It has been nearly a year in a post-Weinstein world, and despite movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, women are still seen as nothing more than compelling liars.
As I was growing up, I never realized how much fear I would now hold inside, every time I step out of the confines of my apartment.
Now a few weeks short of turning 21, I am saddened by the fact that I am no longer a little girl, with the only thoughts on my mind being what Bratz doll I’m going to play with next. My brain can only conceptualize what miscellaneous item in my purse I can use as a weapon in the case of an attack.
Many women in the spotlight such as actress Ashley Judd, journalist Connie Chung, and most recently Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, have not only publicly expressed their accounts as victims of sexual assault, but have accused men in high positions of power.
Jackson Katz, a social researcher, asked men what they do on a daily basis to avoid being sexually assaulted. Then he asked women. pic.twitter.com/GjniLR4iIZ
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) September 30, 2018
For Dr. Blasey Ford, the moment of breaking decades of silence, happened in front of not only the Senate Judiciary Committee, but in front of the eyes of the entire nation.
Her accusation against Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has led to a common result; the accuser denying the accounts ever happened.
Now the tattles start.
“She’s using this as her fifteen minutes of fame.”
“She can’t even remember the day it happened, how is she credible?”
“If it was true, why did she wait so many years to come forward?”
Why on earth would a woman risk her name, her career, and ultimately her life by stating this? Do you really believe she wants to state one of the most horrific experiences of her life to the public eye?
This is a really powerful form of public activism: the women’s restroom wall made even more public. pic.twitter.com/c30uElIwn3
— Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) September 28, 2018
Its difficult enough for women to grasp the idea they were even sexually assaulted, nevertheless, tell someone about the incident. Even one’s closest friends and loved ones can turn around and say the victim is lying as there may be no physical proof to the human eye.
Oh, but there’s proof. The re-occurring thoughts spinning through one’s mind every time they walk pass their abuser. Every time they are outnumbered in an elevator; five men against 1 woman. Every time they arrive home, when they turn on as many lights as possible to have perfect vision in case an attacker creeping their way through.
81 percent of women and 35 percent of men report significant short- or long-term impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Army veterans experience PTSD, so why is it an anomaly when sexual assault victims need time to comprehend their PTSD. Why do we still get the brunt of the hate from the public?
We fear rejection, backlash, and ultimately death threats. We did report. You just didn’t believe us. Some women may never feel ready to speak out, but for the ones who did, they took a long journey to get there.
“i’M AfRAid of GEttInG FaLsELy aCcUsED”
I’m afraid to walk anywhere alone. I’m afraid of going to my car late at night. I’m afraid of riding Übers alone. I’m afraid of getting too close to older men. Your fear of facing claims doesn’t compare to the fear girls feel just living.
— kj (@kjerstiswanson) September 30, 2018
In middle school, I stayed to myself as much as possible. I barely had friends and yet I was the one of many who caught another seventh grader’s eye. We had free time in gym class and somehow ended up playing what seemed to be a game of tag gone wrong.
I was tagged on one of the most vulnerable and physical aspects of my body. My butt. He may have thought it was nothing more than flick on the wrist, but for me, it was stab in the stomach.
I still remember his name. Christopher.
I went the rest of the class period contemplating if what he did was merely a “joke” and if was just overreacting.
“The other girls like the attention and don’t seem to be bothered by it, why am I?” I whispered to myself.
But I wasn’t overreacting. If only I knew then, what I know now.
My school was coded in uniform and I was one of the flat-chested girls, so no I wasn’t “asking for it.” I didn’t wear anything provocative to gain his attention. I wore baggy navy blue slacks and a loose white button down shirt.
Even if I was wearing a skirt way above my knees and opened the top buttons of my shirt like a “slutty school girl” costume on Halloween, I still wouldn’t be looking to get assaulted.
Ever since that day, I bailed on all of the clubs I joined in high school. Sticking to those clubs meant I would be present outside when the sun set. The only creatures roaming the streets at that time were bodega cats and the lonely old men in the corner smoking cigarettes, waiting for a pre-pubescent girl to walk past and scream degrading comments in their raspy perverted voices.
I never stand too close to a man on public transportation. I hold my breath and crunch my body in as much as possible so they can pass through on a 5 0′ clock NYC train without imperceptibly caressing my protruding anatomy.
I’ll never truly feel safe traveling anywhere…..especially alone.
The choices made by these women in the public eye, to finally express their truth takes deep courage. Their attempts at justice should not be mocked to a point of discrediting their experience, and blaming them for something they “could have prevented.”
This is why young people need to vote. Share this pic.twitter.com/HckvHx6oVR
— LA HARA (Breaker of Combs) (@BriHallOfficial) October 4, 2018
And yet….men like Weinstein live consequence-free, Trump becomes President, and Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate as the 114th Supreme Court Justice.
So no, accusations do not ruin a man’s life.
To those who say,
“Where’s the proof?”
“How are we supposed to believe you without evidence?”
Yes, because the first thing that comes to my mind when getting assaulted is “oh I can’t forget to make sure my phone is recording this.”
Even if we somehow did get proof, there will still be an excuse. Many will say we somehow “manipulated” the audio or video.
Can’t you see there’s never a way out?
Living in a country where women are belittled for men’s atrocious actions, is quite frankly a nation where I am deadly afraid of raising children, but more importantly, daughters.
As election day inches closer and closer, please vote to keep men like this out of our government and into their rightfully placed seat in prison.
This brilliant parody song proves why it's anything but a 'scary time' for men pic.twitter.com/UrNHf3HAB6
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 8, 2018
Men can wear any type of clothing they please without fear of being molested.
Men can stroll slowly through a neighborhood at 2 a.m. without fear of being kidnapped or murdered.
Men can verbally defend themselves without the fear of being hit back with derogatory comments.
Men are allowed opportunities to grow in a company without fear of unemployment for turning down a sexual offer.
Men can leave their drinks unaccompanied without the fear of a date-rape pill sizzling its way down the glass.
To every woman that has gruesomely experienced any kind of assault, as much as you may feel there are people who won’t believe you, there is a family of women right beside you that will fight for you, love you, and respect you.
I believe you, and I am with you.
*DISCLAIMER* I am not disregarding the fact that men are also assaulted. The case that I am describing is simply the societal norm in which women experience more commonly than men.