The Jetstream Journal

Filed under Opinion, Showcase

Kadets Say #MeToo

%23MeToo+poster%2C+picture+labeled+for+reuse+from+Pixabay.
#MeToo poster, picture labeled for reuse from Pixabay.

#MeToo poster, picture labeled for reuse from Pixabay.

#MeToo poster, picture labeled for reuse from Pixabay.

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I found interest in the #MeToo movement after I was unknowingly photographed from behind a window at Starbucks by a strange 60-70 year old man whom I did not know.

Women all over the country are speaking up and sharing their stories of sexual harassment and violence. The more women speak out against the disgusting comments and actions that predatorial men have taken against them, the stronger they become, uniting together in a movement to make the world a safer place for women.

The sheer number of women speaking up about their experiences, added with my own, made me realize,

Everyone has a story.

I decided to investigate further and hear the stories of my peers who have dealt with the same disturbing experiences.

It wasn’t hard to find interviewees for this story.

Every female that I asked to interview had an experience to tell me about- each one was obviously fresh in their minds due to the sheer trauma of it, even if it occurred years ago.

I stood in the dressing room of the school musical and loudly asked this question to the 25 girls getting ready for rehearsal,

“Has anyone in here been sexually harassed, stalked, cat-called, or made uncomfortable by a man?”

Chatter erupted immediately as everybody began recounting their experiences.

Here are a few:

Anna McTigue: Anna, as a young 10 year old girl, went to her neighbor’s house one morning to hangout with her friend. While enjoying their time together, they looked out the window and saw a 50 year old man who lived on their street standing outside. He was in the middle of the lawn, holding a video camera that was pointed at the window where she and her friend were.

“We reported him and he got kicked out of his house,” she said.

After being evicted, the pedophile passed the children on the street and hissed,

“You guys are children of the devil.”

This wasn’t the last they saw of the old man. He showed up years later in an alleyway, harassing her neighbor’s father.

“They had a restraining order against him,” she said.

Anonymous: She used to be an avid runner back in middle school. Most mornings she would wake up early and enjoy a peaceful run around nearby parks, wearing a sports bra and spandex shorts. The cat-calling she endured (AS A 12 YEAR OLD), became so common that it was a normal part of her exercise routine.  

“When I would run by, the guys would roll down their windows and be like ‘Hey there mami!’ It’s gross because they were always like 20, and I was like ‘bro I’m 12, stop,’” she said.

She talked about the harassment casually, obviously desensitized to the issue after years of enduring it.

“Guys do that all the time so it doesn’t really bother me anymore,” she said.

Lilly McMillan: Over the course of a few weeks, a boy in her school started Facebook messaging her. He told her about how much he liked her, but she didn’t feel the same way. He couldn’t accept that fact and became obsessive.

“He started showing up at my house,” she said.

In class, she had a group of friends who had to keep him away from her. Eventually, the stalking became so bad that she had to block him on all social media platforms and tell her parents to keep him from continuing to invade her privacy.

“I was more uncomfortable than anything. I was like ‘This isn’t ok,’” she said.

Rachel Noel: She went to Denver for a nice day out with her mom. They got off the light rail and her mom stopped in the restroom. While waiting alone outside, she was approached by a man, around 22 years old. He didn’t say anything, but stood very close behind her and leaned over her shoulder while she used her phone. When she attempted to move away, he continued to follow her. She escaped him by going into the bathroom where her mom was. When she came back out, he asked for her number and she politely declined. After that, he proceeded to follow her and her mom for the rest of the day.  

“It was really weird. I felt super unsafe, I didn’t know what his intentions were. (Because of things like that) I won’t go to gas stations at night by myself,” she said.

For the sake of this article, I only included four stories. However, I have heard of countless distressing experiences like this from people that I am close to, and even from complete strangers.

The fact is, everyone has a story. I am so grateful for feminism and movements such as #TimesUp and #MeToo, because women finally have the power to say that enough is enough. Sexual harassment and violence is not ok, and is no longer tolerated. By sharing these stories women are empowered to rise up against this behavior and take action, working towards a country, and one day a world, where women are no longer objectified.

 

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