I’ve been thinking a lot about the question asked of Dr. Ford, “Why did she keep going to these parties?”
I can’t answer for her, but I can answer for myself, because in college, I went to a LOT of those parties. There were a lot of reasons and here they are.
I went because the beer was free.
I went because my friends were going.
I went because the music was dance-able, and loud, and there was a dance floor.
I went in college because I was too much of a prudish geek to be invited to those parties in high school.
I went because college is on the cusp of adulthood and every day in college is a day closer to the dumpster truck of adulthood crashing into you and demanding that you be responsible and pay your own bills, and I wanted to escape that for a few hours.
I went because I was studying World War I and II and I wanted to forget about humanity’s horrors for a while.
I went because I was not sexy or pretty or beautiful or attractive and I wanted to swing my hips and imagine for a few hours that I could be sexy and that some hot or rich or nice guy would see through my unimpressive exterior and see something of value inside.
I went because I was young and life ahead was a mystery and I wanted to fit in and make friends, and do what everyone else was doing, and figure out who I was and what I was going to be. Going to a party was just one part of that exploration.
I went because you need to do stupid things to figure out how to be smart sometimes.
I went because I didn’t know that anyone had ever been raped at those parties, even though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had been.
And I would have gone anyway because the risk of rape was everywhere, and I felt like I was only slightly more likely to be raped at a frat party than walking back from the library to my dorm late at night.
I went anyway because the threat of rape is constant in a young woman’s life. So we reminded ourselves to be safe, to not get too drunk, to not go into bedrooms, or dark places outside. We made sure our friends only went home with guys they wanted to go home with. We walked to and from the party with our keys poking between our fingers.
Of course there were guys who would try to take advantage, but we went to class with them, we lived in the dorms with them, we ate in the cafeteria with them, we played intramural sports with them, we were in study groups with them.
I went because it was fun. And because danger was ever-present, even in a quiet town. I went to a party that might have been unsafe because everything might have been unsafe.
And because life is still unsafe, I would do it again.