Trigger Warning: Cursing and discussion of sexual violence
Haven’t written about anything too real recently.
So, I was walking to get groceries on Saturday, to the grocery store that’s about two minutes from our apartment, I was in about the same place that the blackbird attacked me not so many weeks ago. And I saw a group of young men walking towards me. And I knew exactly what was going to happen.
I’ve never been cat-called before. Or heckled in a gender-based way by strangers. However you want to describe it. And you know what’s sad? That’s really surprising. I’m probably one of the very very very few women my age or really women period (or any non-privileged gender I should say) who has escaped this for most of my life.
But yes. I was alone. I was clearly (according to norms) female. Because I was wearing a dress and my hair is growing out so I don’t look quite as much like a teenage boy. And one of them said something like “Hey baby ——“. I tuned out whatever he said next. I didn’t really need to hear it.
I’m ashamed to say I smiled and said hello in as condescending a voice as I could.
What I wanted to do was stop him and say, “Hello. You can be better than this. You don’t need to feel so bad about yourself that the only way you feel empowered is through harassing women. You can be more than what society expects. And more than what I expect.”
But I didn’t say that. I just kept walking. And I was sad. Sad for him and sad for me.
Then I kept walking some more and I stopped being sad. And I started being angry.
Because sadness is not the right answer. Sadness is depressive (at least for me) but anger can drive action.
So I started being angry.
Angry that it’s acceptable to disrespect women on the street. Angry because this disrespect isn’t always in the form of words, which believe me are bad enough. Angry because in Madison last weekend, on a bike trail that runs by my house, a young woman who was on a late night run was sexually assaulted and nearly killed. Angry because I’m sure a lot of the people who heard that news story probably thought something like “She shouldn’t have been running late at night.”
I’M SO FUCKING ANGRY.
When is it finally going to be time to stop treating women and other non-male genders like shit?
I’m going to say what has been said a million times before, but somehow doesn’t seem to be sticking.
- Cat-calling and other types of verbal harassment are a type of violence, and a type of violence that allows for a culture of physical violence.
- Victim-blaming is not only ridiculous but also incredibly destructive and another type of violence in and of itself.
- We’re all goddamn people, and feeling shitty about yourself and the way society has treated you is no excuse for being shitty to other people.
I know this is pointless because anyone who bothers to read this blog knows all this already. But I just wanted to reiterate it one more time.
And I also signed up to volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center. I don’t know why they’d want someone like me to help, but if I can and I’d be useful, I want to. And I’d encourage people to do whatever they can to stop this shit from continuing.
I’m pretty sick of it.
First cat-calling experience over.