Yes, This Too is Harassment

Let me tell you a story and how I feel about what happened.

It was the weekend, I met up with a friend for a few drinks. This is a guy that I’ve known for a while. I’ve met and spent time with him and his wife and we tend to meet up for dinner/drinks every now and then to catch up on each other’s lives. If you ask me, I’d say it’s been a good friendship. He is also a Liberian so having that commonality, such a long way from home can be reassuring. There’s an existing mutual respect and mutual rooting for each other.  We occasionally get together, share stories and reminisce. This is why when he had suggested drinks on a casual Friday evening, I was game.

After several shots and a definite buzz, I ordered an Uber to take me home. A notification soon lets me know that my ride would arrive in 10 minutes. Spoiler alert: the 10 minutes I spent waiting is in the running for the longest and borderline torturous wait period of my life. My “friend” decided to let me in on all his “feels” under the guise of “oh I’m so tipsy” (insert eyes roll).

He began to make advances at me.

kissing my cheek, grabbing my hands and topping it all off with that petulant line, “I don’t want you to leave, please stay.” Ugh! I was disgusted. As one would imagine, I put in every effort to create distance and turn down his advances.

When my uber arrived after what seemed like 5 hours, I hurriedly left; I was repulsed. This is an individual I know quite well and considered a friend.

Prior to this interaction, there had been no reason for anyone to think we were anything more than friends. I have no attraction to this fellow whatsoever; and to add insult to injury, HE IS MARRIED! However, the point that I’m trying to make here is, before that evening, I had no reason to feel unsafe with him and no reason to be suspicious of him. Therefore, his advances, which were totally unwanted and inappropriate, caught me off guard. I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this experience. In my mind, I’ve replayed time spent with him and wondered what could’ve led to this moment. At one point, I even questioned my integrity asking myself,

Did I send off vibes that would’ve made him think this was okay?” (I should say, I quickly banished that thought because this was in NO way a result of me or my actions).

I think now of another experience I  have had.

Again, I had met up with a guy friend. This time, no pretense of alcohol (thank God), no wife, definitely daytime and in a public setting. As I approached him, he came in for a hug (which was fine by me). However, upon contact, he leaned over and kissed the back of my neck, effectively and immediately ruining my vibe. I called him out, sure, but the damage had been done.

These are unfortunate situations where a guy chose to completely disregard and disrespect me, my body, and our mutual relations. The bigger picture here, however, is how often these unfortunate situations occur. The casualness and ease with which these unwanted, uninvited, inappropriate advances are made are sickening! Let me be clear: in both situations, it was vividly clear that there was no interest on my part. In fact, with the second scenario, I’d had a prior conversation with him establishing that we were just friends.

NOW if you’re thinking that I should’ve had a similar conversation with a married man, you’re a part of the problem. He’s married for christ sake. What more is to be said?

The more I reflected, the more I realized how this notion that “guys and girls can’t be friends” is nothing more than a misogynistic disguise for perverted men to hide behind. It is a false claim based on zero evidence that teaches men to see women as something to be had, to be preyed upon, thus propelling patriarchal societies. The guys referenced here, like most guys, have guys friends, right? They hang out at each other homes. They drink, talk trash, do random shit. It’s all good. He does not make advances on his guy friends.

Suddenly, put a girl in the equation and my vagina is up for grabs?  Am I nothing more than a piece of ass? This objectivity is insanely absurd!

TO GUYS EVERYWHERE, until you are certain that intimate advances of any kind are wanted, please restrain. And if you are married (which is a whole other blog post of its own), every other woman who is not your wife is and should be off limits (unless you’re polygamous or in an open relationship; but like I said, whole other blog post).

It is my body, my space, my sanctuary. And when you make these inappropriate touches, you literally creep me the fuck out my skin. I leave these encounters grossed out and haunted as if something is crawling on my body. You make me uncomfortable in the one place that I should feel most at peace -my body. This is unacceptable! While some might play this off as it’s “not a big deal” or “maybe he just likes you”, I, on the contrary, find it to be a major deal. It is harassment in one of its subtle, but purest, form. No individual (male or female) is allowed to disempower others; especially not in such a cowardly fashion.

After my Uber dropped me off at my apartment, I took a long shower as a friend (a guy friend; because yes, guys and girls actually can be friends) had suggested, vented to my housemates and decided to confront this individual about his actions the next time we interact.

It is my opinion, that confronting and speaking out is one way to end this god-awful behavior.

             Authored: Girlchild

Featured picture: Subtle Sexual Harassment

One Comment Add yours

  1. Louvette says:

    Thank you for sharing this Op-ed. It is super common in our Liberian setting. In fact, Liberian guys are known for being touchy, extremely touchy. They just can’t keep their hands to themselves. Many at times, growing in a society that struggles with self expression, this puts the girl in an absolute discomfort–not knowing how to approach or raise an eyebrow. Personally, this has made me put up a wall and believe that almost all men don’t want to be close friends(until it starts to feel weird when they start to call constantly and be extremely nice),they just want to experience what it feels like to enter another vagina. This Op-ed does well with highlighting the fact that this is unacceptable and sends the message across that this needs to stop! We are sick, I repeat, we are sick and tired of this sort of advancement and discomfort! Kudos!

    [image: photo] *Louvette C. Neal* Program Manager, Girls Entrepreneurship & Tech., SMART Liberia

    0777928461 | | Skype: louvette 2nd, Street Sinkor-JallahTown Create your own email signature

    On Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 9:29 AM, Sleepless in Monrovia wrote:

    > sleeplessinmonrovia posted: “Let me tell you a story and how I feel about > what happened. It was the weekend, I met up with a friend for a few drinks. > This is a guy that I’ve known for a while. I’ve met and spent time with him > and his wife and we tend to meet up for dinner/drinks eve” >

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