By Tequila Cheatham
Here we go again, another movement, only this time this one is different. As someone who doesn’t talk about personal experiences much to avoid being vulnerable, to avoid causing drama, and to keep from having a victim mentality, I attempt to forget about scary moments.
Sure, I have been discriminated against due to the color of my skin, but not as much as I have had to fight back for being a woman. In particular, I have been sexually harassed on many occasions by men. Many times I have stood up for myself; other times, I let it slide to preserve my energy. The idea of these times resembling those in the older patriarchal days is concerning but, it is time to fight back. I remember standing up to the first guy, a family member, who decided to back off once he realized I wasn’t taking any shit from him. I was happy when I heard he passed away yet, felt guilty for having such resentful thoughts. For some reason, victims find a reason to blame themselves in some form of another. We apologize to and for the victimizers, giving excuses and understanding for their foul behavior.
Unfortunately, these men are usually the ones we know and are close to, so we suffer in silence until another woman speaks up and reminds us that we are victims no matter how much we attempt to put it in the back of our minds. We cover up the pain by throwing ourselves into work, being in unhealthy relationships, and sometimes via drug use. What is even more interesting though is how the victimizers go on with their lives as if nothing happened instead of having the courage to apologize, or to take it a step further, to turn themselves in after the apology. Despite it all, nothing makes it go away. We just learn to live on despite being sexually assaulted, harassed, molested, or raped.
I’ve heard the same story from my mother, other family members, and even close friends, and I always ask about the victimizer’s whereabouts. The answer almost always has something to do with living within the same city with the victim and not wanting to spill the beans because it will cause discomfort and turmoil for the rest of the family. The idea of fear manifesting itself in that very moment when the question is asked makes me cringe. Then, I think about one other guy who I’m continuing to cover up for similar reasons. Most of the time, these men are under the influence of some type of drug or alcohol and don’t even care about the harm they cause.
To some, I may be considered one of the lucky ones because nothing was done physically to me but, at a certain age, it was the only image that kept replaying in my brain. For other women, men have violated them repeatedly, for years, snatching away their childhood, sanity, and dreams. If these cowardly sick men don’t care about their actions, then we shouldn’t think twice about reporting their asses especially if the actions are repetitious and has a domino effect on other women.
Yeah, me too, but no one would have ever known because it’s a dirty secret that no victim, not even I, a writer, would want to tell until now…
Be strong. Let’s stand in our truth. Let’s heal each other.