Thank You For Sexually Harassing Me

Subject: Thank You For Sexually Harassing Me
From: Every Girl, Ever.
Date: 31 Mar 2015

Thank You For Sexually Harassing Me.
For it shows me what real men look like. They look like the men I am surrounded by. They look like the security guard of my apartment building – the one who waits until I am safely inside the elevator before he goes into his little room. They look like my teachers and peons from school – the men who would wait until the very last girl had gotten home in one piece. They look like the boyfriend who waits for me to let him know I am safe in bed after a night out. They look like my brother, my father, and my friends. The men who treat me like I should be treated.
But some ‘men’ are unlike any of these.

To the elderly taxi driver who couldn’t tear his eyes away from my cleavage while he drove me around the city. You look like you could be my grandfather’s age. I wish you thought the same when you looked at me, too. I was fully clothed and you managed to make feel so naked in your taxi that day. It was a pleasant winter evening and you had me break out in a sweat when I noticed you ogling at me. You showed me how lucky I am to have a home where I feel safe, because your taxi is clearly not where I’d like to be in times of trouble.
Thank you for sexually harassing me.

To the man who sat opposite me on the bus last night. Did you not notice me looking away with disgust when I caught you staring at me, and licking your lips? Could you not see how uncomfortable you made me? And do you remember how you pretended to be innocent when I tried to create a ruckus? All I wanted to do was get off of that bus, and all I was hoping for is that you don’t get off with me and follow me home. You don’t look a day older than my dad. And you don’t look half as capable as him to treat a woman they way she deserves.
Thank you for sexually harassing me.

To the plumber who worked in my grandparents’ apartment building. I was a college student, and you weren’t. Do you remember calling our house and professing your ‘love’ for me? I hadn’t spoken to you even once! I don’t think you realise how scared you made my parents. And let’s not even talk about all the questions I had to answer before they finally believed the truth and got you fired. I was afraid of you getting fired because I was only too aware of the fact that you knew where I lived. You made me feel unsafe in my own house, even though I was surrounded by the love and protection of family at home. You made me realise the importance of ALWAYS talking to someone about any form of harassment.
Thank you for sexually harassing me.

To the young rickshaw driver who took me to meet my friends. You looked like you were my older brother’s age. You overheard an argument I was having with my then boyfriend and I remember you smiling to yourself while I was talking to him on the phone. You asked for my number and offered to ‘make me happy’ since my own boyfriend couldn’t. I am thankful I was alone that day, because I know you wouldn’t have made it out alive if anyone I knew had been accompanying me. I am not sure if the feeling is mutual, but I would hate to be the reason you get gravely injured. You made me realise how important it is to keep a personal contact informed about my whereabouts no matter what the time of day is.
Thank you for sexually harassing me.

To my ‘friend’ from way back when. I was 15 and a virgin. I trusted you, I liked you. And you tried to force yourself on me. I remember feeling your arousal and feeling the blood drain away from my face. You pushed me against the wall and tried to touch me in places I had only read about in biology textbooks. You apologized profusely, long after I stopped waiting for it. I think you meant for it to be a means of ensuring I don’t tell anyone. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Unlike you, I cared about you and did not want to hurt you. But did I ever tell you, you scared me to death? I wish you had asked, first. I would have told you that it makes me uncomfortable and we may still have been friends today. You made me realise the importance of learning to trust people before I let them in. Before I can be myself around them, before I begin to consider them to be my ‘friends’. You made realise my own strength when I managed to push you away and run as far away from you as possible. And you gave me the courage to cut you out of my life.
Thank you for sexually harassing me.

To all of you, the ones who didn’t make this list, the ones I don’t remember and the ones I still haven’t met. Thank you for sexually harassing me. I now know that I am lucky to be surrounded by men for whom I am not a mere object. I could be someone’s girlfriend, wife, sister, daughter and mother. But all you see is a vagina and breasts. I am sure you have a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, maybe all of them. And they are probably not as fortunate as I am, but I hope you treat them differently than you did me.

Thank you for sexually harassing me and countless others who may or may not be like me. It tells us that we’re made of so much more than you and we can do so much better than you. Maybe you will know who you are when you read this or someone tells you about it. Maybe you will hang your head in shame. Maybe you will feel a fraction of the humiliation you subjected us to.

Or maybe you won’t.