academics

Alexa

Where to start… I live in a relatively safe neighbourhood so it feels horrible that I can’t even feel safe walking down my street. When I was 13, I was walking my dog with my younger sister when a group of boys came up to us and told us to give them our money or they’d rape us. I was so shocked that I just froze, but I didn’t give them anything. I am very protective of my younger sister so when my instinct kicked in I told them that they didn’t understand the seriousness of what they had just said and that. they were just trying to show off in front of their group of friends. They walked away. Another day, I was walking home in my school uniform and a man cat-called me on my street. I now can’t feel safe even outside my own house- I’m constantly pulling down my skirt and looking around me and constantly worrying about being touched in crowded spaces. Fortunately I feel secure at school because it has a feminist reputation yet I am absolutely SICK of being treated differently in social and academic terms. When I told my brothers, they said I was exaggerating and just wanted attention. They’re not even adults yet and it breaks my heart that they have already been conditioned like this as children. My relatives have made it clear that they believe my brothers are smarter just because of their gender… they raise their eyebrows when I say I want to study sciences because ‘girls aren’t as good as boys in maths’. They’ve said this to my face. The worst thing is, events like these have happened to most women I know. I’ve been hurt by sexism and I’m not even an adult yet. These things exist and it is so important to share these stories and recognise their importance. To any men that might read this, I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart, not only for me but for millions of other women, please please please hear our stories. Educate yourself about sexism. Be mindful of it and recognise that all your female friends have to face it. And please, when you see an act of sexism taking place, whether it be a misogynistic joke or a sexist comment even if there aren’t any women around, please call it out.