“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim”
– Nora Ephron
So a few days ago as I was coming off the train, I witnessed a man slap the butt of a woman who was also getting off.
Instinctively I shouted “YOU F*CKING PIECE OF SH*T” and walked up towards the woman to see if she was okay. She, looking confused and annoyed, thanked me for ‘sticking up for her’ and I responded with “I’m just sorry I couldn’t punch him, I hope it doesn’t ruin your night” and then went off further to exit the station.
As I was walking home I couldn’t let this go. Right in my chest I felt as though I was carrying a lot of tension, rage and even embarrassment. It felt as though I was the one groped on the train and a part of me wishes I could have shouted even more obscenities at the man, merely to expose him for the creep that he was.
Still walking home, many questions came rushing through my head:
Did I overreact unnecessary on behalf of someone else? Perhaps the woman didn’t mind being touched by the stranger.
Was I angry because it was a White man groping a Black woman? Or would I have been just as angry if it was a White [or any other] woman?
Yep, just as angry! (Although I thought it was worth exploring if my outburst and subsequent reaction did stem from racial bias.)
Was the woman’s race a factor in the man’s decision to touch her inappropriately and in public?
We’ll never know!
To the eyes of men are Black women still hyper sexualised beings that can be a play thing for anyone with little to no condemnation?
*A wave of despondency floods through my body.*
Would a woman defend me if they saw the same happen to me?
That would be nice.
Once I got home, still angry, I paused for a moment began to burst out laughing. I’ve never been one to make a scene in public so I really did surprise myself with my somewhat vulgar outburst. I gave myself a mental pat on the back for actually doing something about the indecent act I witnessed. I’m glad that at the core of who I am, I truly care about the wellbeing of women and wholeheartedly believe that we should not have to put up with the sexually aggressive behaviour of [some] men.
Why does it need explaining that our existence as women is not an open invitation for men to do what they want with our bodies? People have chosen to undermine this and say ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘but what was she wearing?’ Turning the accountability away from the perpetrators to the women who simply just want to live their life on their terms. I’m so tired of this casual misogyny that it’s actually exhausting to be so defensive.
Personally, I will not tolerate any man touching me inappropriately! I will shame them for it and may throw in a punch or two! Yes, call me crazy, call me reckless or simply call me a woman who has just had enough and has reached her tipping point.
Have you ever acted out your indignation regarding anything you believe in? Let me know your thoughts.