Thursday, August 25, 2016

More on Street Harassment

I've written a fair bit about street harassment, and right now I've got a pretty heavy piece about it up at the Grip (CN: self-harm). I talked about something that I think sometimes gets lost in discussions of street harassment: what it's like to run into it on a day when you're really not okay, the way the mind games a harasser plays (such as quick pivots from "compliments" to insults) can exacerbate existing feelings of depression and worthlessness.

It felt like something I really needed to write, but I also feel sort of weird about "inflicting" that heaviness on readers. Which gets back to the point, I think. I definitely didn't feel up for being harassed on the day I'm writing about (not that I ever do, but this particular day I just really didn't have the mental fortitude to absorb the blow of it). And yet it happens. All the time. That's one of the reasons I need to keep writing about it.
The reason it hurt so badly, I think, was entitlement. Right then, I didn’t feel entitled to live, to breathe, to be in the world without being hurt. I needed a little entitlement. I needed it to be okay that I couldn’t satisfy the person I was fighting with, to see that I still deserved to exist and be loved even if I wasn’t what someone else wanted me to be.

If I had been walking around like I was God’s gift, that would have been a huge victory for me.

That insult, though… What that guy said to me was an effort to take down someone he saw as entitled. “You can’t just walk around like you’re God’s gift, cuz you ain’t.” What was I doing that seemed so entitled to him? Walking down the sidewalk? Breathing? Having breasts? Not responding to his demand for my attention?

You can read the rest here.

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