Wow. A friend shared this story on facebook and I just had to pass it along. It is a woman's struggle to explain to men how hard it can be to be a woman. The story itself relates an experience from her daily commute in the LA area:
As I read this, I just kept thinking how grateful I was that it wasn't me. And then I kept thinking about how easily it could have been me.
How many times have I debated which metro car to get on late at night and have to make a 5-second decision based on how many seemingly-threatening persons there are or if there are other women on the car? How many metro or bus rides have I had when I am constantly debating how to look the most unfriendly and unapproachable? Why do I always have to feel tense and threatened when I'm walking at night and a man is walking behind me? Especially when he speeds up to pass me? And that tinge of guilt when he passes and I know he is going to leave me alone - that tinge of guilt that I didn't give him the benefit of the doubt? But I can't afford to give him the benefit of the doubt? How many times have men taken advantage of my impersonal kindness to press attention on me that wasn't wanted? I could go on and on and on...
The thing is, when I try to talk about this to men (friends, family members, etc.), they brush it off and see it as overreacting or just that I "put myself" in these threatening situations. What? I am to blame for walking straight home from class in the evening? I am to blame for wanting to go on a walk at 7:30pm, even though it might be getting dark? Not to mention that daylight doesn't really protect me either. Once again, I could go on and on an on...
What I really want men to understand, though, is that JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY VIOLATED DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE NOT ATTACKED AND THREATENED AND THAT THE TRAUMA DOES NOT EXIST. And it also doesn't mean that it doesn't affect you to have those situations occur day after day after day...with no end in sight.
Okay...I'll get off of my soapbox a little. I just can't stand it when people are so ignorant of the threats that exist in the lives of women, just because they are women.