When you pulled up next to my friend and I as we walked out of Target a few weeks ago and rolled down your window to shout “Could you fold it over for me?” did you know I almost threw up? It was in the middle of the day and we were surrounded by families and children, yet you thought that that was an appropriate situation to harass us.
Did you know that we had no idea what ‘fold it over’ meant but that we knew it was perverted by the way you were eyeing our bodies? Did you know that we urban-dictionaried the definition after and felt ashamed of our bodies?
Did you know that the reason we tried so hard not to make eye contact with you was because we were so absolutely terrified of you that we physically could not do it? Did you know that those few seconds of our lives were nothing but absolute horror?
Did you know that I spent the next few hours of that day wondering if I dressed too “slutty” to be in public and contemplated never wearing shorts again for the rest of my life? Did you know that you are the reason I am scared of going to even the library by myself?
When you whistled at my friend and yelled, “Damn, what a fine ass!” when she was walking with her mom the other day, did you think about how your own mom would react to your behavior if only she knew? Did you think about how your mom goes through the same kind of discrimination and abuse that you are putting onto other women? Did you think about your sister? Your aunt? Your daughter, perhaps? Any female at all in your life?
Of course, you didn’t.
Did you think that I liked what you said? Did you think you made me feel good about myself?
Because I didn’t like it. I didn’t feel good.
I felt disgusting. I felt dirty. I felt nauseous.
I felt like I wanted to die.
People like you petrify me. People like you make me scared for my beautiful baby cousin. People like you make me scared when my best friend texts me that she’s about to go to the mall by herself.
People like you are the nightmares of women all around the world.
It’s not funny. It’s not a game.
It’s our lives and you are making us scared to live them.