today’s piece of advice: unless she is literally asking for it, she’s not asking for it.
i’m not sure that could be more clear.
her clothes aren’t talking. her makeup isn’t talking. her shoes aren’t talking. the way she flips her hair isn’t talking. unless her mouth says words of consent, she’s not asking for it.
she’s not asking for it.
there has been so much surrounding this topic in the media the last few days due to a very unfortunate individual running for president of the united states. i listened to michelle obama’s speech, and i read through the twitter hashtags #notokay and #ibelieveyou with a breaking heart.
the only person who has the right to dictate what happens to a woman’s body is that woman. rape culture isn’t funny. a woman, and her vagina, are not anyone’s property.
she’s not asking for it.
these conversations force us women to relive every unwanted advance, every time we’ve been treated like someone’s toy. sadly, many women are forced to relive the sexual assault they have experience.
and sadly, it isn’t stopping. we will be forced to live new encounters.
like this morning.
there was nothing special about this morning.
my alarm went off at 6 a.m. like it does every saturday. i laid in bed fighting with a headache, tiredness, and thinking of ways i could call in sick for work. i lost the fight about 30 minutes later, getting myself out of bed to get ready. this morning’s definition of “ready” consists of making sure there weren’t any crusties on my face, pulling my hair into a messy top knot, and putting layer after layer of baggy stretch-cotton fabric on my body – for maximum comfort, and warmth – before stepping out into the below-zero temperature for my walk to work.
the walk is about 4 blocks. it’s not new; i’ve done it every saturday morning at 7 a.m. for the last 17 months.
the sky was still so dark, and the calgary tower was glowing through the thick, icy fog. i took a deep breath and felt the chill down in my lungs. i thought to myself that everything felt still, like i was so lucky to be the only person awake and out in the world experiencing this beautiful morning.
that is until i realized i wasn’t alone.
there’s a car slowly driving nearby. it pulls up alongside me, stops, and the driver’s side window rolls down. the man inside is muttering something in my direction. what was that? is he asking for directions? he opens his mouth again. he’s telling me to get in his car. to go with him. he’s not asking.
“what? no!” i yell back and quickly continuing walking.
he slowly continues driving beside me, talking out his car window. work is now only two blocks away, but it seems like miles.
just go away. just drive off.
and then he does. he steps on the gas and speeds into the darkness.
it’s not until i finally get to work that my heart stops pounding, and i get to reflect on what just happened:
there is nothing “inviting” or “sexy” about my outfit. i have no skin showing. it’s -2 degrees out; and i am bundled up in my jacket, scarf and hat. it’s so dark, and i am wearing so many layers, it probably took a while for this person to figure out i am a female.
we often blame ourselves. what did i do to invite these actions? how can i prevent it from happening again? but here’s the thing: i did nothing.
i was not asking for it.
this morning is an example that proves sexual abuse/assault is not about anything a woman does. if a person wants to act in such a manner, actions will be taken out on the woman who is available.
we need to stop telling women that they are being sexy, flirty, provocative, etc., etc., etc. and start telling attackers that they do not have any right, power or privilege to act like they do.
unless she is literally asking for it, she’s not asking for it.
she is not asking for it.