Monday, October 10, 2016

On Misogyny, via recent events (Guest written)

Today's blog is a guest piece by a very dear friend of mine, who has asked to remain anonymous. The topic is misogyny, and comes to us in light of not only recent events, but also due to the myriad of responses that she has received for speaking out. I will offer a gentle warning that she doesn't I offered to let her tell her side here, and she gladly agreed. So here, in her unedited words:

"In light of the events that have surfaced due to the leak of Trump’s misogynistic comments towards women, I wanted to write a very real recounting of my experiences with men of this nature and girls alike. I wanted to wait until I've received enough responses from my girlfriends but also until I think I've included every single time I've been sexually harassed. In all honesty, though, I don't think I'll ever be able to remember everything that has ever happened to me and due to the backlash I’ve received from family, friends, and strangers, this needs to be posted now.

What I'm about to tell you are things I've kept quiet and have only jokingly brought up to people in hopes that they'd tell me I wasn't wrong for thinking all these things were messed up. But no one ever did. And it took me years to realize that these things were messed up and were never my fault. I will start off mild and progress to more disturbing detailed events. I realize that for some of you, this will be uncomfortable to read and to others, paling in comparison to what has happened to you.

As an American, I am fully aware and comfortable with the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I know some of you will confront me privately and advise me to take this post down. I won’t. No matter what you tell me. Because I’ve remained mostly silent most of my adult female life, and if this is the type of man who could potentially be leading our country in just a few months, I need to speak up now. And I’m not afraid of who I offend in the process because I’ve suffered from these things in silence while you could sit idly by in blissful ignorance.

Here are just a few events that stick in my memory:
1. Just 2 nights ago, I went out drinking with friends. Over the course of about 30 minutes, 6 men grabbed my hips and began grinding behind me without my consent. This has happened anytime I've ever gone out dancing with friends. Meanwhile, I politely ask one attractive man if he was single and would like to dance with me.

2. Countless times while out at a bar, or even minding my own business walking down the street, I've been told that I must be a kinky girl because of my red hair. With special emphasis on the sexual acts that I must undoubtedly love to perform or have performed to me.

3. I had a guy that I've never met or talked to in my life grab me at the bar and pin me against the wall and began making out with me. I couldn't move and tried biting him to stop. Many people were around and no one stopped him.

4. After turning down men in any situation, I've been told that I'm deplorable, a slut, a pale bitch, that no man will ever love me, been forced into a hug or a kiss, etc.

5. When I was 15 working at a grocery store, there was a customer that would come into the store and stare at me until no customers were in my line. He'd then come through buying a single item to tell me something sexual. One time he saw me in multiple places in the store and said "you really get around don't you?" he proceeded to do this to multiple other women. Management never asked him to leave.

6. I was sexually harassed by not one, but two of my bosses. One would rub my inner thigh and massage my shoulders and kiss my head while calling me a sexy girl. The other would hit on me daily. I brought this up at the dinner table one night and the issue was dismissed because the man was an upstanding citizen in our town.

7. I was stalked for 2 weeks by a man that would wait for me at the same corner I walked by daily on my way to school. Everyday he'd follow behind me, eventually whispering sexual fantasies to me. After 2 weeks I told him to leave me alone. He then proceeded to chase me across the street into the school. No one offered help as I ran by with this man screaming behind me about how “no woman ever wants him”.

8. As I got out of my car after getting home, a man was walking down the sidewalk towards me so I smiled and nodded nicely. After I was past him, he said “ ’sup bitch” to me. I turned around and told him it was rude to call a girl a bitch and he proceeded to yell and tell me I’m a psycho emotional bitch and to calm the fuck down. I should be flattered he’s hitting on me.

9. During a study session with a friend, he began taking his clothes off out of nowhere and asked me to give him a blowjob. He told me I couldn't blame him for being curious since I willingly came to his room to study. After seeking out multiple rooms that were full of people, leaving only his room to study in.

10. Was told by a boyfriend while crying about the anniversary of my friend's death that I would feel better if I just stopped crying and had sex with him. I said no, he continued to take my clothes off.

11. A guy I was friends with was sleeping over at my apartment and was uncomfortable on the floor and asked if he could sleep in the bed with me. I said yes. He proceeded to feel me up against my continual requests for him to stop. I had to hide and lock myself in the bathroom for 2 hours before I came out. He was still in my bed waiting for me and didn't leave until a guy friend asked him to leave for me. While talking about this recently with a friend, she told me the same situation occurred to her. When she went to authorities about it, no one took her seriously and told her she was asking for it since she allowed him into her bed. He told her “I could rape you and you can’t even say it was rape.” He has raped multiple other women and they are all too scared to come forward about it. He is a free man still today that I see on dating apps all the time.

12. I ask girls constantly if they could count on their fingers and toes the number of times they’ve been sexually harassed. None of them can. It requires more than 20 phalanges.

I hope that at least one person reads this and can either relate, or have their mind changed about the rape culture that is so prominent in our society. The way Trump had so nonchalantly detailed that he could “grab a woman by her pussy” and “kiss her neck” without her saying no due to his status is disgusting. As a friend of mine so eloquently described, merely talking in this way about women perpetuates this rape culture because hearing men talk in this way makes young boys think it’s okay to perform these actions later in life.

Many of you use the argument that saying is different from doing. In a sense, you are not wrong. But hearing the same things stated over and over again in light regards, while men laugh and high five over it begins to set the belief that this is okay. Eventually these boys or men will act on these things, while some won’t and I get that. I am not generalizing the whole male race. In fact, all the men I find myself close friends with agree with what I’m saying. This is actually a huge disgrace and offensive to men as a whole who understand that women do not deserve or want to be treated in this way.

Many of you also use the argument that thousands, even millions, of women have purchased 50 shades of grey and read it with delight and envy. This is true, you are not wrong. The distinction that you are not aware of in this situation is that the character in this book is consenting to a very clearly laid out set of rules. This is a kink that many women and men find joy in and that is their own business. This is not the same as a stranger forcibly touching a woman he doesn’t know. No woman enjoys this. None.

Many of you have also said that women are not innocent to talking the way Trump had in private. Indeed, there are always exceptions to every rule. However, when I talk to my girlfriends about a man I find attractive, I do not go so far as to say “I could just grab him by the dick and fuck him if I want to. I wouldn’t even wait to do it. Because I’m an attractive, intelligent woman.” Instead, I say things like “he’s so hot, I’d love to see him without his shirt on. Oh the things I’d do!” If you can’t see the difference in these two statements, you need to do a tad bit of reading to understand why they’re different.

To those of you who have made it this far, thank you for reading. I’m open to whatever comments you may have. However, I will no longer feed into anyone defending Trump’s actions."

I find that in my own experience, making excuses for this kind of behavior is utterly reprehensible, and inexcusable. It dismisses the experiences of women and denies them basic human compassion and dignity. To attach this kind behavior to all men is an insult to any man who simply thinks that women should be treated like people instead of objects. To participate in, or justify this behavior is abhorrent and despicable. I won't say more, because her perspective is the important one, though I encourage others to share their views and stories as well.

I would also like to once again thank our guest contributor for her willingness to share!