Tag Archives: don’t politicize my body

We have to do better.


I remember it clearly.

I remember when I looked at my daughter sleeping. She was only a few weeks old at the time. So perfect, so amazing. And I burst into tears because I knew that no matter how hard I try I may not be able to to protect her. And she might not always be safe. Not when 1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they turn 18.

I remember it clearly.

Watching her in her dance class. Marveling at how un-self conscious she was- clad in tights and a leotard. Neither she nor the other girls in her kinderdance class comparing their bodies. None of them thinking or worrying about what they look like. Not thinking about what might be “wrong” with their bodies, only exploring some of the wonderful things their bodies can do. And then I wondered how long that would last- how long until she started viewing her body as her enemy? A recent study found that 85% of women and 79% of girls opt out of important life activities when they don’t feel good about the way they look.

I remember it clearly.

I remember being angry as I read about the reports of mass sexual assaults in Germany this past New Year’s Eve. But it wasn’t my anger at the assaults that really got me riled, it was the outrage by the world- an outrage that, to me at least, seemed more about backlash against immigrants and refuges than really about the assaults. It was the politicization of sexual violence. Why would it seem like that to me you ask? Possibly due to the lack of outrage of sexual assaults that happen EVERY SINGLE DAY to women in nightclubs or events. It is a conservative estimate that 80% of the time I went dancing with friends, I experienced a sexual assault. And you know what is so weird, I only recently started identifying them as such for myself. I pretty much took it as a given to expect at least an ass grab or two every time I went out. Every woman I know who has gone dancing has developed their own techniques for getting away from random men grinding their semi-erect penises on us- and most of the time ending up getting called some choice and disgusting names by the spurned man. There was the time the bouncer lent a hand to help me up when I fell, only to plant a kiss on my married lips. Or that time at my bachelorette party, after my dozen or so friends and I had been hanging out all evening with a group of guys that seemed “safe.” These guys were respectful and pleasant. Actually talked with us and seemed to listen when we talked. And then, near the end of the night, the nice guy that had been talking with me all night about his wife and children, and listening to me talk about my excitement of getting married in a couple of days- that nice guy grabbed my breast. Just grabbed it- right there in front of my friends, his friends.

We have to do better.

We have to do better for our children. We have to do better for ourselves.