This topic has reared it’s weary head all year. It has ignited energies and voices from the bushes. As a woman, and a self-proclaimed cheerleader for women and our progression in many forms — of course I am reading up and keeping an eye on sexual harassment/assault statements that Hollywood has yielded us with. We have all become overwhelmingly consumed in them; meanwhile, in ‘real-life’, these occurrences have been plaguing the average woman for centuries. While the rich and famous are broadcasting their “#MeToo” stories, the ordinary folks have their own. And while some of these stories contain truly disturbing points that are rightfully alarming, others — I, myself, tend to question: Is she a victim of sexual harassment, or is she a woman who could not project her voice when appropriately needed?
The words ‘women’ and ‘victim’ have become a little too synonymous for me,
and I wonder if I am the only one trying to redefine our stature as women dealing with this issue.
I read an article a few days back written by a 20-something year old guy. The article was his apology to a friend he felt he almost took (sexually) advantage of in college. I applaud his sense of reflectiveness, and his character for shining a positive male perspective on this topic — but as I read, I could not help but think that maybe, just maybe he wasn’t necessarily in the wrong here. Brief synopsis of him recalling his memory: he was friends with this woman, she invited him over, she allowed him to get in her bed, he expressed his romantic feelings towards her, he then made intimate moves on her, she reciprocated. When asked if she was “OK?”, her response was that she “didn’t want to ruin their friendship.” Upon those verbal exchanges and some more intimate moments, he ultimately stopped his advances sensing her hesitation to continue. The article, in my opinion, was a confession of his lingering guilty feelings for being what he was in the moment — a horny dude.
A man who was not properly told by his lady friend that she did not want to ensue on their sexual rendezvous. He used her lack of words as ‘maybe she actually did.’
I am not here to defend men when they are being excessively overt pricks who cannot contain themselves in sexual situations, nor am I here to write off the real sexual predators who take advantage of vulnerable people, and I am definitely not here to express male sympathy in a time where women’s voices are so well heard and taken seriously (for once). What it did get me thinking about is that we, as women, have such amazing hidden powers within us, sometimes failing to exercise them in situations that are deemed situations of exposure for us, situations that make us feel paper-thin, situations that society has heavily weighed on us with conflicting opposition.
The power of having and maintaining our directive words can mean the difference between feeling “taken advantage of” in instances as such, or feeling utterly and fiercely “in control”.
The Vagina, The Yoni, The Sacred Space, The Pussy — whichever you would like to refer to it as, is an extremely coveted, and when need be — dictatorial organ. Women need to defend this bodily rose garden as such. Your mind and voice act as the fortress to protect this space. In simpler words, women need to fix their mouths to say “no” when they are not up for having sexual interactions of any kind. We are many of times better equipped with emotional intelligence than our male counterparts, sometimes all it takes is honing into and preaching this as encouragement to women who think otherwise, or for those who are not aware of these natural abilities. Developing emotional intelligence — as a collective, is necessary for increasing the chances of gainful communication on both ends. Stop letting and allowing the excuse for displaying uncomfortable body language as a sign to these men, stop the mind games during the act that leaves the guy having to guess whether you are into it or not, use the human gift of words to express your disinterest in the situation, and make it crystal clear. I understand that women come from all walks of life, these walks being: culturally, personality-wise, experiences; they all may decide how one reacts in situations — and again, this is not to discredit women who have certainly been in sexual situations where they have blatantly said “no” in heated moments and were ignored by men who had nothing more but selfish interest nestled in their mind; and I am certainly not dimming the efforts of many women out there who are in fact oblivious in seeing how their very own mousey afflictions impact their unfavorable sexual outcomes. All women, in some shape or form have been victim to that. For some odd reason, unconsciously shrinking and weakening ourselves in questionable sexual encounters have become the norm. Looking back, I can vividly recall a period where I did just that, and it makes me shudder inside. My two main reactionary reasons being: I strangely and illogically had an urge to appease someone, or, I would mentally convince myself that my feelings towards an adverse sexual event were simply me being melodramatic. Why is this the dominant narrative I seem to often recognize when I read some of these confessionals of predatory behavior?
Maybe there can be another approach that alleviates these cases, and the approach can begin with exchanges of meticulous words. I want to hear less victim stories in the news — and although these stories hold incremental value that begin movements of enormous degrees, I want see even more dialogue based off upholding self-empowerment. I want to see crops of women, women who have lived through these similar, yet complex, tractor-pull of thoughts and emotions to speak to our little girls about avoiding these patterns before it happens to them. I want to see and relate to women, women like the women I choose to surround myself with now, who instill a sense of respect so potent, that the very act of a man even thinking about crossing that boundary would be unimaginable — after all, you teach others how to treat you. I want women to not be afraid of being that “prude bitch” when a guy cannot get his way with her. I want women to protect their sexual energy and mind like their life depended on it because we live in a world where men are so focused on it, from our everyday encounters with them to the damn government. I want to hear and read more conversations that pertain to cracking the discussion on sexual encounters. I want to hear more stories that are consensual and good in every way, I want these stories — when brought up, to be fond stories for women. I want women to be brave and loving to themselves, and through being those two things, a waterfall of confidence can lead them through a healthy and pleasant sexual journey.
I want our boys, who will grow into men, raised knowing how bountiful these vocalized limits and boundaries can be on both ends, but especially for her— and though they may not grasp all of the reasons why, they will try to understand anyway.
I want these boys and men to acknowledge and be aides in the topic of empowering women to voice themselves more, bridge the gap that falsely and stereotypically explains how women should be and act in sexual settings. I want to take our reigns back and rewrite the sexual story line that is now defined by harassment.
Maybe all of my “wants” are exorbitant. Maybe all of my “wants” are lofty. It will be a boulder of pressure on women to attain all in one shot.
But what I surely know is that they are possible.
We as women need to do our part in educating others with the power of simply speaking up with detailed verbiage when we find fit, and not shutting up when we start feeling uneasy. How exactly do we start a sexual revolution where victim is not synonymous with women anymore? It must start with us flipping the script on society, a society full of people who do not expect us to voice our wants and needs, especially when it comes to sex.