns circulating. I hope it leads to us taking them seriously eventually, but right now we seem to be doing what we do best: scream at each other about how the other side is trying to ruin us, stomp our feet, and exploit what we can.

The only thing that matters to most of us in a public area that involves undressing? Doing our thing and getting out. There have always been bad people planning to exploit this.

So why does it feel like we only care now that it involves transgendered folks?

I don't want anyone to feel as though they cannot perform basic human tasks like using the restroom or changing out of gym clothes without being assaulted.

Why did we ever think group showers or group restrooms were a logical thing?

If this issue has opened your eyes to assault, good. Use it. Fight for survivors. All survivors. Scroll back through the blog posts here or on the Facebook page and repost your favorite one on sexual assault or consent, or, or, or. Don't limit your scope to bathroom assaults.