STRUGGLE BUS DRIVER: JORDAN
What an Unfortunate World
Hello reader. I'm sure if you read the title of this post you think I'm back in a depression. While I'm happy to report that my mental state is still healthy and stable, I cannot say the same for my faith in the society. Of course I'm all about finding the joy in the little things, but today I'm finding it difficult to sort out my thoughts. The things that I and millions of Americans have to deal with, simply because we are women has been a weight on my heart the past couple of days.
Don't fret reader. This will not be a women are superior to men post. I won't be preaching about periods or equal pay issues (although those are fair topic choices). No, today I'm going to talk about things that women deal with on a daily basis that at times truly impact our ability to live our best and fullest lives.
Take a trip back in time with me reader. Picture a girl and her roommate/best friend getting ready for their first night out in college. Getting ready in a dorm room, blasting jams like Pink's 'Get the Party Started,' straightening hair, putting make up on, and downing energy drinks because we weren't quite ready to go for the hard stuff. There is a sort of giddy excitement that every girl gets when she's about to have a girls night. You're energy and confidence levels are at an ultimate high and you'll be damned if anything ruins your night.
These girls finally meet up with their older friend, and set out for the night with their i.d. and debit card in one bra cup, anxious exhilaration in the other. Walking to the location for their night festivities, the girls exchange a look that says, "Let's do this!" Arriving at a popular bar/dance club near campus, the girls pay their charge and get their bands that mark them as ineligible to drink alcohol, but 100% eligible to have a good time. Not caring that liquid courage won't be in attendance in their systems, just excited to finally experience what the heck this college night life is like and to have fun.
The girls pick a table and anxiously look around, just taking everything in. It is still a little early so not a lot of action yet, but promise is in the air. After their friends knock a few back and the music significantly improves in accordance with customer rush, the girls make it out to the dance floor.
The dance floor is popping, the DJ is on point. Every time a song ends, the group acts as if they are going to go take a break only to hear the opening cords of the next song, squealing in unison, and reclaiming their spot on the dance floor. The night is an absolute blast! Until...
The girls have formed a circle as to include everyone in the dancing and allow those few brave souls to showcase their skills when the moment strikes. Everything is find when one of the girls feels a brief pressure on her rear end. Thinking that she had just bumped into someone she halfway turns and shouts an "I'm sorry" over her shoulder. Turning back to the group she continues dancing. Then all of a sudden the pressure is there again, and again...and again. "Okay," the girl thinks, "this is definitely not someone just bumping into me." She fully turns around again to see a male a few feet behind her in a semi-crouched/squatted position, his hand reaching towards her and he sways to the music and his tongue flicking in and out of his mouth while he is cheered on by his friends.
The girl immediately becomes rigid, fearful, uncomfortable, confused, shocked, and violated. Not fully processing exactly what just happened she makes her way into the middle of her friend circle, does some halfhearted dancing before making it to the other side. Her roommate immediately knows something is weird and all the girl is able to say is, "I think that guy touched my ass." One of the older friends hears this exchange and immediately demands to know who the culprit is. After pointing him out this friend gives the guy an earful that would rival the most fearsome telling off you had from your mom, resulting in her getting called a few choice names as the guys moved to some other part of the dance floor. The night continues and while that situation didn't ruin the experience, it certainly was eye opening.
That was the first night in that girl's life where she felt really violated by the actions of someone else, but sadly it would not the last. If you haven't figured out by now, that girl is me and the experience that I just described is highly insignificant compared to what could have happened. It pales in comparison to the stories that close friends have told me. It isn't even close to the horrendous events that we continually hear about on the news, or even more tragically, the ones you don't. Yet despite the lack of severity, the fact of the matter is that it did happen. It was unprovoked, unwanted, and a blatant violation of me and my body.
Now you're probably wondering why I told you this story. The real question you should be asking is, "Why do these things happen?" If you're a woman reading this, I have no doubt in my mind that you can relate to this story and tell me 10 of your own. If you are a male reading this, while I would like to think that you can empathize with my story and see how it was wrong, the reality is there are too many that won't see an issue here. Lucky for you reader that is a battle I am not willing to tackle today, but what I do want to address is how incidents like this can affect the every day life of a woman.
Every time a woman walks out of their place of residence they are at some type of risk. Every time a woman is alone, she needs to be on high alert. Every time a strange male starts a conversation a girl has to be cautiously polite for fear of overreaction and retaliation when flirtations aren't reciprocated. Every time a girl goes for a walk or a run by themselves they have to be hyper aware of their environment or risk getting kidnapped. Every time a girl orders a drink she either has to watch it like a hawk or drink it all at once to make sure she isn't drugged. These may seem like extremes, but it is a reality we face every day or potentially suffer the consequences of not being vigilant.
Another thing that we have to consider is that at least 70% of rape and assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Even if we fully trust a male or think we can trust someone because they "seem like a nice guy," we can't. That literally impacts our lives every day because we constantly have to be questioning, should I do this if I''m going to be alone? Can I trust him? Is this safe? Will anyone else be there? Is there anyone that I can trust if something goes wrong? What can I say that is nice, but isn't misleading? What is going to happen if he gets mad? Am I going to get followed home? Should I take an alternate route? Maybe I shouldn't live by myself. Do I make eye contact with this stranger? Should I smile and say hi or look like a bitch to avoid "coming on" to this person?
While all this seems crazy, that rant was just a tip of the iceberg for what women face on a daily basis. If you're thinking, "well that doesn't seem like a very fun way to live," guess what? You would be right. It's exhausting and extremely debilitating to have to consider all the potential dangers that one might face as a woman.
What some males don't understand, is that the recovery from, close calls, or even the possibility of a negative situation can severely alter how an individual lives their lives. The 'little things' that girls freak out over, the 'it's not a big deal' things that cause a girl switch their demeanor have purpose. We just want to be safe. Our 'overreactions' are our defense mechanisms. We don't want to be living a life full of uncertainty any more than you want to be dealing with it.
I really felt compelled to write this post today to inspire empathy. Consider the other perspective. Before you react or get angry, hear the other person out. We don't know other's stories, we don't know their lives. Seek first to understand and most importantly have an open mind.
Thank you for making it through another one. I hope to have a more positive outlook on my next post. Have a great start to the week and don't forget to spread those smiles. :) Until next time.
******Today's post was subjectively about the female perspective. That is not to say that all females feel or react this way or to negate that some men may also feel this way. The situations can be reversed and it is determined by the individual.
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A millennial with a need for an outlet. I write about whatever is inspiring me in the moment.