Why I Sometimes Hate Being a Woman

Being a woman means many good things, but it also means constantly looking over your shoulder, being careful of when and where you go at what time of day and constantly being on alert.

I would know. I’ve been sexually harassed by a boss, colleague and several strangers. I’ve been cat-called, on one occasion in the middle of the day at a gas station from across an intersection, honked at and whistled at, touched and made to feel like anything but a human. It makes me equally angry and frightened.

I know the sinking feeling that creeps into your mind when you realize that you are receiving unwarranted attention and the panic-induced racing of your brain as you try to decide what to do next. The sad part is, I know I’m not alone. Friends, family members and complete strangers have similar or worse accounts. In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.

Even celebrities and people that we put on a pedestal are not immune to being viewed as prey, as can be seen in the surfacing of decades-old allegations against film producer and studio executive, Harvey Weinstein. The resulting #MeToo has shown the problem and its prevalence. This movement is almost a month old, but it is still popular and gaining worldwide momentum.

Yet, nothing has been done to fix this issue. So far the solutions to this include measures like carrying pepper spray, taking self-defense classes or having a man you know escort you to where you need to be. Yes, you can say that this is the world we live in and that we have always lived in. People have had to sleep with one eye open since the dawn of time, but that statement is what is so appalling.

To make matters worse, our society perpetuates a rape culture and victim blaming. Regardless of what the situation is, the crime is never at the fault of the victim. The aggressor is the one who took action, and those that are insensitive enough to say that the victim was leading or dressed inappropriately as an explanation are monsters.

The question at the bottom of this issue is ‘why?’ Why do certain people think that this is OK? What is it about our exterior that makes some people forget that we, too, are humans who deserve respect and have feelings? Why is the responsibility for our personal safety on us?

If we ever want to solve this problem, we need to change the way we view one another. We need to educate young men about how they should treat women. It should be ingrained in all of us at a young age, actually, because crimes of sexual assault are not gender exclusive. We should all respect one another because we are all equal. Power is a mirage.

 

Photo courtesy of Pexels.