"You Could Get Pregnant!"

Unplanned pregnancy is not a conversation you want to have with your dad.

Over winter break, shortly after Christmas, I was sitting in a diner eating pizza with my little brother, mom and dad. Cute, right? I decided this was a perfect opportunity to bring up a time that we had an interaction I was still upset over.

This past summer, I had come to the assumption that my dad and I were at a level that I could confess a college story I am not so proud of. I admitted to him that, one night, I got dangerously and embarrassingly sick over a certain clear, disgusting beverage made from potatoes (nod if you’re following me). Here is how the the next few seconds of dialogue went:

Dad: “Annie you have to be careful with that stuff. You know what could happen?”

Me: “Yeah I know, I could get [beverage] poisoning.”

Dad: “No, YOU COULD GET PREGNANT!!”

I brought up this conversation because I was still upset that 1) he made it seem like unplanned pregnancy was worse than alcohol poisoning and 2) I felt as though he was victim blaming.

The next few hours led to a very interesting discussion with my father about the decisions of females. Maybe it is not the most politically correct. But it starts a conversation. I am sharing my story and my thoughts in order to start a dialogue with other females at Loyola.

At the end of the day, women are often the ones who pay the price for a decision made by two people, drunk or not. It’s not fair, but it’s a reality.

Drunk consent is not consent. Let me say that again for the people in the back. DRUNK CONSENT IS NOT CONSENT.

That being said, it is true that we females must know our bodies and know our limits. We must know what we can handle when confronted with situations in which inhibition-reducing substances are involved.

My father made the following argument: if two drunk people give “consent” (again, not real consent), the female involved could be stuck with an unplanned pregnancy, a ruined reputation, regret, so on and so forth.

None of this is fair, but it is true that women must take on a bit more responsibility when it comes to partying and alcohol. I know I know, I almost gagged in disgust while reading over that sentence too. Anyway, here are some ways to stay safe in the environment of a college party:

  • Go with people you trust

  • Do a head count— if you arrive with 5 people, leave with 5 people.

  • Designate a “mom” for the night

  • Upon arrival, have a meeting place in case the group splits up

  • BYOB: do NOT take a drink from a stranger. Ever. I don’t care how nice or cute they are.

  • Go for a mixed drink, one that is not too strong so you can nurse the same drink for a long time without getting too buzzed.

  • If you feel you’ve hit your limit, go for water. No one will tell you otherwise, and if they do, don’t listen.

  • Alternate between alcohol and water. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you’re not hungover the next morning.

The reason I was so bothered by this discussion with my dad was because I hated that it was my responsibility to make sure no one assaults or impregnates me. It’s a rough idea to think about, but it is important to think about.

Let me clarify one thing: if a woman is assaulted, and did not do any of the aforementioned precautions, it is still NEVER her fault. Nothing excuses assault; not dress, not behavior, not inebriation, nothing.

My argument to the one my father offered is that women should never be victim-blamed. However, until we reach a point that ALL men are respectful of women and do not take advantage of an alcohol-related event, we women must be smart, alert and empowered enough to take care of ourselves.

Men carry just as much responsibility in preventing unsafe decisions, but women are more often stuck with the consequences.

Women must be smart about this responsibility. We shouldn’t have to be, but unfortunately we have to be.

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*Thumbnail photo by Karen Kleis via Flickr Images