I hate the things that are true in this article.
Like the truth that there exists a harmful inequality in which males—generally—get to do certain things without fear or consequence that women don’t. And the truth that women and girls are assaulted on a regular basis, especially when drinking.
Lady on the Porch Across the Street’s letter addresses these truths, and her language is well-meaning and protective, and I have no doubt that it comes from a place of love and a desire to effect change.
Her language is also very common.
So common, in fact, that it has a name: slut-shaming. In this practice, responsibility is taken off the shoulders of the offender and placed on the shoulders of the victim. Often, the offender is ignored altogether.
What I’m concerned with here isn’t drunkenness or exactly how wasted one should or shouldn’t get. I’m not even using this space to address the inequality of the situation.
No, the issue that I’m so anxious to make heard is this:
Is it really productive or healing to add one more voice to the ocean of slut-shamers?
Or is it perhaps time to start a letter with the title “Dear Drunk Guy with Intentions to Harm” or “Dear Sexual Predator”?
Lady on the Porch Across the Street, you tell us you that love us, that you believe in us. Thank you. I believe you when you say that. From that place of love, can you give us what we actually need?
We need someone who will speak to the true root of the problem, to send an arrow directly into its black center so the poison can begin to drain out. We need someone who’s not afraid to call the offenders out and address them directly.
The message in your letter? We know. We live it. It’s been said before, and it isn’t changing anything.
Lady on the Porch Across the Street, you have a strong voice and a front-row seat to the issue. And we young women are strong and brave and resilient, but we’re also hungry—crying out—for someone to speak with us, not at us. We are desperate for you to be on our side; really, truly on our side.
Will you join us?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: elephant archives