The day started like any other. I woke up, got ready, and went to my 10 a.m. English class. After leaving the campus, a group of guys in a van said something to me while one of them blew a kiss at me. I didn’t react and instead kept on walking the shortcut through the quiet neighborhood and headed home. Three blocks later, I heard someone honking at me, along with wolf whistles and kissing noises. Through the corner of my eye, I saw the same van following me and pulling up to the curb besides me. The car quickly drove off and I dialed my mother, crying into the phone about what just happened and how terrified I was. Throughout the whole incident, I kept fearing for my life and thinking, “This is it. Something bad is going to happen to me by the hands of these four men.” I remember hearing the fear and panic in her voice the minute she heard my voice crack as I asked her to stay on the line with me. I was already far from campus, so I walked along the street of a middle school and kept looking back to make sure I wasn’t followed. The fear that ran through me was a feeling that women are not foreign to.
Each and every day, women get harassed and catcalled by men and it’s disgusting and extremely terrifying. The other day, I made a poll on twitter that garnered 491 votes in total. Of those 491 votes, 77% voted yes, to having been harassed/catcalled. About two months back, my good friend made a mini thread about how she, too, experienced the scary feelings of harassment. Almost everyone that I know has had their own scary experiences with harassment. This fearful feeling is something that no woman, or anyone, for that matter, should ever experience. No one should ever be stalked by men and thinking that they’re going to be kidnapped or raped, or worse. No one should ever experience that feeling of your heart stopping and the world standing still the moment a group of men or less start to harass you.
In what is now Trump’s America, women are now living in fear way worse than they already have. More men like Brock Turner and Owen Labrie are going to walk freely from raping women. Trump himself has many claims of sexual assault against him, but nothing is being done about it. If the president can walk free, so will many others. In fact, just recently an Idaho judge ordered a nineteen year old rapist, Cody Duane Scott Herrera, that if Herrera completed a year of celibacy, he would get probation rather than be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The justice system is failing women! The justice system is a big, fat joke! There is no justice for anyone, let alone women. We are not safe, we are not protected, we have no one on our side to help us in our times of need. Women are catcalled and harassed and assaulted on the daily and when we speak up about it, we are silenced. We are told to simply “get over it.” We can’t get over it because it is something that scares us. It is something that makes our hearts stop and sink into our stomachs. It makes us want to throw up. It makes us fear for our safety.
How am I expected to get over something that makes me fear for my life?
To those who expect women to get over harassment, instead of trying to silence us, silence your uncalled for, unwanted opinions. You won’t know the fear until it happens to you.