what ifs?

Content may be triggering.

It began with how I started noticing things around me. Although I did not know the specific term for that. It just started with the sense of being “wronged”. I was 9 or 10 in elementary school. I was an innocent girl knowing nothing about gender stuff. Because we were so innocent, and the teacher wanted to believe in the innocence of her pupils, she would let us take a nap without separating boys and girls. Next thing I knew, a boy told me that he touched my thighs while I was sleeping and I kid you not, he did not apologize me. I was terrified. I was a child, didn’t know how to handle the situation. I boycotted him using the power of a class monitor and I remember vividly that I was so mean to him as a way to revenge. I did not tell anyone the story at the time though. Last summer, I met up with two of my “best elementary school friends” that I haven’t seen them for years. (I put them in quotation marks because we haven’t seen each other for years but we still considered each other best friends in elementary school). We talked all afternoon and the story somehow came up. Only then, 12 years later, I realized that I was not the only victim. A lot of my girl classmates had that same experience. And we all kept silent. Some talked to other friends, but no one has ever told the story to our parents or our teachers. We were that afraid.

I was 14 and we got parts of our house repaired. I had to open the door for a construction worker and there were me and that creepy man alone in the elevator. He started asking me questions, how old I was, and asked how I looked “mature” considering my age. I felt unsafe, but there was no way to escape the elevator so I was just desperately waiting for the door to open. Just by the second I heard that clinging sound and felt relieved, he grabbed my butts and walked out the door. I stood there, shocked, horrified, but said no words.

I was in high school and there was this classmate who pat on my booties as I was running pass him. Once with his hand and once with the stick you use in PE (the one when you do a relay race and you pass it to another member of the team). Just like how I was in elementary school, I did not confront him. (Confrontation has never been a thing for me). I blocked him on social media. I told my girl friends the disgusting story and boycotted him. I did not tell it to a lot of people, but there was no such thing called “secret” in high school. One of his friend somehow heard the story, and she said she confronted him for me. And his answer was he didn’t know anything, he didn’t do it, what was I talking about etc. He sounded so innocent and convincing to the point I wondered if I was just an attention bitch and made up the whole story of being harassed and blamed the wrong innocent person. “But no bitch I know when someone touched my body so how about you shut up”. I could have said that. But I did not.

All that time, I remained silent. I was scared. I felt ashamed. But then, now I realized silence is also an act of violence. My silence has given all that people the thought of being powerful. The thought that they have the physical strength and since they are men, they can do anything to my body.

It’s all about “what ifs”. What if I told my teacher and that boy got a lesson for himself, and for all other boys that were about to touch my friends’ body, could I possibly have prevented those incidents? What if I didn’t let all those catcalls or dickpics go so easily, so they don’t ever get to think that they are always able to get away with such attitude and behaviors to women? What if I stood up for myself?

My friends sometimes say they “don’t see gender” just because it doesn’t affect them that much and things like that don’t happen to them. But it doesn’t matter to you does not mean things don’t happen elsewhere. It doesn’t affect you does not mean you don’t need to raise your voice and help others.

I will tell two more stories to wrap up the post (which are not really related to what I’ve written but also related in a way and it’s not that long to write the whole post so I’m just going to say everything now). Once my friend’s boss told her that she, at some point, is going to be a housewife. He also cited the Bible, saying how he was made of a man and such and so, men and women are not equal from the beginning. In another discussion, my friend told me that heterosexual is the natural orientation, because our ultimate life purpose is to reproduce. My thoughts. First, the Bible was written forever ago, and I believe in something more recent, which is called science. Context matters and it also applies to reproduction problem. We are living in the world that has too many people and I’m sure human reproduction is not the most important natural thing that need to be done. Theories and things that once were true doesn’t mean they are still true and will be true forever. Sciences and technologies have developed and given us so many opportunities to have a better life, and with that our society is constantly changing, and so should our mind be.

Thank you so much for reading.

– dgna –