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The Daily Abuses You Experience as a Woman in the World

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

For most of us it starts at a surprisingly young age. The more I hear about it the less surprised I am.

I was just old enough to be in kindergarten. My mother had taken my sister and I to the grocery store. My sister, probably about 4 years old, and I, about 5, were riding in the buggy while my mother shopped around. I recall a man. He stopped my mother just to comment on the pretty little girls with her, especially “that blond one.” Instances like this happened often.

I was in Sunday school when a little boy asked my name. I told him. He responded with, “That’s a boys name?” His friend said, “Wait, is that a girl?” Things like this still happen.

I was in forth grade when I was told I wasn’t pretty enough to have a boyfriend. I was called a dork because I liked to push my long hair behind my ears. I’d preferred it to be short, but my mother would not allow it as she said women are supposed to have long and beautiful hair.

In middle school a boy liked to rub my thigh every day in science class. I told several times before he received a slap on the wrist and was moved to the other side of the room. It did no good. He’d find a way to put his hands on me at some point throughout the day. I didn’t want to be mean or rude so I let it go until one day. I was fed up. He tried to grab my butt so I punched him in the stomach. It only stopped him for a few days.

Also in middle school my brother’s best friend began touching me. He was 16 and I was 11. When I was 12 he attempted to rape me. He had me tackled to the ground and I could only reach a tool from my dad’s toolbox to get away. No one believed me. My therapist told my parents it was all in my head and that I “didn’t act like the typical rape victim.”

In high school boys would follow me and chant “dyke, dyke, dyke!” as I walked by. They’d be sure to tell me every day how much I looked like a boy. I assumed they were intimidated because I was taller than them.

In undergrad, fellow students and non-students followed me at night and in broad daylight after I made it clear I wanted them to leave me alone. I’ve had to have security escorts just to get to class because my physical safety was in question.

I’m a master’s student now and I have dealt with this still. I also am still misgendered though I am trying to not be so offended by that one anymore. This past week I experienced unwanted flirting at gas stations and car parts stores just simply trying to care for my Jeep. I’ve had men moan at me while I wait for a vaccine. I’ve had to be escorted from a dollar general because a man decided to put his hands on me and ask for my personal information while trying to force himself on me. I’ve had men stare at my butt or chest while speaking to me at work in a professional setting. I’ve had arguments or “discussions” with “men” that typically turn in to them belittling me with “OK honey.” I assume it’s because they know they’ve lost yet still expect a woman to bow down to them. They can’t physically force me to because I’m tall and muscular so I’m bigger than most men. They don’t like that I guess.

These are examples of the daily things I’m afraid many of us are beginning to grow used to. Wake up. Do not get used to it. You do not have to be kind to abusive men. Men, you need to hold each other accountable. Be the iron sharpening the iron and make each other better. Ladies, let’s stick up for each other. Let’s watch out for each other. This goes for our not-assigned-at-birth ladies and LGBTQIA+ friends as well. It’s so dangerous for women to stand up, but we have to if there is any hope at a better future.

Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash

Originally published: June 19, 2021
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