You are not alone. Together we can de-stigmatize speaking out about our experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and more.
Owning The Space
A friend of mine just set out for a day’s shopping, but returned unexpectedly soon after having gotten splashed by a vehicle driving through a puddle. This has happened to me, and in similar circumstances. My friend saw the vehicle coming, and noticed how the driver sped up and swerved into the puddle. There was no doubt about it; this was a deliberate act.
Sexual Harassment and the Male Gaze: How the Objectification of Women Obstruct Social Relations and How Women are Beginning to Challenge These Issues
In recent news and according to the New York Times article written by Jessica Bennett titled "The ‘Click’ Moment: How the Weinstien Scandal Unleashed a Tsunami," scandals of sexual harassment are becoming larger and frequent. This issue is not new and the outing of such experiences are also not recent. If our culture respected and integrated social laws that defended woman against social predators, this would not be accurate. Unfortunately, the hegemonic Euro-centric standard is what ultimately leads to a standard of beauty and allows women of color — specifically, darker skinned woman — to have less power and status to that of a lighter skinned woman, who faces her own prejudices. These standards are stereotypical of your Eurocentric features and lead to the obscurity of the relationships between men and women of color particularly of darker complexion.
Trigger Warning: Some heavy subjects of rape/sexual harassment/abuse discussed below. Sometimes you tell yourself that you don't deserve to say those words. That you don't deserve to be a part of the movement, because you were dating the guy at the time. You didn't ever explicitly say no when he had sex with you. You tried to push him off, you were obviously very uncomfortable with a lot of what he was doing to you, but you never uttered the word "no." So how can it be rape? How can it be sexual abuse when you never told him to get off of you, when you never told him that you didn't like him sitting on top of you, pinning your arms down, and trying to shove his dick into your mouth, even though you literally shoved your head under the pillow to get away from him? How can it be sexual abuse when you told him that he was hurting you, but he never stopped because he thought you were being a tease? For years, I told myself it was my own damn fault for never saying anything, for expecting him to read me and know that I didn't want to do those things. He had been my best friend for five years previous to our relationship; I thought he knew me better than that. But I felt trapped. He took my virginity away, something I thought I had to get rid of even though I probably wasn't ready, and I felt like I needed to please him. It got to the point where if I didn't give him what he wanted, if I didn't have sex with him, he wouldn't sleep in the same bed as me. He wouldn't cuddle with me on the couch, or hold my hand in public. In fact, he wouldn't even talk or look at me. He moved into my home because he had no place to go, isolated me from my roommate at the time and best friend, tried to destroy our friendship, and then when I wouldn't have sex with him or wanted to be the small spoon for a change, he called me a bitch and began to verbally abuse me. There were several times when he wanted to perform anal, and when I told him I wasn't comfortable with that, he got extremely angry with me. Several times when we were having sex, he would try to do anal (without any proper preparation) with me anyway, and then get extremely angry with me when I told him to stop. This went on for six months, and for a moment, I was terrified that I had found myself in a situation that I could not get out of. He wanted to move into an apartment together, without my roommate this time, so that it was just the two of us. I can't imagine where I'd be today if I had been so under his control that that happened. Lucky for me, he started hanging out at some other girl's house, one he claimed "liked" anal. Don't worry Jordan; __________ told me that anal is fun! As soon as I convinced myself he was cheating, I broke it off. He blamed me, of course, and convinced himself he had done nothing wrong.
The irony was evident: head drowning in a toilet, the burning of acid made its way up my throat and crawled out of my mouth, its bitter kiss lingered on my tongue. Of course, I would've longed to stay in bed. My intervals of heavy heaving came and went in quick succession. There was no time for reflection as the acid creeped its way back up, this time, wrenching last night's dinner from its imprisonment and straight to freedom where it layed dormant, floating on the surface of toilet water.
The Power of No
Approximately 85,000 (adult) women are raped in England and Wales each year. In 2016 UK rape-survivor assistance service Rape Crisis reported that in cases where age was known, 2,651 girls aged 15 or under had been raped.
There’s this hashtag going around Facebook recently - you might have seen it? It goes like this: "If all the women/femme aligned folks who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "#MeToo” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."
Comfort of Darkness
Darkness. It’s comfortable. I’ve hidden in it since I can remember, like delving into a cool black lake and submerging my head beneath the water, disappearing from reality. It stings my skin and makes me feel alive. Refreshed. To everyone around me, I am still invisible. I am safe, now. No more of that, no sir. I’ll probably have to go to the diner soon, to meet her, but I don’t want to. Little sister doesn’t understand me because she’s had a perfect life. After all these years, she loves to make damn sure I know it. She left me by myself that night, after we promised to always be there for each other. All that talk about sex — she loves it.
Of Course Men and Women Can Be 'Just Friends'
“Can men and women really be 'just friends?' Asking for a friend...” The Facebook page for the website SoulPancake.com decided to throw some chum in the water of the ongoing gender conversation by sarcastically asking if men and women can really be ‘Just Friends.’ I get what they are trying to do, kick up some social media dust for some action on their Facebook page. That said, the social media team for SoulPancake.com might want to read the room a little before they get cute with the traffic friendly cheapies. The question of whether men and women can be "just friends" is much more of a hot button than they seem to think.
#metoo: Thoughts for the Men We Love
I am really looking forward to the day when I don't first need to preface this post by saying I understand a lot of readers may not necessarily agree with this, and that clearly I am not casting all men into a pit of shame and blame. I'd really like to not need to remind the men who I love dearly that I do not see them all as mainstream jerks who've ruined my, or other women's lives.
The #metoo Denier
I’m a sexist. This revelation was as much of a surprise to me as I’m sure it is to you reading it. Even more so when I consider my family, made up predominantly of strong women, and my friendship group full of bright, intelligent wonderful ladies, to whom I regularly preach the importance of women and female friendships. Not to mention the fact that I identify as a feminist.
More Than #Metoo
Social media is in my head. It’s the train wreck I can’t stop myself from looking at, or the venue of marketing for my company, so a necessity, I say. Some days it’s the politics I can’t stomach, the absurd clickbait people I love and admire share, or other days it’s filled with the worldly horrors of mass shootings and natural disasters that I used to be able to escape by not watching the news and hiding on my social media. Not any more. I vacillate between eye rolling at oversharing and the need to add my voice, to believe there’s a purpose and people care what my inane opinions are... the struggle is real, as they say.
This is the definition given to the word 'rape' in the dictionary: unlawful sexual activity carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female (paraphrased, because the full definition is MUCH longer). Unfortunately, society today defines it only as the act of forcing sexual intercourse. They say that what happened to me is called sexual abuse, not rape. I disagree.