Rape Culture: I Will Not Stay Silent

I am tired of being a girl.

No, sorry. I’m tired of being treated like something you can take advantage of.

I can’t walk home alone in the dark anymore without the constant fear of being kidnaped, killed, raped, touched, and followed. I now carry my keys in my dominant hand in case someone tries to attack me. I call friends on my walk home from the bar, have to notify my parents when I arrive at school, I must triple check that I’ve locked my doors at night— why?

I’m a girl.

In the year 2018, I am writing this post in fear of my life being taken away from me by a man. I’m afraid that someday a man is going to find a way to hurt me, rape me, beat me, and destroy who I am. Why is that? Since when did men get to tell me whom I can and can’t be? Why do I have to fear for my life when men can point at us like we’re the villains?

On Halloween night this year, I left the bar. I accidentally had too much to drink, and my friends were very adamant I didn’t go home alone. But I had no way of getting home, and I wasn’t going to stay out any later than it already was. I texted a friend and asked her to talk to me as I took my twenty-minute walk back. She agreed, and the moment I closed my front door, we hung up. However, I forgot to tell another friend that I had previously messaged asking to pick me up that I had arrived safely, and he sent me several messages, worried that something had happened.

Not only that, but I had to tell all the people I went to the bar with that I got home, tell my roommates I was safe, and check in with other friends. Even my parents are so afraid of something happening to their 22-year-old daughter on campus over an hour away from home.

I’m not comfortable walking alone anywhere anymore. I’m always looking over my shoulder. I’m always ready with my house keys, a pocketknife, or waiting to dial 911. You’ve made me afraid to be in a world that I’m supposed to thrive in. Where do you get off thinking that it’s okay to have made an adult woman scared to live her own life—afraid that if this did happen, would no one believe me? I’ve thought about what would happen for the last 8 years if I had to tell people this happened to me and every time, I can imagine many of the men telling me that I’m lying, that I wanted it, or that I’m just asking for attention.

I’m not something you can take advantage of. I will never let anyone tell me what to do when it comes to how I speak about myself and what I do to my body. I will dress how I want to dress, and I will believe in what I want to. Do not let a man define who you are. Do not tell anyone they can’t express who they are. So what? I’m weirder than most people. I’m a little louder than most people. But I also know how to tell when someone is hurting. I know when someone’s silence is louder than his or her voice.

If you try to take someone’s voice away, her rights away, her own body away, then you don’t deserve to be a person. Hitting, abusing, raping, or sexually assaulting a human being is never okay. If you think our President at the moment is right to have gotten away with sexually assaulting women, I don’t want you in my life. Do not tell me you think he’s a good man. Do not tell me he’s allowed to demean me because I’m a girl. If you think my gender is the reason for being the person I am, then you’re blind to the world, my friend.

If you’ve ever been sexually assaulted or, hell, even sexually harassed, trust me. We don’t want to talk about it, and we especially don’t want to talk about it with men. I know not everyone in my life is that kind of person, but I’ll be damned if I ever let a man touch me without my consent. I will not let him ever try to continue his life as if I was meaningless. If he truly thinks you can get away with raping a woman, of hurting someone, or anything similar to that, you have another thing coming.

I am not my gender. I am not a doll to be treated however you wish. I am not a tool in your life you can use. Don’t walk on me. Don’t touch me. Don’t you dare think you can hurt me without me putting up one hell of a fight, because if you take me down, I’m bringing your ass along for the ride. 

If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or anything similar, don’t let it control your life. Control it. Don’t let it define you. Show everyone that you’re not to be treated lightly. 

You are a force to be reckoned with.