DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE
WARNING EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
Saturday night I went to have a dinner with friends at this amazing little garden bar. It passed midtnight and I walked home from the subway station (500m walk). On my way a group of grown up and decent looking men persistenly asked me "how much do you cost" and path blocked me.. I got home, safe and sound, but I felt 'dirty' and frustrated cus you can't undo others' actions that were inflicted on you.
Different research shows that somewhere between 70% - 99% of all women have experienced street / sexual harassment. People, that is close to EVERY god damn women! I've personally experienced sexually explicit comments, been followed, vulgar gestures, touching and grabbing on my ass and, I kid you not but also, my freaking pus**. As a result of these things I've worked out some sad ways to be prepared of protecting myself, one is holding my keys in a tight fist with the keys sticking out between my fingers. I wonder what other crazy methods women have developed as a mean for protection..
The problem of street harrasment is old news, but considering the stats it it still a prevalent problem. A problem which is so common that girls have stopped to talk about it because of a notion that it happens all the time and for everyone. In my oppinion this notion does not make it irrelevant to talk about but it is the natural mechanism! It's a problem which unfortuneately is incredible hard to grasp. Even when acting smart, it still seems close to impossible to prevent it from happening - it highly relies on a regulation of maleficent social behavior and how the hell do you regulate a behavior which only comes 'out in the realm of the night' when the harrassers and their shitty friends dare to act in such ways?
From a woman's perspective I can asure you that when these stories are said out loud to guys, boyfriends or friends it is most likely not an insane mean for attention. It is a service information serving to tell: I got scared, I feel abused and you need to know that this shit happend to me and it affected me. It's a request of consolation, understanding and care. And what helps is probably kind attention and a conversation about what happened and how the person can move on with the experience. Don't make the experience a ghost in the alley by neglecting it and thinking its too hard to talk about. The problem won't evaporate like that.
I'm 26, I've gone through a physical violent assault before and I master a martial art form which gives me a physical backbone to rely on when handling situations like the one last saturday in a calm manner. But the thought of a similar incident happening to a fellow woman, one that might be 10 years younger than me, hurts my heart.
I wish I could end this piece of angry writing by providing a good solution, but there is no clear and unambiguous solution. Aside from these 4 things that have helped me: 1. If something happens then talk about the experience until there is no more words. Get it out of your system in every possible way! 2. Stand up if it happens to someone while you're present. 3. Educate yourself so that you can mentally and physically stand against these incidents. 4. Surround yourself with people who get angry on your behalf and help you move on with the experience.
My thoughful boyfriend made me this tee (+ a hoodie) and hopefully it sparks genuine actions, and it felt just right to include this statement in this essay: Don't be a f-ing asshole and remember it's never the harrased that should feel ashamed, it is that dirty mother fucker that couldn't manage to behave himself.