Be paranoid

Yesterday I wrote a post specifically addressing men and how they should conduct themselves or interact with women titled, No hugs. 

I guess the “inspiration” of this post was brought about by women on Twitter bringing up instances of them being sexually assaulted.

As I mentioned yesterday, that topic is always a touchy one to bring up. I personally have dated women and have women who are friends who have been sexually assaulted. I remember feeling helpless as they told me what happened to them. I remember receiving a phone call from someone I loved telling me that they were just raped. I remember wanting to hop in my car and find the person that hurt them and killing them. I have dealt with, or at least attempted to deal with women who suffered through the trauma of being sexually assaulted. I also realize that the trauma from being sexually assaulted usually lasts forever. It’s such a heinous crime that has a lifelong impact on the victims.

Yesterday, as I read the posts from other women sharing what happened to them I couldn’t help but be proud of them. It takes a lot of courage to admit something like that. Hopefully, their stories will impact other men and women who are victims of sexual assault. Maybe by speaking out these women can take some back some form of “power” and continue to heal.

As I continued to read the stories on Twitter things took a left turn, as they usually do on Twitter. I began to see lists being made of men who women say we’re sexually assaulting them as well as some women even calling out the men on the timeline. As I read the back and forth, of course, some men denied it. Some even provided screenshots proving otherwise.

Then, of course, this split into two different arguments. You had the side where people were arguing that these women needed proof and that you can’t just accuse people of things and we shouldn’t just take it as fact. Then you had the other argument that stated how it was an inappropriate time to discuss the women that lie and there were also posts saying “believe women” or comments such as “why would a woman lie about that”.

You know I get the whole, “when there is smoke, there’s fire” saying and when you see multiple women with the same story about a man, usually there is validity to these statements. At the same time, there is a harsh reality that people can lie about sexual assault

So as I read the back and forth on my timeline I couldn’t help but feel conflicted and frustrated. Why? Well, it brought back some painful memories. It reminded me of a dark time in my life where I was falsely accused of sexual assault.

See, I bet you look at me differently now.

Because that’s the other thing about sexual assault. Once you are accused people look at you and treat you differently. They talk about you behind your back. They analyze everything that they ever said or saw you do. It’s human nature. I mean, I would like to believe that normal people don’t make up or accuse people of things like sexual assault so there must be some truth to it, right?

It’s an interesting dynamic. In cases of sexual assault between heterosexuals it’s basically he said/she said and unless you have proof (and even then it may not be enough) there is a good chance that no one will truly know what happened. So then it boils down to whether people believe your story, you have evidence or if they like you.

I will never, ever forget the moment that I was accused of assault. So many emotions. I was shocked, I was afraid, I felt confused. I would never do anything like that, the fact that anyone could even accuse me of something like that is just… I remember being so upset all I could do was cry and shake my head and claim my innocence.

So once again let me have another talk with men. The purpose of this post isn’t to say that all or most women lie about sexual assault. Despite my personal experience I am not that jaded or uncaring or irresponsible to even post anything like that. Instead, my point is that it happens and you have to do everything in your power to be careful, cautious and to take whatever precautions possible in order to prevent yourself from being in this type of situation. Speaking from experience I would never want anyone to feel what I felt or go through what I and others have gone through being falsely accused.

That’s why I don’t believe in one night stands, allowing people I just met or haven’t talked to for a period of time to come to my house and vice versa. I don’t believe in buying random women drinks, I am overly paranoid when I’m with someone of the opposite sex. I don’t always kiss on the first date or make physical contact, hell I ask women several times are you sure sometimes before having sex. I have, are you ready for this? Been in bed with women and didn’t try anything because I wasn’t totally sure she wanted to (maybe she was faking tired or wasn’t as sleepy as she said she was) only for her to ask me the next day why didn’t I try anything.

You know, even before being falsely accused I was always paranoid in regards to not just women but people in general, thanks, Dad so I never thought that in a million years this would happen to me.

I know we see and have heard stories from time to time of men being falsely accused of assault. Maybe the woman wanted revenge, or regretted what happened or didn’t want to get caught by a significant other so she lied. Whatever the reason I don’t know, don’t understand and can’t really control. At the end of the day, the burden of responsibility lies totally on us as men. I know it may sound unfair, hell maybe it even sounds like I’m blaming some of you men who have been victims but that’s just what it is.

Hell,  even with everything being dismissed I blame myself to this very day for even being in a situation that could have potentially ruined my life. Which is frustrating because even with all of the precautions we can take we can still end up in that situation. I mean, just looking at my story, I didn’t buy the person drinks, asked the person was it ok, I received consent. Hell, the person even initiated it but I still had to go under investigation and prove my innocence.

My apologies to whoever is reading this. I try not to get too personal when I write but this topic just won’t leave my brain or heart. Even with that being said I need to wrap this up, no need to continue dwelling on it. So I’ll just end the post on this note. Men be careful out here. Don’t assume anything with anyone, make sure there is verbal consent, keep whatever legal evidence you have and always keep your hands to yourself.

Oh yeah, and please don’t take this post as a reason to drag or hate women. I would like to believe that there are more good women than bad ones. I also think that if a woman confides in you about being assaulted do not question anything, instead, listen and do what you can to help her. There are doctors, lawyers, and police who can handle all of asking those other questions or finding proof instead. I also don’t want any of you to use this as an excuse to assault anyone or be on some “damned if you do or damned if you don’t” type deal. I get it, life isn’t always fair but who gives a shit. There is still no excuse men. Continue respecting women but also be very cautious as well.

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