I had second thoughts in sharing what had happened last Tuesday – (technically Wednesday morning), because it’s somewhat too personal and quite disturbing. But I’ve always been open and honest to stories that I think matters. And I have strong emotions on this one.
So here it goes.
It started with a very casual visit to Sam’s (my husband’s) work place. I dropped by so we can both ran a few errands together. First we bought a couple of missing items in our grocery list. Then we bought a gift for Ice’s birthday ( who if I haven’t mentioned yet, Sam carried all the way from our kitchen to his bedroom once, when he passed out after a drinking session and that sort of sparked a little friendship between me and Sam and Ice and his wife. Both of us – young couples.) Sam wanted to buy just two boxes of croissant for him which I think isn’t a fair birthday present for a twenty eight year old man. So thank God Sam changed his mind and we instead bought a nice gray shirt from Splash. Our last stop was at Bur Dubai. Sam took me to this place which I called Indiatown -because all businesses were run by Indians. They have organized a community of small shops where you can buy almost anything at a very reasonable price. I surprisingly loved the shoes we bought from there – considering my loyalty to branded items – which Sam totally detest. Everything there was worth its purchase. They don’t suck as I expected. In fact, if you have all the patience to scout for a decent buy you will find something even better than the ones in the mall. A carnival of cheap finds.
Ice’s party has already started when we got home and a few of his colleagues were already inhaling the buffet of Filipino dishes. I let Sam try one of the pork specialties ( no he isn’t Muslim so that’s okay) and he liked it. I didn’t want to deprive him of good food so we called cease fire over his Psoriasis. Party food are the best. Finally, a taste of heaven . A good get away from our traditional dinner that consist mostly of my vegetal experiments.
After dinner, guests started flooding the flat so we decided to stay in bed and expect the night to be amplified. Music blasted from the terrace and what sounded like deaf people conversing to each other verbally for the first time, echoed on the four walls of our tiny room. And I guess to make the matters more interesting – jeez – out of nowhere Sam suddenly blared in my ears with his own suppressed tantrums on something that I know so little about and that aggravated me which eventually urged me to join the bandwagon of chaos. So while the world outside is celebrating and bathing with booze, we were there in our bedroom secretly fueling explosives.
I went out for some air. And because Sam guilt tripped me for not cooking for him that night which will take a toll on his health the next day, I decided to cook some Soyabean for him. (I don’t think it’s entirely my fault by the way. We agreed that we will cheat psoriasis that night. But whatever.)
I ended up cleaning the kitchen a bit since Ice’s wife is pregnant and he was too busy accommodating his guests in the terrace.When Sam and I returned back to bed, we were already calm and steady. It was almost 2:00 am – and we badly needed some good sleep. But we heard a girl crying outside our bedroom door and Sam insisted that I check on her. I don’t know the girl exactly. Probably once of Ice’s colleagues. And Sam being Indian- I don’t think he’s pretty much accustomed to girls cry-drinking in parties. I was like, “It’s normal. A birthday party with binge drinking is not complete without a girl crying or a guy looking for riot. As long as we don’t hear any sirens wailing outside our building. We’re good.”
The crying lasted for a good fifteen minutes until someone picked her up from our building. Turns out she saw her boyfriend with another girl. I want to feel for her but not exactly. I mean if you want to lament over your boyfriend’s infidelity please respect other people’s privacy. At least care to excuse yourself in the bathroom. Not to our bedroom door.
Finally at 4:00 am, we were almost dozing off – calculating approximately three hours before the alarms rattle us back to reality. Sam and I still have a day job to hack. But again before we could fall softly and deeply into space, I heard Ruby’s voice from the other room – knocking me out of my hollow sleep. Her voice was in between sobs and anger and she was complaining to the thirty three year old half-owner of the flat Sasha (our landlady sleeping in the main bedroom).
I had to wake up. I sensed an alarm coming from Ruby’s voice. She was the youngest in our small flat and a cousin of Quinn (if you read my older post, Quinn is sort of a younger version of me.)
When I came out, Ice and his wife were unable to explain what happened to me. Quinn appeared in the kitchen wrapped with her blanket, sobbing. When I asked what happened.
Ruby’s voice cracked in fury. “Ram touched her while she was sleeping…”
I don’t think there could be a better interpretation to this. I don’t have to hear the rest of the story. She was obviously harassed and I don’t give a sh!t with the details. I held Quinn for a while and asked Sam to pull a chair on the already restless, shaking Quinn.
It was a very scandalous night for everyone with a lot of screaming from Quinn’s side and a lot of crying over spilled alcohol on Ram’s side. Of course the other girls would have a fair share of qualms on the subject that made the small courthouse drama in the kitchen more intense- provoking more anger on both sides. It was really depressing and disappointing considering that at some point we have already looked after each other like a family. Painfully, we have also treated Ram as a one. I know we are all humans and we all make mistakes. But this one cannot be undone and cannot just be forgotten or replaced my new memories. He has to leave.
Sasha tried to have both parties sit in the kitchen for confrontation which I thought was useless as Ram was overly drunk. There was no way he would fess up with the incident. The best thing to do is have him pack his luggage to maintain peace.
Quinn has been a wreck for days and couldn’t afford to go to work anymore. Her boyfriend Mac was on duty for 2 days in the hospital which makes it more harder for both of them to recover for what had happened. With emergencies like that Mac can’t just leave and run to the rescue because he was also committed to take care of a very ill person in the hospital who depends on him with food, medicine and twenty four hour monitoring. And this was Quinn’s first time to not be under the supervision of her family which are all in Manila.
We tried to be comforting as much as we can for Quinn for her to get over the incident. Sam had also pep talked her to move on from what had happened because fun doesn’t end there. Good thing is that we have she has so much support around her. Ruby’s affection to her cousin who she treats as her own sister has been very inspiring. She fought hard that night for Quinn and never left her side. I mean if you could just see them the way I did, you will be inspired with their sisterhood.
Sam and I also had several discussion over rape and harassment for the past few days. He said Filipinos are way too kind and considerate with the issue. Had it happened in India, in his own place, with a family of boys, there was no way Ram could get away from the house unblemished. Bruising – as far as I understood from his narrative, was a part of their interrogation which makes Ram a very lucky guy that we dealt with him pretty well that night- unharmed.
I never thought harassment could be that fatal even say, it’s just freaking touching and no more than that. Even if it had not escalated to something more appalling – which possibly can. It will still creep you out and disgust you in levels that only a woman can understand. Any violation to a woman’s privacy is serious shit.
And here’s what I believe in. Our subconscious is powerful so make use of good thoughts and never entertain images that will backfire against you when you’re intoxicated. A decent person will have no room for bad intentions and it will reflect not only when they are sober but most importantly when they are drunk. No matter how fueled they are.
Feed your mind with Good Decent Thoughts. How many times do we have to reiterate this cliche in Blogs, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook feeds? Your thoughts become You. And I feel sorry for Ram because he may have had some dark past or something troubling him – but if he was cautious enough – I truly believe he would’ve fought his demons better.
Also, we should keep our boundaries to strangers. We know so little about their background or what they can do or what they are thinking. Alcohol can transform us. It fuels us to be something totally undesirable, obnoxious and revolting. So might as well drop it. Let’s me realistic here. If you like it that much, chances are you won’t be able to control it. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know when you already have a drinking problem.
They always say drink moderately. I say don’t drink at all. If only it’s that easy to employ. Call me killjoy but I have really developed an animosity to alcohol a very long time ago.
And just to be fair, Quinn learned a valuable lesson as well.
Girls – just stay away from men + alcohol. It’s not a very good combination.
And boys, here’s a piece of shit we could all learn from. Undressing a woman just in your mind or creating what seemed to be an innocent flirting scenario in your imagination to a woman that is not your wife or girlfriend – are already trigger points of misconduct that can blow up on your faces sooner or later.
It’s not something you just came up with after getting wasted. These are obvious thoughts that have already been running in your head before or during your entire course of drinking. So again, watch your thoughts.
A decent guy will never exploit a woman – even he has all the privacy to do so – in the dusty corners of his mind. Even if he knew that nobody will catch him anyway. He will never stain his mind with dirty thoughts. It is always kept clean – for the simplest reason. It’s just not his thing.
Secondly, “Signals” (meaning a woman’s body language or verbal expressions) does not give you full permission to make passes at her. At the end of the day- A No means No. And if a girl feels she’s violated, then she is by all means- violated. No excuses. The least thing you can do is apologize and man up.
Most importantly, just to spell it out to those who can’t read properly, that if a girl is sleeping or has passed out, it automatically means NO. Just because she was laughing with you and making jokes and probably at some point she said you were funny, doesn’t mean she was inviting you to do something.
And CONSENT is always given REAL TIME.
I’m not saying this because Quinn gave indications to Ram. I don’t think so. Not in a million light years. I say this because some guys would often use this against women. That he felt she was interested, that she was giving him the signals all night, that perhaps she even at some point brush her skin against his or whispered to his ears deliberately.
No sir. You can sum up all the signals in the world for you to make advances on her but read carefully: We can give and retract our consent at any given time. It’s not a touch move ruling. Once we say No. Once we say Stop. You Must.
Or the wrath of all the gods will fall on you.