I haven’t talked to Eva; she hasn’t contacted me since I left the pamphlets on rape and counseling on her bed.

I’ve gone to more meetings, and I’ve started to swing by the Women’s Center to help out. I know that there is still a lot for me to learn. I mean I hadn’t even realized that I was as ignorant as I am, but even my outlook on this situation has changed. At the very least, I can help with awareness. I know there are people out there that just don’t get it. There are people that have no idea how detrimental it is to society to be ignorant on a subject like this. I know because I was one of them.

I’m so embarrassed to remember how I used to look at this same situation. I’m so mad at that guy. He treated my best friend like an object – a thing to be used. I hate him in a way that I’ve never hated anything in my life. I hate him for what he did to Eva and pity him for not knowing the difference. To me he represents everything that is wrong with the world. He is so selfish. I wonder if he even realizes that he has been the cause of so much pain … or even cares.

It’s amazing to me how much I’ve changed over the past few weeks. I look back at my journal, and I can’t believe how much I talked about the leather pants that I felt so gorgeous in. It worries me because I don’t know if I bought those pants for myself, or because I felt I had to in order to make men look at me.

This is what we talk about at these meetings. We talk about this culture of rape, where outlooks like this are dominant, and about ways to get rid of this rape culture. If I did buy these pants because I felt I needed to for men to notice me, I did contribute to rape culture.

I realize now, and have confidence, that I can wear whatever I like. I can walk around in whatever I want to feel beautiful or hot or sexy and expect not to be raped. I love the way those pants make me look, so I will wear them as I please. But that is not an invitation for anyone to do anything to me.

That guy saw my friend as an object. He used her. He saw that she was attracted to him and did what he wanted to her without caring at all about how that made her feel. Maybe he thought that he could because she was drinking or because of how she looked or what she was wearing. My best friend in the world is probably in her room questioning herself when she didn’t do anything wrong. He did.

This is really the point of these meetings. We talk about how people like Eva must feel. I don’t go for counseling – which is not even what the meetings are for. I go to help educate people – and myself. One day I hope to be able to get Eva to come too.

I want her to know that it wasn’t her fault she got raped – because I don’t think she knows that.

Imani Rupert and Muriel Philips are media interns for the Rape Prevention Education Program.