I am 26 years old and I Feel Lucky that I Have Not Been Raped.

Sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, street harassed, followed, exposed to, leered at, stalked, butt slapped, butt and breasts  grabbed, in public spaces, cursed out 987784 ways to sunday by men bigger than me for not responding to catcalls, physically assaulted for asserting agency over my or my friend’s safety, venomously berated for rejecting advances to my body and safety? Absolutely. Ooooof I lost count.

Lost count.

And THEN, I am asked to smile for a man I don’t know from a ham sandwich? And then I am asked to be more receptive to  any and all advances and compliments from anyone with a penis?

Excuse me while I go break everything within a 5-mile radius.

When men start walking down the street smiling like clowns then we can have a discussion on women’s mean mugs. Until then, just know that it is a defense mechanism and you have NO idea what that woman has been through at the hands of men who were “just trying to give a compliment.” If your advances are turned down, so what? I have zero sympathy. Women are abused every second and still have to deal with men and the abuser apologists. That’s what we call life. Unfortunately.

With all of that, I have never been raped and I feel so lucky I haven’t.

Every woman I know has endured all of the aforementioned abuse and I know a lot of women, friends, acquaintances and colleagues who have been raped. They are the strongest people I know. I honor them. I respect them. I love them These are the three most singular virtues that men who subject women to this type of behavior are lacking. And the men who defend them and this behavior.

I am 26 years old and I Feel Lucky that I Have Not Been Raped.

Sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, street harassed, followed, exposed to, leered at, stalked, butt slapped, butt and breasts  grabbed, in public spaces, cursed out 987784 ways to sunday by men bigger than me for not responding to catcalls, physically assaulted for asserting agency over my or my friend’s safety, venomously berated for rejecting advances to my body and safety? Absolutely. Ooooof I lost count.

Lost count.

And THEN, I am asked to smile for a man I don’t know from a ham sandwich? And then I am asked to be more receptive to  any and all advances and compliments from anyone with a penis?

Excuse me while I go break everything within a 5-mile radius.

When men start walking down the street smiling like clowns then we can have a discussion on women’s mean mugs. Until then, just know that it is a defense mechanism and you have NO idea what that woman has been through at the hands of men who were “just trying to give a compliment.” If your advances are turned down, so what? I have zero sympathy. Women are abused every second and still have to deal with men and the abuser apologists. That’s what we call life. Unfortunately.

With all of that, I have never been raped and I feel so lucky I haven’t.

Every woman I know has endured all of the aforementioned abuse and I know a lot of women, friends, acquaintances and colleagues who have been raped. They are the strongest people I know. I honor them. I respect them. I love them These are the three most singular virtues that men who subject women to this type of behavior are lacking. And the men who defend them and this behavior.

As I type this, I am boiling. I think of all the shit women endure and brush off every single day because of rape culture and pigs posing as men.

You guessed it, a gun. A *&^%ing GUN!! I looked at my friends and we were gone. Ghost. The wind. I ran track since the age of 10 and at this time I was on the track team at Temple but I had never, ever, ever, ever, ever ran so fast in my entire life. This man really had a gun. And really showed it as if he was going to use it. Because I wouldn’t dance with him? Because I wouldn’t give him my number?

From that day on, I never went to a party like that one. I rearranged my entire approach to going out and socializing. I was way more cautious in the way I turned down guys. To be honest, that guy put fear in my heart. I was angry about it. I am still angry about it. Why must I be afraid to say no? Why must I be cautious in the way I reject a possible suitor? When did it become ok for men to treat women who reject them like animals? I know not all men act like dogs in heat and I know that is a wildly extreme situation. I was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person who clearly had the wrong upbringing. But the fact that the name calling, the cat calling, the grabbing, the staring, the grunting occurs and will continue to occur, angers me. Men need to do better. Women need to raise their boys better. Until we make some changes, I’m sure there will be more and more stories like this one.

"Now as I said on twitter and I will repeat here: I am NOT a rap/hip-hop expert by any stretch of the imagination but I see more of the same and I do. not. like. or appreciate it.

As I pointed out, I have been lending a more discerning ear to rap songs lately, I have never really paid much attention because I seldom voluntarily listen to them but as Pandora keeps me company while editing I’ve become a bit more aware.

And as I said, they are COMPLETELY HORRIFYING. I admit, I’m not good at deciphering lyrics period. In any song, ever. But especially rap songs. Among the most disturbing lyrics, I’ve encountered with my new googling self, were in 2 Chainz “All i want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.” Not much to decipher there but the list goes on, in Wale’s ‘Lotus Flower Bomb’ a seemingly “romantic” song your humanity doesn’t matter because, after all, you’re just property “With that gorgeous face, I don’t know your name, it ain’t important babe cuz imma call you mine.” Kanye also makes no bones about wanting “a bad bitch with no flaws” and insisting she meet him “with no draws,” because silly ho, you’re only there to satiate his sexual appetite, so be perfect. And you’ll be treated as said property because what he doesn’t care what you’ve accomplished, what really makes you valuable is what’s between your legs as Drake tells us “She could have a Grammy/I still treat her ass like a nominee/Just need to know what that pussy like so one time is fine with me.” It’s a wonder why he has so many female fans, the same question I ask about Lil’ Wayne who refers to women as “hoes” and will  ”cancel that bitch like Nino.” Older songs that got a late eyebrow raise was Ludacris and T-Pain’s ‘If I take one more drink’ in which he says “I’m gon’ end up fuckin’ you/Is that what you wanna do shawty?” Consent is questionable in that one. Then of course once you get to the stage of sex, there’s those promoting unprotected sex claiming “Baby I’m raw, In fact I dont use protection.” Obviously vulgar lyrics should be expected in a song entitled “I Beat the P*ssy Up,” but it also shows up in unexpected places. One song that had “hell nawl” written all over it and consequently is the perfect example to question why any sane woman would ever support hip-hop is on display in this gem here…. “

READ THE REST HERE 

And certainly turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against them. We see it with racism, we see it with homophobia, we think of the person as less than human and violence becomes inevitable. And that step is already taken with women so the violence, the abuse is partly but chilling the logical result of this kind of objectification. Now this is a problem for all women of course but particularly women of color who are often literally shown as animals, dressed in leapord skins in animal prints over and over again the real message is, not fully human.
From the film ‘Killing Us Softly 3’
Always a special kind of hell dressing to venture to public spaces in warm months. Always a multi-part hysteria of what clothing will allow me reprieve from pigs posing as men. The pain-staking preparation of gauging what kind of day I’ll have based on how a drape of a skirt or dress frames my body. Imagining and preparing for the violation of my space and safety. It’s draining….how a simple outfit may be the difference between a shitty public experience or a shittier public experience.