the thing about this – from what we deem small instances of sexual harassment (cat-calling, perhaps) to violent sexual abuse – is that it’s ingrained to a point that once in a while I get cat-called, and a part of my brain goes, “oh thanks, I didn’t think I looked good today” or I receive a subtle, patronisingly sexist comment and I’m so used to it, that it takes me a second to register that I should be offended. it’s so EVERYDAY. it affects everyday decisions. it means people who identify as women end up BELIEVING that we have to be careful of what we say, what we wear, where we go, who we talk to. or that our self-worth is measured by the people who think they can toy with it casually. it means having to EXPLAIN WHY these things SHOULD NOT be commonplace and JUSTIFY that our reactions are NOT friggin triggered and we are NOT BEING SENSITIVE. I’ve been talked down to, been told to calm down even when I’ve been blatantly disrespected, been called “little girl”, whistled at, countlessly undressed with men’s eyes, flashed at, asked to flash myself at others, touched in the front seat of a cab, grinded against in clubs and on trains, and (even though this is an assumption, I’m pretty sure something bad would’ve gone down if Dawn Ho and I hadn’t stood our ground) possibly been considered for kidnapping into some sex exploitation ring. this has happened all over the world and while I’ve tried to be vocal about it, I’ve also played my part in dismissing things to myself, telling myself that maybe I AM overreacting, like the world has told me, and/or controlling my rage because… what else can I do about it. it’s bullshit and it’s intensely f$%&ed up. and I’m done with it. every one of us needs to ask ourselves how we perpetuate this everyday, from the things we act upon, to just the things we think in our heads. cos that’s where it starts.
much respect and thanks to all the people who have shared their stories. ♥️