Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women. – Maya Angelou
Over the last few months, femicide has taken precedence over and above all the other issues we face. Women are now cowering at the thought of date nights with their girl friends and even something as trivial as going to run errands mid morning. The extremity of these crimes against us as a whole has forced us to only look out for the big things, am I being followed? Should I still take a sip of the drink I left here? Should I wear a skirt out tonight? We fear all the obvious warnings but forget about the little things in our daily routine to watch out for… Maybe, with all the many femicide stories erupting, it was the shock or the realization that my safety is not guaranteed all just because I am a woman, that caused me to start noticing the little things we ignore that contribute to this horrid behavior men have accustomed themselves to. Every little moment we brush off contributes to a greater phenomenon.
For those of you who are new to the blog, I work at the airport as a Customer Service Agent and part of my job description is to make the customer feel like the King but over the last couple months this includes accepting inappropriate remarks and jokes, deeming it good customer service to entertain such behavior from grown men. I have many situations where I have been called out for offering poor service to men who’ve made sexual passes at me which I have very boldly shut down, so as women, either way we lose? If we shut it down from the onset, we can’t take a joke, bitter women we’re called but if we entertain it we stand to be victim of the “she was asking for it” extravaganza…
Despite working in such a security conscious building, my safety here is questionable. A simple interaction with a person of the opposite sex can so easily be misconstrued as an invitation to be treated as nothing more than an object. If being in a place where every third step you stumble into a security guard and I still feel unsafe, what about those in a corporate office where security is minimum.
Dear men, be more respectful, saying thank you to your compliment is not an invite for you to press your shoulder up against mine and whisper inappropriate gestures into my ear, when I smile at you, it’s only because I have to… when my face straightens after your joke, don’t get offended, apologize for being inappropriate and don’t try to make me feel bad for not entertaining you.
You created this fear we all must live in, I believe it is your duty to remove it.
Dear women, don’t hold back your disgust and your tolerance. Say no, unapologetically… don’t greet back when they throw a “baby” after their hello, yell back your name so they know who not to mess with, be your own hero, and the hero of the woman next to you.
If fear was a person… it will never be me.