TW: sexual assault.
I’m glad the issue of inappropriate touching is in the spotlight right now. I have shoved, yelled at, stared down and spoken back to strangers who have touched me without my permission and accepted the fact that I might be seen as a difficult or aggressive woman. On one occasion I really thought I was going to get punched in the face until a guy’s friends dragged him away as I stood with my chin held high. But even I have experienced creepy, wrong and horrible things in my teens, 20s and 30s that I haven’t called people out on for fear of rocking the boat. I think as women we are so programmed to keep everything ticking along nicely, causing no uncomfortable feelings. We’re usually concerned about hurting others – how will his girlfriend feel, is him losing his job really worth it, I don’t want him to be humiliated. Sometimes the consequences for the woman of being doubted or shunned by her community mean that these people know they can get away with it. It’s an ongoing issue and that means the conversation needs to keep happening – women need to keep seeing these dialogues to know they’re not alone and to trust their instincts – if it feels wrong, it’s wrong. The less shame and fear we feel in being honest about what socially powerful men have done to us, the better.