Silence is one common way that we all uphold the patriarchy nightmare we’re currently living in.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to liberate myself from the conditioning I’ve been subjected to and a lot of really uncomfortable memories have resurfaced. I’ve been examining how these experiences have shaped my perception of myself and my world view.
The fact that I’ve accepted these things as “a normal” part of life is the most disturbing.
Partially I’m doing this to validate my voice and cleanse myself of shame, what happened to me was wrong and it was not my fault, but it’s also “normal”, as in common and culturally acceptable. So I’m also doing this to bring awareness to what kind of world your daughters and sisters are growing up in. Think about how this would affect their psyche and what kind of trauma adaptations we may develop. Do something and fucking stop asking us why we “think” we need feminism or what it means to us.
I’ve made a list of all of the times that I can remember, that someone tried to purchase my body. This is NOT an extensive list of all of the times I’ve been assaulted, objectified and felt in danger just for possessing this flesh vessel.
These are your average everyday men. Your fathers, brothers and heroes. Not some “sick pervs” that you can distance yourself from. This is all too common and people need to be held accountable.
Age 15, walking to meet my friend in a wealthy, “safe” suburb of Chicago. A man pulls up, opens the passenger door, asks me to get in and says he “just wants to talk”. I ran into the nearby Taco Bell. He circled around the building a couple of times. I wanted to say something to someone but I felt frozen, I didn’t want to cause a scene, I didn’t want to be a bother, I didn’t think those people would care and “nothing” really happened so I didn’t want to embarrass myself, so I just locked myself in the bathroom for an hour.
Age 16, same safe suburb, I was trying to buy weed from a friend’s brother. He exposed his genitals and offered me an 8th for a bj. His room was full of weapons and a couple years later he was in the news for being an active shooter at his college campus.
Age 18, traveled to Milwaukee, WI for a Marilyn Manson show. Got back to the motel late at night and my friend was in the shower. An older man knocked on the door, when I peeked through the curtain, he flashed a hundred dollar bill and said he wanted to buy a beer from us. I insisted that we don’t have any beers for him and he tried to convince me otherwise. We were terrified to sleep or leave that room the next day.
Age 19, getting food at a dinner in the north side of Chicago. Your stereotypical cartoon pimp asked my ex-boyfriend, how much he wanted for me. What would have happened if my ex didn't care about me?
Age 19, me and my exbf were walking a couple miles to my car. Some dude randomly striked up a conversation and joined us. We were cracking jokes and getting along great so when he asked for a ride in exchange for some weed, it seemed like the friendly thing to do. After I drove him to his location, he addressed my ex-boyfriend in the passenger seat, asking how much he wanted for me. When we said no, he continued to insist asking for “just a little bj”. He refused to get out of my car and this went on for at least 20 minutes. At any second I was expecting to feel a barrel of a gun in the back of my head.
Age 21, I was a bartender and an older business man tried to pressure me to go to Florida with him “on a luxury vacation”.
Age 22, a wealthy, touristy, mountain town Bolzano, Italy. I was walking with a group of friends and fell behind when I stopped to tie a shoe. A man pulled over in a luxury sports car and asked “how much for a night?” Later we all laughed it off because we were in the part of town that was known for prostitution.
Age 22, taking a train to Venice, Italy with my female partner. We were the only ones in the train cart until a man in crocodile shoes and a gold watch sat down next to us. He asked where we were from, which is common for traveling small talk but then said nothing else and got on the phone. My heart sank when I heard him say “Lithuania” which is what we had answered. We immediately moved to the busiest cart and looked for him getting off at every stop but never saw him. We were terrified to get off at our stop and immediately searched where we can purchase sweatpants so we can feel safer in the scorching heat.
Each one of those times, my life felt in danger. Each one of those times, I thought it wasn’t a big deal. Each one of those times was a traumatic experience that created trauma adaptations that affect my quality of life. Each one of those times my being was reduced down to an object and I became the property of the nearest man around me. I was subjected to this based on my gender and I experienced this as someone with a relatively privileged background. Even as I was writing this, thoughts popped up that tried to minimize this and silence me. “I probably overreacted; don’t make a fuss; it wasn’t that bad; it could have been a lot worse; they eventually left you alone”. That shit is fucked up and it runs many generations deep into our DNA.
I invite you to examine what patriarchal conditioning you’ve been subjected to and how it affects you. I highly recommend reading “Patriarchy Stress Disorder” by Dr. Valerie Rein (get it here)
Teach your sons that they are not entitled to girls and women and our bodies are not a commodity to be purchased.
Teach your daughters that it’s okay to “make a fuss” when someone makes them uncomfortable (that includes you). Teach them how to physically protect themselves.
Create an outrage when our media normalizes rape, pedophilia, and sexual assault.
Believe sexual assault survivors who are brave enough to speak and demand justice.
And please for the love of all that is sacred do not watch pornography. It normalizes violence against womxn, it creates a demand and funds your local human trafficking operation.
If you’re able to, please make a donation to https://www.endslaverynow.org/