Thursday, November 6, 2014

Harassment for Dummies: Why Cat Calling is Intimidating to Women

It's not always bad or scary, but it is always an unknown. Because we don't know who you are.

We know 99% of those incarcerated for rape are male, while only 1% are female. 

We know that.

We don't know you. We don't know if you're some nice guy trying to talk to us about our day, or some strange predator sizing up our body and figuring out how to fit it into a trash bag. Because, yeah, we watch Law and Order SVU, homie.  

We know on the news each night we see women with faces just like ours, crying in hospital rooms, talking about the randos on the street who's "attention" suddenly became an attack.

Men, you don't get that, and you probably never will. 

Because when you try to put yourself in our shoes you're picturing women (whom you've likely never felt physically overpowered by) innocently hitting on you, and let's be honest, that's flattering. You know at the end of the interaction, odds are, it's up to you whether you stay and engage or you go. You don't feel the need to politely make an excuse to get away as not to upset the person giving you said attention. You say no, and she hears no. Most women are not use to that. We're used to turning a guy down and him drunkenly persisting. We're use to being hunted... because that's what men, from a very young age are told to do. They strive for success... they take what they want... they're taught to be assertive and not give up. All good in the corporate world, but all very dangerous at a bar... during a party... on the street.

So to help you men understand, let's take women out of it altogether. 

Imagine you're on an island, and it's nothing but beefed up gay dudes. Everywhere you go they're making comments about your body, telling you to smile, walking beside you for 5 minutes at a time. Demanding you say "hello" to them or they call you a "frigid bitch." Because you are not beefed up, you're the weaker of the species on this island. You're expected to be more amicable. You should be delighted that these big, powerful men are taking interest in you. And if you're not? Well, who do you think you are? What a spoiled little twat. bitch. pussy. All female related insults. Interesting, huh?

Now let's say every night on the 'Gay Island News' you hear about another slim dude, just like you, being attacked by one of these beefcakes. Suddenly those little "compliments" don't seem so harmless anymore, do they? Suddenly they're not so innocent, and you don't feel nearly as safe.

Welcome to our world. I'm in no way saying all dudes are like this, but I am saying most of you have no effing clue what you're talking about when you comment on videos about cat calling. And rather then railing against the women trying to explain it to you, how about you thank your lucky stars that you don't get it. Learn empathy.

We, as females, don't have the luxury of figuring out which of you are predators and which of you are nice guys. So how about this. In the future, if you're a nice guy you come up to us and say the following...

"Hi, my name is ....." 

Odds are we'll have our guard up for a bit, but we'll also know a little bit about you. And we want to believe that separates you from the guy who just will hiss at us, grab at us, and ultimately treat us as nothing more than a piece of meat there to pleasure them either visually or physically, because you will have given us something. Your name. Next step, make it an honorable one. 

Now go forth and...

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