In the spirit of being brave, I am going to tell you a story.
A story so close to the truth, you’ll be wondering if this is indeed true or not.
One day, I woke up to go to work. It was a lazy morning, much like every other morning. I went about my business as per usual. The traffic is much the same as always. The weather was no different either. Everything was as it always has been. No highs. No lows. Just a regular steady line.
Come midday, the status quo of the steady life is about to change.
I was doing my work, as was expected of a worker. I was minding my own business, as I would expect from others too. I was trying to be respectful and mindful, as what a normal human being should.
Everything was as it should be, when a hand shot out and was, what I understood, caressing the side of my face.
This sounds like an oxymoron, but as the event happens, to me it seems like it was in slow motion and that I was somewhere watching it unfurl; yet it seems to have happened so fast I had no means to dodge or to protect myself.
All I know, it was something I didn’t want to happen; it was something that was uncalled for; it made me feel extremely uncomfortable and violated; it was most definitely and without a shadow of doubt, unprofessional.
My mind was reeling. It went from, “what the fuck just happened?” “I gotta wash me face, pronto!” “Whoa, wait, what?” “Hold the fuck up, was that not sexual harassment?”
Sexual harassment can be a number of things, of which was nicely summed here.
Telling this story was both easy and difficult (another oxymoron). It was easy because the moment I made up my mind this constitutes as sexual harassment, I went straight to my friends and told them about it. But, it is also difficult because there’s that fear of backlash.
What if people think I’m just being dramatic?
What if people think I’m trying to slander the other person’s name?
What if people think I’m the one responsible for beeing touched by someone else?
What if people think I’m weak?
What if this blows out of proportion?
And, worst of all, I kept on thinking, “why am I so embarrassed by it?”
I’ve had a number of people telling me that I was just either being too dramatic (“oh that’s just because he cares for you, that’s why he did that”), or that what had happened was of no importance (“well, it’s not like he tried to grope you or kiss you, right?”), or simply dismissing my experience altogether because apparently my so-called sexual harassment experience was not harrowing enough for some people.
It angers me all the more. First I was angry because I wasn’t able to stop that from happening to me. That I wasn’t able, at the time, to tell it to his face that what he did was wrong and unprofessional, not to mention is also a sexual harassment. Next I was angry because a lot of people out there still dismiss stuffs like these as not worth noting because no one’s getting forcibly penetrated.
This culture of accepting acts such as unsolicited touch (so long as it’s not on the breast or butt) or name calling (so long as it’s not ‘whore’, ‘bitch’, etc.) is not healthy. Just because someone is not groping your breasts and/or butts doesn’t mean that’s not sexual harassment. When someone calls you ‘babe’ and you feel uncomfortable, know that is already sexual harassment.
A lot of celebrities are coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. I wanted to come forward with my own. To be brave is to be bold. I want to be brave in telling this story. No matter what the backlashes are, I stand by my case; what I experienced was sexual harassment and I have every right to feel safe.
In response to The Daily Post prompt, Brave.