Sex Education for the Real World…

 


How Misogyny Can Get You Killed (No Matter Who You Are)

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Posted September 8, 2016 by Kimani in About Me
Misogyny

How Misogyny Can Get You Killed (No Matter Who You Are)

Honestly, I had a whole different post set up for today. It was all about feeling sexy and self-care. This weekend’s events and the death of Tiarah Poyau have completely changed my tune. I read her story over and over and realized I could have been her at multiple points in my life. I suppose this musing is about self-care in a way, because there’s a very strong lesson for us women and men to learn about Misogyny.

Misogyny

Misogyny (mi·sog·y·ny)- dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

 

As everyone knows, I’m a born and raised New Yorker. I spent my high school summers in the streets of NYC and gathered my homegirls annually to attend the Labor Day festivities on Eastern Parkway. We’d plan our outfits the week before, and I’d usually have a Dominican or Jamaican flag donned up into some sort of shirt contraption. My mother would always tell us to be safe and aware while on the road. At that age, I didn’t even consider predators or creeps being there – I just wanted to have a good time with my friends.

Beyond the occasional cat call, I can’t say I had any wild experiences out there. We were warned to stay away from the shadowed areas of the parkway, despite the fact that a group of us were walking in broad daylight. Deviants didn’t care about sunshine, all they needed was the cloak of shade. Nevertheless, I survived Eastern Parkway unscathed, and had a great time dancing and eating and singing with the masses.

Fast forward to 2005, and I migrated from the “Mother Country” of New York to Sunny South Florida. I landed a job at a swanky retail spot that was always teeming with creepy men (and sometimes women). I’d get approached almost daily by a wealthy regular or two who wanted to proposition their role as my sugar daddy. Each day was sprinkled with “I can take you outta here,” or “what if your tuition was paid in full this semester?” I’d laugh it off and politely decline. Even though I carried weaponry for the late night walks to my car (I’m still a New Yorker, after all), I still felt relatively safe.

It wasn’t until a year later, when this old man made a quiet advance at me that I started to feel concerned. I declined politely, reminded him that I was at work. He then began creeping through the aisles, watching me through the shelving spaces. This happened so frequently, I had to tell my manager. Immediately after the first instance, I drove to the local flea market and bought myself a taser. Violating store policy and all, I kept that thing in my apron every day. That same taser nearly saved my life one night, as a man tried to “holla” at me through my car window. When I declined, he asked for money, when I declined that – he stuck his body through my window. I set my taser to “stun,” and he scurried off into the shadows like vermin. Lord knows what he was about to try and do.

I tried venturing into Miami’s scene for Labor Day festivities, feeling like I’d try something new with my friends. Similar to New York, men and women flood the streets for music, dancing and drinking. While walking to my car to head home, we stepped through a mixed crowd of men. I felt a firm hand jam itself between my legs and squeeze my crotch. I yanked the arm as hard as I could, and the male it was attached to growled with anger. Instead of saying anything to me, he smelled his hand, smiled and kept walking.

Disgusting.

Misogyny

Stay away from the shadows…

Another story – fast forward a few more years, I’m out with my family for a cousin’s birthday celebration. We picked a night club that appealed to an older crowd, in hopes of having a mature time. We were almost in the clear, until an older male approached my cousin to dance. She ignored him and kept dancing with our group. He returned and made another attempt, then a third. After the fourth time, I intervened and politely stepped in between them. I’ve dealt with drunk men before and figured this would be easy. I smiled, put my hands on the probably drunk male and shook my head to indicate that she wasn’t interested. He forcefully grabbed my wrist, and I pulled it away with equal force. Do you know what he did next?

He struck me in my face.

What. The. F*ck.

The rage that consumed me was immeasurable. I came back with the strongest uppercut I could muster, and hit him with all my might. A scuffle ensued (yes, he continued to fight me), and the police ultimately escorted him out of the venue. They were nice enough to allow me to put on my shoes (I was really going in) – and even gave me the option to stay. The night was ruined, so we decided to go home – but not before I got one last hit in. He deserved it. The officers agreed.

 

Misogyny (and rape culture) is a thing. It’s a thing because society has grown a callous over its feelings towards women. Furthermore, women of color are barely a microcosm in this testosterone-addled universe.

How discouraging are the feelings of danger that young women experience when they merely want to enjoy themselves? When they merely want to exist? Since when is it acceptable to violate anyone’s personal space, much less a woman you don’t know? I felt disgusted and disgusting in each of these instances, and there are countless more that I won’t bore you with. At any given time, one of these men could have pulled out a gun and killed me – all because I wasn’t interested.

Seems like there’s something about rejection (no matter how gentle or polite) that can trigger violent anger in the weakest of the male species.  The deflation of their ego in front of peers is something that some males just cannot accept. It’s pitifully sad to witness in person, and disgusting to see via social media.

All the while, males all over the world are realizing they’re doomed to be without both. This is a constant psychological battle for some, one that I don’t have time to become a punching bag or target for.

I’ve had times where I thought to myself, “self – what is the right way to decline?” How do we peacefully and amicably agree to disagree about a person’s decision to want us? Do we need hostage negotiators each time we want to say no to someone?

No. 

Maybe it’s time for us to fix this misogyny bull. For friends to stop their “friends” from hassling women as they mind their business. Time for fathers to teach their sons that women aren’t just commodities to acquire like Monopoly game pieces. Mothers need to instill self-worth and confidence in their sons – so that our daughters can coexist with them. I left out the ethnicities of the men in my stories, because it doesn’t matter who you are. Whether you’re Black, Latino, White, Asian or anyone in between – you can learn how to respect the humans that inhabit the earth with you.

In conclusion, as a rape survivor, I shouldn’t have to worry about being attacked again when I walk the streets.

I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do to take my stand against this ridiculous trend – but I’ll be racking my brain until I do. Come join me at kimi@vforvadge.com

Stay safe, my friends.

 

 

References:

Gothamist.com

Wikipedia.com

Dictionary.com




About the Author

Kimani

A NY transplant in Florida, Kimani has taken on the task of educating the world on sexual health and education. The Mount Vernon native has seen AIDS and HIV spread through her community like wildfire, and hopes to cease the transmission of these and other diseases one person at a time. If you know better, you're inclined to do better.

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