Note: I’m taking a break from my usual content to get something off my chest that has been bothering me. Getting harassed is a reality in the US, but now in my travels I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of negative, draining experiences I’ve had. Writing is a good way for me express myself, so yeh. Here it is. CW: talk of unwanted touching, harassment, anxiety, etc.
To all the men who harassed me:
Hello. You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you. I remember when you shouted at me, followed me, and touched me. I remember what it felt like to be safe. I remember when you made me feel ashamed of my body. I remember blaming my blackness, my makeup, and my entire self for what you did. I remember being terrified when your hand groped my thigh, when you whispered things into my ears, when you pulled out a knife from your backpack. I remember feeling dirty and violated and ashamed. I remember the panic and terror I felt as I search around for my pepper spray. I remember feeling helpless. I remember hating myself for being a woman and worst of all a Black one. I remember it every time I sit in a taxi and walk down the street. I can feel myself ceasing to be a person and instead becoming a sexualized, dehumanized commodity. I remember feeling weak and helpless and defeated. I don’t remember a time where I could just exist. A time where no one stared with their predatory gaze to pierce through my imagined cocoon of safety. I don’t remember peace or solitude. My mind cannot fathom a time where I wasn’t thinking of ways to protect myself. Carrying pepper spray. Holding my keys like claws. Glancing behind me at the slightest sound. Being apprehensive. Staying on my guard. Never going out at night.
So thank you. Thank you for instilling within me an acute fear that I cannot escape. Thank you for the experiences that will always live on in my mind.
And I’m sorry. I should have told you to leave me alone and go away and spouted all the profanities that sat angry and primed behind my teeth. I’m sorry that I smiled at your dumb words to placate you in hopes it would protect me. I’m sorry that I was not braver and that my cowardice and self-preservation made me shut down and not protect myself. Most of all I’m sorry that I made you think your actions were okay, that women exist for your pleasure, and that we don’t deserve the right to feel safe in our own bodies.
I am sorry for me and sorry for how these experiences have irreparably hurt me.