Warning! this post is a rant about victim blaming and street harassment. It will be upsetting. I know because it's upsetting me right now.
Last night I was having dinneer with some friends of mine. This is not unusual, we do this nearly every Wednesday night. We play laser tag together and then go to the same restaurant for food, because it's good and we've gotten to know the people there.
Last night I was engaged in what I though was a very productive discussion about the differences between objectification and physical attraction. We talked about where they overlapped, and that the main diffence is how you view the person you are physically attracted to, and where you take it from there.
The discussion shifted and changed, as discussions are want to do. We talked about douchebags and people who Just Dont Get It. I mentioned thoses people who refuse to take no for an answer when you're trying to read.
And that's when it all went to shit. Someone decided to chime in at that point: "Don't you get on your high horse when you don't even have the decentcy to politely say 'i don't want to talk to you'".
Um... What? Weren't we just talking about douchebags who won't take no for an answer? Douchebags who pester you regardless of what you're doing, whether you have earphones or are reading or are otherwise quite obviously ignoring them?
I said as much. Actually, truth be told, I shouted. I shouted that if I was reading then you had no right to talk to me. I shouted that even saying no isn't enough for some people. I shouted that I don't know whether the person talking to me is going to take a polite rebuff or uses that as a way to keep talking to me or uses that as an excuse to start shouting at me and threatening me. Because you know what? All of thesse things have happened to me while I've been on the train.
Normally at night, when there aren't any witnesses. Because I am a very slight, small woman, and I look like I'd be easy to intimidate. It's true, I am easy to intimidate.
One of the people, the person who I normally consider to be a sexist douchebag but who was actually engaging fully in the prior discussion, actually supported me, and said that since I'd explain my experience, my reaction was warranted.
But that did stop other people jumping in to attack me.
I told them I was scared whenever I was out on my own at night. I told them about my keys and my deodorant and my empty headphones used as a way to deter people and protect myself. I told them about the people who had shouted, threatened, followed me home.
And I got the questions. Why didn't you ask someone for help? Why didn't you go to someones house or to a shop? Why didn't you scream or run? Why why why why why didn't you stop these men when they decided you weren't worth squat to them?
And that's when one woman said that, well, I was just whining. After all, she managed to kick two rapists out of her home, and she's the same size as me! But she's helpful, really, she'll show me how to defend myself, but the difference between us is that she took action and I just whined about it.
You know what? Fuck you! Fuck you all!!!
I was asked directions by a man while walking home one night. I politely said "Sorry, I don't know". And he proceeded to follow me home, right up to my houser, and started rapping on the window.
I was asked for change. After refusing, he started getting in my face and shouting at me, abusing me. Mybfriend pulled me away, tried to protect me, so he started in on her. With multiple people looking on. I asked the people standing around for help but they refused even to let me borrow a phone to call the police.
Someone yelled "Hey sexy!" to me on the street. When I ignored him, he followed me down the street shouting that I was a bitch and a cunt and stuck up and I thought I was so great but really I was an ugly bitchy cunt!
I was on the train, reading a book. Someone asked me about it. I said, "it good", then turned away and ignored them. He pressed. I didn't answer. He pressedd more. I said "excuse me, I'm trying to read". He said "well fine, bitch, I was just trying to make polite conversation. God, you women are so full of shit, and you won't even give me the time of day".
THESE ARE TRUE STORIES!!!
These are men who's opinion of women is so low that they think they have the right to treat me like shit.
Guess what? You don't have the right to talk to me. You don't have the right to me. You don't have the right to conversation, to see me smile, to holler at me. Your rights end where mine begin, and I have the right to be left the fuck alone.
You know what? Leave me the fuck alone!!!!!