I firmly believe it is our duty as citizens to reach out to strangers that may be in need of a helping hand.  I’ve pulled my mini van over to make sure people felt safe in apparent arguments, walked drunk people home, broken up fights etc.  I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I hadn’t intervened in these situations but none of it was worth risking.  Last night was no exception.  Even though I’m sure she doesn’t remember any of this, I’m glad we decided to take action if only to let Predator know that he can’t get away with this bullshit.

Here’s the story:

Last night some friends and I were out celebrating Duluth’s annual Homegrown Music Festival and found ourselves having some cocktails at one of Duluth’s many watering holes.  We saw this very intoxicated young women attempt to go behind the bar which is a big no-no and, as a bartender, I also have no patience for that kind of behavior.  She was then asked to leave the bar which was understandable because she was wasted.  It became clear that my pal, Jess, knew Drunk Girl and started asking her how she was getting home.  That’s when a handsome, seemingly sober, young man stepped in to inform us that he was taking her home.  Body language led us to believe that she didn’t want to go home with him.  He was tugging on her wrist trying to get her to leave and she was pulling away and not cooperating.  After some solo questioning, we learned that she’d just met this guy tonight and told us she didn’t want to go home with him but felt like she had to.

So we confronted him.

We kindly told him that he didn’t need to worry and that we were her friends and were going to see her home safely.  He immediately blew up in our faces and started yelling at us and calling us names (he insulted our looks, intelligence, and tried to demoralize us in several other ways).  He took his glasses off and “postured” at my friend in a threatening way in an attempt to get us to back off.  He was trying to scare us into thinking he might physically harm us.  I was shocked that this man was so stalwart about taking this super drunk and, frankly, obnoxious girl home that he had just met that evening.  He and I wound up in a stand-off of me telling him that he needed to leave and him telling me that I had ugly hands and it was no surprise that I was single (wtf kind of insult is that?!).  It got pretty heated between us but Jess and I were not about to back down from this creep.  I almost punched him and almost wish I did… but it wouldn’t have helped the situation and only would have given him evidence to discredit us as “crazy bitches.”

Poor Drunk Girl became scared by Predator’s rage and turned on us.  She told us to leave her and him alone and to fuck off and quickly began appeasing her attacker.  Then, once he was out of earshot, she reiterated that she didn’t want to leave with him and had just met him that night.  Then she lost her phone and asked him to call it.  He actually got his phone out and pretended to search for her number for a couple minutes before admitting that he didn’t have it.  Which was just as I suspected!  He was so obsessed by this conquest that he was lying, yelling, and being incredibly aggressive so that he could get her home.

What were we to do?

We got some other people involved.  My boyfriend and some other guys came out to help and someone called security.  Two wonderful angel men, who otherwise had no involvement in the situation, stepped in and offered to give Predator and Predator’s car a ride home. Predator was very resistant but eventually caved in after he was surrounded by a group of men (including the security guard) who were basically demanding he did so.  We called drunk girl a cab and made sure she got home safely.

It was completely fucked up.  It was terrifying how in control of the situation he was and how difficult it was to wrestle it back from him.  It was nauseating how is behavior changed when men became involved and how differently he reacted to them. He was totally manipulating her and trying to guilt her into leaving with him.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d drugged her drink because she was having a hard time forming sentences, could barely stand up, and kept calling him the wrong name.

It was very disconcerting and I really hope that if I am ever in that situation that someone would help me out.  Nobody deserves to be raped or assaulted just because they are intoxicated and it’s up to us to look out for each other because the creepers are assuredly out there.

I would also like to point out that there were several people observing the situation that didn’t do anything until we demanded help from them.  The staff was completely ready to write off Drunk Girl because she was annoying and let her go with Predator to get her out of their hair.  As a bartender, I know that drunk people can be incredibly vexing and it is very easy to discredit them with their slurring speech and lack of faculties.  But we must look out for the Drunk Girls when we see them because they are the easiest prey for the nasty Predators and we need to protect their right to get as plastered as they want to and still be safe.

Please, next time you see something, start asking questions because we all deserve to live in a safe, equitable environment.

P.S. If you run into any harassment situations during Homegrown, look for someone wearing a yellow “FEMINIST ACTION COLLECTIVE” button which means they are “safe people willing and able to help women get away from creepy dudes and unsafe situations.”  They rule.




Image Credit: “Yes Means Yes” campaign


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