#WhyWomenDontReport

Because I was 15, spending a summer abroad to learn French, and I didn’t know who to talk to when you’d come to my bedside and grope me in the night. #WhyWomenDontReport

Like so many women, I don’t have adequate words to share in the spaces between these highlighted occurrences. They’re just a few among others buried in my subconscious, ingrained in the tactile memory of my cells every time someone touches me, even in moments of tenderness.

Because I was one of your guests, and I thought we were all enjoying a night swim in the Mediterranean. Yet the darkness hid your assault in broad moonlight. #WhyWomenDontReport

I’d posit that women are robbed of their own pleasure, for years, when their bodies become the unwitting object of another’s unwanted, yet continued, advances.

Because my  job was to film you, but you’d kiss me on the mouth every morning and “slept” for hours in the car with your head in my “lap” while my boss looked on and smiled. #WhyWomenDontReport

When sexual predators are in positions of power, there’s a feeling of communal embarrassment that goes along with the knowledge that everyone saw what they did. Why report, if all are in the know anyhow and were unwilling to help stop the impropriety?

Because I never saw your stranger’s face hidden in your jacket as you jerked off while I sat by the river, writing in my journal. I ran home terrified you were following me. #WhyWomenDontReport

Every woman knows the terror of sensing they’re being followed by a stranger. And when it is someone who half-hides half-naked, it’s even more frightening since boundaries have lost all meaning.

Because I was your girlfriend and there was no safe space between virgin and whore in your mind. #WhyWomenDontReport

I hope, for my daughter and son, that they’ll both find representations of strong smart funny and admirable women front-and-center in their books, magazines, ipads, and laptops. I had no female role models in literature or on TV and neither did the boys and men I grew up with.

Because I was traveling alone, and didn’t speak the language there. #WhyWomenDontReport

A culture that prides itself on complimenting women is one thing, but grabbing onto our bodies to bring us in close and cop a kiss or a feel, without knowing us, is another. When it happens in public for all to see and validate, a woman feels humiliated and powerless.

Because after you yelled lewd comments out your truck window for all to hear as I was jogging, you crashed into the parked car ahead of you and I still felt shame. #WhyWomenDontReport

Maybe karma has a way of working things out in small but poetic ways.

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22 thoughts on “#WhyWomenDontReport

  1. I don’t want to click ‘Like’ on this: although I like that you’ve been able to bring it out into the open I don’t like that you had these experiences and it is depressing to wonder how many women recognise these situations and then even more depressing to wonder how many do not, because my guess is very few if any. I had the lecherous drunk on the bus who sat with his hand on my thigh throughout the journey when I was 14 even though I was with a group of friends, many of them male and they all could see. The 2 jokey neighbours of my dad’s in different towns, one when I was 12-15, the other when I was a young mum, who kept grasping my knee; the man who, when passing me in a crowded street in my home town when I was 19, quickly put his hand up my skirt and groped. I wanted to be sick. No-one saw and he was gone as quickly as he appeared. The many many times, I have had to walk past a group of men of all ages with my head down, making no eye contact in case I could be accused of encouraging them, and having to listen to the disgusting language. No, you don’t have an innate right to make me feel like dirt, to make me scared to walk down my own street alone, frightened to get on a bus at night, or comment on my body. You don’t have an innate right to touch me wherever and however you like whenever you like. Don’t you ever think that that is happening to your sister, daughter, mother, aunt, grandmother? Does that make you feel proud of your gender?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Reblogged this on pearsnotparsnipsdotcom and commented:
    I took most of today to decide whether to reblog Liesl’s post or not. It triggered a whole lot of emotional memories, some of which I wrote in her comments box in a stream of consciousness manner without censoring what I wrote. Except I did censor a little bit because there were other incidents I didn’t want to list. However, with all the news coming out of the US election campaign and all the self-justification and denial, I decided there must be many women like Liesl and me being triggered, having unpleasant incidents rearing their ugly heads and no means of expiating them. My theme of my blog is health and wellness and that has to include mental health and wellness. I think this is one of those times when I can broaden the terms of reference to include the damage to female self-esteem, self-confidence, self-image and the self-restriction of freedom of movement, what clothes we wear, our facial expressions, who we make eye-contact with and so on, that is unwarranted comments and touching lead to for those bearing the brunt. Apologies for the poor grammar, sentence structure etc but this is just appearing at will and I don’t want delete it, which I will of I reread it and do it properly!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was attacked in my family home when I was seventeen and alone in the house, by a family ‘friend’, but thankfully ran away out of the house before worse could happen. My parents ignored me. And, when I was rude to that man they told me to apologise to him! I refused to. As a child I felt dirty eyes on me and was molested by boys other times (my older brother was responsible one time). I’ve been groped under my skirt and threatened with rape by a neighbour (but I got my own back on the neighbour by threatening him!!). And, and, and……this happens too often, this very real abuse to children and women. It is revolting.
    Kindest regards, Faith

    Like

  4. Pingback: #WhyWomenDontReport | bookmarkchronicles

  5. I’ve been lucky. None of this has happened to me. But I remember the shock of a friend whom I used to travel to school with felt when she told me that a couple of stations before I’d got on, a man exposed himself to her. My shock was nothing when compared with the violation she felt, as an innocent schoolgirl who’d done nothing to solicit such an – yes – attack in a public and, she had every right to assume, safe place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Margaret. Thanks for writing. I have a tough time understanding this need some people have to expose themselves, or their states of arousal, to unsuspecting girls and women. I know I must sound naive. But, for me, it was just as upsetting and damaging as an unwanted touch.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Clicking like doesn’t seem appropriate for a post like this. It is such a shame that they are able to go their merry way and strike again and again. However there is one young man that I possibly stopped in his tracks.
    I worked in Manhattan and took the subway daily. I was sitting, the train was crowded as usual. A young man was standing right in front of me and was holding a newspaper in his free hand positioned in front of his zipper of his pants. His other hand was holding the pole for support. I didn’t think anything of it when he smiled at me a couple of times and as the train made many stops and starts his newspaper was going back and forth against his trousers. The only thought I had in my head was that he was going to wind up with ink all over his tan slacks. All of a sudden he let the paper slide down just enough for me to see the bulge in his pants and smiled just as the train was pulling into a station. Needless to say I was shocked. This all happened in a matter of seconds but I did get upset. Apparently he did not see the umbrella I was holding as it was raining that day. It was one that had a metal point at the top about three inches long. Before I could say anything the train came to a stop and somehow I knew he would get off but not before I raised my umbrella up and slammed it down as hard as I could on his foot, he was wearing sneakers. Apparently he got the message, he let out a scream and ran off the train as the doors opened. “Bitch” was all I heard but I just smiled. Never saw him on the train again.
    I hope my little story made some of you smile. :o)

    Like

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