I have been catcalled, told to smile while walking down the street, been in a bar and had my neck licked by some fucking idiot. I have felt afraid to walk home, I have feared about where I was, I have been in many situations that, later, I wondered sickly to myself “what if'”? I have had men expose their penises to me. I have had my breasts grabbed, my ass groped. I have had a man follow me home. I have been called CUNT. BITCH. SLUT.
What if that guy chose to grab me around my throat? I’m not as strong as he was, he could have pushed me down, lifted up my skirt, punched me and violated me.
What if I was raped? Would I be brave enough to report it? Would I be ashamed? Would I be believed? Maybe I was drunk, maybe my heels were too high, maybe I laughed too loud and made eye contact that was perceived as sexual. Maybe signals were sent?
Would it be my fault? Would you think so? Maybe I touched his chest while I laughed.
Maybe I smiled while tilting my face down and glancing upwards at him, the “come hither” look.
Maybe I licked my lips. Maybe I tousled my hair.
Maybe I kissed him.
All of that… all of that does NOT matter.
It is alarming to me to hear people ask questions about WHY? Why were you there? Why did you drink so much? Why did you dress like that? Why didn’t you tell anyone?
Look, we all know better. We all know the statistics. Violence against women is NOT a fable, it is NOT a ploy to demean men, it is NOT a lie. It is REAL.
The sooner everyone accepts this, and starts the long walk towards ending it, the better. Dialogue with our daughters and our sons starts now. No more slut-shaming, no more victim-blaming. No more asking why doesn’t she just leave him? Why she didn’t say anything?
No more defending someone famous because his radio career might be ruined. NO MORE.
Let’s talk. Let’s all talk about this.
Let’s start asking HOW. How can we fix this? How can we educate everyone about women’s rights and equality? How can we end the stigma of rape culture? How can we understand the cycle of abuse? How can we help?
How can we all help?
Ask yourself this.