Daily Intimidation in the Life of a Woman

I've been struggling here lately with the reality of being a woman in a very 'man's world'. Almost everyday I am made to feel belittled, insecure, uncomfortable. I've built a fairly simple defense system I think... a simple smirk, maybe a shake of the head, then carry on about my business. What more can I do? I can't say any of the things that are really bobbing around in my head because it would only add more fuel to the fire. Like an instance a couple weeks ago when I tried to fend off some overly inebriated shithead who suddenly thought he had all the right to talk to me the way he so chose. The more I stood up for myself, the more I was harassed. Inevitably, all I really could do was walk away, which is what I guess I should have done in the first place. It's funny though; my friends rarely stand up for me, even in situations like this, because maybe they think I won't let them? Maybe they think I'm already saying all the right things and doing a damn good job of making the person look like a complete dumbass. It's embarrassing really... that it even has to come to that. Honestly... I think I just need to stay out of bars, because I don't welcome the extra attention and I don't like getting worked up. I think offending me as a human being is about the only thing that really gets me worked up these days, and more and more I'm having to include that being a woman is not so much fun anymore either.

I always used to think that it's good, as a woman, to have the strength to stand up for yourself in defending your space. That we have rights, just like the next person, to not have to feel so threatened. But after taking a gender violence class this past winter quarter, I discovered that it is the women just like me that were the most likely to be harassed, sexually assaulted, raped, or murdered. Why? Because we're independent, free-thinking women that won't take anyone's inappropriate (uncalled for, unneccessary, unwanted... should I go on?) bullshit and men ultimately feel like they have to put us back in our place. I took the class hoping to get some relief from a current situation I was already dealing with relating to male intimidation, and I walked out of that class more scared than ever. I learned a lot of useful things though, like understanding what kind of situation I was in two years ago and how lucky I was to get out... like having a plan (all women need a plan, and likely have one when constantly thinking about "what would you do if?"). But I also learned that the legal system majority of the time doesn't play nice, blaming the victim for being a woman. 'Why were you alone? Why were you out so late? What were you wearing? What part of town were you in?' Regardless... regardless of what I wear or where I am, still no one has the right to hurt or touch me. And verbal assault... there is just nothing that can be done to control it unless it occurs at the workplace and even then it's your word against theirs.

Just this past weekend there was an instance that really made me question my methods of confrontation with men who cross the line with me. A co-worker and once acquaintance apparently pulled a gun on someone for disagreeing with the discussion. I know, it's uncanny in a place like this... but I confronted this same guy while out and about last year and what if he had done the same thing to me? I feel incredibly torn... do I lay down and take it like the little bitch these men think we are or do I face the consequences and stand up for myself even if that means assault, rape, death? I just don't know anymore... I really don't, but I remember very distinctly how much he intimidated me that night after I told him that he didn't have the right to talk to my friend like that and that he should leave. I hate swallowing my pride, but that's only when I really feel like it's justified. Debating with someone is one thing, but standing up for yourself there really shouldn't be any question. Again... torn... pissed that the world is full of pieces of shit... pissed that this is a problem that will never go away and worried that I'll eventually get to a point where I just "deal with it."

No... no I can't. I won't.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hiking Halape, Hawaii

Accountability: Hill's Pet Nutrition Science Diet

Ten Years Strong