Here’s the thing: it’s not just “locker room talk”. Women get grabbed by the pussy all the time.
I’ve had it done to me more times than I’d like to remember.
“But, like, your actual pussy?”
Yes. By men I respected and trusted and never would’ve expected to violate me.
The first time I remember having my butt grabbed was in high school. I threw the kid into a locker by his collar. The last time I remember was in a club some months ago. I almost punched that guy in the face. I’ve also had women grab my butt, thighs, and breasts, assuming it’s okay because they’re women, too. It’s not okay.
About two weeks ago, I was whistled at by someone in a moving car. I’ve been honked at and yelled at (while alone or pushing a stroller). I’ve been followed. Offered rides. Watched a guy turn his back to and walk away from his two young daughters to approach me. Had hands linger too long on lower back after hugs. Had comments like, “You should be in detention,” said to me by strangers in a supermarket. (What does that even mean?!)
These are not just things dudes talk about in the company of other dudes for cool points. These are things that happen on the daily because men feel entitled to women’s bodies.
When I was in high school, I used to stand outside of my classrooms and hug anyone going in who wanted or needed one. I was THE hugger. The hand on the shoulder. Now, I’m far less likely to initiate contact with people. If I feel like a supportive hug might help, I ask if it’s okay first. But, I can clearly remember the last time I cordially hugged a guy I didn’t know on our first meeting because we shared a mutual friend. Remember how helpless I felt when his hand lingered on me and I didn’t swerve away for fear of making a scene/causing everyone discomfort.
I don’t mind my body being touched, including my growing belly, if you ask first and I consent or we’re just cool like that. You shouldn’t assume that we are.
I’m just saying: this is not just “boys being boys”. These attacks on our bodies should not be one of the things that bonds us together. Should not be the thing that makes the men in our lives reflect on how they have and do commit these acts against women. Should not be the reason we wear headphones with no music playing, spot our nearest exit as soon as we enter a room, make sure our shirt is long enough, hold our keys this way, wonder when the next attack will occur…