I’m sick of the common narrative that girls who get harassed at bars or college parties were asking for it, or were too drunk to recall what happened. You see, I am 24 years old and I do not drink or smoke. I have never been at a college party intoxicated nor at a bar wasted, yet I have been inappropriately touched and harassed.
We tell ourselves that young men don’t realize that a girl is too intoxicated to consent and that it’s not their fault, but what we fail to acknowledge is that many guys bank on girls being drunk, because the more drunk a girl is, the more willing she is to have sex.
Just last year, I was down port with my friends for one of their birthdays. I was sipping my Shirley Temple when a guy approached me asking if he could buy me a drink. I smiled and thanked him for his offer, then informed him that I don’t drink. He was shocked, as many people are when they first meet me.
He asked me why I don’t drink, and I gave him my reasons: that I have severe anxiety and drinking is not an option, to which he responded by saying that a few drinks wouldn’t hurt and I should just try it, what was the big deal? He clearly didn’t think my reasoning was good enough so I firmly told him no thank you. I wasn’t interested in giving someone the time of day if they weren’t able to respect my decisions.
Despite my attempts to focus on my friends, he wouldn’t give up. His next approach was to try and convince me to go on the dance floor with him, which I refused. He kept grabbing my butt trying to get me to sit on his lap. I told him that he was acting inappropriately and he stopped for a bit, but then he continued with the same behavior.
He then grabbed my hand and attempted to direct it to his crotch, which was when I finally told him off. At first, he was apologetic. He raised his hands as if to surrender, but he continued with his behavior. After I rejected his advances a few more times, he finally got the hint that nothing was going to happen between us.
He turned to me, clearly annoyed, and said, “You know you’d be a lot more fun if you drank, instead of being so uptight.” He returned to his friends where I overheard him say, “Don’t bother with that one, she doesn’t drink.”
He believed that I was rejecting his advancements because I was sober. For him, drunk girls aren’t disgusted by his inappropriate behavior; he can touch them wherever because they’re too intoxicated to say no or stop him.
I wasn’t too intoxicated. I was sober and able to give or deny my consent, and he didn’t like that.
I made my disinterest clear from the start and told him no countless times, but that only seemed to encourage him. Every no was followed with a “come on, one drink won’t hurt.”
This scenario has happened to me many times before, to varying degrees. I have been told by guys that they wouldn’t hang out with me unless I got drunk with them, or that I could only go to a party if I took shots with them. It left me wondering why I wasn’t appealing to them unless I was wasted. I finally got some insight into the answer after that night down port.
I am telling my story because the narrative can’t be that girls need to watch how much they drink, or that they bring it upon themselves by getting too drunk. I didn’t ask for it; I was sober, yet this happened to me, too.