While researching content for new blogs, I came across this post of a young girl who had been sexually assaulted on the bus far too many times and finally found the courage to speak up for herself. My intention is not for this post to group all men in the same category because there are men out there who find this behavior repulsive and to that, I say thank you for being a decent human being. Understandably this girl was shaken after the experience and I applaud her effort for taking the time to process the event in a healthy manner by examining what happened and reflecting on it. She also took action by speaking up which is hard to do as a woman because we aren’t always sure that our concerns of feeling unsafe will be taken seriously. This girl who known as StitchesTheCub on Reddit (names have been omitted to protect her privacy) tries to make sense of the event by asking herself and the internet “why some men feel the need to take advantage of crowds to feel up other people’s bodies.”
The first time I was inappropriately touched was in 8th grade.
This statement is very powerful because for a lot of women this is real life. Many sexual assaults, both physical and verbal, start at an early age for women, and it’s usually around the time that they are just starting puberty. Things are already confusing enough at that age, there is absolutely no reason for a girl that young to be worrying about these kinds of events. Sadly this happens to thousands of women on a daily basis.
This is her story:
A couple hours ago, I was riding the bus home from my old high school where I was visiting a retiring teacher. It was an extremely crowded bus because the same line ran through at least a couple schools. A few stops away from where I was supposed to get off, I gave up my seat for an elderly man and started standing by the rear exit. Not a minute later, I felt fingers stroking my left butt cheek. I thought it was my imagination at first so I shrugged slightly away only to feel the fingers return. I was 100% sure those weren’t some stray bag at that point; those were human fingers stroking from my lower to upper butt. I was done. I’d gained confidence in high school thanks to mentioned teacher and I was sick and tired of being touched. I’ve gotten nothing but trouble from guys in college who just can’t take a damn hint. I was called a bitch for not giving them a chance (I have a boyfriend) so I did what I felt was right. I called him out on it. I turned to him, looked the middle age blond man straight in those sky blue eyes of his and said in the loudest voice I could manage, “Touch my butt one more time and I will report you.” I knew I had the right man. He met my gaze unblinkingly and slowly nodded. No one seemed to have paid attention or cared. But at that moment, I was relieved. When I got off, I found out that my sister was on the same bus and had squeezed onto the front of the bus. If she had gotten on the back door, my little sister could have been in my position instead. She could have been the one touched instead of me. And I know she wouldn’t have said a thing.
There is no shortage of similar experiences like this and the thread I found this post in had over a thousand comments of women describing their version of the same story. Instead of teaching women that they are to blame for these events, these men need to be taught that women are not sexual objects and that they are creating an unsafe environment for women everywhere. Any type of sexual assault is not okay, and I applaud this girl for doing what many believe they cannot do. It may not always seem like a good idea to call these men out because you fear for your life and safety, but as Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”