How to take care of yourself when exposed to sexual violence in media and online

Originally published at:


Thanks @xeni.

I know someone for whom the internet has become a minefield over the last year. She’s excited to see the progress of #metoo, but the revelations take a personal toll on her. I’ll pass your links along.


I think I may have shared this story before, but maybe not on this forum.

When I was 20 years old and still a student in college, I unwisely decided I wanted to ‘turn up’ and really ‘party hard’ one homecoming weekend.

So that’s what I and my girlfriends did; we got drunk on some of the cheapest, most horrid excuses for alcohol - Sisqo, Mad Dog 20/20 and that awful, premade ‘Screwdriver’ mix.
(Don’t judge me, I did say I was 20 and not nearly as wise as I thought I was.)

Now back then, I was not a drinker or a smoker, so my tolerance was pretty much nonexistent. I was fubar in under 20 minutes, and the rest of the night was a blur of stumbling around campus giggling, and seven different incidents of vomiting. (Yes, I was aware enough to keep count. Thank Dumbledore Youtube was not a thing back then.)

As the night went on, it became apparent that I’d seriously overdone it, but my friends weren’t done ‘kicking it’ yet; so I had the young man I was casually dating at the time walk me back to the upperclassmen female dorms.

Once there, and I’d gotten my door unlocked, all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep it off.

I remember pulling off my clothes and tumbling into my bed in just my bra and underwear, well past the point of modesty or caring that I had basically just stripped in front of a young man with whom I’d never been intimate.

And here’s the part of my story that comes back to me every time I read or hear yet another mortifying account of sexual abuse, harassment and/or violation that occurs far too often in this life:

The young man in question watched me get into bed, tucked me in, kissed me briefly on the forehead, and then left my dorm room, engaging the auto-lock as he went out.

Though ample ‘opportunity’ was there, he didn’t try to take advantage of me, in any way.

At the time I didn’t realize how profound such a simple act of human respect and integrity that was, because I didn’t yet realize how toxic the society we live in is when it comes to women. My story could have easily had a very unhappy ending that’s all too familiar to far too many women… but it didn’t.
The worst thing that happened was the raging hangover I suffered the next day, as well as an aversion to cheap alcohol for the rest of my life.

Again, I think of that 21 year old true gentleman often these days, and there are simply no words to express how grateful I am in retrospect that he did me the simple courtesy of treating like a human being.

His name was David, and sadly, I don’t remember his last name anymore.

But I’ll always remember him, and the fact that he exemplified the kind of moral compass that I wish everyone had, especially when it comes to matters of consent and treating women like actual people.

I’ll probably never get to say it in person but,

Wherever you are in the world, David, whatever you’re doing;
Thank you.


that was a remarkable young man.

i want to give you some insight into what the other side of that looks and feels like. on three different occasions i have guided a young woman who had too much to drink , and in one of those cases had taken too much quaalude on top of the booze (it HAS been a while since that one), to a safe spot to sleep it off without taking any liberties. in two of the instances the young woman made noises like she either wanted or expected to be molested by me to the extent of kissing me and clumsily groping me. i wasn’t having any part of it. my attitude then and now was that if i was going to have a sexual encounter with someone i wanted it to be with someone who was willing and voluntary, not someone who was too drunk to know what she was doing. in the aftermath of each incident they gave me a combination of apology and gratitude and each time it meant a lot to me.

in the aftermath of each incident the majority of my male friends treated me as if i were the stupidest motherfucker on the face of the planet. not every one of them but the vast majority, a result that disappointed me but did not surprise me. i’m glad you found yourself in the presence of a good one that night.


I’m not a victim, and I find the current news about Kavanaugh to be so depressing that I want to drink almost as much as he did when he was in high school. I can’t imagine how bad this is for survivor of sexual assault.


But to each woman that you treated like a real person, you were an unsung hero.


I felt the relief wash over me as you reached the end of that story :B As someone who’s close to a few sex assault survivors, including one male, I am so sorry that the courtesy of not trying to fuck you while incapacitated is a remarkable event; but here we are :pensive:


Unfortunately, I’m also a survivor of sexual assault, from a different encounter at a different time in my life; but I wanted to share the positive story because the contention that ‘boys will be boys’ or “men can’t help themselves” is complete rape-culture bullshit.

I agree that it’s a shame that we live in a time when just doing the right thing is so remarkable.


I don’t wish to cast aspersions, but it sounds as if you deserved better friends.


i never would have considered any other course.

it took me a few years but i came to that conclusion myself before i was 30.


I don’t doubt that; you seem like a good egg.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.