Once upon a time, we were trying to let women and men be treated as equals. I’m of two minds about that… I can see benefits and costs to either route. Not gonna rabbit-trail there right now.
In this once-upon land, it was understood that among the decent people in the world, there were nasty predators. It was further understood that one was self-responsible for figuring out what to do about said nasty predators. SHOULD one have to do something? No. But regardless – you deal with the cards as dealt.
I was taught…
- That my body was MY body, and anyone touching my body without my consent should be treated to my wrath on full blast. Screaming and making a scene won’t get rid of the crazy guy who is going to knock you down and take it, but *will* scare off the casual opportunist. (And there are a lot of casual opportunists out there).
- Similarly, any man who made inappropriate comments should be frozen solid where he stood. There should never be any question about whether or not those comments were acceptable.
- Dignity > opportunity, always.
- Leaving a bad situation is always a good idea.
- Don’t go back to a man’s apartment/hotel room/sleeping area alone if you’re not interested in being intimate.
- Never walk to your car alone at night if you have an option not to do so.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. In the parking lot at noon, I still have my carkeys held in my hand in such a way to use them…
- Don’t go anywhere, as a regular routine, where you can’t be seen when you’re alone. If you like to jog in the wee hours of the morning, buy a dog. A big dog.
- Getting drunk with strangers or near strangers is stupid.
- If you’re grabbed, do your darndest to do *damage* – go for eyes, throat, personals, the arch of the foot, kidneys. Then run. Screaming “fire”.
- If you’re down and you’re not getting back up, at *that* point you stop fighting. Puke. Pee. Get his skin under your fingernails. Talk reasonably and rationally, remind him that you’re a human.
- If you have to rip your own arm off in order not to get taken away, your arm is an acceptable sacrifice. DO NOT let someone take you elsewhere, you’re not coming back alive. Worth it to fight to the death. If you find yourself elsewhere, any sacrifice to get out of there, as soon as physically possible, is worth it.
- If it happens – call the police as soon as you are free. Don’t shower, don’t so much as wash your hands. Get that evidence and prosecute. You have every right to justice.
I wasn’t taught, but I found out through experience:
- Any guy as an escort is better than any two girls. But better a girl-group than alone.
- Jerks who come on really strong can’t be dissuaded politely. You have to get impolite (which may ricochet) or leave. There’s no other way, short of appealing to authority.
- Dressing inappropriately will get you worse attention, but real jerks? It doesn’t matter. I have been leered at in full Christian Matron wear.
- There’s always that one guy who can look at you in ways that make you require a shower afterwards. No, this doesn’t have to do with attractiveness. It has to do with what he did with his eyeballs. Ew.
- Crazy dudes don’t care, but a lot of the lowlife scum who are trying to scare you are just trying to scare you. Doing a very little bit to stand up for yourself will keep their hands off of you. Yes, it’s a power trip.
- Standing up for yourself and having self-respect and knowing your boundaries will save you a lot of tears.
- Drinking is best done at home.
- A man who is not instinctively protective of me is a man with whom I am not safe, and should not be trusted.
- Most men are pretty awesome.
See, if we want to be treated like grown-ups, even if all concerned understand that we’re more vulnerable to attack than men are, we have to take responsibility insofar as it is possible to do so. We have to not be stupid about things and be ready to stand up for our right not to be molested.
None of this should be interpreted as applying to children – children who are hurt are a whole different ball game. But if women want to not be treated like children, then we have to act like adults.
Oh. And #metoo? Yeah. Well, no one has ever raped me. But I’ve been grabbed by a stranger, I’ve been frightened, I’ve been patted by someone I found out later was a rapist… and *most* of my female friends have gotten a lot worse. Most.Of.Them. I don’t want to start a march, it’s useless. The good men weren’t going to do anything inappropriate in the first place, and the predators don’t care about words. I won’t tar good men – who consistently protect me and act with great courtesy at all times – just because bad men exist. Bad women exist too. Humans, not very nice creatures.
What was the point of all this? Just that yeah – every woman I know has been “harassed” or worse. And that self-respect is a much better place to start fixing things than pointing fingers at innocents.