Well Today’s Word is still respect, but why ruin the format… where was I….

“Word of advice, save all that sweet gentleman sh*t for when you get to college, these b*tches that be out here, they ain’t worth it”

The drunken quote from one of the older heads around the way.  Words of consolation I guess. We were all hanging out, drinking, smoking, I didn’t do either.  Whatshername was clearly drunk, and I tried to get her out of there.  She didn’t want to go.  She promptly reminded me that we weren’t together and went back into the back to the explosion of laughter by the ones who overheard.  I went home, pride intact and while I was gone, some older guys from around the way crashed the get together and well, things went down.  when I found out I wasn’t scorned or upset just once again embarrassed.  I thought she was different.   he would try and talk to me still, blaming the alcohol saying she had been taken advantage of.  I couldn’t play myself like that again.  For one she had no qualms about still coming to the hood, sitting on the porch with the very people she was accusing of assault. Writing this now, especially with hindsight on the next turn of events and even Steubenville, maybe I should’ve said something, did something, but then I was just a 16 year old with his pride hurt.  I just needed to explore a deeper end of the dating pool.  So I saved that sweet gentleman ish for college.

Ironically enough, it’s not much different.  Partying and drinking is all but the norm.  I’ve started to drink by now, a few girlfriends by now, but still a gentleman first.  Fast forward a few months, I’m at a party I hear my name yelled, I turn around it’s some guys I know from around the way, let’s call them C & D, their cousin goes here too they’re visiting.  They tell me about a party off campus at another school., me and my boy tag along.  The new party is obviously a lot more wild than the previous on campus affair, just about every bottle on the market at your disposal.  It gets late, C is chatting up a girl, basically says she’s down to mess with all of us. I’m ready to call it a night. D doesn’t want to go back either, the cousin was our ride.  I don’t know him like that but he’s torn between taking me and boy back to campus or staying with them.  He wanted to go home too and pretty much used us as leverage.  I see someone else from school me and my boy ride with her, the cousin stays with them.

Week or so later, I get a call from another friend from the hood.  C, D & the cousin were all arrested, charged with sexual assault.  Their version of the story was she wanted C, and the cousin and not D, but blew the whistle on all of them.  I was just there with them, we could’ve all went down.  Buzz spread about that infamous night, fortunately my name was as far away from it as possible.  Charges were eventually dropped but the damage was done, the cousin expelled, they all did a year in between court dates, the victim’s reputation ruined, I believe she transferred.  What actually happened that night only they and God knows but like Stuebenville, none of it had to go down like that.

Still I look back at both situations with signs of regret.  I didn’t post pictures on Facebook like the Steubenville kids, but I did foresee enough bad things to take myself away from the situations but not enough to really help anyone else.  It brings into question the extent of responsibility when dealing with others.  Had it been a closer friend, a relative, would I had left either of them in those situations?    The connection between Steubenville, the get together, the college party was the lack of responsibility, the victim’s friends left her in an uncompromising spot, as I did Whatshername and to an extent C, D and the cousin.

On the other end of the spectrum one has to have accountability. It’s the dirty side of the coin no one wants to speak on.  People intoxicate themselves and  enter precarious situations.  That doesn’t make what happens to them even remotely justified but it does prevent tragic turn of events from happening.  It’s a thin line between responsibility and accountability, however we owe it to ourselves, as just decent people to at least attempt to help others, even if they rather learn the hard way.


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