Sexual Harassment and its Truth

When I walk my dog at night, I carry a ridged stick of metal. This stick of metal can put a deep hole into the bark of tree, so you can imagine what it could do to a human. When I walk my dog at night, I don’t stray past a block from my apartment. I live in a relatively safe part of Richmond, VA, in what is called the Fan. Still, I manage to feel unsafe on my short walk with my dog. Why? My first night in Richmond. I had just moved into my apartment and my roommates had yet to be there. So it was just me and my three-month old puppy, Wentz. In my opinion, Wentz is a bit too trusting. I’m out walking Wentz, two blocks from my apartment. I think I was nearing the end of my second block, when a man of what seemed twice my age, complimented my legs. When I didn’t respond and proceeded to move on my way, with a bit of pep in my step, he got upset. “I didn’t mean no harm, it was just a compliment, can’t ya take a damn compliment?”

While my capabilities do include taking a compliment, I believe there’s a certain time and place for such and especially not leering at me at 12 in the morning because my dog had to pee. And then, there was a few months later, in the same position. There was now a full-grown man shuffling towards me, drunk off his ass. Wentz, who is too trusting, was full-out growling at him and when I ran back into my apartment building, he was still shuffling. I should thank my landlord for the automatic locks. Two hours later, I went back outside, the man not even on my mind, to let Wentz out, and there he was. I had to call my roommates in order to feel semi-safe. I don’t know how to explain the feeling. It feels like the next few moments of your life aren’t your own anymore, as if you don’t get to choose what happens to you in the next seconds.

As I’m writing this, I did a quick Google search to see how many women are sexually harassed in a day. When I did this, all I saw was Harvey Weinstein. I know that if you’re reading this, you have already heard the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Rose McGowan’s Twitter was suspended after she spoke out. Twitter claims that it was because she included a private phone number. That would be all well and good if they enforced these policies on everyone, including our Commander-in-Chief, instead of making it seem as they were silencing a woman. Women have been silenced from the beginning and I wouldn’t be so surprising if this was another ploy for to silence women from speaking out. Need an example? Let’s go.

When I was in fourth grade, I rode the bus, like most kids. I was the last stop. So not to mince words, I was constantly bullied until one point, I was sexually assaulted on the bus. I was in the fourth grade, I didn’t know what the hell happened. So, I told my mom and dad when I got home, and I don’t think I have seen true fury since then. She went to the school, talked to the principal and I remember being called into the office and being forced to tell my story again in front of the assailant. And then, the boy was suspended. From the bus. For one day. A harsh consequence.