The movement has started, and the stories keep coming.
A woman with glasses tweets that their stories aren't stats, and oddly enough, that's all women need.
A slice of validation.
A shared space to be heard.
Me. They stand up.
Me, too. They whisper.
But even a whisper in a tiled locker room still echoes.
Me, they say.
Blonde haired, brown haired, red. All of them.
This is my story, they start. This is what happened to me.
I was in college, dating a boy, drinking at a party, sitting on a couch, laughing at dumb jokes. A massive man sat down next to me - tattooed biceps, cut off shirt, dirty jeans, a drink in one hand, and his blonde eyelashes hitting his cheeks every time he blinked.
He tried to make conversation. But -
I wasn't interested.
I didn't know him.
He was too close to me.
He smelled like football pads and musty gym lockers.
Why do I even need an excuse?
I smiled politely and turned to my friend next to me.
He didn't understand.
Instead, he put his hand on my inner thigh like he owned it, and -
Let me just tell you a secret about me and about five billion other girls:
It doesn't matter if I know you.
If I don't.
If I'm dating you.
If I'm not.
If you have blonde hair, if you're a starting center for a college football team, or if your special talent is crushing cans on your forehead.
If you can string eloquent, intelligent sentences together about economics and politics and you know which fork is the shrimp fork and which spoon is for your tea.
Or if you can't.
If you're black.
If you're white.
If you're short.
If you're tall.
Or ... if you're not.
It doesn't matter.
If I don't want your hand on my leg.
Then it doesn't belong on my leg.
I pushed his hand away. Maybe I laughed. Maybe I shook my head. I don't remember.
And the man with the cold can in his hand and the sneer on his lips and the pierced ear.
And the man with a momma and a daddy and a little brother that came to football games on Saturdays.
And the man that I would run into time and time again on campus.
Looked at me.
Opened his dirty mouth.
And bit my arm - just below the freckle that's been there since junior high, and just beside my elbow.
Not only did it leave a bruise.
And not only did it leave a perfect indentation of teeth marks.
And not only could I tell you that his bottom teeth were crooked just by looking at my arm for more than two weeks afterwards.
Not only that.
I still carry the scar from his right incisor.
I had to rip my arm out of his mouth.
Because I pushed his hand off of my thigh.
Because I rebuffed a man whose name I can't even recall.
And because I had been drinking.
And because what do you do when someone bites you when you're out of daycare and diapers?
And because who even does that to do someone else?
I let it go.
Did I shove him away?
Did I kick him?
Did I get up and walk out?
I asked him what the hell his ever loving problem was and I turned my back to him.
When I say I let it go, I truly mean that I have let it go. I haven't thought of that story in years. Haven't given that scar a second glance in years. It doesn't shape me, define me, or cage me. It's not impressed up on my heart, and it doesn't steal grace from my well.
But it did happen.
There are a million girls behind me in line waiting to tell their own stories, and I'm almost positive they're worse than mine. Literally every woman I know has a story of being grabbed, touched, leered at, or lunged for. Or worse - "moved on" ... whatever that means.
And so it goes.
And so it goes.
I think of the men in my life a lot. They're my North. What my dad. My brother. My step-dad. My boyfriend. My papa. What they do combines into some sort of guidepost - a check list, of sorts.
I notice what they do.
I notice what they don't do.
I notice what they say.
I notice what they don't say.
And without hesitation.
I can tell you that the men in my life would never.
Grab, grope, lunge, leer, pet, or bite.
Wouldn't cat call. Wouldn't whistle.
Because that's what good, honorable, and just men do.
They do what is right.
Here's to more men like that. Here's to raising our boys with respect running through their bones, and admiration and stars in their eyes for women. Here's to raising boys that open doors and help their counterparts shine, shine, shine.
Like the radiant suns they are.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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