I refuse to add the (in)famous hashtag #metoo because we all know what it is all about. We don’t need a hashtag reminder, really. It is exhausting. We all know that once in a lifetime all women deal with this crap. I am reading these days testimonies of the women that have been or felt harassed/assaulted by men. As I said, I am sure the percentage is much higher and equally uninteresting or disregarded by all of us. Even by some of the ones who show their solidarity with a status.
Equally, some time ago was trending on social media a video of a woman roaming a city with a hidden camera that was cat called/approached by men on the streets (in about twenty minutes or so) countless times. This is how it is. Every day, all the time, pretty much everywhere in the world.
I am a grown-up woman – I know it doesn’t seem like that sometimes but last I checked I am a grown up. It happened that until after I finished my high school I was literally afraid walking alone in the city. Seeing (especially) a group of men/boys was a nightmare. I was crossing the street to avoid them, if I spotted early enough, or did all kind of tricks and surrounding an entire neighborhood just to avoid passing within their proximity. Or if I knew a place where they gather at specific times (especially when I was out of school) I was definitely changing my route to avoid them. I could walk extra even 30 minutes (my school was 10 minutes walk from home). If it happened that I couldn’t avoid them, I was cornered. It was the scariest thing it could happen. They would call me names, push me, even hit me sometimes and I was unable to react out of fear and obviously because I was a girl.
When people often ask me: oh, high school, sweet memories, wouldn’t you love to go back to that? Hell no! I was in a class with about 30 boys. And we were 4 girls. Four. Imagine that. A terrible nightmare. They were merciless. And I got stronger with time. By the end of my high school, I got into physical fights with some majority of them and I was the aggressive one with penalties concerning my grades for my bad behavior. Yes, my anger grew so strong that I was fighting really dirty. And by now my Metallica boots game was strong if you get my drift. ok if you don’t.
Even one of our professors was well known for assaulting female students that were not passing his class unless they took private lessons with him. Guess what? One of my females colleagues at the time dared to talk with the police about the matter – since finally he was somewhat under investigation and she was not allowed to finish high school. She was sabotaged by the school management for that mistake. And he continued his career as a professor and god knows how many other girls have been traumatized by him.
What else? Things haven’t changed that much. I just got bolder maybe. Well, I never completely got rid of my fear to walk everywhere on my own, however now I keep my head high and I don’t look down. Yes, I developed a sort of (some would call it stupid) defiance that could get me into a lot of trouble. But guess what? It didn’t, I just feel more empowered to defend myself. And it’s working.
And I am not sure a media campaign would work but there! I share a part of my experience. Maybe, just maybe could make a difference or just raise some extra awareness. Yet, I believe there is a lot of it.
And you know what’s the saddest part of all this? Nothing changes. Because not only that men are aware and do nothing about, but a big percentage of women blame women for being assaulted. Yes, ladies. Next time you feel saying a joke about rape think twice. Or blaming a woman for their choice of clothes. or whatever you think you know about a circumstance. There is nothing fun in that.
Be good, namaste
(oh, and don’t forget to smile because after all, we women, smile all the time, is not like you’ve got assaulted or anything, right?)