The World I Live In

The world I live in is one where my brain conjures up thoughts of someone jiggling open our front doorknob when I'm trying to sleep at two in the morning.

 

The world I live in is one where I keep my blinds closed, even in the day, to avoid a peeping Tom.

 

The world I live in is one where I must make sure my phone doesn't die by the end of the night when I walk home alone.

 

The world I live in is one where if the Uber driver locks the car doors my brain jumps to the conclusion that I'm being kidnapped.

 

The world I live in is one where I oftentimes beg my boyfriend to fall asleep with me because I feel safer that way.

 

The world I live in is one where I get text alerts from my school about sexual assaults on campus multiple times a week.

 

The world I live in is one where I unwrap pepper spray in my stocking for Christmas.

 

The world I live in is one where I repeatedly check my red solo cup to make sure a pill with bad intentions isn't dissolving into my drink.

 

The world I live in is one where I take the long way home just because there are more streetlights.

 

The world I live in is one where I hold my car keys between my fingers hoping it will be enough.

 

The world I live in is one where I learn to roll my eyes when men shout catcalls from across the street.

 

The world I live in is one where I second-guess my decision to wear spandex in a gym filled with lingering eyes.

 

The world I live in is one where I wipe the tears from a friend's eyes as she recounts a night she wished never happened and we cry together.

 

The world I live in is one where I couldn't wear spaghetti straps to high school without being sent home for causing a disturbance.

 

The world I live in is one where if I am alone in an elevator with a male my heart begins to pound and a panic attack may ensue.

 

The world I live in is one where I am called a b*tch when I do not wish to give my phone number to a guy.

 

The world I live in is one where adults, even fathers of daughters, say, “boys will be boys”.

 

The world I live in is one where I ask my friends to come with me to a public restroom.

 

The world I live in is one where I have to take a sexual assault course upon admittance to a university.

 

The world I live in is one where my boyfriend thinks the worst when I don't text him that I'm home safe after going out.

 

The world I live in is one where I am endlessly terrified and anxious.

 

This is the world I live in. This is the world I have come to understand as my reality, not accept. This is a world I am not proud of.

 

The world I live in is one where women are sexualized on every magazine cover and billboard or TV ad.

 

The world I live in is one where women are called prudes for dressing too modestly or sluts for dressing in a way perceived provocative by men.  

 

The world I live in is one where women are deemed more desirable if they have certain features.

 

The world I live in is one where women worry about sexual assault in the workplace.

 

The world I live in is one where women are told they are dramatic or sensitive for wanting radical change.

 

The world I live in is one where women's sexuality and concerns and fears are put on the back burner to men's issues.

 

The world I live in is one where women are pawns in the games of perverted men.

 

The world I live in is one where women’s faces are plastered to bulletin boards titled “Have you seen me?”

 

The world I live in is one where women are criticized for breast-feeding their hungry baby in public.

 

The world I live in is one where women are repeatedly denied a voice to share their experiences and provide advice without being ridiculed or labeled.

 

The world I live in is one where women are discouraged to report sexual assault to their superiors or their university because it would cause a scene.

 

The world I live in is one where women are still made to think their period is taboo.

 

The world I live in is one where women’s rapists get off easy because of their pre-crime potential.

 

The world I live in is not doing enough for women. It is not doing enough for me and for you. The world I live in needs us to speak up, to act out, and to demand respect for women. The world I live in needs to set a new standard. It needs to reevaluate its perception of women’s roles and value, and needs to work together for a better future so one day our daughters and granddaughters can say, “The world I live in is one where I am equal, I am happy and I am safe.”