My First Time Being Verbally Assaulted

Date of Event: 09/27/2019

 

Before I begin to recount this experience I must warn all readers that I will explain this event using strong language that may be uncomfortable.

 

After my first article I was blown away with the reception and thought I would continue to share the instances of my existence that I think matter and should be shared or conversed about. Being a male within a dominantly female organization I want to continue to explore my conceptions of masculinity and the overall male construction.

 

This story is not one of sorrow or pity. I know there are accounts of harassment that reach far beyond mine ever could. This event is MINOR, and shouldn’t even matter that much however, it happened to me and I really feel the need to dissect. I’ve never been repeatedly harassed for anything in my entire life. This article is by no means a cry for help or a request for consoling. This is my experience and I will not speak on behalf of others or what they’ve gone through. With that being said, welcome to my first time.

 

It was a normal start to any weekend. I got out of work relatively early and was eager to see where the night would take me. I had gotten back to campus, changed into a more comfortable fit, and called my noble chariot to take me into town. Once I arrived to town I was greeted by a line of bustling college students anticipating a good dance floor and an inevitable sweaty encounter with all of their friends. I danced, laughed, saw some old friends, even met some new ones. My night was coming to a close in the early hours of the morning and I was ready to head home. To no surprise I had to make a quick stop to grab a slice of pizza before I threw in the towel. During my pursuit I was walking with a friend and we were just laughing about nonsense as we passed this trio of other college-aged men. As we all crossed paths I had made eye contact with one of the bros in the other group and his response to this was “*scoff*, fucking faggot”. He wasn’t just brushing me off but calling me out for looking at him as if he needed to warn the other people around us of what her perceived me to be. This was not a gentle pronunciation either. It was one that echoed through the air and was entirely generated towards me.  

 

For a mere second I was in shock but yet time seemed to pass so slow. Within that quick exchange I had time to process all of it. There is no way this other person could have any idea as to who I was . He doesn’t even know my name, what I like, where I’m from, what my favorite song is, let alone the definition of my sexual orientation. There was no way this could’ve been directed at me. Once I was done processing what he said to me I swiftly turned around and said “what the fuck did you just say to me?”, luckily the friend I was with also had some choice words for him that were much more rehearsed than mine. She did him dirty and I appreciated that. This man, or lack thereof, was looking for a fight. I could read it in his body language, I could see it in his eyes. After he heard us, he turned around and came right for us continuing to spew nonsense from the gaping hole in his face. Random people around me grabbed him and held him back from getting closer and a police officer stepped in a and took control as I made me way to the task at hand, pizza.

 

This event will forever be stuck in my mind not because it was so horrific that I need people to know about it but because of the structure behind it. The year is 2019, in my mind the most progressive year I have ever lived in. Here I am, a college aged male walking on the street with a friend not looking for any semblance of drama and yet I am the choice recipient of a slur that has been used to dehumanize a mass community of men, women, and non-conforming gendered folk who identify as LGBTQ+. Was it what I was wearing? The way I was laughing? Every question I asked myself was a dead end.  This led to an endless night of trying to read into the situation as I headed back to campus. As I struggled to think of a topic to write about for my second article somehow the universe gave me the answer.

 

Men have notoriously been known to be perpetrators of stereotypes and events of verbal, and physical harassment. This may seem like a generalization and I invite you to think about what I mean here. There exists a certain complex within the male psyche that provides men with an unwarranted amount of power. I am making an assumption on behalf of this version of the human male but we all know that this species exists and can all think about one male who fits this bill. With that being said, this is the toxicity that exists within the world and across college campuses worldwide. It impacts a wide variety of other people and makes them “the other”, makes them feel as if they are the problem. This word is not unfamiliar to me either. I’ve been called every slur in the book for no other reason than being different from what society perceives as “being a male”. This self-given authority is what leads to events such as this one, and one’s much more detrimental. Why is that? What about another person gives someone else the right to verbally define them from the least constructed form of a “meeting” ever. As some people begin to evolve within the modern world, there are those who seem to be stuck in a construction they have no power over. Those who are victim to the way they think they should act from a projection placed upon from the inner communities of society. Before this article gets any longer allow me to wrap up with a message of consideration.

 

We, as humans, have nothing without the comfort of other beings. This world is a sad a dismal place without the companionship of like-minded individuals who see us for all we are, and perhaps all we aren’t. As you go forth to exist within the world I challenge you to be educators. Educate those on the vocabulary that continues to perpetuate gender stereotypes and messages of rejection. Whoever this man was, and whatever agenda he was looking to fulfill by calling me a “faggot” was lost on me. I have learned from some of the strongest women in my life, and other female figures within the media and across social groups who have suffered at the hands of self-righteous men, that messages such as this one cannot influence the manner in which we comport ourselves within society. This instance will always remind me of the ugliness attached to the human complex. In the face of fear, or agitation, we project phrases and words that make us feel like we belong. By spewing this disgust into the world for the purpose of making the area around us easier to live in and much, much, harder for the other. If you’ve made it this far in my article, I thank you. Take this story, talk about it, share it, and think about it while you’re walking down the street. This  is my first time, and I hope you never have yours.