This happened so long ago I can hardly remember the year. I’m fairly certain I was six years old. Yes, six. I went down the street with my brother to his friend’s house for a visit. My brother’s friend had some older siblings who were in junior high at the time. They got my brother and I into a shed in the backyard, shoved some porn under my nose and asked me to disrobe and mimic the poses. I said no-I’ve always been stubborn, and being raised in a feminist household meant I knew I didn’t have to take this, even at such a tender age. They threatened to beat up my brother if I didn’t comply, and continued to verbally harass me, but I didn’t buy it. My brother and I went home and told my parents, who were horrified. I got an apology from my brother’s friend, but to this day this memory hurts me. I’m twenty years old, and it still hurts me. And now, when I walk down the streets of my college town and get “Hey baby, where you going?” or “you’re sexy” or “how old are you” or “those are some nice boots *insert leer here*” or even “now THAT lady looks like she needs to get FUCKED,” it just all seems like an ongoing story, one that I wish would end. What devastates me the most is the knowledge that I’ve actually been one of the lucky ones, because I haven’t been assaulted or raped, “just” harassed and lightly touched. If this is what privilege looks like, what being lucky looks like, we have so much more work to do. Thanks so much, Hollaback, for providing this space, for a sense of solidarity and community, and thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
Submitted by Tep