To The Men Who Catcalled Me, Your Behavior Is Unacceptable

To The Men Who Catcalled Me, Your Behavior Is Unacceptable

As your obscenities became louder, so did the pounding in my head.
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To the men who catcalled me today,

During our two-minute encounter, you made my life hellish.

I was on my college campus, just trying to walk from point A to point B. It was 11:37 PM. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, jeans, and sneakers. (I shouldn't have to say what I was wearing, but that's usually the first question I get asked regarding this issue, so I might as well get it out of the way.) I had earbuds in. I heard a faint yelling, so I took them out to listen. Being hyper-vigilant is a woman's strong suit. It has to be.

Then I saw you. All four of you, your heads hung out the windows of a pick-up truck, like dogs on loose leashes. And how you did bark. The vilest, most obscene strings of words came from your teeth, gritted and smiling. I shook my head and then lowered it, in hopes that the Angels of Sexual Misconduct would pass me over. But nevertheless, you persisted.

You picked up your speed, I picked up mine.

As your obscenities became louder, so did the pounding in my head.

You forced me into a full-on run in the other direction. I turned my head around to try and see faces, that I might see you in the light someday and defend myself, but the darkness outside and the hoodies over your heads masked you too well.

I had a self-defense keychain in my purse. I could have taken a photo of your license plate. There was a blue light button on the other side of the street. But, who can think about fighting when flight is the more immediate route to safety?

I had so many questions for those men on that night, and they have stayed burning in my head and heart. Where did you get the idea that the verbal assault of women is okay? Did you learn that from a father who treated the females in his life as property? Did you learn that from your buddies in high school who ranked the girls by sex appeal? Did someone tell you that women want to be harassed?

I want to believe that you are good, morally upstanding people in "real life" and that you just made a silly mistake like most college guys do. But, if you have the heart to scare an innocent woman to the point of breakdown, then there is something fundamentally ignorant and wrong in the way you think.

Your behavior is unacceptable. It will be tolerated no longer.

Being male is no longer an excuse for being violent. Your raising is not a reason to make women feel endangered. You can only get away with something for so long, and one day your attitudes and actions towards the women of this world will come back to bite you.

Maybe someday, you will learn how to get the good kind of attention; the kind of attention that doesn't come at someone else's expense. When has harassment ever gained you a healthy relationship or a human encounter that enriches your life?

If you see someone, and you want to enter their life in some way, a polite "hello" is so much more effective than throwing hand gestures out a car window.

Even in all of the hurt and terror I feel, I forgive you. I want the best for your lives and hope that whatever wound your bullying and aggression spews from is healed. I hope you have good friends that sit you down and call you out the next time you force your ferocity on an innocent stranger.

Please teach your children to hold the highest respect for all women because they do not get it often.

Above all, I pray you never hurt another woman like you hurt me.

Cover Image Credit: Abercrombie/Instagram

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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