A few weeks ago, I was sexually harassed at a bar while spending the weekend back home in Columbus with Emily. At first, I honestly wasn’t too surprised because, let’s be honest, this happens all the time. Whether it is unwanted touch or suggestive language, it happens. A lot. What made me particularly upset about this situation, though, was that I was quite literally *grabbed by the pussy* (sound familiar??) by a guy who I was friends with. I was in shock, not because of what had just happened, but because it was someone I had known, and had trusted as a friend.
While I was obviously full of anger and hurt, I mostly just felt a deep sense of sadness. Not just because I had been harassed by someone I viewed as a friend, but because my initial reaction was to simply brush it off and not make a big deal of it. Having been sexually assaulted and raped in the past, this seemed like nothing in comparison. Because it happens all the time… Because, as a female, I am used to my body being objectified.
After all, it’s only “locker-room banter” taken one step further. “Boys will be boys,” right?
In case you have been living under a rock, both of the quotes above come from the President of the United States. Let that sink in for a minute.
I took both of these pics during move-in weekend at Ohio State. Just boys being boys, am I right?
Let me make this very clear. The reason I take a stance on issues I believe in, and openly speak out against our “pussy-grabbing” President, is because I have had to personally live with the emotional aftermath of being seen as an object for men to look at and/or touch as they please.
My daily reality of living in the shadow of sexual assault should not be reduced to “locker-room banter”
What saddened me even more, however, was the reaction from one of my friends that I told about the incident. Coming from a place of genuine concern, she asked me, “what were you wearing?”. She was completely innocent in asking this, because she would definitely not have placed any of the blame on me at all, but it stills speaks volumes about the way we as a society feel the need to understand the context of sexual assault/harassment situations. In case you were also wondering, I was wearing leggings, boots, and a long t-shirt.
What if we blamed the perpetrator instead of the victim? What if we switched the focus from banning/building walls for a hot second, and instead focused on the vast array of problems right within our borders?