Today while perusing my facebook feed I saw a link to a note written by a Georgetown University student, titled For those who think I rant about the patriarchy and misogyny too much, and it was as if the collective sigh of all women had just resoundingly echoed off the walls of the internet. Guys who I tell about this kind of stuff roll their eyes or laugh at me when I say it is hard being female. That you are expected to not just take this kind of stuff, but take it with a polite smile and “yes please, thank you.”I wish the picture she included could have said more when it already said so much. We are socialized to accept being groped, to feel bad about rejecting men who touch us without asking, to couple the word “no” with an apology.
After reading this, I encourage all women to share their stories. As I will do mine.
To the males undoubtedly in the thousands who have touched me without asking me in the bars and clubs. Who have felt the need to grab my ass simply because it is there. To the guy in Cleveland in 2005 who said he had a right to grab my ass because it was 80s night and he could do whatever he wanted. To the guys who think that dancing with me entails grabbing me and pulling me towards them. Who kept doing so despite me saying VERY politely “no thank you!” To the guy at Beauty Bar a month ago who told me he “hated” my bubble, and kept trying to touch me regardless, and proceeded to watch me dancing for the next 30 minutes. To the guy at Beauty Bar last night who didn’t ask to dance but just grabbed my side, felt me up and tried to pull me over and after 27 years I finally snapped and said “you don’t need to touch me.”
To the guys who I have complained about being touched in this manner at bars and asked me “what else do you expect?” or even told me I brought it upon myself by simply BEING in that atmosphere. Who have the liberty of merely BEING at a bar without being touched, god forbid they want to go out and enjoy some music or being social.
To the guys driving past my friends and I when 13, 14, 15, honking and making comments about how they’d fuck us, even the “fat ones.”
To the males well into their 30s, 40s who came up to me when I was 12-16 at the mall and told me how much prettier I would be if I smiled.
To the guy I met out here when I first got my own place and thought would be a cool friend, but put me on such a high pedestal with such tenacity it scared me. Who after asking me if I had broken up with my boyfriend, because he wanted to take me out and treat me right, I never responded to again.
To all the guys who put me on a pedestal because I’m a girl. Who made me an object to admire rather than just another human being who has bad habits and sometimes doesn’t shower for days and takes shits and is passionate for the work she does and has interests and creates things.
To the guy who told me he pretends to be gay at bars so he can grind closely on women and touch them, and then proceeded to whisper all the things he “wants to do me” in my ear as I scanned the room frantically for my friends.
To the guy who said he would walk me home after a party where I had drank too much and told me he needed to make a stop at his dorm to go to the bathroom and then locked me in his dorm, made me strip down to my underwear and wouldn’t let me leave til morning, when he took me to my dorm and dropped me off, saying I was now his pet and I was allowed to have 30 minutes to find a change of clothes and shower and he would come back to get me. Who I didn’t tell the right dorm building so he didn’t know where I lived. Who finally forced me to get a cellphone because he found my dorm number on the university directory and called every couple hours so I had to unplug my phone.
To all the guys at parties who told me they “claim” me for the night, and wonder where I disappear to later.
To the guy I met out here for drinks because I still didn’t have friends, and came to my house and in the middle of me talking to him shoved his tongue in my mouth and I for some reason politely just kept stopping instead of just saying no. Who I told I had to go to bed and he could crash on my couch woke me up by putting his hands in my pants.
To the other guy who I met for drinks and agreed with me he just was looking for friends, but then after I drank only 2 beers too quickly and vomited, had sex with me, and I haven’t yet admitted it to anyone because I was ashamed I let it happen to me again.
To the first guy who did that to me, who was someone I considered a very close friend, who after I blacked out decided to use my body like the object it was and have sex with it, and I had no idea it even happened until a month later I discovered I was pregnant.
To the guy in Columbus who drugged my drink and could have done much worse if my friends hadn’t showed up at that moment.
To the guys who I told about my rape and got angry and wanted to beat up the guy who did it, because I was some defenseless creature who needed protected. To those guys who want to beat up rapists but not do anything when they see a drunk girl being hit on on the street corner or falling off her barstool.
To all the guys who have tried following me me home in my college town.
To all the guys who think rape jokes are funny because it doesn’t happen to men, and men who it does happen to must not have been real men.
To all the males in my life who have called me “irrational” for getting upset when they were acting terrible.
To anyone who thinks I brought all of this on myself for coming out of my mother a female. As if I had some choice, and if I did, it was the wrong one.