Coinciding with International Anti-Street Harassment Week, Alice Xie has written a powerful essay, “My Street, My Body, My Right,” that’s a must-read for everyone who thinks that their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, colleagues, girlfriends, and women everywhere deserve better:
I was sexually harassed on a regular basis from the year I turned fourteen until the year I left for college. I tried so hard, every day, to ignore it. But I couldn’t. It changed me. The irrepressible nervousness when a stranger approached. Being afraid to look any man on the street in the eyes. Worrying I was being followed. Not wanting to leave my house unless I had to. Crying. Not crying until I got home, then crying. Hating myself for crying. Playing the faces of dozens of men back in my mind — I remember them all. Wondering what would have happened if I had bumped into them in a deserted area. The rape nightmares.
But the worst part was how it warped my own view of myself. Maybe it was my fault, I thought. Maybe I was asking for it. It was because I was small and weak, I thought. I hated myself for my own helplessness. Hated myself every time the snappy retort, the “leave me alone,” the “stop,” bubbled up furiously in my heart only to wilt in my throat. The tiny, illogical, and unshakable fear that no matter how hard I worked, I would never amount to anything more than a body. That my feelings — my disgust, the anger and loathing written all over my face — would deter no one because they simply did not matter. That it would only get worse as I grew older. That my only worth was sexual. That I was less than human. That I was nothing.
Go here to read the rest, and to find resources for more information and action.