We've all seen a lot of publications around sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and general disrespect of women lately, with the #Metoo campaign.
I come a little bit late in the game, but I am tired of witnessing red flags and seeing men behaving like predators. I am tired of having to stand up for myself as a woman, having to set limits because they've been crossed, and having to comfort my girlfriends for the same reasons.
So I've decided to share a few examples of red flags (true stories), from my experience, from soft to risky:
Situation 1: you are on a date. Your date spends more time looking at your breast and your bottom when you turn around, rather than listening to your conversation. And when a bunch of girls passes you, he literally turns his head back. No surprise there. Oh and in case you wondered, it was not a Tinder date. And I did not wear revealing clothes.
Situation 2: you walk up the street with heavy bags from the supermarket. A car stops. The dude asks you to come closer so he can talk to you... You naively think he wants to offer his help. Instead, he tells you (warning - raw language): "Don't move, I will come back to break your legs and lick your pussy until you scream". You're so confused you forget to note down his license plate.
Situation 3: you are interviewing for a job. The HR advises you to not look under the table.
Situation 4: you apply for a model gig and meet the 70 y.old manager in a cafe. He asks for your cup size for the bikini you are going to wear, and before you have time to answer, he swiftly grabs your breasts to "measure himself".
Situation 5: you book a massage online. Turns out the massage takes place in a private home, and the therapist spends an awkwardly long amount of time massaging your upper thighs.
Situation 6: you are in a cab in Mexico, middle of the jungle, no network and no soul in the streets. The car driver puts his hand on your leg. You push him away and pray.
I have experienced a million small situations like that. But despite the red flags, I kept going for it. I saw this guy again, I kept seeking those jobs, I stayed in the car.
And worse, most times, I did not speak up.
Why? Low self-esteem? Probably. Fear of making the other person uncomfortable? Definitely.
At the moment, I knew exactly what to do, I knew exactly what to say. I was screaming inside of my head.
But I got paralyzed. Shame was taking over. I thought I had misunderstood. It thought it was not real.
Earlier in January, three of my friends confessed having been raped.
But that's not what shocked me the most.
What shocked me the most was that they KEPT HANGING OUT with the predators. They did not see themselves as victims.
They blamed themselves for not having known better.
For having accepted their drinks.
For having trusted them to take care of them and respect them as they were saying no. As they were crying. After they blacked out.
And the only thing they wanted to do in the morning was to hide away and pretend it did not happen.
A pure walk of shame.
So I am begging you ladies to go ahead and speak up. And if you can't do it on the spot, it is never too late. Trust your instincts. Remove toxic people from your life. Respect yourself and do not let anyone enter your intimacy without your consent.
There are too many stories of disrespect towards women, abuse, and sexual harassment.
My trick is to count the red flags:
- One red flag: be on your toes. Speak up.
- Two red flags: just walk away.