Everyone on earth has already read this, but go read it again.
This is how far Rape Culture skews our vision. Being sexually harassed and assaulted is seen as something that you should be cool (i.e. quiet) about. But GOD FORBID you break up the weekly games night with the temerity to be a victim of such a crime! Don’t you know that your harasser has the best table for playing Settlers of Cataan?
And then tattoo it on your forehead.
Funny enough, link-walking through the above landed me here, which is a conversation about street harassment and how common it is. And I always feel a little funny in street harassment conversations because I think I must be the one woman on earth who hasn't suffered street harassment.
Until I think just. a. little. harder.
Because the ONE TIME I was on public transit -- when I was a very young teenager coming back at night from Disneyland to our hotel -- a much older teenager cornered me on the bus. And there in front of the whole bus, including my parents, he proceeded to "flirt" with me by asking me a lot of really probing and uncomfortable questions about my age, where I'd been that day, and if I wanted to come down for a midnight swim when we got back to the hotel.
I couldn't have been older than 14. I definitely didn't look older than 14.
After giving off every possible I Am So Freaking Uncomfortable I Want To Teleport To Mars signal that there is, I hit on the bright idea of standing up when the bus pulled into a hotel stop. The guy leaped to his feet yelling, "This is my stop, too", and then stared daggers at me when I sat back down. He asked me if I was going to get off. I said it wasn't my hotel and that I had been stretching my legs. The driver waited patiently. Finally, after a very very long moment of staring at me, the guy slowly got off the bus.
About five other passengers burst into spontaneous applause and one older man congratulated me for getting rid of the "annoying guy".
Nice, right? Yeah. I guess.
But, you know, I didn't feel backed up. I felt sad and ashamed and angry that everyone on the bus -- including my parents -- watched a 14 year old girl being asked profoundly uncomfortable and probing and sexually predatory questions and didn't do or say anything to stop it because it was just "normal" teenage flirty interaction. Because you know what? I am a fucking adult now and I can tell the goddamn difference between a girl who is really into that hot guy over there and a girl who is terrified out of her wits. I may not be able to tell the difference 100% of the time, granted, but 14 Year Old Me was giving off all the right OMG WTF CREEPY signals.
And this incident -- about which I am obviously still sad and ashamed and angry about -- is the incident I always forget about when I think, gosh, I've never been harassed in public, knock-on-wood. The one time I used public transportation. The. One. Time.
Rape Culture. It's so freaking endemic that it's easy to forget our own experiences.
What have you been reading/writing lately? All things apply, not just serious ones.