MiamiHerald / I was celebrating my 50th birthday with childhood friends at a long table in a Colorado restaurant when I heard her say it: “Did you see the shorts? Half her ass was hanging out. If a girl doesn’t want a man to attack her, she shouldn’t dress like that, that’s all I’m saying.” Such was the conversation happening at the other end of the table, led by a woman I’ve known since we were seventh-graders in a small-town Missouri Catholic school. It was August 2015.

“Did you just say how a girl dresses is license for a grown man to physically attack and rape her?” I said. “You have a 19-year-old daughter.”

I spat this out like the accusation it was, but I got no reply. Her end of the table had been discussing a news report out of Florida where, following the brutal rape of a teenager, store video had captured her reaching for a higher shelf, her shorts rising in kind. Our celebratory table went quiet. We had not seen each other in such a long time. Was I about to ruin a nice dinner over this?

My friend shrugged. “What can you do?” she said. “Men have needs.”


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