I’ve seen so many posts on the internet about how much abuse and harassment that women get in the real world and on the internet. I don’t think it’s something that most people can truly understand without living through it, so I wanted to share a bit as a 29 year old woman.
First off, I individually have experienced varying forms of harassment. I think that if you ask any woman, you will find that they have also experienced harassment in some way.
Here are just a few things that I personally do in order to avoid abuse and harassment. I also threw in thoughts that I have when I encounter possible abuse or harassment
1. On Instagram: I avoid “liking” “commenting” on, or sending friend requests to anybody that I believe to be male… Unless I see from their pictures that they seem “safe”.
2. I avoid posting pictures of myself wearing revealing clothing.
3. When I lived at my apartment complexes, I avoided going to the fitness room by myself at night… (I had a creepy encounter there before)
4. I try not to go to wal-mart or other stores by myself at night. (Once again, creepy encounter).
5. I’ve gotten very good at sizing everybody up and recognizing which people to avoid. I do it at an unconscious level now, because I have to.
6. I avoid drinking socially without my husband nearby. Numerous stories and personal experience taught me that women drinking socially become targets.
7. It never surprised me when I hear that one of my female friends has been harassed by a stranger, or even by a friend. It’s just something that happens.
8. If a man that I do not know comes up to talk to me, the first thing I always ask myself is, “What does he want from me?”. I’m automatically expecting the worst.
9. I’ve gotten good at ignoring cat calls, whistles, and perceived harassment that I encounter in public. I know that if I lash out, I could get hurt.
10. I fully expect men to stare me down in public… It makes me uncomfortable, but I learned to pretend to ignore it for the same reasons as #9.
11. I avoid making friends with men when they won’t be friends, or aren’t already mutual friends, with my husband. This rule applies even more so if they’re single.
12. I avoid hanging out by myself with a male friend, regardless of whether or not they are mutual friend with my husband, in a relationship, etc.
13. I love the beach, but I avoid going there if I’d have to go there alone… Which means I almost never go. 😦
14. Just in general, I avoid going out alone.
15. I keep certain accounts private to avoid getting stalked. (I’ve had suspicions)
These are a few that I can think of now. It may sound like paranoia, but I don’t believe that it is. I should not need to worry about these things, but in the world that I live in, I do.
And it really pisses me off.
I’m angry that men act in a way that makes me scared sometimes. It makes me angry that I am scared, and it makes me angry that I just have to put up with it all, because it’s “normal”. I hate that all women have to deal with this on a daily basis, and I hate that I feel so helpless and unable to fix it all. Maybe by speaking out I can help somehow, because holding it all in and pretending like all this is normal had not been helpful.