When I was about twelve my family and I went to Jamaica for a wedding. Since it was the first time we had gone out of the country we stayed at an all-inclusive resort. This resort was awesome, it had an ice cream machine, a Buffet, an open bar( with age restrictions. Duh.), a beach, pools and water slides all within a two-minute walk from our room. This was an amazing experience, it was the first time I had been to the ocean and seen trees that had fruits other than apples on them. I live in a relatively small town and don’t go to the city very often so there are few opportunities for me to be catcalled or harassed. But at this resort there were lots of people around all the time and almost everyone had bathing suits on or some other form of light clothing and many were a bit tipsy in the afternoon.
As a twelve-year-old from a small town, waterslides were super exciting. My younger brother, sister and I were all over the slids in minutes. I had gone on one of the slides a couple of times and was having the time of my life. At the top and bottme of the slide, there was a lifeguard-type person. This guy’s job was to make sure nobody whent up that was to small or drunk. After going on this ride for a few times I was familiar with the procsses. When I was going up to the slide the guy at the bottom of the stairs woofed and growled at me. I was so confused. My stomach dropped and I felt like puking. I had never even heard of catcalling. I didn’t know that being a woman meant that men would do this to me. I didn’t go back on that slide for the rest of the trip and I never told anyone that it happened. For a while, I forgot about it but as I got older I heard about my friend getting catcalled when she when to the city and when I went to see a hockey game with my family two young women in front of us, on our walk back to the hotel, were being harassed by two men who wanted them to go into their club.
My life from age twelve to about sixteen was spent thinking these things were normal and even that being catcalled meant you were attractive. Now five years after my brife encounter with harasment thinking of the things women deal with every day makes my stomach roll just like when I was twelve.