VISIBILITY Magazine Issue 03. (April 2018) - Page 15

WHY MEN SCARE ME ​​​ content warning: sexual assault and harassment* Well not all men, you’re generalizing. Yes all men. I have felt that familiar fear coursing through my blood every day in class, every time I’m alone with a man. ​ I tell myself, “No I trust him, he wouldn’t hurt me.” ​ And then my heart cycles through racing and breaking as I remember every time that trust was betrayed for us, every victim, every person who knows that fear of being in the face of your oppressor, your constant attacker. That fear that society has forced into your body’s natural self- defense mechanism. There is no fight or flight, because both running and fighting are exhausting and there are days when the world weighs so much that I don’t want to have do either. ​ ecause sometimes I don’t know if I have the right to respond. Maybe they didn’t mean what I B thought they meant, maybe I’m just overreacting. ​ ​​ ​ Maybe you’re just being too emotional. ​ ut I don’t think so. Because those moments when a man wants to hug me and B i say ,”No I’m not comfortable,” and he says, “I don’t care,” and he hugs me anyway. As if my body is a possession that is meant for universal access. ​ ecause of those moments when an older male puts his hand on my pants zipper when I am B only about 6 years old and “do you like to be tickled here?” he asks and i am quiet and he moves my hand over his crotch and he says “I like being tickled here,” and when someone comes and sees they talk to him but not me and i didn’t know for years what happened. As if i didn’t have the right to know that I was a victim. Because of those moments in class when I barely get a word out before I’m spoken over. Because the girls had to go to “Rape Escape” classes in junior high. Because we live in a world where we need groups just for women and people of color and queer people since the rest of the world isn’t safe. Because we avoid people who don’t know those feelings of fear because they don’t understand our exhaustion. Y ​ ou’re being dramatic. They say as if there aren’t millions of people who know what it’s like to be afraid. ​ aybe we aren’t afraid of the same things, M maybe our stories are told differently, but my story might just be a lot like yours. 13