Dogged

Welcome, my child
I’m glad you came to play
The big bad wolf is muzzled
I couldn’t make him go away

There’s a nice, playful, dr. Seuss related prompt up today. I’m still processing the conversations I’ve had and read about sexual harassment and assault, sparked by the #metoo hashtag. So I’m feeling anything but playful.

Yesterday I did a lot of thinking around definitions of harassement, and when I personally consider something harassment or brush it of – and if that makes sense.

Today the concept of ‘victim’ is on my mind, because I’ve seen so many women say “I don’t feel like a victim”. For me, feeling a victim is feeling powerless. Something I want to avoid as much as I can. So it was easy to think there’s no #metoo for me: I’ve never felt a victim, so nothing happened. I realise it’s the other way around. I’ve had to deal with male behaviour that was out of line, uncalled for, etc. I didn’t feel a victim, but it was wrong all the same.

I do think I told my parents about the anonymous guy who flashed me when I was a teenager. There’s a funny word for it in Dutch: potloodventer (pencil peddler). It wasn’t funny, it was intimidating and it made me feel less safe.

I don’t think I ever told them rumours about my fourth grade teacher at the age of ten. Girls talked about that he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. He never touched me, but I remember slapping him in the face with my upper arm, because his head popped up over my shoulder when I was drawing, sitting down at my school desk.

Yesterday, my brain tried to come up with excuses: maybe he was short sighted and that’s why his face was there? It wasn’t until I tried to picture my son’s teachers (one male, one female) THAT close to his body, uninvited, unexpectedly, that I could CLEARLY see that his face wasn’t supposed to be in a position where I had the possibility (and felt right) in slapping him with my upper arm. Personal space. My personal space.

There are so many thoughts going through my head that I find it hard to be articulate. I’ll just take this subject one day at a time. And take a break when I need one.

10 thoughts on “Dogged

  1. Dawn D

    It is a difficult subject.
    Not feeling right after an encounter is your biggest clue it wasn’t appropriate.
    It may not have been meant as anything bad, but it still hurt YOU.
    I am struggling with coming to terms that I was repetitively sexually assaulted during my marriage. It wasn’t clear to me that’s what it was until 3 weeks ago. I left him 4 years ago.
    Even the mere fact he suggested we could still sleep together after we told the kids we were going to divorce was sexual harrassment.

    Sometimes, we don’t want to see it because it’s easier not too. Too hard to cope otherwise.
    And it’s Ok too. Everyone processes this as they can.

    I won’t be doing the 50 words challenge. Not in the mood either.
    I’ll see what I come up with 😊

    I love that you managed to keep the wolf muzzled, even if it didn’t go away.
    One day at a time, at your own pace.
    ❤️

    Reply
    1. Angela van Son Post author

      I remember how stunned I was when I learned that rape within marriage was legally impossible – and probably is in a lot of countries. It’s my body and if I don’t want to, i don’t want to – married or not.
      I totally understand this: “Sometimes, we don’t want to see it because it’s easier not too. Too hard to cope otherwise.”

      Reply
      1. Dawn D

        Well, here it is supposed to be a aggravating factor now. But hasn’t been for very long. Maybe 50 years? Before, it wasn’t possible.
        As for me, what I suffered from wasn’t rape (I don’t think so), but certainly assault. It’s not that I didn’t want intercourse, it’s that I certainly didn’t want it THAT way.
        But it took me 4 years outside of his influence to see it for what it was, to accept it to myself. And the number of times are too numerous to count.
        The problem with marital rape is that, even when it is illegal, since justice is rendered mostly by men, and there are no proofs, not witnesses most of the time, it’s very hard to prove. Once again the victim’s word against the agressor’s. One who starts to cry every time she has to repeat what happened or hear her partner lie to her face, and another one who is very poised and seems sane. Who cares what the law says.
        When there is marital rape, there are often no skin under the nails, no torn clothes (WHAT? you were in bed with him? You must have been OK with it!)… Sigh!

      2. Angela van Son Post author

        Very well put. I still believe that the law needs to be clear on it, even when it’s nearly impossible to make a case. The message has to be: she decides. She is the only one with RIGHTS to her body.

      3. Dawn D

        Well, HE is the only one with rights to HIS body too, but yes 😀 Then we need to get policement to apply the law without judging before hand if it can be taken to court or not. And judges/juries to actually listen to the victims.
        Simple really, all we have to do is change our society 😉

  2. msjadeli

    It may take a very long time before females, children, and the otherwise vulnerable are free from being exploited by the sick, the entitled, and the just plain evil among us. One way to move in the right direction of empowerment is to educate others, and yell it from the treetops whenever you experience it or learn of others being harmed.

    Reply

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