By Savannah Wilcox
Growing up, I was surrounded by sexism and toxic masculinity. I would see men around me behave this way, but was always told the phrase “boys will be boys.” For some odd reason, nobody would acknowledge this behavior, but I noticed. Even at such a young age, I felt uncomfortable about this. As I got older, I started to see this happening more and more, and eventually it began to happen to me.
I can remember the first time. I was 13 when I was out at a movie with some friends. We were waiting in line when a boy, who was probably around 16-17, grabbed my butt. The boy laughed it off and said that he was dared by his friends to do this, as if that excuses his behavior. But I was too afraid to do anything about it.
Throughout the years I have experienced sexual harassment, and sexual assault just because of my gender. Because I look this way, I am seen as a target. One of my worst memories is when a man tried to abduct me at a gas station. This was only 3 years ago. I have always considered myself “one of the lucky ones” because unlike some women, I was able to make it away safely. Fuck that. I shouldn’t have to feel lucky that I wasn’t successfully kidnapped. Things like this shouldn't be happening in the first place!
Myself, as well as so many other women, are so tired of feeling scared. We are tired of being harassed. We are tired of staying silent. I’m sick of explaining to men why I’m offended by sexually or racially heinous comments. I’m sick of explaining to men why other women are offended by their behavior.
I will no longer put up with this behavior. I deserve to be respected.