March marks Womyn’s History Month in the US, and has International Womyn’s day on the 8th. On cue, there are tons of articles popping up to help raise awareness on gender justice and women’s empowerment. As I finally get my fingers tapping and writing for myself on this blog, I want to take a more personal slant with this month’s entry.
Lately, I have been experiencing absurdly high amounts of microaggressions from men. Although this is nothing new, I should mention that I have drastically down-sized my exposure to social spheres. I go to work, and go home. On weekends, I go for walks, maybe go to a community function to see some friends, then go home. For the past several months, I’ve tried to spend as little time as possible being out and about in society because depression and anxiety hit me pretty hard this winter. Given that I’ve limited the amount of opportunities to make myself vulnerable to harassment, it still happens. Such as (and these are just a few):
- Not being clear with intentions
- Using my front-line position at work as an ego boost
- …Or mistaking my general personality for attraction
These are minor and not threatening by any means, but it explains just how normalized we have been made to just deal. Although I exaggerate that stuff like this happens to me ERRDAY, it is damn close to it. Just this morning, there was an elementary school class taking a field trip that I passed on my way to work. I heard one of the boys from behind me try to holler, and I cringed as I imagined him a few years later growing into manhood doing the same cat-call to another sister on the street.
So, what is my point? My point is I’m pretty fucking ticked off. Enduring stuff like this every single day or multiple times in one day, no matter what city, context or space – we put up with it all. I’m also pissed that even other women take the “I don’t know why you’re still so surprised” attitude when I bring this stuff up. They mishear me because I am not surprised, but I am indeed angry. So please, don’t fuck with my Womyn’s History Month. Or in other words, my own history month as a womyn. Because really, we should celebrate ourselves.
Last month, I payed attention to the #surivorloveletter that went around on Valentine’s day. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to look it up now. Through all the ugliness and pain and suffering, survivors truly are beautiful souls to cherish and learn from. What breaks my heart most – because this has happened to me – is that survivors of any form of sexual abuse are often left or blamed in relationships for being “crazy.” Even more heart wrenching is that so many men out there are most likely going to attempt a relationship with another survivor (unbeknownst to them) down the road and then flee for the same reason, tearing yet another sister apart. Many don’t understand what it is like to have to heal from traumatic pasts, and in my experience, most don’t have the patience. So, during my exploration of “survivors” and “lovers,” I really intended to question WHY THE FUCK men expect to find a non-crazy, strong as hell womyn when 1 in 6 of us have survived sexual abuse? To add context:
While there are many things we can do to heal ourselves, having extra support from loved ones and dear friends always helps. Here were some of the links that were posted on that thread:
- Supporting Your Partner in Their Healing From Sexual Trauma
- 5 Reasons Why Shaming Survivors into Reporting Rape is Counter Productive
- A Primer on the Neurobiology of Trauma
- Building Supportive Communities: How We Can Make Every Space Safe for Survivors
And other related links:
- Photographer Captures What Male Entitlement Feels Like to Women Who Experience It
- What Video Games Can Teach Us About Consent and Intimacy
- “To the Indigenous Woman,” Poem by the 1941s
- Baby Girl – Brotha Ali
So this month, I’m turning inwards and reflecting on my own experience as being womyn as well as explore how I can heal more deeply than I have already. But don’t worry – I’ll emerge soon enough, because I know I have fierce sisters who are looking out.
In the meantime, you can catch me upholding the legacy and power of women’s resistance here and abroad at the 105th International Working Women’s Day March at Lake Merritt Amphitheater this weekend. Hope to see you there!