I thought about putting this into my bad dates series but feel like what I wrote is more powerful on it’s own.
I was walking down the street after hours in the library. My hair was falling halfway out of the bun, my clothes did not match, my bag was heavy, and I was trying to find the right music on my phone. When out of the corner of my eye this car seemed to be stopped next to me. Seconds I knew he was talking to me, I turned and looked, and he was looking at me. As he sped away, I watch him go to a nearby driveway to turn around. I quickly pulled out my phone and put it on video. Filming and watching as this guy turns his car around stops near me saying “can I have your number?” I responded, “fuck off you creep and get away from me! I have your plates, and I will report you!” He sped off, and I quickly booked home, shaking and scared that he might follow me.
I was walking down the street when a guy in a truck whistled at the women passing me, looked at me nodding signaling to me “do you see that.” I looked at him in discuss and said NO that is not okay. He flicked me off like I was in the wrong.
I leave work frightening for there was a report of a guy following a girl to her car and trying to get into her car. I have my keys out and scissors in my backpack easy to grab. I call my mom talking to her unlocking my car and throwing myself into the car locking it right away.
Sitting in a coffee shop this man comes in full-grown facial hair, looking like he didn’t shower in days. I watch because that’s what you do when an off-putting man walks in. He sits right next to a girl, are they together? She gets her food, and she moves quickly. He gets up and up again, comes near me. Do not make eye contact, be cold-hearted. I wanted to leave, but I felt like yet not until he stops coming in and out. He’s outside, I think this is my chance, so I leave out the back door and begin to walk. As I walk I turn to look and there he is. FEAR, scared, what I thought could be happening. Not to show panic I cross the street feet moving quicker. Thinking of what I would do, what would happen. I pass people, its daylight I could scream, and people would hear me. I look behind he’s further back still on the other side. I wonder if this in my head, what if I stayed longer and he never came back in because he was leaving? I get into my car, him not in sight. It did not matter if he was just leaving all I know is I have been taught to run.
A hand comes behind me, fingers grabbing like how you see if a peach is ripe. I turn telling them to not touch me. They laugh like it’s funny how angry I am for them grabbing my ass.
I’m met with anger and name calling when I tell a guy off, or I speak up. The common word used is “bitch.” Why am I the bitch for he is the one who is harassing me?
This is what its like to feel like a girl.
The thoughts and fears we get when we leave the house when we go somewhere. When we want to live our life in the world but we get approached by men, catcalled, hands touch us without permission. And that we are then left feeling like it is our fault. And when we finally speak up, we get the abuse when we said no, called a bitch. Them getting mad at us for they were the ones in the wrong, and they know it too but they’re angry because in their minds they are not wrong, we were supposed to take it.
Women should be able to walk the streets without having their keys in their hands. Girls should be ready to go for a jog. Should be able to walk and be in this world without being catcalled, approached by a stranger for no reason at all. Should be able to say no. We should be able to live in this world with respect and ease.
It is not all men, I know there are good men out there, and I even wrote a “Bad Dates” about how I love men. The thought that when we say ‘men,’ it’s because that we have a pile of stories of men, boys who have abused and harassed us. Every girl has a story about a guy, another one about a different guy so when we say, men, we are talking about those men, those stories. And the guys who get aggressive when we call out the sexism, calling out for something to be done, those men they are part of the problem, they are the ones in the story. Because just like when we stand up to the guy who decided to grab our ass, he gets aggressive and mad.
But it’s not all men, we know that.
The fact that we woman have to fight and deal with so much backlash and abuse EVEN when we get touched, that we are done. I want myself, my friends, strangers I do not know, my future daughters to be able to not live in this fear or look behind them when walking to see if that guy is following you. That when you tell someone no, or speak up against harassment that it will not be acknowledged with aggressive, name calling, defending themselves and sticking up their middle fingers at us when we did nothing but, or better yet it never happens.
I am tired of how it feels to be a girl in this world.