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The story I’m about to tell happened several months ago, and this is going to be the first time I am truly going to express my feelings about it.
I was walking on the street, at daytime, to go to the metro and to eventually go home. A few meters in front of me was a groupe of 4 or 5 boys, who weren’t older than 17 (I’m around that age as well). The moment they saw me, they started laughing and I heard them saying ”look at that woman!”. But then one of the guys told him, ”no she’s not a woman, she’s a girl. Look at those legs!” And they kept on laughing. At first, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have yelled at them? Ran away? No. Instead, I did as if I hadn’t heard anything. And the worse part is, that’s the choice most women would’ve taken. So I kept on walking, faster and faster, until they were no longer there.
When I decided to talk about it to my friends (girls) they felt bad for me, and we never really discussed about it, even though I needed to. But I didn’t want to push it. Because I thought my story didn’t matter. I thought I was just one of these many girls who experienced things like this one. So, again, I shushed.
I then explained it to my boyfriend, whom I love very much, and when I told him about it, I was expecting him to feel sorry for me, hug me, or try to make me feel better and remind me that he was there for me in case such thing ever happened again. What happened was the contrary. He directly asked, ”But… What were you even wearing?” I froze at that question. I asked him if I was wearing a skirt, a low neckline, would it have made these boys’ actions normal and acceptable? He immediatly defended himself by saying no, but that ”I couldn’t have expected anything else if I wore provocative clothes”. And the truth is, I was actually wearing baggy pants and a coat. Eventually, he closed the subject and we never reopened it.
I felt terrible. I was shocked by the thoughts my very own boyfriend had about this subject.
And this is just one of my many experiences. Everyday I feel suffocated. Everyday I can feel the presence and the pressure of sexism. Everyday I feel as if I was seen as a sexual object that shouldn’t even be in this school, by boys. Everyday I hear boys insulting, using expressions that sexualise in a negative and nasty way women.
This issue affects me a lot more than my entourage thinks; and I thank this Project for allowing me to finally speak up and me feel better.