I recently purchased the book ‘Everyday sexism’ and it awoke the urge to talk about my experiences with sexual assault and sexism. As a Hispanic teenager, I am expected to know how to cook, clean, be polite and submissive, and respect men simply because they are the ones who will protect me as I am ‘fragile’ and ‘not smart enough yet.’ It really sucks to have to require validation from my father in order to stay in the U.S. and obtain a higher education than i would in my native country. It is extremely exhausting to not be able to hang out with my friends or to burp or to be fat or hairy because that’s not ladylike. At school I have to deal with my fellow classmates looking at my body and I honestly hate being responsible for not getting raped when I walk down the street. I hate having to carry around loose bobby pins and how my brother was forced to teach me self-defense in case someone tries to do something. I don’t like the way I feel when i have to not make eye contact and lock doors behind me when I see a man give me a weird smile. I’m sixteen years old. I don’t like not being able to show my shoulders or my knees because a horny teenage boy might find that attractive and try to take advantage of me. I have been told that they are ‘complimenting’ me and that I should be grateful that someone would ever find me attractive, but the truth is that it makes me feel really uncomfortable and it makes me want to puke.

A huge form of sexism that I see in school and in the general public is that we often fail to understand that men get sexually harassed, men get raped. I have met plenty of boys who have also ran away from other men and in some cases women. I have noticed and even done it, with all honesty, I grabbed my friend’s stomach and made my way up to his nipples and everyone took it as a joke, i noticed that even thouhh men are usually the ones to attack they are also victims and they get no validation or respect. You see? Men are also struggling with this because just like how I’m expected to be the perfect wife they are expected to be tough, strong, fearless, and ready to take any compromise or burden on their shoulders and not complain. Men are also victims of sexism. Men have feelings. Men are worthy of being loved. Men are worthy of being held and cared for. Men are a light of love in the darkness of sadness. There are a fair amount of men who have made mistakes or simply bad choices; choices that have affected many of us, but men are also pure and they are victims too. I have been sexually assaulted by both men and women and the only difference were the sound on their voice and their body type. Their intentions were the same and essentially had the same outcome. Is no different. I want to make a change and make school a safer environment for both boys and girls but we need to make it clear that feminism is gender equality and that it does not mean that women are better than men like many of my peers think. This is just a little something of who I am, what I’ve been through, and what i stand for. I might return later on. Thank you