This past weekend I went to a reggae party. I am aware that at reggae parties men are more likely not to ask you to dance but instead just start dancing with you. However, last weekend, multiple men grabbed/touched/groped me without my permission. It reached a level of being ridiculous. Each new grab/touch/grope was met with my increased agitation. I have been out many times and sadly, I have become used to men trying to touch me without my permission, but this weekend it was excessive. However, the craziest part about the whole ordeal was the anger that men showed towards me when I removed their hands from my body. They were offended that I did not want them to touch me. That’s right, men got upset with me because they touched me without my permission and I stopped them.
Men, imagine for a moment that you are out at a party just enjoying yourself and suddenly another man comes up behind you and grabs you by your waist. How do you feel? Chances are if you are homophobic you feel violated. But let’s say that this happens to you 5 times in 15 minutes, how do you feel then? Irritated? Why do you feel irritated? What if a man grabs your hand and holds it and if you pull your hand away, he won’t let go? Do you like this? Or does the thought of a man you don’t know holding on to you because he’s attracted to you make you feel uncomfortable? But he likes you, so why are you upset?? Now, imagine that same man becoming angry with you because you do not want him to touch you. Feel confused by his reaction?? That’s how I and other women feel in these situations. We are the ones being violated yet the men get angry.
I realize that we live in a world where men feel entitled to my attention, my body, me, without my permission. That women are available to men when they want them. That women do not have the right to belong to themselves. That women do not have the right to reject them. Not only do men feel entitled to women, they feel entitled to whichever woman they want. Many men think that if they are “nice” to a woman she should automatically reciprocate his affections. Sexism has created the notion that women do not belong to themselves but rather to men. And if a woman rejects a man’s advances, she is wrong.
Of course sexism is making many men (and women) think, well you shouldn’t go places where the men are like that or it was probably what I was wearing that caused the men to think they could touch me. WRONG. I know our society loves to pass culpability of men’s bad behavior to women but the fact remains men feel quite comfortable touching women they don’t know, in any situation, no matter what the woman wears.
In our society traditionally, women are “given” from the father to the husband at weddings, why? Because our society believes that women do not belong to themselves, women belong to men. This attitude permeates consciously and subconsciously in our society. This is why I can go out dancing and a man who doesn’t know me can feel completely comfortable with touching me without me inviting him to do so. This is also why a man who touches me without my permission gets upset when I reject his touch. He doesn’t feel that I have the right to reject him. That I am the transgressor. This is the world that sexism creates. A world where men do not understand they are not entitled to women.
This entitlement is why many women are killed when they reject men. When women refuse is a website which collects “stories of violence inflicted on women who reject sexual advances.” Yes women can be harmed for simply refusing a man’s advances. Just look at what I experienced this past weekend. The men who offended me by violating my person became angry with me. Think about this. Really think about it. I did not do anything but remove men’s hands from my body, but the men were offended. Men were offended because I didn’t allow them to touch me. Seriously.
I just want to make sure men understand, you are not entitled to me, or any other woman. So unless a woman invites you to touch her, keep your hands to yourself.