It was just one touch. One squeeze. Not a big deal.
But it was a big deal, even now. But before that, let’s get back to the time when that did not happen yet. The time when everything was just a warning.
Often, when I was kid, my parents would warn me about love and boys. They either come as a pair or as themselves. Love is a threat to my dreams. That, I can argue with. On the other hand, I cannot argue about boys not being threatening. I could have, then. But not today.
It’s funny how you can dress yourself so freely without any second thoughts when you were still young. But as you grow older, you need to think about your clothes. Why? Because of how others can see you.
They think that what they think about you is what you want them to think about you.
Too this, too that. Do not give them ideas! But I am not giving them anything. They see you, you don’t.
Your mind does not justify theirs.
Yes, my dears, clothes are not always a factor, but they can be. Why? I do not know, either. And the fact that I do not always know what goes on in the head of men is scary enough to warn me. Not everybody knows how to respect others.
People would warn you about how other men would find ways to touch you, kiss you, and, yes, even rape you. Years would pass, and you’re still safe, so you might think that it might not be that bad. Think again.
You see, May 8, 2017, became a disgusting date to me. I was on my way home when this guy was looking at me. At first, I thought, “Someone actually sees me.” I’ve always felt like a ghost people would pass by, but I never knew that not being a ghost to someone could be worse.
I was having one of my bad days.
We passed by each other, I felt someone squeeze my left breast. I froze. I looked back. He didn’t. He acted like nothing happened.
I approached him, asked him thrice:
“Why did you do that?”
He didn’t answer my question. But he answered with a “Come with me over there.” He had a cocky grin on his face. Fear crept in me. I became scared. I thought, this man can do something else. There is no guilt. So I pushed him away and cursed him despite seeing two other men heading our way and asking for help because I was afraid that they might not help at all.
I went home that day, panicking. Deep breaths didn’t help me out. I felt so violated, like men’s eyes are touches I cannot refuse to. That evening, I thought of killing myself. If it weren’t for my friend, I might be dead now.
It was a big deal. One squeeze ruined me.
For the next few days, I couldn’t sleep that much. I kept on thinking about what happened. What could I have done? Why me?
I even thought of the possibility that he might be laughing about me or talking about me to someone. Did that squeeze please him? I sure hope it did since a part of me got broken because of it.
I have always thought of what I should do if it ever happened to me, but when that happened, my mind went blank. That’s why I feel so stupid and guilty when some girls talk about what to do when there’s harassment or something. They think they’re too brave. But in the exposure to the moment, they might become as lost as I was.
Ever since, I became too wary of men. And I absolutely hate it when someone catcalls. It’s also too scary to talk about it to others because some would evaluate your appearance first before comforting you. Instead of trying to open up about it, some would stay silent because others would judge first since
Some think that only pretty girls get harassed, raped or catcalled.
I am ugly and fat, so why me? Hell, they do not choose. Nobody is ugly or fat. There’s just a vagina or a pair of boobs or an ass. That is it.
Men’s gazes started making me anxious. I had to listen to music and look right ahead or at the ground just to feel strong and distracted. But then, a single catcall will freak me out inside. I felt powerless around men despite convincing myself that I am brave and strong.
I felt powerless, not because I was powerless, but because society made me feel that way.
A huge dose of judgment would come first before help. You’re stupid if you didn’t know what to do. There’s just too little that you can do, and too much that men can get away with if not caught.
“Help me” became “I’m sorry.”
So, I started hating being a woman because it came with too much problems, too much warnings, too much fear. A vagina is not for everyone, but not everyone thinks of it that way.
I did not want to talk about this before, but now I wanted to. Silence is the least help that I can give to other women. The world is not an ideal place filled with nice people. You have to take caution.
I am not a woman because you can have sex with me or harass me or violate me. I am a woman because I was born one. I just wish you respect that and stop making me, and others, feel so unfortunate for not being a man.
We are women, and we are so much more than objects.