At What Point Should One Become Afraid of Sexual Deviancy?

June 7th, 2007.

Last night, I stayed up late watching movies. My favorite out of the stack was a drama called Little Children, starring Kate Winslet. The movie tackles quite a few interesting social issues, but the scene I found most fascinating featured the character, Ronnie, on a blind date.

In the movie, Ronnie is a pedophile who has been recently released from prison. He moves in with his Mother who urges Ronnie to go on a date and a find a nice girl his own age. To appease her, Ronnie ends up finding this sad sack of a chick on a dating website and he takes her to dinner. Over dessert, she tells him about her mental breakdowns and how she hasn’t had a boyfriend in years. Later, when she drops him off at his house, she stops the car and tells Ronnie how much fun she’d had and how he seems like a really nice guy. At this precise instant, Ronnie yanks down his pants and starts jerking off in front of her. The woman ends up crying silent tears while Ronnie clutches his dick and threatens her not to tell anyone.

I guess the reason I found this scene so compelling is because something similar happened to me once.

Way back when I was in college, I briefly shared a co-ed apartment with a couple of wild and crazy friends. We generally threw keg parties 5 out of 7 days of the week where we attempted to squeeze 50 people or more into our tiny apartment. The parties were very rowdy with loud music and frequent appearances from the cops at our front door. The next day, empty plastic cups would litter every imaginable surface and oftentimes you’d have to step over a random someone laying passed out in a puddle of puke in the bathroom to get to the toilet. Looking back, it’s amazing that I managed to maintain my GPA.

However, I did not last long in that environment. Towards the end of my 8 month stay there, I quickly decided I had done enough partying and binge drinking to last me a lifetime. I started opting out of participating in the parties, claiming tiredness, and choosing instead to hole up in my bedroom with a pair of earplugs and a book. During this time, a guy named Evan walked uninvited into my room.

Evan was good friends with one of my male roommates and it was widely known that he had a crush on me. However, I couldn’t have been less interested in him. He was short and physically unappealing, but worst than that, his personality sucked big time. He was smarmy and self important; redundant and vain. Furthermore, he was the type of man that never looked at a women. He leered at a women.

This jackass turned my stomach, but I was polite to him out of respect for my roommate. Still, when he disappeared from the party and waltzed his self important ass into my room, I was anything but welcoming.

“What do you want?” I rudely snapped at him.

“Look,” he said as he sleazed across my room and offered himself a spot next to me on my bed, “I know you have a thing for me.”

“Evan, I do not have a thing for you. To be honest, I don’t even like you as a friend.” I scooted away from him on my bed.

He inched his way closer to me. “You can stop playing games right now,” he smugly informed me, “I know you do.”

I scooted farther away from him while simultaneously saying, “You really need to leave now.”

“I don’t think so,” he answered and he basically lunged at me.

Quickly, I jerked back and ended up falling off of my bed. I smacked my head on my dresser when I fell, so I was all kinds of annoyed when I stood up. Evan was fixing to get the tongue lashing of all tongue lashings. However, right before I unleashed verbal hell on him, something shocked me so badly that I merely bit my lip.

Evan had yanked down his pants and started masturbating.

“Oh! Fucking gross Evan!” I yelled as I spun around and faced my wall.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Evan moaned amidst the fapping sounds, “You like for me to jerk it, don’t you? You want to turn around and watch me, don’t you? Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

I was so disgusted I didn’t even reply, but I sure as hell didn’t turn around to watch. A few seconds later, he stopped.

“Uh…do you….do you have anything I could use to clean up?”

I didn’t reply for a minute. Instead, I slowly rubbed my temples with my index and middle fingers. Then, I pointed over to a hook on my closet where I hung my towels. In retrospect, I probably should have just made him go back to the party with a crusty belly.

As Evan cleaned his spunk up with my towel, he gave me some big speech about how if I told anyone about this incident, no one would believe me, so I probably shouldn’t waste my time. Still silent, I pointed towards my door. He tossed my towel on the floor and left.

The thing is I never did tell anyone. But not because I was scared of Evan or convinced that no one would believe me or blah, blah, blah. I never told anyone simply because I felt sorry for the little pervert. This little twerp, so repulsive and socially inept to the opposite sex that he had to sneak into some girl’s room at night and masturbate to get his rocks off, epitomized the word ‘pathetic’ to me. I wasn’t angry with Evan, so I felt no need to punish him further. I pitied him.

I guess that’s the difference between me and other women who have had similar experiences. I never felt ‘victimized’ by Evan and at no point in time was I ever afraid of him. Sure, when he was lunging for me on my bed, the thought did cross my mind that he might actually attempt to rape me, but I was unconcerned. I felt confident in my ability to protect myself…either by gouging at his eyes or using my fingernails to claw off his balls. I know myself and I am not the type of girl who would fearfully submit to rape. A man would have to kill me first. Evan could have attempted to physically harm me, but I wouldn’t have gone down without a fight.

Still, one of my biggest character flaws is my tendency to take for granted that the things that don’t bother me, wouldn’t bother anyone else. You can find evidence of this in all aspects of my life. For example, when I criticize someone, I can be very harsh and blunt. I am not this way because I enjoy hurting people’s feelings, mind you, but because I don’t mind being criticized harshly. It doesn’t bother me, so I assume it wouldn’t bother anyone else. I know, I know, this way of thinking is incredibly faulty and somewhat narcissistic. However, while I do work to improve this unfortunate aspect of my personality now, I didn’t even realize it was a problem back when I was in college. Therefore, it never occurred to me that I should warn anyone else about Evan.

Watching that movie last night sincerely shocked me. It portrayed the incident between the pedophile and his blind date as a truly horrifying experience. I honestly haven’t thought about Evan in years (The incident was that much of a non-issue to me), but while watching the actress silently cry on my television screen, he burst back into my memory. I have to wonder if my silence caused another unfortunate acquaintance of Evans distress.

After the movie, I started scouring the Internet for news stories about men who have exposed themselves to other women. Every time the ‘victim’ of such circumstances was interviewed (And they were always referred to as The Victim), they reported feeling “very afraid,” or “terrified,” or “frozen with fear.” Some women said they had trouble sleeping after the incident or were scared to leave their houses now.

I am of two minds on this. On one hand, I think it’s silly for women to be so scared of these pathetic little men. On the other hand, I realize that fear is one of those primal instincts that you can’t just shut on and off like a switch. Ultimately, I’m sad so many women seem to be genuinely afraid of men. Especially when that fear is the result of some inconsequential situation where some dude flashed his willy in her direction.

But…But…the guy who jerked off in front of his blind date was also a pedophile. I’ve been reading reports about sexual dysfunction in men all damned day and I haven’t yet run across anyone who came right out and said that guys who expose themselves also diddle kids, but I have to wonder. Is there some woman out there who is afraid to leave her house because of something Evan did to her? Is there a little kid whose innocence was lost after Evan put his hands on her body? And if so, how much of it would be my fault? After all, I blew it all off like it was no big deal, thus allowing Evan to escape any ridicule or punishment for his actions.

Thoughts like these are hard pills to swallow.

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