I am sick of stories of people blacking out from drinking and waking up next to someone in bed who they don’t remember seeing the night before, people going home with their sober friend while they're drunk and don't want to have sex but end up having sex and many more stories that have been told to me in confidence.
I encourage people to come forward about this, but it makes me sick to hear about it. It makes me sick to hear that I am not the only one experiencing this because, in a way, I wish that I was. I would give anything to be alone in this struggle. If I were alone, then I would have some faith that people are nearly always good instead of hearing more accounts of how they aren’t.
This is not a new subject for anyone, I am sure.
I was in seventh grade when a few of my friends and I were sexually harassed by someone. He would send us letters and tell us how he wanted to “have sex with us.” We were 13-year-old kids who thought that hugging and holding hands was a big relationship move. My friend, who was also being harassed, had it to the point that she was afraid to play her cello in class because it required her to spread her legs and he wrote in one of his letters how he wanted to be in between them.
This is what needs to change.
He might have had his own issues, but he was not even offered help by the school, as "there was nothing for them to do, that’s just how he is."
A line I’ve heard too many times before.
If you still don’t believe that there is a problem, then let me bring you to my senior year of high school. There was another guy who was always a couple lockers down from me who I had heard had developed a crush on me. I didn’t think too much about it.
So, I ignored it and continued living my life. A Twitter account kept mentioning me in their tweets, and it had his name on the account. At first, it was fine; the account was just asking me how I was doing and whatnot, nothing too serious.
I began to think that it was an account made by my guy friend, so I blocked the account so that I didn’t have to deal with it.
However, when I blocked the account, things took a turn.
The tweets became more aggressive, calling me a bitch, talking about going to my house, stalking me and eventually even that he wanted to “make love to me.” I was terrified. The tweets kept coming to my account even though I blocked them and I grew more scared to look outside for fear that he would be out there.
I suddenly remembered a couple days before that, when I was taking a friend home and realized that I had forgotten something at school. I began to turn around in an abandoned parking lot. That was when I realized that he was following me and he almost drove into that parking lot too before I quickly made a U-turn. His blinker was on to continue to follow me and I was scared. I just tried to brush it off and tell myself I was overreacting.
I was terrified because what he tweeted could very easily have actually been taking place. I couldn’t sleep that night because I didn’t have a lock on my bedroom door to protect me if he made it inside the house. The next morning, I went straight to the principal’s office with my mother and told him what had happened.
He told me that they would talk to him about it and sent me home. He said that no one had to know what happened to me.
I wanted people to know that this was happening so that they could be outraged about it too.
Meanwhile, people were having their own opinions about the ordeal. I was tagged in many, many tweets joking about the situation that had brought me to tears and afraid to leave my own house. I was tagged in tweets that said “I wish someone loved me this much,” or “this is #goals.”
It made me sick.
The kid did not receive any punishment and the other jokers on Twitter never understood how wrong they were. I never received any sort of action to help me feel safe.
These are solely my examples and no action was taken during these cases. These are examples coming from your very average, middle-class life, which doesn't include when I was raped my freshman year of college. Maybe my life is an anomaly of bad things happening to me, but I wouldn’t want to take that chance.
The time is now for a change, and that starts by accepting that our society has a problem with harassment, assault and rape.