Shannon

The topic of sexual assault has been on my mind a lot lately. I watched a TED talk where a woman pointed out that women are sexually assaulted and harassed very frequently and our society treats it so casually that we barely notice it. I wondered if I had any experiences with this, so I decided to write down all of the encounters I could remember. At first, it was difficult to recall the many experiences I had shrugged off before. However, once I started listing them out, more and more experiences came to mind. I recalled many times where with NO WARNING and NO CONSENT and outside of any sexual context, men had grabbed my butt (while I was at work), kissed me, grabbed my boobs, and it was treated so lightly. In these instances, I was so shocked and stunned, and usually so humiliated that I couldn’t think of anything to say. I just speechlessly moved on. The guy in high school who used to sneak up on me, grab my boobs, and then run off, I did say, “Stop. Don’t do that!” to, but he didn’t stop. Almost every time, these things happened in public, and nobody treated it as if it wasn’t okay. The most that anyone who witnessed these things ever did, was laugh it off. I felt like there was nothing I could do even though I felt degraded. Now, I wish that I could go back, and in every one of those circumstances, grab those people, and say, “Why did you just do that? Why do you think that it’s okay to do that?” These men had no reason to think that I was okay with what they did, but they didn’t care. People need to start caring about things like this. Just because your bored, doesn’t mean that you can kiss an unsuspecting girl your general proximity. Just because a girl has boobs, doesn’t mean that you can grab them. We need to respect each others bodies, and agency. These are just a few examples that I’m sharing, but I had a long list full of experiences that I wasn’t okay with. I’ve been pretty fortunate. I know that a lot of girls have had experiences way worse than I have, but none of these are acceptable. Most women have experienced sexual harassment or assault in some sort of way, extreme, or casual. I would just like to encourage anyone reading this to notice when people get sexually harassed or assaulted, and not stand idly by. Make the person answer why they did what they did, and why they thought it was okay, because oftentimes, they probably didn’t think about that beforehand. Women get objectified so often, that a lot of men probably don’t even notice when they cross the line of what is or isn’t appropriate. It’s important for us to increase our awareness of this problem, and do our part to solve it.