Posted by: CeCe | May 20, 2013

She’s not your baby!

So the last couple of days, I’ve been reading the comments on this blog [trigger warning, sexual assault] and wow… I realized that some of these ladies are right; out of the many women I’ve talked to over the course of my life, nearly every single one of them has been assaulted, raped, molested, and/or sexually harassed at one time or another. What does this say about society? I’m sad and disgusted.

I know apart from the things I’ve experienced which I’ve written about on here, I’ve had many other scary moments, like men following me even during the daytime when I’ve been out walking, being grabbed and groped on various occasions, etc. etc. There was one time when I was walking down a deserted hall at my school my freshman year, some guy came up behind me and put his arms around me, and pressed himself against me. To this day, I still have no idea who he was, but it was terrifying.  In fact, for the rest of my time at that school, I was paranoid about walking down the halls alone, and wondered if the guy who had done that was still there.  I never saw his face, the only thing I saw was how tall and huge he was in comparison to me.  He wasn’t fat, but he was large.  There were many guys at my school who fit that description.

There was another time when I was about 16, I was walking from my house to my sister’s house a few blocks away, and a car full of guys followed me, propositioning me out the windows, for several blocks.  All of them looked like they were at least in their 20s.

I can’t even begin to count how many times these things happened to me.  And there’s no excuse for it.  Even if I had been dressed provocatively, which I most definitely was not, what gave these guys the right to grope, leer, and use filthy, degrading language towards me?  Or any other woman, for that matter?  And then of course taking offense to it and telling them in no uncertain language to leave me alone made me a “slut” and a “b****”, when if they had been respectful and closer to my age, maybe they would have had a chance.  Maybe.

How about the boyfriend I had who told everyone at his school that he had had sex with me, when I was a virgin while I was dating him, and still a virgin when we broke up?  I learned several months after he and I broke up about all the many times we apparently had had sex, and I found myself wondering where I was when this had happened.

I have so many more stories like this, and I’m sure there are thousands, if not millions, of other women out there with similar stories.  It is far, far too common.  And of course calling attention to it makes me a “man-hater”, when nothing could be further from the truth.  I have a deep appreciation of men, and some of my best friends are men.  What I hate is this sense of entitlement that some men seem to have, and how women who give in to sex are “sluts” while women who don’t are “b****es”, and how a woman’s breasts or butt seem to be public property, about which any man can open a conversation with any woman, or grope at any time.  It’s disgusting.

And what’s even more sad is that many women just accept it as being part of society, like this is the price that we pay just for being women.  Being a woman means that you’re warned to not speak to strangers, not get drunk, not go out alone after dark (or at all, if it can be avoided), where men who harass you in bars are more likely to apologize to your boyfriend or husband than you, carry pepper spray, learn self-defense, carry your keys in your hand and be aware of your surroundings, walk in well-lit areas, look in your car before you get in, never get a house or apartment with a front door that doesn’t have a peephole, dress modestly (because of course showing too much skin means you deserve whatever happens to you/sarcasm)… and still get groped, harassed, and assaulted or raped by the men you choose to trust, or by random men who can’t keep their hands to themselves.

Sigh.

We live in a society where speaking out makes you a horrible person, yet remaining silent is giving implicit consent.  We live in a society where a woman wearing no makeup and sweatpants, out walking her dog, can still be propositioned (“hey baby, you want a ride?  What do you mean, no?  B****!”), where daring to go out in public means being subject to leering, groping, and all kinds of inappropriate language.  And I’m not saying all men are like this, but there are so, so many who are.  Even one is too many.  We should all treat each other with respect; no woman should go grab a random guy’s junk, and men should have more decency than to treat a stranger as though she’s his own personal plaything just because she happens to have been born with a vagina instead of a penis.

I think that we as a society need to teach our children that their bodies belong to them, not to anyone else, and that if someone touches them in a way that they don’t like, they have every right to tell that person to stop, no matter who that person is.  “NO” is not a bad word to learn.  Both boys and girls need to be taught to keep their hands to themselves, unless they receive explicit permission from the other person first.  No one has the right to touch any of us or make degrading remarks without our consent.  And no, it’s not appropriate to call a person that you don’t know “baby”.  That random woman walking down the street is not your baby, no matter what she’s wearing.  It’s also not appropriate to make comments about a woman’s butt or breasts, nor is it appropriate to ask a woman her bra size.  If she wants to tell you, she will.  If not, it’s none of your business.

It’s past time for us to break this cycle of harassment.  And this is one of many reasons why I’ve begun to identify as a feminist.

Now I’d like to hear from any of those who have read this.  Have you ever been sexually assaulted or harassed?  Have you ever been the one doing the harassing or assaulting?  Please don’t hesitate to share, even if you do so anonymously.  All comments welcome.

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Responses

  1. CeCe, if it is any consolation, in many ways, men are actually better now than when I was younger. But, they have a long way to go.

    • I agree, still a long way to go yet! Thanks for commenting! 🙂


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