My Clothes Are Not My Consent

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We are living in a time where fingerprint technology is used on something as regular as mobile phones, and we’re probably getting closer to flying cars, yet the length of my skirt is still used to determine whether I said yes or no to a man.

I am already 26 years old and have been a recipient of catcalls on the regular, whether it was because I was attractive or not, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would ever be the recipient of assault.

I live in a quiet community of mostly laborers, and our neighborhood rarely saw any violence. That is until I happened to walk home from a night out, one that I thought would be among countless walks alone unafraid.

But that was about to change, as a man happened to follow me home from the club.

In the haze of the attack, I remember him from earlier on that night, grinding up behind me when all I wanted to do was to be with my friends.

I remember I pushed him away, called him disgusting, and thought that would be the end of it.

But as I tried to push him away again, screaming, and this time with my elbows hitting the pavement and my fingers trying to gouge at his eyes, hear him babble “You bitch! You bitch!” I knew in my heart of hearts this would cause all my nights to be filled with fear and I would never know an end to it.

I feel his hands travel up my legs, and I am crying furious tears.

I hear him mumble in my ear that “I wouldn’t be dressed like this if I wasn’t ‘looking for some.’”

I am enraged, and I am defiled.

I feel helpless that even though I view myself as a citizen of the world; highly educated, with all that I could ever aim for in my life literally just at the tip of my fingertips, I am reduced to nothing just because of what one man assumes what I want when I wear certain types of clothes.

Then luckily, I hear more footsteps, running towards us.

I hear the loud whack of a blunt object as my attacker is hauled away from me, feel concerned hands lift me up and screams of ‘Call the police!’ ‘Call an ambulance’ ‘Honey, what’s your name? We’ll get you help.’ ‘ Get that maniac away from here!’

That night at the authorities, the man is still insistent on his argument that I was ‘looking for action.’ I am still lucky however, that the police do not excuse his drunkenness or find reason in the clothes I wore that night, and they charge him promptly after our interviews.

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