Where to start? For an issue that affects my friends, most women, and yes, men too, and myself, and inevitably my future children.
We ask, why? Why it happens? Is it culture? Society? Objectification through the media and a lifelong “training”? It seems so deep, so complex, it is overwhelming. We are judged for not covering enough. We are judged for covering too much. We are judged for saying yes, and judged for saying no, until it doesn’t matter what we say.
We learn to brush it off. To forget it. To not make a big deal. We’re worried about victim shaming. Worried about what people might think or say. Sometimes we actually convince ourselves that it’s fine, we’re over it. Sure, we wish we had said this or that, or put up more of a fight. But we handled it, somewhat, right?
If I think of a dear friend, or a younger girl, or my future daughter getting grabbed the way I was, I get angry. Very angry. Much angrier than when it happened to me. Why accept things done to us if we could never accept them done to someone we love? We need to see that all of it, no matter how little it may seem, is unacceptable. It doesn’t have to get violent or go “all the way” to be completely wrong…
Perhaps we do not need more victims speaking up. Perhaps it’s time for the guilty to stand and admit their fault. Admit that amidst this society and peer pressure and ignorance, they are guilty. Maybe they did it once and then realized the horror. Maybe they still do it, because “everyone else does it”. Maybe they feel that if it they don’t mention it, it is not real and they have done no wrong.
So let us encourage the guilty to confess. And let us hear their sincere apology. Their sincere desire for change. Because victims can learn how to fight and speak up and avoid danger. But then they, we, will always remain victims.