Sexual assault and sexual harassment have always been a problem. Always. Although in the last year it has been brought up more often, brave souls have shared their stories to bring awareness to the situation that we face. Both women and men can be victimized, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about the small things that women deal with daily. The small things that men may or may not realize that they do, which make us feel so uncomfortable.
Yesterday, I was in a town that I was unfamiliar with and I was walking with my purse in my work clothes searching for an ATM. A man stopped in his truck, rolled his window down, and just stared at me. He didn’t make any comments, I didn’t hear any “cat-calling,” but I felt so incredibly uncomfortable. I’m not sure if men know that the things they do make us feel uncomfortable. The tiny things like just staring for too long can make us feel unsafe. For the men who want to fight the problem, and may not have physically or verbally done anything wrong, should know that the things they do e.g., getting too close in proximity, staring too long, really scares us. I don’t want to speak for all women but I know many of my friends/family and I do so many things to avoid being harassed or raped.
I remember a point during my early years of college, crying and telling my husband (boyfriend at the time) that I didn’t want to be pretty because I don’t like when guys look at me or try to talk to me. You may not be a part of the sexual assault/harassment problem, but I think all people should take into consideration what the girl/woman feels when you get too close while talking or if you are left alone with them.
The other night I read a post on facebook that explained it so well. The woman talked about trying to sell her dryer and giving times where potential buyers could come and look at or pick up if they wanted it, but only when she knew her husband would be home. A man came and she used her judgement to decide if she would feel safe or not with only her and him alone. She thought everything would be alright, and it was for most of the time. He began to look her up and down and asked for help to carry it out of the basement. When she got sweaty he commented about how she was such a hard worker and that he bets her husband must enjoy her like that (all sweaty). gross.
In case you didn’t know…
- We walk quickly to our cars and lock the door as soon as we are in.
- We plan out how to walk or drive each other to our cars, so no one goes alone.
- We watch our loved ones walk into the doors of their homes and shut the door before driving off.
- We take detours on a street if we are walking alone.
- We are extra observant when we are outside at night.
- We don’t even wanna take ubers/lyfts/taxi’s alone.
- We send our location to everyone.
- We talk to someone on our phone if we have to walk alone.
- We carry rape whistles or concealed weapons (keys in our fingers)
It’s the small things. Even if you never talk to her, what your body language is saying can make her feel sooooo unsafe. It’s important to be aware of that. Don’t be a part of the problem, help heal it.