Harassment Is Everyday For Some

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For a little while after the election, I couldn’t put a finger on the horror that overcame me when I realized that some of my friends and family members voted for Trump, that he would be the president of the United States and that people were treating him as “just another candidate,” telling me to “get over it” and not be bitter “because your candidate lost.”

I could not even deal with that shit for the first couple of weeks, so I deleted comments, blocked the ignorance and took a breather. But I’m horrified all over again, thanks to something that happened to me on Christmas eve.

I was getting some last minute food for our meal the next day and had to park a little away from the store, since it was busy. I walked toward the store, past two young men who were looking like they were up to know good in the alley beside the grocery store. They were smoking and leaning up against the building. As a woman who as been both harassed, stalked and raped, a red flag went off in my head. As a woman who made sure to take self-defense after she was assaulted, those red flags were important.

Firstly, the men immediately paid attention to me and stood up from the brick wall. Secondly, one of the men started walking toward the path I would be using. I knew what to do, thanks to my training. I met his eyes, turned towards them and stared at them. I told the guy moving toward me, “I see you.” Nothing else. I wanted him to know I could see him moving toward me, that I was willing to voice my concern, that I was not passive. I moved my bag to my less strong arm, put my hand on my waist and glared. His friend shook his head and motioned that his friend should come back.

“Not that one,” he muttered, quietly but not quietly enough.

That one heard him. The other guy moved away, I walked out of sight and listened. “Not that one. She looked tough. You can tell she’s tough.” I had a second’s hesitation before grabbing my phone, and turning around to face them again.

“That’s right. I’m tough. I’m also calling the cops.” I dialed 911 and stared them down, watched them as they mumbled some shit about ‘not doing anything’ than ran when I started talking to the dispatcher.

I don’t know what those guys had in mind. Probably steal my purse, maybe harm me or rape me. I don’t know. All I know is that if I were less confident in my hulk-like rage and strength, less tall, less tattooed, more feminine, smaller, things might not have ended so well for me that night. If you can call the guys running off and probably not getting caught a good ending.

It’s not a good ending. It’s not a good ending that I had to learn to defend myself like that in the first place, after being assaulted before. It’s not a good deal that I get dick pics, sick comments and propositions daily online and walking down the street. It’s a shit deal that no one takes what I do seriously, but will ask me about what my husband is doing and tell me how lucky I am to have someone so smart and talented as my spouse. I am not lucky. I am well-matched. I am talented, smart and witty. I am good at EVERYTHING I do, including my many underpaid jobs.

This is where the horror creeps in. This is my reality–the fact that men might try to rape or steal from me if I’m on my own. It has always been this way for me. When I went to school by myself at night, I usually had a male friend walk me to my car, not because I can’t handle myself but because I DON’T WANT TO FUCKING HAVE TO. But I do. I deal with it all the time. Do you know what it’s like to weave your keys between your fingers to use as a weapon, just in case? Do you know what it’s like to be groped when you’re just trying to get from point A to point B on a too-full bus? I know these fears. I have lived these realities and worse ones.

And our president-elect is the same type of person that those men who harassed me are. He is the face of rape culture. The many cases brought against him, the ways in which he has spoken to and about women, the way he has shown himself to be in “grab them by the pussy” commentary. He is a pervert. He is a bully, and not just to women. And he is not shy about being this way because he doesn’t have to be.

I won’t be silent on this front. I won’t be told that this is the same as other elections. This is a reiteration that many Americans care more about ignorant talking points than humanity. And I’m horrified that that’s the case. So I will say so.

 

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7 thoughts on “Harassment Is Everyday For Some

  1. Brava, brave lady! You say what every woman deals with on the daily, yet so many men dismiss because they cannot comprehend that this ugliness is our normal.

    So glad you’re okay, and that you stood up not only for your own safety, but for all women. xx

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  2. I’m torn, because I want to address some of what you’ve written about politics. There’s much more to it than what’s addressed here, and some of that is the difference between how brazenly Trump does it compared to how affably (outwardly) someone like B. Clinton does. I will not excuse the one because he’s more careful to conceal his predation. (No One Left to Lie To touches some on this, in compelling writing.) Both are, indeed, a member of a club of very wealthy people who do a great number of misdeeds with nary a consequence. We have a whole system that is now tailored toward this end result, which will only change when we rise against the system–and thus all those who harass and harangue. I highly recommend Greenwald’s With Liberty and Justice for Some for a very readable address of U.S. systemic inequality crafted to benefit the most powerful.

    But the Trump piece is only a portion of it. The rest … how I relate. I remember my mom scoffing when I said I was taking a self defense class. She was certain I could never learn enough moves to make it useful. Of course, I haven’t had to use any martial arts moves, but the environmental awareness and the ways to become a less “easy” target have proven invaluable time and time again. I once had a similar encounter with a single man following me, in which I made myself a suboptimal target by showing I saw him, I could identify him, and I would fight.

    Some neighbors recently tried to intimidate me. I laughed. They think what they’re doing is new or daunting? Please. I’m a woman in America. I’ve faced threats every day since I was a preteen.

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    • I agree that this is rampant in our political system with powerful males. I don’t agree that a person should be judged based on her husband’s merits, nor would I have voted for Bill Clinton, who was buddy buddy with many a sexual predator. It’s too bad that we have to even worry about taking self defense, that it’s a daily thing. But it is.

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      • This is why I suggested you read Hitchens. If you’d rather not look to traditionally printed books, you can look to Twitter’s @ActualFlatticus for old newspaper clippings documenting the “war rooms”+ she created to smear her husband’s accusers, which is a far cry from upholding justice for women. While this may be consistent with some women’s visions of feminism, it’s not with mine; same, too, for actions she–not her husband–took that destroyed hundreds of thousands of brown-skinned women and their locally and globally.

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      • Here are some excerpts from the 1999 book, which are consistent with the many 1990 news clippings I’ve read over the last half-year:

        “Mrs. Clinton may now find it opportune to preset herself as survivor or even a victim, but the plain facts remain that:

        * The hiring of the squalid and unscrupulous Dick Morris, as adviser both at state and national level, was her idea. Mr. Morris has boasted of being a procurer for her husband as part of his package of political skills.
        * The hiring of private detectives for the investigation and defamation of inconvenient women was also her idea.
        …”

        &

        “this revelation never inhibited her from blaming the female victims; from announcing for example that she would “crucify” Gennifer Flowers, or from helping her spouse to lie his way through that difficulty, and through all the subsequent ones, up to and including believable accusations of rape and molestation.”

        &

        “Mrs. Clinton went on to help hire sordid private dicks like Terry Lenzner and Jack Palladino; a banana-republic auxiliary police for a White House who lied and lied and lied–not just about the sex, but about the women.”

        Having testified against a pedophile as a child, and having seen the ways people and the system protect power, I have no interest in protecting either the system or people of any gender who use it to abuse women without power.

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  3. I have very little interest in having this political “talking to” under my post about very serious rape and harassment charges that have happened to me. I understand you don’t like the Clintons or the systems they uphold. We are not in disagreement. I still don’t need a lecture under my very raw post about what happens to me almost daily, about there are some people who are unabashed about rape culture and perpetuating it, and that those people now feel more empowered because they have a talking piece as their president.

    I am an educated woman who has read the book your referring to. I don’t need it quoted at me. I understand your exasperation about the political landscape and with people who are staunch politicians who care more about the system than justice, and I share it. I am a very liberal (socialist democrat) woman who did not like that my best choice was a moderate candidate with some sketchy stances on things that were important to me. But equating she and Trump is wrong. It is a perpetuation of the sexist narrative that so many people believed. Please don’t list the numerous ways she sucks. I know them. It made me angry that these real concerns were not addressed on both sides, that they have not been addressed across the span on my voting history. I also know the many positive contributions she’s made to our political system (foster care, children’s health care, global women’s rights, etc.) It’s a mixed bag. It’s super imperfect. It was not my first choice.

    But please stop suggesting right now that I’m part of the “problem of rape culture” when I DAILY write about it, talk with others about it, wrote my first book about it, work locally with abused women in my community. In-fighting is absolutely not helpful. I am currently meeting with local people in an effort to suggest change in our political system, so we don’t end up with a candidate who does not represent us (women, Native Americans, and other minorities). I am raising two Native children (one who is a little girl) who will understand that they are expected to respect the bodies of others and respect themselves enough to fight for their rights as one of the smallest minorities in America. I am doing everything in my power (my very infuriatingly limited power) to make sure we move forward in my community reservation, my state. I suggest you take your passion to a similar ground and stop fighting with a woman who mostly agrees with you. It is not helpful. This post about my very frightening experience is the not the best platform for it. I thank you for respecting me by not posting similar things under this response.

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