Ever since that post I made was shared over a thousand times, I have gotten several comments from men saying I am sexist, saying if I want to be respected I should always wear decent clothes, saying not all men, saying I am just a feminist who hates men, saying I judge people, saying I don’t listen to their side, saying I don’t empower women because I portray us as victims of society. They have tweeted me, messaged me, tagged me in posts. You know why women keep quiet about their experiences? It’s because of men like you. We are victims of society, we are victims of harassment and you victimize us twice. We share our stories because we want to be heard. We share our stories because we are tired of keeping quiet about the injustices we face. But if by sharing our stories we only get vilified, then I understand why many women choose the path of silence.
One man told me I am trying to make every woman a victim, but aren’t we all are? And is there shame in being a victim? Isn’t one way to be empowered is to acknowledge that you are a victim and rise above it? Because we have to recognize that we are victims in order for us to understand what victimizes us and how to tackle it, which in this case is a sexist and patriarchal society.
Go ahead, tell me things. Tell me I am sexist, tell me I have not empowered and given voice to women who have chosen to keep quiet about it, tell me I judge people. But you will never walk in our shoes. You, who never have to think about going home at night alone, who never have constantly check if you’re showing too much skin, who never have to carry weapons in your bags just in case, who have the privilege we do not have.
Harass me into saying I should apologize to you, to all men I have offended. Because I will not. I will not apologize for me and for all women who have been harassed. Not this time. By now I have learned to stand up for myself and other women. I will not apologize for telling my story and for helping other women get through theirs.