4

My father was a prison guard for several decades, and he’s told me lots of stories. Overarching in these stories is this idea–this culture–in the maximum security prisons of Michigan: “Do the crime, do the time.”
I think about it constantly. Because there are consequences to your actions and I sometimes wonder, if those men can remember that while they’re on the inside why the actual can’t, say, the asshole who came for me yesterday in Wrigleyville.
AND THEN I remember the answer, and truly, this is the thing that has me up in arms.
For them, there aren’t consequences to their actions.
See. This fella, walks up behind me while I’m at a liquor store. I’m paying for my beer, minding my own business and a man I do not know walks up behind me. Places his hands on my bare shoulders and runs them down my neck and onto my chest.
I pull away and let loose a brigade of curses, and he says, “Sorry babe. Yeah. That was too handsy.”
I freeze. I squint. And I say, “I’m sorry, is there some amount of touching a woman you do not know that is not “too handsy”?”
He does not respond.
I continue, “You know, you’re lucky you caught me on a good day. Some days I’d’ve just punched you for that.”
He does not respond. Nobody responds. The cashier looks embarrassed, the woman this asshole came into the store with looks embarrassed. But nobody says anything. I should’ve punched him.
He is the second person in one week who has touched me without my damn permission.
By the time I get to where I’m going I’m shaking so badly that I cannot open my own beer. My friend has to do it for me.
By the time I go home I’m so drained of energy that my roommate makes a lighthearted joke about how low my voice is. “Have you been smoking?” he asks, “You are suddenly a bass.”
I don’t tell him that that’s what happens when I’m furious. I have stress dreams all night. I wake up in fight or flight twice.
And the guy? I promise you. He hasn’t thought twice about me.
I want to live in a world where rape and assault have huge overarching dire consequences. But I don’t. The motherfucker from Stanford is only going to prison for six months and the asshole I encountered yesterday is probably in his office this morning, thinking nothing of it.
If you think we don’t need feminism. If you think that there’s not work to do. If you think we are, in any way, done–turn around, find a woman you are close to and ask them how many times they’ve been humiliated, made afraid, hurt, traumatized by a culture that tells them they are objects. I promise you they all have stories. We all have stories. And the assholes who came for us, some of them, they don’t even know that what they did was wrong. ‪#‎dobetter‬ ‪#‎makeitbetter‬ ‪#‎fourthwave‬ ‪#‎feminism‬ ‪#‎riseup‬‪#‎fightingthepatriarchy‬

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2 thoughts on “4

  1. Pingback: — | Emma Couling

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