I was never raped, but when I was 11, the son of a family friend copped a feel whenever we were…
Zelda Pinwheel

Do you know what a beautiful response this is? I highlighted a certain piece of it that wounded me. I could feel the agony in that statement.

I was not as lucky as you, unfortunately, and yes, I did have to defend each and every single one of my decisions and yes, it was absolutely exhausting. I thought I was going to go insane, but what I experienced cannot possibly be described as madness. It simply would not do it justice.

But you clearly and cleverly articulated what so many women are: that is afraid. They are afraid and they are exhausted. And it’s terrible that society delegitimizes just how exhausted they are to have to live in fear of rape and assault. It is disgusting that we do not raise our men with empathy. I am going to include here a segment from “The Practical Man’s Guide to Raping Someone,” the piece I wrote myself on this case and its larger implications:

“When a woman is catcalled on the street, she will find herself exasperated. Some might tell her to accept the compliments, because she is beautiful. Others might implore her not to dress so provocatively. Still others might demand that she cover herself up entirely. (Ask journalist Mona Eltahawy how that worked out for her when she lived in austere Saudi Arabia, an experience which “traumatized” her into feminism.) These solutions are shallow because they do not acknowledge a woman’s fears, fears which are not at all unfounded. When a strange man follows a woman down the street and calls out, “Hey, baby!” — indiscriminate words reserved for those in booty shorts, those in yoga pants, and every combination of clothing in between — what can she do? Does she acknowledge him? Does she thank him? Does she ignore him altogether? Whatever her response, it exists in a space created by her harasser from the moment he initiates; in a split-second, she forfeits her control. Her autonomy is gone from the moment she leaves the house.”

Thank you so very much for sharing.