I have a sort of low information diet. I don’t really keep up with the news, so most of the time I just see what’s been surfacing a lot from my friends in my Facebook feed. So I tend to be a few days behind. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about Elliot Rodger and his manifesto and the stuff people have been posting with the #YesAllWomen hashtag the past few days. I hadn’t really had the chance to look at much of either until yesterday, but now that I have I’ve felt sort of unsettled about the whole thing all day.
I think part of the uneasy feeling is the fact it reminds me of past experiences, and that I’ve been deliberating on whether or not I should post about them. But the fact that I was sort of afraid to even share makes me think I should. But then I realized there’s really no way for me to fit all of these into 140 character sound bytes. So I’m writing it as a post instead. These are the scattered things I’ve been thinking about today after reading through the #YesAllWomen tag:
Happening around me
- A few weeks ago I was walking down Valencia street in the middle of the day. There was another girl walking a few feet ahead of me so I saw her walk past this group of guys. One of them started cat calling and asking her to join them. She said no thanks and kept walking. He then starts walking after her shouting at her, calling her a slutty white bitch among other things. His friends are laughing. He stops at the edge of the street as she keeps walking but he’s still worked up shouting at her as I take a wide path to get past him quickly. After I’ve passed him I hear shouting again. When I turn around I see there’s a group of girls walking behind me with one guy. He’s yelling at this guy calling him a fag and then suddenly starts hitting him. The girls start yelling to leave him alone while trying to pull him away, his friends come in to break it up at this point.
- In college I knew a guy who was generally “good with computers.” His roommate had computer issues (likely some viruses from porn sites or something) and asked him to fix it for him. While clearing stuff out he finds a collection of secret up-skirt photos his roommate had been taking of random girls around campus. He reported his roommate for it, but I don’t know what happened to the roommate after that.
- After discovering a collection of covert photos of girls’ short skirt asses my friend took on his phone, I had to explain why this was not acceptable behavior. Defensively he says “it’s not like I do anything with them, I just takes the pictures” I explain that if he is doing it without their consent it’s a problem. He says “I guess you’re right…I’ll delete them.”
Happening to me
- In high school for a few weeks there was a guy who would constantly try to grope me on the bus. It seemed like a game to him, trying to get a hand up my shirt or down my pants before I would push him away. I would try to avoid him but we rode the same bus every day. I think I was also confused at the time and wondered if this meant he actually liked me. So I asked one of his friends but his friend said that he wasn’t actually into me but liked some other girl, so that was confusing. But he got mad when he found out I was going to a dance with another guy, and left me alone after that.
- A few years ago I was standing on a crowded bus and got cornered by a creepy old dude. He had one hand on the bar over my head and the other in his pocket, which he was clearly using to stroke himself while staring at me. Even though I squeezed away as quickly as I could he watched me as I move across the bus.
- One guy tells me about the one time an older lady tried to grab his ass while dancing. I tell him that always happens to me at least once a night when I go dancing, in total more times than I can count. I keep a mental blacklist of the guys I have to avoid. Also there was the time that someone tried to lick my neck while dancing. But now that I go with my boyfriend the creepy dudes leave me alone.
- A few weeks ago a guy tells me something along the lines of this: “I can’t keep a girlfriend for very long. To be honest, women are like toys to me. It’s fun when they’re new, but once they start to like me more I get bored of them and pull away and start looking for a new toy. You can judge me, that’s just how it is.”
Happening to those close to me
- A relative tells me this story. It was late at night the guy she had been dating was leading her out to an empty field. I’m sure he thought it was going to be romantic. She says she was afraid something terrible was about to happen and no one was going to be around to find out. But to her surprise he was actually proposing to her.
- A few years ago a close family member’s (now ex) husband, who is much larger than her, threw her across the room, which banged her up pretty badly. His mother (her mother-in-law) blamed her for being argumentative and getting him riled up in the first place.
This sort of stuff happens.
This is just some of the stuff that comes to mind. I’m sure there are other incidents that I’ve forgotten because these sort of little things happen a lot. These little things sort of vary on the gross out scale, and luckily none of them as extreme as some of the things other women have been posting. But I do think that cumulatively they are representative of the type of stuff that still happens to us and those around us. I think it’s better that people are aware of it.