Because when I was in my teens and twenties out at night in my sleepy suburban neighbourhood, I would sandwich my keys between my fingers as a weapon. Just like the girls were taught in school. Just in case.
Because I’ve been told – one too many times – that I’d be prettier if I smiled.
Because I can’t go for an early morning jog without being acutely aware of my surroundings at all times.
Because I would never leave my drink unattended in a public setting.
Because he thought my short skirt made me a slut. And he had no qualms in letting me – and everyone around us – know that.
Because my chest doesn’t speak and maybe it wouldn’t make sense to have a conversation directly with it, thank you very much.
Because I’d prefer not to make eye contact with an unknown man on the sidewalk just in case he too misinterprets my glance as an invitation to tell me how great I look in those jeans.
Because apparently I’m being “too nice” if I say hello daily and engage in small chat with a coworker and I shouldn’t be surprised if he takes that as a sign that I’m down to fuck.
Because I’ve been repeatedly advised that if I get hit on by a man I’m not interested in, I should reply by saying that I’m in a relationship. As if being owned by one man is the only way to shut another one down. As if it’s impossible that I’m not interested
Because I’ve been groped and spanked without my permission. By men I’d never met. More than once. More than twice. More than I care to recall.
Because when I called him on the fact that he was following me in his car to the bus stop every day and I told him to leave me alone, he ignored me. And did it again. And again. And only stopped when I called the cops on him.
Because I wouldn’t take an uber alone for the first year they were in business. Because I’ll use one now but I make it a habit to let someone know my driver’s details every time. Because now there’s an automated built-in app feature – marketed to women, added by popular demand – to allow us to share our location at all times. Just in case.
Because I did these things without even thinking.
Because this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Because I’m fucking tired.