I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the whole #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen hashtags we’ve been seeing on Twitter.
This week alone I’ve been called “doll” and “Mami” a handful of times each, told “Smile. I know you see me,” was harassed via text message from a guy I told to not contact me again, sent an unsolicited video of that same guy masturbating, and then texted again by that same guy who harassed me and sent the video (*after* I had blocked his number on my phone… apparently that doesn’t stop texts getting through on your computer).
It might not be “all men,” but it sure is enough to make being a women trying to live her life a lot more stressful than it already is.
As I waited for the cops to come to my apartment on Monday night (because I called in to make a report against the guy who harassed me and sent the video…), I was texting with my friend who has had her fair share of harassing. She asked what I would say to that guy if I could say something with zero repercussions. Said I would tell him he’s the worst kind of guy – the guy who thinks he can do what he wants and get away with it. But that he needs to know his words and actions have consequences.
I said I would say worse things too, but really that I wish guys would get a f-ing clue about how awful they treat women. (And I know, *not all guys*… and I do know this. For example, my father and brother would NEVER harass women like I get harassed on a daily basis.) I then went into an epic monologue that said, “I can’t walk home listening to music because I have to keep aware of my surroundings. I have to stand there and take guys saying terrible things about me because I’m afraid if I do or say something, I might get attacked. I don’t live in fear, but I sure as shit feel like I have to watch what I do or say so as to not trigger some guy.”
I continued, “And I’m fucking sick of it. So I’m filing this police report because I can. Because he’s not here to stop me…. This is for the times when I got hurt and no one go in trouble. This is for the times I got told ‘boys will be boys.’ I am tired of getting stepped on because I’m a girl… I AM A FUCKING PERSON. Treat me like one. You know?”
And then I complained to her that I was mad I had to put my bra back on. (I called in my incident at 8:30pm and the cops didn’t show up until 10:30.) And you know how much it sucks to put your bra back on once you think it’s off for the night. (Am I right, ladies?)
So the cops came and I gave them all the information I had. And I cried because I was upset. But I wasn’t just upset about getting sent the masturbating video… I was upset because I am legitimately tired of being harassed.
This shouldn’t happen. TO ANYONE. No one deserves to be catcalled. No one deserves to be spoken down to. No one deserves to feel unsafe. No one deserves to have her boobs or her ass grabbed. No one deserves to get hit. No one deserves to get raped. Being a women should not be reason enough to be treated as less than. Because we’re not less than. We are equals. Or at least we’re supposed to be.
Where do you think men came from? Women’s bodies.
To all those men who repeatedly harass women – would you be okay with someone doing that to your mother? Your sister? Your grandma? Your girlfriend?
Here is where someone will argue that men get harassed too. Yes, they do… in fact, my brother has been harassed. BY ANOTHER MAN.
(Yes, women can and have harassed/assaulted/raped men. But go ahead and Google those statistics… you’ll see those cases are in the minority.)
The extra scary thing for me this week was that the guy who sent the harassing texts and the video was someone I don’t even know well at all. We messaged each other for a few days via a dating app and then texted for one day back in September. He asked me to tell him where I lived and send him pictures. I did neither of those things. He called me complicated. Then later he called me crazy because I wouldn’t drop what I was doing and go see a movie with him. (I was already in bed with a migraine, so I wasn’t going anywhere.) He was the one who said he didn’t want to continue talking to me. I told him that was fine and pointed out how I was not feeling well, and if that was “complicated and crazy” to him, that was his prerogative. He said he didn’t see my text saying i wasn’t feeling well and called himself a nice guy – citing that he hadn’t asked for obscene pictures.
Cut to four months later and this guy texts me on New Years Eve out of nowhere, and then a few days later. This “nice guy” calls me crazy again when I questioned why he was texting me and then sent me a video of himself jerking off. He then texted me again a few days after that even though I blocked his number by that point. The text didn’t come through my phone, but popped up when I logged onto my computer. Luckily a tech friend of mine walked me through how to block numbers on my computer so hopefully now I’ll never hear from him again.
I was already wary of meeting guys from dating websites. A lot of the guys who message me say super inappropriate things. Just last month, some guy messaged me, “Nice ass. Can I lick it?” My picture on the site was me in a winter coat… no ass in sight. I sent back a string of messages saying how that was super rude of him to message me and asked how he would respond if someone did that to a female relative. He messaged back that he did not intend to be rude – he legitimately thought there was nothing wrong about his message to me.
What makes guys think they can write such horrible things like that? I’m sure there are some women out there who are turned on by that kind of talk, but I would argue a majority of us are not. We think it’s rude and disrespectful.
Never once have I ever thought, “I would totally date this guy” after someone yells “HEY SEXY” at me on the street.
Did I tell you the other month, some guy followed me for half a block because I said “No thank you” to his proposition to take me out and get wine. He yelled at me, called me the C-word and then followed me. It was midday during the week.
Bad stuff doesn’t just happen after dark. Bad stuff doesn’t just happen online. Bad stuff doesn’t stop after it’s reported.
I am so aware of my surroundings all the time. I carry my keys between my fingers when I have to walk home late at night. I try to avoid eye contact with men I don’t know. I do all this to protect myself, but it doesn’t stop bad stuff from happening. What will stop bad stuff from happening would be if men took responsibility for their words and actions and didn’t do bad stuff to begin with. Men are not entitled to our attention or our time.
Rape culture exists, people. And it’s naive to think otherwise.
Do I think anything is going to come of the police report I filed on Monday? Honestly, no. But at least I felt like I did something. And hopefully if that happens to another women, she’ll report it too. We need to speak up for ourselves because no one else will. And we have to keep speaking up for ourselves to make it known that we won’t just give up.