I had just gotten off the bus at Phil Ellena street, I was traveling home from school and it was around 7:00 at night. It was cold, dark and damp from the rain that drenched the city earlier in the day The only thing I had on my mind was getting home and starting my homework. The streets lights were on but in reality it wasn’t nearly enough light for me to feel safe on to travel 5 blocks. 5 blocks may seem short but those blocks were long and in the cold they seemed even longer with the few set of eyes staring at me from across the street. The bus pulled off and I started to cross the street heading towards the corner store. There were always guys plastered in front of the store, probably selling drugs or doing some other mischievous act but they always watch me as soon as I get off the bus and usually I’m not intimidated by it but tonight was different.
Walking past the group guys, I made eye contact with the creepiest one. I looked him from his feet up to his head taking in every detail of his appearance. He was a big buff black guy, with a fitted cap on his head. He had a diamond earring in his ear which was gleaming due to the radiance off of the streetlight. His left hand was deep into the pocket of his jeans and his pants hung low. I was a tad bit afraid because he tried to hit on me once in the store. The moment I caught eye contact I suppose he thought it was his moment to attack. He started calling for me and of course I ignored the first few calls but as he kept calling they seemed to get more and more intense. “You should smile sometimes.” “You have a nice body.” “I be seeing you around girl.” I kept trying to ignore him until his final words to me were “Fuck you too bitch, you ugly anyway.” I almost yelled at him, to say something derogatory back but I realized it probably wasn’t the best thing to do so I just walked away. But why? Shouldn’t I have stuck up for myself or something. Who is he to degrade me like that?
I’ve been facing my whole life like this, that this is the life of a woman. Men who feel as if it is in their power to sexualize you, harass you and make you feel worthless when you don’t agree. I thought women were supposed to be idolized as queen and the bearer of life. I believed that they should be respected and almost put on a pedestal to show how worthy they are but men who are born from a woman’s womb still find a way to disrespect us. Is catcalling, street harassment and the degradation of women considered violence? Yes. It makes women feel vulnerable , neglected, unsafe and attacked.
Going through these experiences, I realized violence falls a lot heavier on women and it is usually implemented by men. Each year over 51% of women which is above the national majority experience partner violence or sexual assault in 2012. In 2003, 119 women died as a result of physical violence in the workplace. 1 in 5 women compared to 1 in 71 men are victims of sexual violence or will become victims of sexual violence in their lifetime and this number has not gone down. We are suppose to honor and protect women, not beat them down with hatred,violence and discrimination. We as a community, not only men but also women need to stand together and demand equal rights and safety to women at home, in public and at their homes. It is our duty as a community and as a nation to provide respect for all women of all shapes and ethnicities.
"Facts About Abuse." Facts About Abuse | Abused Women's Aid in Crisis. Abused Womens Aid's In Crisis, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
"Violence Against Women In The Workplace." AFL-CIO. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.