It’s making a pact with their friends before going out at night, promising you’ll stick together, in fear that a lone female in a bar late at night might get taken advantage of.
It’s shifting your gaze to stare at the ground while walking past a group of men on the street, in fear of what looks or gestures are being made toward you.
It’s feeling the need to take self-defense classes, in fear of being too weak to resist an unwanted advance.
It’s fiercely guarding your drinks at parties, in fear of someone slipping you a drug that will take away your ability to resist the calculated moves of a sexual predator disguised as a nice, friendly stranger.
It’s these fears lingering constantly in your mind, reminding you on a daily basis that despite years of proving yourself to the world, you’re still not quite good enough to deserve the peace of mind that is knowing your dignity will be respected.
It’s being terrified to speak up, because you don’t want to admit to being the victim, to feeling powerless. It’s the fear of surrendering to a world that significantly undervalues your potential.
You see, it’s not just the big stories that are considered newsworthy enough to make it into the public sphere. It’s not just the violent rapes. Not just the viscous predators.
It’s the reality women have been forced to live with, that which has been normalized by our patriarchal society. It’s the fear that we carry on our shoulders everyday, the burden of feeling as though we are not good enough, having encountered enough “bad” men to constantly questions the “good” ones.
It’s the fact that I have an amazing father, an amazing brother, an amazing boyfriend, and many other amazing men in my life, yet I still fear for the men my future daughter might encounter.
It’s the fact that this world continues to allow women to come of age in a society that more times than not values a woman’s sexuality over her heart and mind.
So, yes. Me too.