Ten True Stories
The following are ten true stories:
1. Once upon a time, a man looked me up and down and said 'I would consider it if you lost ten pounds' while I stood alone outside a King West bar.
2. Once upon a time, a man approached me, put his hands on either side of me while I stood alone against a wall in a bar, restricting my ability to move for several seconds while he pressed up against me.
3. Once upon a time, in the middle of an intimate moment with a man, I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. When I started to cry, the man got dressed, picked up his things and told me that he was a professional athlete and worked on Bay Street and 'really didn’t need this shit.' I cried alone in my bed until about 5 AM.
4. Once upon a time, a man loudly told me that he was disappointed he didn’t have any cash to offer me as I got out of a cab in the middle of a crowded street.
5. Once upon a time, a man, who was very unfamiliar with the word ‘no’ tried to have me kicked out of a hotel pool bar for my ‘bad attitude’ while I was there celebrating the successful completion of my Master’s Degree
6. Once upon a time, a man slipped his hand up my skirt while I bent over to grab a drink on the other side of a table in a crowded bar. When I got upset, he told me to calm down because ‘It wasn’t like I was a Victoria’s Secret Angel.’
7. Once upon a time, a man called me a cunt after I refused to participate in his friend’s bachelor party scavenger hunt.
8. Once upon a time, a man asked me if I would ‘like to make some money’ after I had repeatedly rebuffed his attempt to buy me a drink. When I got angry, his friend told me to ‘leave this bar and never come back’. He then proceeded to call security to try and have me forcibly removed from the bar.
9. Once upon a time, a man started dancing with me at a bar, he spun me around while he surveyed my body closely and said 'meh, average' and walked away.
10. Once upon a time, a man asked to take pictures of me in the middle of an intimate moment. I desperately wanted to leave his apartment, but I was so scared that if I tried to, he would attempt to stop me, so I stayed. I sobbed the entire cab ride home.
These stories may or may not shock you. Personally, I consider myself lucky when I compare my stories to those I know other women could write.
It took me about thirty minutes to compile this list, in part, because these experiences are so common. They happen every single day. But, the primary reason this list of stories was so easy to compile is that these moments are so deeply ingrained in my mind. I can replay each one with alarming detail and I can summon the emotion it generated easily.
Fear. Shame. Insecurity. Sadness. Inadequacy. Abandonment. Anger. Rage. Panic. Anxiety.
The reality is that, for most women, that emotion never really goes away. It will flicker, however dimly, for the rest of her life.
Please know that.
Please know that if you have ever participated in this type of behaviour, you have singlehandedly caused permanent, irreparable damage.
Please know that if you have joked about it, you have normalized it.
Please know that if you have stood by and watched it happen, you have been complicit.
Please know that you helped her write a true story that is probably too painful for her to read out loud.
Please know that this story will be a cancer to her body and mind.
Please help her write a new one.