For those who have no idea what sexual assault and harassment are, here’s a definition:
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Sexual Harassment: “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.” It covers indecent or suggestive remarks, unwanted touching, requests or demands for sex and the dissemination of pornography. It is often portrayed as murky or ambiguous legislation, on the grounds that it’s hard to tell the difference between a bit of banter and a humiliating remark.
This is a problem that needs to be handled. Being sexually assaulted or harassed has sadly become a norm in my life that I have gradually come to accept. I am used to being catcalled every time I leave my house. I don’t think twice when a man touches me without my permission. I dress in baggy clothes in hopes that I will be invisible to the common male. When I do dress up, I often get called terrible names and told terrible things that these men wish they could do to me. It happens almost every day.
A male once told me I should be honored I constantly get “complimented” and told that I am attractive by strangers.
I am not honored. I am terrified.
I fear for my safety when I leave my house, unsure of the grand possibilities to be assaulted or even raped. I don’t trust strange men, so please pardon me if I come off rude while you stand there yelling at me and undressing me with your eyes (insert sarcastic remark here). I notice it. I feel it.
I feel a sense of nakedness.
And just because I wear a short skirt and a crop top, I am not “asking for it.” I am never, ever, ever asking for it. If you see me walking by myself looking good, great! Leave me alone and continue on with your life. Please don’t call me from your car window, don’t honk at me, don’t run towards me to tell me something I don’t want to hear, don’t touch me, don’t tell me your deepest fantasies, and do not “blame it on the alc alc alcohol” the day after. I should be able to dress the way I please and able to look nice without worrying what others will think of me and worrying whether there’s an unstable male in the same area who will try to push himself on to me. I have been harassed while wearing a hoodie and sweatpants; so what is your next excuse?
We shouldn’t have to admit that we were sexually assaulted or harassed in order to prove a point.
We shouldn’t have to tell our stories to promote awareness.
We shouldn’t have to be okay with being harassed because deep down, we believe it will never change.
We shouldn’t be scared to go out with our friends and afraid to wear the clothes we want to wear.
It’s not ok.
Things NEED to change.
A man should not need a daughter or a female family member in his life to realize that sexual assault or harassment is wrong.
Here is some advice to the men out there who believe otherwise.
Keep your hands and your foul language to yourself. It’s that easy.
This is a simple lesson I was taught when I was in preschool, so why is it so hard for adult men to understand this?
Respect women of all sizes, shapes, colors, backgrounds, and culture because YES we are beautiful, but NO we do not need your input and opinion regarding us.
However, I am not saying ALL men are guilty of this, as there are many respectable men out there who would never dare disrespect a female, and I applaud you.
Men can also experience sexual assault and harassment. With recent events in the news and my personal experiences, I decided to focus on the women aspect because I am more familiar with the situation.
If you are in a Sexual Assault situation and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4873