Friday, September 13, 2013

College Harassment

I'm in college now, despite the efforts to keep me fundless and unable to achieve my goals.
But that gripe isnt my story. 
My story is about the systematic harassment that I encounter going to and from my classes.

I am a big-chested, big-rear-ended woman thanks to my family genes (not complaining, just saying.)
I hover around 200lbs on a 5'4 frame that makes my BMI in the "Clinically Obese" range but everyone says that I "carry it well" which means that I look hot despite being "round." (I guess?)

I am attractive, and therefore I attract attention.
NO MATTER what I wear.
Because i have tried ducking into hallways, taking the long way around, using multiple layers, and wearing my stretched-out jeans.  Even in skirts I get accosted.  You know what they tell me?  "You have a beautiful smile."

I have made a conscious decision to not hide.  I am a human being and I should not have to cover myself and take quick detours into the women's bathroom to avoid people I know are following me.  I should not have to be the one to take steps to prevent the sexual harassment I encounter on a daily basis.

EVERY DAY I attend classes I get some form of "compliment."  It is not my classmates, it is the men in the hallways.  When I walk up to the doors I have had men leaving the building open the door, see me coming, and walk back inside in order to walk past me when I enter the building. 

I had two men vie for me to walk through the door they took great pains to hold open (there were two doors and both were being held open).  When I walked through the one closest to me (giving the guy a quick "thank you") the guy holding open the other door said (as I remember it) "Shoot, you can always pick my door next time, darling."
The same 3 minutes after that happened (Thursday, so yesterday) I was walking straight to the library to print out some papers to submit and three men rounded the corner to the library about 50 feet before I got there.  I almost ducked away, but reminded myself I was not required to hide.  I kept my pace and kept my eyes on the floor about 10 feet in front of me. 
Every single one of the three men said "hi" to me, two using a term of endearment, as we passed.  I nodded at them and kept walking.  One asked over his shoulder (as I kept walking) if he could come with me wherever I was going.  I retorted that they were walking the wrong way, and quickly sped up my pace, turned the corner and ran into the library.

Frequently, an older guy (30, maybe?) finds it nice to pass me (every Tuesday, I swear he waits in the hallway for me to come in, whatever time I arrive he is there) and ask me to smile.  Like somehow I am required to share my smile with him.  He insisted on asking me my name (and at first I didnt realize the pattern and gave it to him) and always catches up to me "Hey, _____, how are you? You have such a pretty smile..." 

I go to classes at my own risk, despite daily being accosted and sexually harassed because of issues out of my control.  It messes with my peace of mind and ability to focus on school because they think they have the right to see me only as a sexual being. 
But I guess none of that matters because "Boys will be Boys" and all that other claptrap that they tell women in order to keep the system in place. 
Did any of those men have a right to call me "sweetie" or "darling"?  Do I have the right to tell them to stop eyeing me like a piece of meat?  Can I slap them in the face next time they accost me?
Or is is just "simple flirtation" and I am the one being all inflammatory?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Recent Activity

I am very much alive and still a functioning human being.
I have not been blogging, preferring to use commenting on other people's blogs as a method of expressing myself.

However, I did recently submit and article for Homeschoolers Anonymous for one of their series.

I have joined their cause whole-heartedly, having been homechooled through high school in many states and a different country.  They are the voice of awareness and reason.  For FAR too many years only the positives (which have not all been true) have been allowed to be expressed about homeschooling.  The fear of being taken away by CPS and the idea that homeschooling was not a viable educational alternative made people circle the wagons and aim all guns outward.

However, this isolation and "us vs. them" ideology that was drilled into many homeschooled children (now adults) sometimes did more harm than good.  Even if it was only a small amount of harm and a large amount of good, there was harm done.  In pursuit of "do no evil," homeschooled adults are now speaking up about their experiences in hopes that people will listen and think before making any of the mistakes that happened to them.  If pain, suffering, educational neglect, and abuse can be prevented: we wish with all our heart to prevent it. 
H.A. is not all negativity and readers are welcome to share positives in their upcoming series "A Week of Joy."
I will attempt to contribute, although writing out my thoughts has been more of a toll than I expected.  I am spending more time playing free Cell than writing.  It is like a mind trip to find positives and then not immediately jump into the "but anyway" that is dismissive and excuses all the pain and hurt. (learned that from therapy!  Sharing a hurt and changing topics with "...but ANYWAY...." you are dismissing what you said previously and negating it.  Fun fact)

AKA, even though there was bad, mentioning positives does not dismiss the good and does not outweigh the good making the bad inadmissible.
But there was a lot good.  And I know that this good is what made me the good person that I am and cause my former co-workers to tell my mother repeatedly "You raised a wonderful girl" when I brought her around to work last year.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Work of Artifice

The bonsai tree
in the attractive pot
could have grown eighty feet tall
on the side of a mountain
till split by lightning.
But a gardener
carefully pruned it.
It is nine inches high.
Every day as he
whittles back the branches
the gardener croons,
It is your nature
to be small and cozy,
domestic and weak;
how lucky, little tree,
to have a pot to grow in.
With living creatures
one must begin very early
to dwarf their growth:
the bound feet,
the crippled brain,
the hair in curlers,
the hands you
love to touch. 

 Marge Piercy

I have been silent for a long time.
I am thinking of posting occasionally on this blog as I feel able.
I write one article recently for Homeschoolers Anonymous.

Its not something I have EVER talked about, and most people in my life have no idea.
WE shall see what the future holds.