Social Media is blowing up with the #YesAllWomen campaign to bring awareness to sexual violence. This is my response.
I have never been raped though I have been assaulted, sexually and non-sexually.
I’m pissed that I have been grabbed, groped and pinched by complete strangers and had some of them say things to me that they would threaten to maim or kill a man who would dare to say the same to their girlfriend/wife/daughter/mother/sister.
I’m pissed that the number of women I know who have been victims of sexual violence right now is near equal to the number of women I know who aren’t. But they may not have mentioned it.
I’m pissed that as a little girl I was taught by everyone to be polite and accommodating. I’m pissed that I was made to offer my cheek to anyone, stranger or not, who wanted to kiss it even if I didn’t want them to. I’m pissed that I was told to give kisses to people I didn’t want to kiss because it was “cute”. I’m pissed that I didn’t stomp my foot and stand up for myself with a loud, “NO!”
I’m pissed because girls are taught not to do that.
I’m pissed that Americans are so afraid to talk about sex that sex talks involve being told that if “…[you] just lie there it’ll be over before you know it.”
I’m pissed that women are told that we should enjoy sex and I’m pissed that if we do – we’re sluts. And whores.
I’m pissed that I was taught to be afraid of being alone when I go for a walk in the middle of the day because…. what if?
What if a car stops alongside me and someone jumps out and grabs me, pulling me into the car?
What if someone jumps out at me from behind a tree and tries to harm me?
Why did that man just smile at me?
Was it an innocent “Hello” smile or was it more predatory in nature?
Should I be worried?
I’m pissed that I’m already worried.
I’m pissed that the only men for which I don’t have even a momentary glimmer of fear are the elderly gentlemen who walk their perfectly coiffed Shih tzu’s and Poodles as they gingerly navigate with shaky steps the winter-heaved slabs of sidewalk in their white tennis shoes with Velcro fasteners.
I’m pissed that I had to explain to my husband that the reason I hate people coming up behind me and putting their arms around me, including him, is because as a five-year old the babysitter’s teenage daughter did just that and held me down while I kicked and screamed, “NO!” when she told me that her boyfriend’s little brother wanted to kiss me. She told me I would like it and when I kept screaming “NO!” she put her hand over my mouth and held me down for that little boy to kiss me. And everyone laughed.
Except for me. I was furious.
I was pissed that I wasn’t strong enough to kick and swing and bite my way out of her hold. I was pissed that I was kissed against my will. I was pissed that they all laughed. I was ashamed and blamed myself and that made me pissed, too.
I was pissed that people I trusted did that to me.
I’m kinda pissed that reading this post will be the first time my Mom hears about these things.
I’m pissed that it took over 30 years for me to connect the dots from that moment to this year to realize why I hate kissing and sex in combination.
I’m pissed that that moment forever tainted my trust in others; that I will only trust someone “so much” and that I am always looking over my shoulder, anticipating that they might grab me from behind and hold me down.
I’m pissed that the moment my massage therapist starts on my neck I tense up and fight the urge to yell, “NO!”. I’m pissed because I should be relaxing.
I’m pissed that in the 6th grade at recess on sunny, cool, spring day, Melody told us her dad had been molesting her for months and when she told her grandmother and mother they screamed at her that she was lying. I’m pissed that the bricks that I’d had my cheek pressed against as I listened went from chilly to hot as I felt indignation and rage boil up inside of me before I said, “You have to tell the teacher.” The following Monday, Melody wasn’t in our school anymore.
I’m pissed that women have to think about if, or maybe when, violence will happen to them.
I’m pissed that we have to think about pepper spray, carrying our keys in our hand as a weapon and placing our elbows-to-noses, knees-to-groins and fingers-to-eyeballs.
I’m pissed that I can’t leave my drink on a bar to go to the restroom because someone might slip in GHB.
I’m pissed that women are treated at objects. Bought. Sold. Traded.
I’m pissed that music I once loved I now listen to with a new ear and shake my head in disgust as the singer declares that he “will make her [his]” and that he “must have her”.
I’m pissed because women are taught that they have no say in the matter.
I’m pissed that women are blamed for their victimization, for surviving:
because of what they wore
because they were drinking
because they “led him on”
because they were there
because they were breathing…
I’m pissed because other women are often the worst offenders when it comes to victim-blaming.
I’m pissed that normally logical and rational women are living in a state of fear of the Bogie Man and what might happen.
I’m pissed that good men feel blamed for misogyny when they don’t practice it.
I’m pissed that more women are practicing misandry because they feel it’s the correct response.
I’m pissed that this is even an issue.