Yes, I quoted Sir Mix-a-lot, but have you seen it yet? The painfully awkward three-minute video “Real Conversation on Guns” that Cosmopolitan.com posted? If not, let me save you cringe-worthy experience by telling you exactly what you’re missing.
First of all, it’s no secret that I myself am a sex assault survivor. A stranger broke in to my apartment just after my sophomore year of college, held me in my bedroom for two hours, and raped me. Ironically, it was an article in Cosmo that resonated in my 20 year-old mind during the early morning hours of my assault.
I had read a story of a woman who used the tact of befriending her rapist/kidnapper and convinced him that she was not going to tell anyone. She escaped and reported the incident. I employed the same tact which eventually worked, but not before being assaulted and raped. He left me alone in my bedroom and walked to my kitchen to get a drink of water before exiting my home through the front door.
I had no way of defending myself that morning, but after staring in the eyes of pure evil I knew that I would not be left defenseless again. I chose to learn about concealed carry and train to the point where I was comfortable using a firearm for my protection. It was a constitutional right I chose to exercise quietly until I learned my rights were being threatened by politicians.
Since my interaction this January with President Obama on CNN’s Town hall debate, “Guns in America”, I have been confronted with many questions and accusations that frankly are the reason many survivors never speak out on this topic.
“Well you survived without a gun! What’s the big deal? You can use different methods to get away that don’t use a gun that would likely be turned around on you anyway.”
The biggest problem here is that these comments START with victim-blaming. It’s apparently on me to think of ways to get away, scare off my attacker, or stop being raped without turning to the one greatest equalizer we as women have—a firearm.
Furthermore, what no one cares to hear is that while I may have been my attacker’s first victim (that we could identify), at the time of his arrest just three weeks later, he was picked up at an apartment complex not a half mile from mine taking pictures of college women sunbathing. He was choosing his next victim.
So yes, I survived, but at what point does this or any other offender’s growing number of victims and escalating behaviors stop?
Now enter this insanely biased Cosmo video—where were the women like me? All I saw were young twenty-somethings who had an unhealthy fear of firearms because the media has told them that they should. I’d understand if one of the couples Cosmopolitan had presented had a back-and-forth discussion about it, but no; they chose to set up four interviews. Each repeating the same rhetoric. Men that are vaguely familiar with the left’s talking points on gun ownership and women who are in no way open to hearing their partner’s thoughts or reasons for exercising their second amendment rights.
Also by design, Cosmo only cast the men as gun owners. They are easier to vilify because statistically speaking, men are perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault more often than women. It is not difficult to make the leap from a distrust of men to an inherent distrust of guns and that is exactly what Everytown, Shannon Watts, and their newfound besties at Cosmo want you to do. God forbid some of us women who take quizzes to see which ‘Scandal’ character we are and do morning yoga and brunch afterwards own firearms. How are we somehow “less than” because we’ve educated ourselves and choose to take self-protection seriously?
As someone who has just recently waded back in to the dating world, I can tell you that these forced and prompted conversations depicted in the Cosmo video are absolutely NOT indicative of what real and thoughtful discussions surrounding gun ownership include. I’m not asking if a potential date has guns—I don’t care. What I care about is what that person is capable of doing with or without firearms.
If your potential partner is exercising their First Amendment right, are you going to say, “oh no, I don’t like what you’re doing and what you’re saying even though it’s completely legal”? Here’s a pro tip: if you don’t like what your girlfriend or boyfriend is doing or what they believe in, DON’T DATE THEM. Simple, right? By all means, please leave those guys or gals for those of us who will appreciate their respect for individual rights and personal protection.
My hope is that my fellow females are not taking their personal protection advice from a magazine like Cosmopolitan. Instead, continue to educate yourselves and have real conversations that are relevant to your own life experience and independent thinking. And please, don’t fear dating a man just because he exercises his Second Amendment rights.
Fear dating a man who thinks yours should be taken away.