This is a knife that’s disguised as a key. That’s how unsafe women feel. We grab for our cell phones with 911 pre-dialed when we walk through empty parking garages or through streets at night. We tell someone when we go for a run through trails because we fear that we might not get back. We grip our keys tighter when we’re out alone and hear a noise behind us- just in case we need to use the keys as a weapon in an instant. We walk faster when we’re walking alone near a group of men. We feel so unsafe that companies can profit on this by making knives disguised as common objects.
*Disclaimer* I am not writing this blog for myself- I don’t need to vent, I don’t need to express emotions and I don’t need to whine about some boy- writing these things triggers me and brings back PTSD symptoms- it doesn’t benefit me at all other than letting me help other survivors relate to someone and bring awareness to those who can’t relate. I am writing this blog solely to help others and raise awareness about mental health.
The majority of men don’t understand what women experience on a daily basis. Often, when I share my own experiences, it opens their eyes, so that’s what’s about to happen in this post.
Today my landlord, the person who decides how much my rent is and maintains my home, came to his office below my apartment early and he stayed late. This morning, I waited to leave for work until I knew he had gone into his office. This evening, I couldn’t avoid him. Usually, he calls me over to talk- whenever that happens, he mentions how good he thinks I look and looks up and down my body. He undresses me with his eyes and then attempts to converse again, too distracted to do so sucessfully. Today, because I was in a rush, he mouthed “You look good at me,” while staring up and down my body. Why not attempt to show me that I’m a piece of meat from across the parking lot, right?
I ran track and cross country at UVA, or, at least, transferred from VMI to run here, but got injured shortly after my arrival. I had been battling an eating disorder and attempting to rehab my injury, when I was told to attend therapy sessions for one of the sports therapists at UVA- it’s a good thing too, because I would have dropped out of school after I found out that my injury was permanent. Maybe I should have been less naive and less trusting, but I really did trust my therapist because he helped me through a time in my life during which I was suicidal and a mess. But the sessions ended after he hit on me. Because why not use the vulnerability and naivety of a young, injured, broken athlete to attempt to live out some sick fantasy while married?
After the whole almost-dropping-out-of-school thing, I pursued medicine. I started some medical research in the cardiovascular system to kick-start the immersion into science/medicine. My boss was a medical doctor- the chair of cardiology at his hospital. The lab manager basically acted as the boss of the lab, however, because a chair of a department of medicine can’t be around often. It’s normal to exchange info- emails, numbers, etc, in this setting, because lab emergencies happen or the security badges stop working or some radioactive solution explodes (Jk Jk Jk.). There were never specific comments that crossed a line- it was more like “that shirt looks realllllly good on you,” or “that shirt brings out your eyes really well,” or “you look nice today,” etc. Then came texts inviting me to go on motorcycle rides with him, my 60-year old lab manager and boss (I know his age because I was the ONLY person in the lab invited to his birthday party other than the MD big boss of the lab. LOL; comical, am I right?). I was supposed to work in that lab after I graduated from UVA but I turned it down for the obvious reasons I just listed- I had no idea how far he would take things. Why not take away a career opportunity for a recent female grad. of UVA by making her feel so uncomfortable and unsafe in the workplace just because you have a need to hit up someone 1/3 of your age?
Weddings are super fun, right? Especiallllllly if you’re in the wedding party. TONS of alcohol. Zero cares. So let’s just imagine this: you see a girl in the bridal party laying on the grass outside of the tent in which the reception was held, semi passed-out. A male in the wedding party walks over to her. Maybe they were pursuing each other earlier in the night, maybe not. He tries to pick her up to take her to a car to get her to the empty guest house in which some of the wedding party were supposed to be staying. As soon as he touches her, she slurs at him to get off of her. He persists and tries to get her to stand up. She resists and says to leave her alone and get away from her. He picks her up anyways. She’s too inebriated to stop him but continues to yell at him to leave her alone. Caterers are cleaning up and some even call out and ask if everything is okay. Other members of the bridal party laugh and answer yes. NOBODY, however, does anything to stop this male from carrying this clearly inebriated female against her will while she’s SCREAMING at him to leave her alone. He sticks her in a car. She’s too sick to be in a moving car and sticks her head out the window to throw up. He drives her to an empty house. He puts her on a bed. Later in the night, he brings her water. She’s blacked out and can’t even hold the cup. She wakes up in the morning with her clothes missing. All she can remember is that her legs were in the air at some point after the male had brought her water. She’d been raped in the middle of the night- too intoxicated to even remember any details. But it was plausible that she could have wanted to have sex with the stranger she thought, so she actually asked for his phone number so that the two of them could talk. If they kept talking, that didn’t make her a slut for sleeping with someone the first time they met, right? If they became romantic in the future, it meant that she wasn’t raped, right?
Was this girl slut-shamed after this incident? Yes.
Was the male congratulated on having scored that night? Yes.
Stop and think. What would you have done had you been a witness?
K. Obvi everyone knows that girl who people thought was a whore in that last story is me. I was slut-shamed after being raped. I lost one of my closest friends, the bride, because she assumed that I was lying for attention.
This is the world in which we live. This is why girls are always in fear and always watching their backs. This is why girls go places in numbers. This is why girls have knives disguised as random commonplace objects.
Please wake up, society. Seriously. This is actually ridiculous.