Walking While Female (by Jody Casella)
We were eight years old.
We were twelve. Sixteen. Twenty. Thirty-five. Eighty.
We were walking.
We were jogging. Dancing. Drinking. Not drinking. Riding the subway. Swimming. Stepping onto an elevator. Carrying groceries. Sleeping.
We wore short, tight skirts.
We wore bikinis. Sweatpants. Pantsuits. Prom dresses. Pajamas.
We were assaulted.
We were molested. Groped. Degraded. Raped. Silenced.
We are your mothers.
We are your daughters. Your wives. Girlfriends. Sisters. Co-workers. Strangers.
We are Women.
We speak for ourselves.
And we say:
When I was nine, my uncle grabbed me when we were alone in his back yard and stuck his tongue in my mouth. I couldn't breathe. When he let me go and I was trying to catch my breath, he laughed. When I was twelve my family dentist kissed me on the mouth repeatedly. I never told anyone about either of these incidents because I didn't think anyone would believe me. I still don't think they would have. Thank you for this post, Jody.ReplyDelete
Susan, I am so sorry these men did this to you. It's been horrifying to me--especially over the past few weeks-- to hear how many women and girls have had similar experiences. It makes me fear for my daughter and it makes me sad for the little girl and teenager I was once-- and for all of the girls and women sharing their stories. I know all men do not do these things (I am married to a good man and together we raised a good son) but I think we all must do a better job of speaking out and calling out the shit behavior of the men and boys who objectify and prey on us.Delete
I like that you wrote this for "scary things." I'm so used to the everyday fear of "walking while female" that I almost don't even think of it as fear. The other night I had to leave a conference to get home and put my daughter to bed. After the speaker finished, everyone was kind of just milling around, not leaving, so I had to walk through the dark parking lot alone. I had my keys laced through my fingers and I walked briskly and made it to my car without incident, knowing the whole time that if anything had happened, I would have heard, "Didn't she know not to go out in the dark alone?"ReplyDelete
I have the same thoughts whenever I'm driving alone and need to stop at a rest area. Hyper alertness. Paranoia. We don't often stop to think about how crazy it is. And sad.Delete
When I was 5, the neighbor touched me. Guess who was blamed? ME! For playing where I wasn't supposed to.ReplyDelete
This is a brilliant post, Jody. Thank you for writing it.