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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SL Letter of the Day: Predator and Prey

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 2:49 PM

A few nights ago I got drunk and knocked on my roommate's door and confessed my attraction to him while he was lying in bed in nothing more than his skivvies. (It was dark and I stayed at the door so I didn't know that until after the fact.) And then I asked him if I could sleep in his room because our other roommate—whose bedroom is directly above mine—was having sex so loudly that I couldn't sleep. Which was true but it clearly didn't not make the roommate I was drunkenly confessing to's bed the appropriate alternative and makes me an asshole to the roommate who actually has a sex life. Not being able to sleep on work nights is sometimes a real problem, but one to be addressed with her, not used as drunken fodder to get into someone else's bed.

I feel pathetic and embarrassed for having thrown myself at my roommate, completely freaked out that I got wasted enough to do something I have daydreamed about but wouldn't do sober, but much more importantly, I think my behavior did not reflect active consent, trashed my roommate's boundaries and was generally creepy—all characteristics of sexual assaulters.

I am biologically female and if the situation were reversed I would commit a huge double standard because I would back any woman who did not feel safe continuing to live with a dude who did what I did. I feel like I should be held accountable and move out immediately though my housemate has told me he doesn't feel threatened and that I should stay.

Help. I feel like a total piece of shit for having done this and can't stop wondering,

Am I A Sexual Predator?

My response after the jump...

•••••••••••••

Calm the fuck down.

You didn't assault anyone, you're not a predator, you shouldn't have to move out. You made a drunken, ill-advised pass at a roommate. If that makes someone a "sexual predator," AIASP, then we're going to need to build walls around college campuses and declare 'em all penitentiaries.

As for that double standard: in light of your recent experience—you made a drunken pass at someone—you might want to revisit the assumptions you've made about men who make passes, drunken and otherwise, at women who aren't interested in them. Making a pass at someone is not grounds for eviction or conviction. It's how a person makes a pass—did you pounce or did you ask?—and how a person react if the pass is rebuffed—did you graciously take "no" for an answer or were you a complete asshole about it?—that matters.

Of course the passes that men make at women—roommates and otherwise—exist in a context of male sexual violence. So it's understandable that a woman might feel uncomfortable living with a dude who did what you did. But if the dude wasn't a creep about it, and graciously took "no" for an answer (if the answer was "no"), gee, perhaps he should be judged as an individual and not as someone who bears collective guilt for all the crimes committed by members of his sex.

And even if you were an asshole about that "no," AIASP, that still doesn't make you a sexual predator. You're only a sexual predator—or guilty of sexual assault—if you refuse to take "no" for an answer and force yourself on someone. (Or if you go after people who are incapable of granting their consent or take advantage of people under duress. And even then not all "predation" qualifies as assault. Some people are liars and players and manipulative fucks.) You didn't force yourself on anymore. All you're guilty of, AIASP, is asking someone that you wanted to fuck if he wanted to fuck you. It's a legit question and no one gets fucked without asking it.

And the question doesn't magically become assault when the answer is "no."

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