At a young age, I was taught that if a boy pulled my hair, well that meant he liked me. I was taught that if a boy called me names he was flirting with me, and that I should just play along. I was also taught that when a boy was mean to me that meant he also liked me, and that i should just laugh it off. As the years went by and these little boys turned to men and I became a woman, these innocent gestures became physical attacks, these words became degrading and harassing. In society, these more aggressive tactics still means a guy likes you.
When I was a little girl, I was taught to be mindful of the clothes I wore, that my skirts needed to be respectful lengths, my shorts shouldn’t show too much skin and too much cleavage could be seen as sexually appealing. I have been taught for as long as I can remember that I had to be mindful of what I wore and how I looked so I would not elicit sexual remarks from a man. If the outfit could turn heads than it had no business leaving my house.
As a young girl, I could understand these simple rules. I was just that a young girl and my parents had rules I needed to follow. These rules were set into place to attempt to stop the idea of sexualizing me at a young age. The Lolita Effect.The idea that young girls are sexualized at young ages and how this is carried with us the rest of our lives.
But, what happens when you’re a grown woman, and in or out of nice clothes, *provocative clothing*, or even regular street clothes you are being touched, and verbally harassed.
Last night, I am in a mini dress a pair of wedges walking out of a club. You yelled from the passenger side of your homeboys car
“hey baby, shake that ass for me. You have a sexy ass, baby”
When I ignored you, you proceeded to call me a bitch.
The other day at the grocery store, in mid thigh shorts and a tank top. I get out of my car and I am being shouted at from across the parking lot
“hey beautiful, you got a man. “
When I ignored you, you proceeded to call me stuck up. I walk inside the grocery store and I am followed around the store by a different man who proceeded to stand next to me and he looks at me and says
“damn baby, did you know how beautiful you are”
Who then proceeded to body scan me and lick his lips. I just wanted to get a bag of chips a gallon of water and go home.
I am standing outside of my car at the gas station in sweat pants and a tank top, hair in a messy bun. You’re walking through the pumps, to your car.
“Damn baby, you are beautiful. Do you have a man? You should take my number? Oh, you’re not looking for anything? That’s okay baby, we can be friends, take my number”
You didn’t see the fear in my eyes. Why did I have fear in my eyes, because it was late the sky was dark and you were bigger than me. You don’t know my past of sexual abuse, you just see a “beautiful woman” and decide that you want to be my “friend” and continuously ask me to give you my number or take yours.
I am walking down the street in a crop top, and a pair of jeans, and you reach out and graze your hand across my belly and proceed to grab my hand
“Damn, baby. You are looking delicious tonight.
I scream, Why do people feel the need to touch me to get my attention. You turn around and say,
“Damn, be like that then. Your pussy is probably no good anyways.
Thank you. You will never have the opportunity to find out.
These examples, are a few of the thousands of cat calls i have received. Every day.
You get angry when I don’t accept your advances, I get called a bitch, stuck up, too good, superficial and every other name you can think of. You degrade me, attempt to use words to hurt me and make me feel like less of a woman. But, what you don’t see is how often a day, everyday a different guy is doing exactly what you are doing to me. It doesn’t matter what I wear, or where I am. Your aggressive tendencies, the comments you think I will find flattering are all triggers for me. They are uncomfortable.
My time is my energy, and how I choose to distribute it throughout the day is my business. If I chose to not give you my time after you have called me baby and told me I am beautiful, then that is my choice. You don’t get to treat me like I am a toy, or a piece of meat because your hormones are racing through your body.
There are no excuses for someone to whistle at me, I don’t care if I am out living the “street life”, or I am walking into the grocery store
AM NEVER ASKING TO BE VERBALLY OR PHYSICALLY HARASSED.
Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your comments to yourself.
As women, we should never feel like we cannot wear something, or go to the grocery store, or grab something to eat. We should not be teaching our little girls how they can keep themselves safe from predators. We should be teaching our young boys who will grow into young men how to respect their counterparts as well as each others personal space. Whether you’re in a professional setting or you are in a casual setting there is never an appropriate time for you to verbally or physically harass someone.
Why is there zero responsibility for a man to behave and 100% expectation for women to concede? –Elizabeth Douglass