Women have taken enough shit from rape culture. We are raised to think about our bodies in terms of how men will perceive them: Is this shirt too tight? We are taught to scrutinize our actions: Am I too standoffish? Did I drink too much? We are accused of being in the wrong places at the wrong times. We are told to be quiet and polite.
And then we read about horrifying attacks, like the one that happened to Kelly Herron who was jogging in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park. Her attacker hid in a fucking bathroom stall where he was literally waiting for someone to rape. Herron shocked her attacker — and the world — when she used skills she picked up in a self-defense class to fight back and save herself from being sexually assaulted.
Her story riled me up. It pissed me off. It made me want to rip off the dick of that rapist and force him to eat it. I was just so angry that a routine jog in a city park could have cost her her life. We’re never safe — that’s what it feels like when you hear this shit.
Well, fuck that noise. I’m done worrying about rape culture snatching me next. I’m done. I’m demanding that women be allowed to be safe. And since no one else is going to do it for me, then like the fierce badass Kelly Herron, I will do it my damn self.
I will find a class that will teach me the skills to kick some muthafucking ass and take names later: krav maga, kickboxing, karate, aikido, wing chun, jiu-jitsu, jeet kune do, Western boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, whatever there is that is offered in my town. I’m there. Come at me, and I’ll knock your block off, asshole.
I will learn to look strangers in the eye without blushing or blinking or looking away. My eyes will look fierce and unafraid. I will meet the gaze of every creep trying to stare me down or catcall me on the street. My eyes will say, “What the fuck are you looking at?” And my middle finger will say, “Not today, fucker.”
I will learn the power of my voice to scream “no!” I will not shy away from using my voice to call for help, to attract attention, to make myself known. And even if I don’t need to scream for help, I can learn to use my voice to call out other bullshit like mansplaining, invading my personal space, or any other obnoxious situation that women are often forced to endure every single day.
I will learn the power of speaking up and reporting when I feel uncomfortable. When my male colleague thinks it’s okay to keep touching my shoulders or sitting way too close? Fuck no. I’m not going to keep scooting over — I’m going to HR.
When the guy at the coffee shop keeps asking for my number and thinking it’s fucking cute even after I say, “I’m married.” Fuck no. Let me speak to your manager, pal.
When a male co-worker starts talking over me in a meeting? Fuck no. I won’t take this shit anymore. I will speak up and flip the situation so that the perpetrator is the uncomfortable one, not me.
I will learn to literally kick some fucking ass. And it won’t just be from learning how to kick or punch or block. It won’t just be from using my voice. And it won’t just be from making my experience of being harassed known to those around me. My ability to kick ass will be all of these things combined. It will be my evolution of self-confidence that will help me stand tall and defend myself both physically and mentally from being pushed around, abused, and manipulated simply because I am female.
I will learn to stand strong and demand respect and safety and surround myself with people who will help me to do just that. I will pull my fellow females into this new vision of badassery, and we will protect each other. We are through taking shit from the patriarchy.
I want to imagine a future where we don’t have to protest Brock Turner because there will be no Brock Turner to protest, or at minimum, these scumbags will be looking at the inside of a jail cell for eternity. A world where we can jog in parks and not worry about being raped when we stop to pee or get a drink of water. A time when we can go to work and feel safe enough to do our jobs without being harassed.
And don’t push your luck with me because in the immortal words of Kelly Herron, “Not today, motherfucker.” I will fight back.