I arrived to Mexico a few days ago. The last two and a half months I have spent in India. I have so much to tell about that so I started writing the blog post. But then I realised I have a more important issues to write about.
Yes, me too. As so many other girls and women. It is about when someone does something to my body without me giving my consent. Has it happened to me? It’s no use start counting all the times. Yes, it has happened. In ways that some people might call innocent but also in ways that have gotten men into jail.
I have spent in total almost four months in India, the country everyone has warned me about traveling on my own, and not once has anyone touched me in a not appropriate way.
The one who actually did was an Australian white male who took the liberty of kissing me while having a conversation. A stranger I had known as a co-traveller for five hours. A stranger who got angry with me for not being interested.
This example is one that some might call an innocent one. But to me it wasn’t. Because when you start tolerating these tiny violations, then where do you draw the line for when it is a serious one. There are girls and women who have been raped and in court they are asked it they actually did scream and how loud.
I didn’t know how to defend myself when I was repeatedly sexually abused in my early teens. But what I do know is that men are constantly demonstrating their power when interacting with women.
Every day men demonstrate their superiority towards women. Recently I read a study showing that when men talk about things they are not sure or dont know anything about, they still talk about it in a very sure and assertive way. As if what they say is a fact. This is a way of showing power.
Being a woman questioning that can be lethal I have noticed.
When men run out of arguments in a discussion the punch back, the degrading comment is always about the female physique, mental health or as a sexual threat. The latest comment I got from an opponent in a discussion was his conclusion that I was probably drunk.
Being mentally abused is to me as bad as being physically abused. No one should tolerate any sort of abuse. And I think the most important thing with this #metoo movement is that every woman, every person who has been abused will see that they are not alone. Not being alone is about supporting each other.
If we hear about someone being abused we have to take actions, we have to give our support that person, we have to tell them to fight back, that they are not alone.
Also when it comes to the small violations of the me, of the you, body and mind. In the everyday life.
The bottom line is all about respect. In every day life. So simple.
Don’t degrade women that has a strong opinion as being difficult. Listen to their opinion and meet it with arguments in stead of diminishing words.
So back to sexual harassment. As Alexander Karim express the issue in a Swedish paper today; (in Swedish)
‘Guys, if you see me eating an ice cream and you would like to have a taste of it, you would ask me first, right?’
If you men ask me if you want to touch me and my answer is no, then don’t touch me. If my answer is yes, then you have my consent.
If you men touch me without asking first, then it’s sexual harassment.