I realised I was overdressed but it was too late to do anything about it. So, I kept my long vintage leather coat on, accepted a glass of wine and wandered around the bookstore trying to very hard to blend. It was futile, really.
I was there to attend a book launch. About rape. A young girl’s rape.
The author’s mother, a psychologist, was in the audience. I turned around to see her smile. I thought about my own mom and jealousy, not sadness, flooded my veins. I knew that I would never again get that wink that only a mother can give.
So, overdressed, tipsy and a little jealous, I sat my bum down and brought my full attention to the moment.
The author had researched rape expensively for her Honours thesis and in a bloody cruel twist of fate, she was raped on the very night that she had presented her research and was out to celebrate.
My jealousy faded. My heart flooded with sadness. The kind of sadness that made jealousy incomprehensible.
“The Girl who was raped” seemed centered. Composed. Vulnerable but focused. My heart saluted hers as I admired her dark eyebrows framing those eyes filled with courage.
And then came the questions. I could have sworn that three people had been planted by AMSA, the Association for Morons in South Africa.
Moron Number 1 suggested that young women on her town square “provoke” men by the way they dress/act. Short-shorts and laughter. You know? A deadly “come get me now” combo. I kid you not.
The other had it on good authority (someone she worked with 39 years ago) that it was “normal” for black people to rape/be raped. And no, she didn’t blur her face while making this statement.
Then the Chairman of AMSA spoke. With a dead straight face, he pleaded with 50 women to be sympathetic to the plight of the man who simply doesn’t know if no means yes or if no really means no. Again, his true identity was not concealed and he didn’t intend to apply for police escort. He was just really “confused”.
My blood pressure was rising and I was starting to look crazy. I had already stuck my hand up twice. “I disagree” to the first woman’s input and “I object! I object!” while the second moron spoke. I seemed to be the only person in the room on this vibration, possessed by the spirit of Joan of Arc.
That’s when I did the most sensible thing of the evening. I called my Uber and took my ass home.
Rather that, than I be mistaken for Deputy Chairperson of AMSA. Things were certainly heading in that direction….
© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016