Second grade in primary school. I was just about to finish changing into my regular clothes following the PE class, when another group came in to change. Along with them came a boy, who somehow felt compelled to practice all his abusive vocabulary on me. He was standing to my right as I was packing my gym clothes. He hurled abuse at me with the speed of light. I doubt he even stopped to catch his breath. At some point something broke in me. My level of tolerance was effectively exhausted. That was the moment I stopped hearing the words he was saying, but only saw one target – his crotch. I was nine years old and for the life of me I cannot remember how I knew that that was the point to kick, if I really wanted to hurt a man. With the overflowing anger I knew I only had one chance and should I fail, there will be no other. I needn’t have worried. My leg found the target effortlessly. I made a point of looking at his face then. His eyes became clouded and he choked on his most recent insult. He collapsed on the floor and I left the changing room hurriedly. The girls that were with me reported my behaviour to the teacher accusing me of unwarranted aggression. The teacher asked what prompted me to dislocate this young man’s testicles into his throat.
“He was mean to me” – I answered with my eyes wet.
“Oh child, you shouldn’t have done that. It was not nice of you to kick him. He only said those things because he liked you”.
Poof! Just like that. My anger was no longer justified. My action was deemed unwarranted. Somehow the fact that he liked me justified his action and shifted the paradigm of what I should learn to accept from people despite the instinctive feeling of violation.
Let me clarify something before I continue. I condone teasing. I don’t think that teasing people is a bad thing. If I tease someone, it means that I feel sufficiently comfortable around them to do so and I like them enough to pay attention to them. However, if that teasing causes tears there is something obviously wrong with it. Abuse doesn’t fall into that category.
I had one long-term relationship. The man I chose for my partner was, as I eventually found out, a co-dependent leech, who was emotionally and financially abusive. Each time I snapped I would be told both by him as well as his family and friends that he behaved that way because he loved me; only he didn’t know how to show it. He suffered from control issues because I was “so beautiful and could have had anyone”. I could get snatched by someone else when he simply wasn’t looking (because I didn’t have a mind of my own). His financial abuse stemmed from the fact that I “came from a better family and earned more than him”. I wasn’t allowed to have friends, who were smarter than him (which wasn’t that difficult; everyone was smarter than him), because he couldn’t understand what we were talking about. So I had to understand. It wasn’t his fault. I was the trigger point.
My ex-boss decided that his behaviour towards me was due to the fact that I dressed nicely to work. I tempted him therefore and, of course him being a man, my alleged conduct excused him from staring at his own monitor but rather stare at my legs. By then my knees were always covered, I wore long sleeve, I reduced the make-up I wore to the office and yet, somehow, it was my fault.
My mum, bless her, has repeatedly said that I have “that something that attracts all perverts in the area”. Sadly these were the ones that could and did affect my finances, health and tried to control my life.
Two days ago I decided that I had enough of this. Just to give you a bit of a background, I was sick in bed for few days. The stress has caught up with me and I had chest pains, which in my case means that I need to stop whatever I am doing and get better, because if I continue, I will end up in a hospital again. A guy that I know, whom I was introduced to by one of the people I know for whatever purpose, messaged me and I politely replied. He asked how I was doing and I explained that I wasn’t feeling too well giving him a few details. He said that he felt for me and perhaps could bring chicken soup. I appreciated the gesture, but declined the chicken soup and we discussed other options. Then he mentioned something quite odd – that he would come over so we can stay in and watch a movie. I thought, did I invite you? Haven’t you just heard that I can’t move out of bed? I said that. I said it. I’m very sick and cannot move out of my bed. So then he decided to play a big ball and suggested that he could give me a relaxing massage. Fcuk, I thought (misspelling intended). Another one. How is a relaxing massage going to help me? Why would I want him to touch me in the first place? Why does he assume that I want him anywhere near me? In other words, a typical move; try to get in when she’s sick and her walls are down. They are not, dude, they are not. The fact that he’s my parents’ age and has children almost my age makes it even more sickening.
I ranted on Facebook (an excellent place to let the steam out especially, if you are bed-bound) and the responses I got were initially suggesting that it happened because I’m beautiful and, you know, he’s just a guy. Things were mostly said half-jokingly, but I wasn’t in the mood for laughing. So what, you’re telling me that a man is entitled to behave like a pig, because he’s a man? Is he a lesser human? Does he have no free will? No, he does. This one was just a penis, which had a human body for an appendage with perhaps one brain cell. That kind of behaviour has nothing to do with being a man. That I’m beautiful and therefore I should expect inappropriate offers? It’s like saying that I should expect to be poisoned by gas because I breathe. “He likes you”, another line read. No, he disrespects me.
Let’s also not forget the giant who decided to message me regularly out of the blue asking me if I would allow him to suck my toes. I will not comment on that.
Essentially, what we are teaching ourselves is that it’s fine to be treated badly, receive inappropriate offers and be exposed to potential abuse, because this is how men are and one should be happy with being treated inappropriately, because it means that, number one, you’re pretty and, number two, you’re desirable.
Dear mother, dear everyone, dear pigs (because you aren’t men) – today I decided to disagree.
How can it be that something that is inherently in me is an invitation for you to attempt to hurt me? It’s like saying that little children deserve to be raped because they dare running without clothes in-between the changing of diapers. You’re cringing now. That’s what a paedophile would do. Indeed. You’d call for his castration, but yet you would think that it’s normal to expect that kind of behaviour if a woman is an adult. If you think that then there is something seriously wrong with you.
Women, inappropriate behaviour and abuse aren’t caused by you; a woman that happens not to be hideously ugly or utterly stupid. You don’t bring these behaviours upon yourself by default. Someone, independently and outside of you clearly has an issue with himself and somehow managed to convince you that you caused it by possessing qualities which you received at the time of your birth and you have absolutely no control over. You don’t become an object of inappropriate behaviour because you’re pretty or accomplished. You are beautiful and accomplished. Full stop. You are amazing. Full stop. This is your circle.
Outside your circle and there is another circle that has nothing to do with you. That circle contains all men standing and waiting with dicks (sorry) in their hands, who are insecure about themselves, suffer from megalomania and are, quite frankly, creepy. They know that under normal circumstances they have no chances with you whatsoever so they wait for an opportunity, when you’re at your weakest to plant a thought in your mind that you aren’t worth more than what they have to offer, which is essentially that item that they happen to be holding in their hands and that, somehow, it’s going to help you. They will try and break you, not build you, to advance their own agenda. If they succeed, you will even think that this is normal, because after all you had caused it. Your response reclassifies their inappropriate behaviour into an acceptable norm and, because they are cowards, you will get blamed for it.
A detached thought on dating.
Go for the one that you know is best for you. Go for someone you admire, respect and who brings the most out of you. Someone you are actually attracted to. Never go for a guy, when your first thought is “can I work with this?” Men somehow have the sensor of whether or not you are lowering your standards for them. The moment they know that you can do better and they know that you know that you can do better, they will shit on your head, even if they are shorter, because they know that you don’t respect yourself enough to go for what’s the best for you and you’ve settled for them.
The guy that you may think is everything you ever wanted may decide to be with you or not. It’s a risk and it’s scary. In either way however you will emerge victorious, either with a man you want or with your dignity intact. If you go out with a man that you think you can “work with”, he will mistreat you, because he will know that he can abuse a woman who’s already decided that she cannot do any better.