This post: Not one I am super stoked to write, because it could go either really well or really badly. Surely I will offend or tick someone off. The fact it could go really badly is EXACTLY why it is being written, though. I am willing to put myself, my story, and my thoughts out there to be heard and judged if it can AT ALL help shed light on a SICK point of view that somehow exists in our world. I am literally shaking writing this post because I am A. So passionate about it B. Angry as I’ll get out and C. I have had three cups of black coffee this morning, and it is only 8:13 AM.
But here we go.
If a woman is sexually assaulted, harassed, or raped, it is NOT the victim’s fault. I repeat, if a woman’s body is touched, looked at, or talked about in a vulgar manner of ANY KIND without her consent, meaning she has asked for you to do it, it is WRONG. If said woman is unconscious, you’re a coward, a fool, a pig if you think now is the time to make a move.
The woman who is violated is never in the wrong. If the thought ever crosses your mind in response to a sexual harassment case, “Well maybe she shouldn’t have… been wearing that, running there, been at that bar, been out at that time…” YOU are ignorant. (I don’t like sounding so harsh, and I apologize for calling you ignorant.) But, you are.
What she is wearing isn’t the subject to be discussed, what she was doing at the time of the CRIME isn’t to be in question- the man who overstepped her boundaries, rights, security, life… I could keep going…. is in the wrong. The repercussion of such issues is why we have to EVER question places that are safe for us to be, what times we should be out alone, etc. AND IT STILL isn’t our fault if we are harmed.
I could stop right there. That’s what the issue is, but I am just getting started.
The ruling court made about the latest rape case with a Stanford college student, an “Olympian hopeful” (barf that somehow that information and his swim times was at all deemed important for any coverage of him) Brock Turner, is not only horrifying, but it is CASE AND POINT why I have grown to fear doing anything or going anywhere by myself. How can I trust first off that someone will not harm me, and second that there would be justice and proper action taken for what has happened to me?
I have been sexually harassed, had vulgar things said, yelled and chanted, and been taunted more times than I can ever express, and since I was very young. My first encounter with feeling like men don’t respect me was at 14 years old. 14. A 14 year old, very modest, very homebody, very covered child in a very good home that taught me to respect myself.
It can happen to anyone. It can happen to all of us.
I have since suffered from social anxiety, fear of men, fear of people, fear of going into public alone, fear of being watched, fear of being followed, paranoia, and distrust of practically every person who tries to speak to me in a public setting with fear I could be harmed, stolen, distracted for someone else to harm me…
I am thinking a thousand MPH at all times when I am out, because I HAVE TO.
Do you know what it’s like to be in constant fight or flight mode? Constant fear of what could happen to you if you AREN’T aware of your surroundings? If you are a fellow woman, I bet you know exactly what I am talking about and have experienced this at some point in your life. I am so sorry you have had to deal with this. I know how destructive it is. I am sorry you have to live in some level of fear all the time.
I have had to fake turns home because of people following me, I have had people follow and grunt and make inappropriate noises at me at THE GROCERY STORE. I have had a boy walk up as a dare to my desk in high school to lean over and look down my shirt while his friends laughed in the back corner. I cannot go to my local dog park anymore because of experiences I have had in recent months. I even ran into the man who is the reason I cannot go to the dog park anymore AT the grocery store last week. I cannot fill up my gas tank alone without anxiety, because of the number of times I have been harassed in the past at the gas pump. Literally this week had movers at our complex who harassed me, had men yell at me at a red light on Tuesday, and was approached by a 50+ year old man at the gas station yesterday.
Without sounding dramatic, this is as real as it gets, I fear for my life on some level every single day.
We can absolutely all disagree on what is “modest” or “moral”, if you will. That’s a different subject, a different topic entirely. All of us women will have a different answer. But, one thing I can guarantee, something we can all band together on: It’s never our fault when someone has violated us, harmed us, mentally, physically, or emotionally scarred us.
We are not pieces of meat. We are not something to be gawked at or spoken about as if we are an item.
We are human beings, in case you are wondering. Also whatever person made you believe, sir, that yelling at a woman who is by herself in the safety of her own car was a good way to approach a lady, was VERY STRONGLY MISTAKEN.
Women, I beg of you, don’t give men like this even an awkward giggle. Though it could start out semi-flattering in a backwards way that someone thinks you are pretty, it could end badly. It could end with that person following you. It could end so badly.
Besides, you are more than that. You are worth SO MUCH MORE. AND EVEN STILL, I will say it again, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU, IF SOMEONE FOLLOWS YOU, IF SOMEONE IS DISRESPECTFUL TO YOU.
Please hear me on this: Ladies, you are so loved. Something I have had to learn is that not all men are bad. I have seen just as many outraged men over this case as I have seen ignorant. There are really wonderful men out there. I even found one to marry. I found a man who was the first person I trusted in a very long time other than my daddy to respect me, fight for me, protect me, and tell me I am beautiful.
And drumroll, here’s is my ultimate point- I believe in God. A God who is far greater and bigger than even the sickest and darkest of situations. I believe he can redeem, heal, and bring back life to those who call out his name. I believe my God casts out all fear and all anxiety, and I know that he is the ULTIMATE judge. He is justice. He is good. He is perfect. He is love.
Run to HIS arms, friends, because He is everything. This world is going to fail us. The justice system will fail us. People are going to fail us. My God NEVER WILL.
I pray for this young lady who will now live with what has unfolded over the last few weeks for the rest of her life. I pray for healing, I pray for hope. I also, though it is hard, pray for Brock. Yes, Brock, I am praying for you. I forgive you and men like you who I have encountered, and I pray you can meet the Lord. I pray that you would be healed and that you would ask for his forgiveness.
Now, as I close this post up, my heart is racing. I have to press publish. Throat tightening, anxiety heightened, I press publish for this NOT for a sob story. Not to have people feel “sorry” for what I, and so many other women, have experienced. My story has given me a passion and drive to help other women love themselves and to speak openly about this current and ongoing topic in our world. I have hope in my God, and at the end of the day I find peace in asking, “Come Jesus, come.”
There will be a day with no more hurt, no more fear, no more sickness, no more injustice, no more pain. I set my eyes on things above that are unseen, because it gives me hope. This world is NOT my home, and thank goodness for that. Though I have anxiety in public settings from my past, I continue to live my life and seek the goodness in the world, BECAUSE God is good.
If you feel like sharing this, go for it. I hope that multiple people read this and either feel conviction or feel overwhelming peace from it. Whichever end of the spectrum you might land, my job as a writer is to shed light on darkness and that is what I intend to do.