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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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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