“Women Don’t Do That” by Alvin Arceo

“Heyyyy, mannnn. Rodriguez left me. I’m really drunk. You and Smith should come over. There are a few girls here.” It was Seaman Miller on the phone. He was crying, and it was clear he was in bad shape.

I didn’t want to go to the room he was calling from at the hotel on the military base, not at all, actually. But my friend sounded really out of it, and I knew that recently a girl had broken his heart. I also knew he was underage and that he’d be in serious trouble if he were caught drinking or intoxicated.

Less than an hour after I got the call, Smith and I were at the hotel room. We knocked on the door and a girl I didn’t know answered. When we told her we were looking for our friend, she insisted there was no one with her. But then we heard Miller cry out from behind her, “Heyyyy, guys, I’m over here.” We knew something was very wrong.

When we walked into the room, her eyes lost the innocent glow they had. Her eyebrows were now furrowed, her forehead began to wrinkle, and her lips slightly pulled in. We didn’t need to be there, she said; she would take care of our friend. We told her that we were going to stay anyway, you know, just to make sure. She pretended like weren’t there. As soon as we closed the door she went straight back to him. Without any regard for us, she began to fondle him. Within the hour, Smith and I had rented another room and taken our friend away.

Miller couldn’t have consented. He could hardly stand, much less walk, out the door of the hotel. That night when we took care of him, the only thing he was capable of doing was yelling and throwing up in a trashcan we placed next to him. He was so sick that after Smith and I got him to bed, we alternated shifts throughout the night, to make sure he didn’t die of alcohol poisoning. The next morning Miller couldn’t even remember what had happened to him.

I rarely think of Miller, but when I do, the events of that night always come to mind. You hear about it all the time: in military stand downs, in general military training, and in Sexual Assault, Prevention and Response training. I read about it in pamphlets, on Facebook posts, on blogs. I thought I knew what rape was, and which types of people committed it. I didn’t. I didn’t know that anybody can be a perpetrator, and anyone can be a victim, of a sexual crime.

Whenever I have the chance to inform people about sexual assault, I do. I do so to help prevent future rapes, and I also know that taking this action is my way of coming to terms with the memory of that night.

Alvin Arceo is a reserve-component Sailor in the United States Navy. He enlisted in the Navy on September 27th, 2010 as an IS. While currently serving in the reserves, he is simultaneously finishing his undergraduate in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. As a first-generation American and an identical twin, he and his twin brother will be the first members of their family to earn an undergraduate degree. After UCSB Alvin hopes to pursue a Juris Doctor degree in either immigration or corporate law from Boalt Law School at the University of California, Berkeley.