My cousin says he loves me “despite our differences”. Our “differences” being he wants to sleep with me every time he gets drunk in my presence and I resist his advances and shun him. He once asked me “Why do you give others and not me?” I still don’t know how to answer his questions.
He speaks to me and stares at my breasts, watches me walk out of the room and I feel his eyes on my thighs. When my male friends visit he wins them over by sharing alcohol with them and cracking jokes. They talk about the latest movies and attractive females, they spend so much time looking at him, paying attention to him that they don’t notice that every time I get up to get a drink I move further away. That he constantly tells them how much he “loves” me and I never say anything back. Not even smile.
My mother constantly asks him to stay with us when they’re away. I wonder why because she knows. I wonder if she thinks what I told her when I was thirteen has changed. And I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to fight alone, quietly, than to win people over to your cause.
I watch For Colored Girls and observe the dance teacher chat gaily to the man who will soon be her rapist. He walks her home and she twirls for him as she explains something or the other about the music she loves so much. I watch her and feel sorry. Observing her enthusiasm, naivete, is like seeing a child run into the street after a ball with a speeding car on the road. Observing her is tragic. I think “But all women should know never to be so at ease.”
My body and I have an agreement. Never be comfortable around these men. We cannot afford to be. We do not need to be. It simply is not advisable to be. I sometimes glance at my closest male friends and wonder, what would it take for him to be like them? It can happen, but will it?
I think back to the time my boyfriend forced himself on me and my 12 year old self decided it couldn’t be rape because when I agreed to date him it obviously meant I knew he’d want my body and I had somehow agreed. I think of the time when my friend came back from a date no longer a virgin and no longer a believer n the Good in humans and I cannot see what it is about this Life that should make us calm,leave us at ease.
I hear men who think we should appreciate their grabbing us on the street and tell us that we modern day women don’t know how to take compliments and think, how are we wrong for not taking unwanted sexual advances and rape as flattering?
I think people who tell us we’re too wound up are the worst kind of Ignorant. How would you be if you knew smiling at a stranger on the street could be reason enough in his eyes to follow you home and have his way with you? That your uncle,father,brother could decide that you wearing shorts at home is a sign for him to come get it? That your drunk boyfriend could decide it’s funny to lock you up in a room and have his friends rape you as he watches?
Would you still be as carefree and giggle with men? Would you flirt so openly? Dress as you please and walk the streets with a guy you met last night? Would you find it as easy to go out and “socialize” and be as comfortable sitting in a room with your boyfriend? All things considered,would you?
I always say if the average man were to have a sex change tomorrow, he’d have a nervous breakdown in a week at the most. You don’t know what it’s like to be us. What it takes to be strong and appear normal when all you think about is how you might be a waiting statistic.
The human female is probably the most preyed upon creature on this Earth. And most of the time it seems we’re expected to watch while we’re devoured. Welcome it even.
Frankly,not only is a girl child not safe in a family full of men,she isn’t safe in a society that doesn’t understand nor respect,applaud, her will to survive.