I’m not yours to touch, again, I am not yours to be touched

We’re still in Women’s month and I recently read of a horrific experience a budding artist friend experienced in France last year and you can read about her ordeal here.

WARNING: Read this after your morning coffee and not in the hour before bed.

I finally went OUT with a friend here in Spain and some new friends (all aged 24 surprisingly)! We had the typical start to the night with food/tapas/small portions and drinks in the centre of Cordoba and made our way to the first pub. I will say I wore something pretty tantalising but not inviting as I’m good over here with my double bed and rolling space. That place was rammed and I had the tall men trying to give sneaky looking down looks as I walked past. My top screamed BOOBIES, I guess. That place was Chinese trains ram packed but still a nice crowd that I could’ve vibed with. We then drove to a ‘secret spot’, my first one for the night as I was too tired to enjoy the second spot that won’t be mentioned.

We get to the pub and I’ve taken off my jacket used as umbrella (or we can class it as light shirt over my crop top to cover my head from the rain). I pulled it on carefully as we walked through the double doors on the main road and the men standing there immediately were befuddled:

  1. Esta un negro chica? It’s a black girl?
  2. She’s got a lot of brown hair there.
  3. Red lips
  4. Breasts potential to spill

I’m calm with it all because they’re entitled to look and they were respectful and not gawking. Sometimes I’m seen as exotic and sometimes I’m just a pretty woman.

We went upstairs about 4 floors in heels and I’m still working my sway as I walk. Why not? My feet hurt so I have to be purposeful with my steps and will be over the top as this is that year. Mr DJ had the right current Spanish R n B and reggeaton pumping through the main speakers as we manoeuvred past these slight 2 steppers and sing alongers. I was pretty happy and singing along with my shoulder bop to the beat, until I walked  past a group of men near the first half of the pub (that’s transformed into a club, it’s a typical Spanish thing).

He decided to pull/stroke a loc of hair. I was slightly stunned as he was a bit out of my view but pulled hard enough that I could feel it. I turned to look at him and he’s probably border line drunk with that “hey mama come here and dance” look, my eyebrows furrowed as I had a difficult week of disappointment to not deal with a disappointing man that obviously feels that touching me is appropriate. His friend pulled him back and shook his head to say a simple, sorry. I kept it pushing and didn’t say anything. A few hours later I saw a few men looking right at my tata’s , who slowly started making their way closer to the group of us. I turned around and tapped my friend’s leg just because I knew it’d be too much fast and slurred Spanish to even try and respond to.

David, was his name. Creepily drinking his drink and watching me as I swayed lightly to the music. I just wanted to dance you know, to feel great and not self conscious.

I’m not saying men shouldn’t make it obvious that they want you, because who knows if a great guy approached me in singleness and had some character we could have dated. But this wasn’t one of those.

I’ve had men randomly touch me as I walk past, stroke my hair, grope me as we just dance, back me up in a corner where I can’t move and try to settle themselves on my neck while their hands roamed.

I can’t blame a club environment and the way women dress. I can blame men and their lack of manners, self respect and morals. When you’re drunk, the things you do show who you are at the core. I’m more environmental than genetic in the Psychology debate so you’re doing things you learnt or saw and had a heavy impact on your development.

I shouldn’t have to think twice about feeling sexy when I go out in fear of a man touching me unwantedly. I shouldn’t have to not go out and miss on loud music and a workout (I have a lot of fun when I go out). I shouldn’t have to tell a man in 2017 that when we dance or whine (not no, ‘one man in a yuh pum pum’, ‘ben ova ben ova’, ‘bruk off ya back’ types of whine) to not feel what isn’t his on a marriage license and known before God. Uggh it’s disgusting and I’ve never been too drunk to move myself away but, why do I only move and not say NO? Why don’t I open my mouth and teach that man a lesson so he can remember to respect women in future after me? Why can’t I push a man off me when he backs me into an unwanted corner? Why can’t I drop a smile, my politeness and be crass when a man puts his lips on my neck to treat him the same harsh way and push him off with strong words?

These questions are rhetorical by the way. But in moments we freeze, as women, we freeze or are afraid of confrontation and a man potentially going two steps too far to us being hurt for real. I’m an advocate for women and love female empowerment; I care for women who are victims in any form of abuse and want to remind you all that safety classes are hella vital. It’s 2017 and I know that now more than ever, these young guys are getting bulkier but more forward with their physical wants that I have to rely on my martial arts training if needed. I hope to not use it. But sweet baby Jesus in a manger please no! If I go out more often and check my ratio of unwanted male physical responses we’d have a problem, they are going to be receiving fly kicks and you’ll see me as a meme when I’m 25 bro.

Think about it: how often are you giving what may be unwanted advances or receiving unwanted intimate gestures? I highlight this for us to be safe and helpful when we can be.

If this has affected you, please seek help or ask me and I’ll help you find resources in your area.

Why can’t we be like the 90’s and just dance and groove and men used self restraint with their penis and touching strangers?

Useful links:

Victim support,  0808 168 9111, https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/rape-sexual-assault-and-sexual-harassment

MET Police, http://safe.met.police.uk/rape_and_sexual_assault/other_help_and_advice.html

SafeLine, Helpline for women 0808 800 5008; Helpline for Men 0808 800 5005 ; Young Peoples Helpline 0808 800 5007
www.safeline.org.uk

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