To The Boy I Used To Know,
Hi, it's me. We used to work together, remember? You were fired and then banned from the store where we worked. That's an interesting story, but it's not the reason why I'm writing to you. Even though I know that you are over the age of 18, I'm still going to call you a "boy" instead of a "man" in this letter, because men don't act the way you acted toward me.
The title of this letter should be self-explanatory as to what it's about, but just in case you don't remember what you did, let me remind you: On September 19, 2016, you sexually harassed me online--on Facebook, to be more specific. You repeatedly asked me if I wanted to send you nude pictures of myself, to which I respectfully declined, and then you wanted to send me nude pictures of yourself. Despite my continuous rejections of your childish advances, you went ahead and sent me a completely unwarranted "dick pic" a mere ten minutes before I had to work my desk shift.
You probably thought that what you did was nothing, as I'm sure you've done it to countless other women. However, to me, it wasn't "nothing." You want to know why? Because I'm a feminist, and I’m not going to take it.
Now, you're probably wondering, "What does feminism have to do with me sending you nudes?" Well, let me break it down for you...
Famous feminist Bell Hook’s definition of feminism is "the movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and sexual oppression." That includes ending sexual harassment and sexual assault, regardless of whether that assault and/or harassment has occurred to men, women or non-binary people.
Now, boy, let me break down what sexual harassment is, just in case you are unaware. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sexual harassment is defined as “uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature.” Some examples of sexual harassment online include referring to a victim’s sex organs, referring to a victim’s sex life, referring to intimate subjects, imposing sex-related images or sounds, and insinuating or offering sex-related activities. The section about “imposing sex-related images or sounds” includes sending unwanted pictures of your genitalia. That means, boy, that sending unwarranted "dick pics" to a person is considered sexual harassment. Because of this fact, it means that what you did to me on September 16, 2016, was sexual harassment. End of story.
I'm sure that you're now thinking, "Oh, you're just getting so worked up over nothing. It's not that big of a deal," or "I was just kidding around!"
Here's the thing, though, boy: Sexual harassment is not a joke.
Being sexually harassed, I felt like an object, rather than a human being. I felt as though my voice didn’t matter because regardless of what I said to make you stop, you wouldn’t stop. I felt devalued. I was disgusted by your actions and your assumptions about me desiring a naked picture of you. The entire situation wasn’t funny, and frankly, I was insulted. To this day, I still am insulted to a more miniscule degree. Although my anger has subsided, this incident has given me clarity as to my purpose on this earth. I am not an object for people to use. I am a strong woman with a voice and I am now using it.
Despite my disgust toward you and toward the situation, I also feel sorry for you. Sexual harassment is about power for the harasser, more than anything else. This makes sense now, the more that I think about the situation that you caused that day, because it became abundantly clear from our conversation that although you played the façade of a suave bad-boy, in reality, you were just a lonely individual. Your girlfriend broke up with you, and you thought that I would be an easy target. However, I’m not a toy that you can play with. I am a human being, and I will not stand for this kind of treatment, from you or from any person ever again.
Although I felt sorry for you, I also was grateful that you gave me this experience. Because of you, I now understand what it’s like to be sexually harassed, and I can now use this life experience to become an advocate against sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Your childish behavior created a memory that I hope to never forget because that memory has sparked a fire within me—one of passion, determination and advocacy.
I’m eternally grateful for this experience that you have shared with me, but I hope to never see you again for as long as I live.