Monday, June 15, 2015

My finest moment

I'm on a lovely holiday in Portugal. Over the last three days, just about everything has been great--the weather, the food, the wine.

I noticed a lot of harassment. The old men would come up to me. The young would say something under their breath as I walked by. I laughed it off initally--oh, nothing can be as bad as Egypt. Child's play.

Tonight, my last night in Porto. I went out to a great restaurant on the Douro River. Got a delicious octopus dish. Great scenery. The sun was setting. I finished my dinner and headed out.

As I walked out of the restaurant, three older men were sitting out and made a hissing noise as I walked by. Conditioned to this, I kept on walking. Halfway through the next restaurant, I stopped. Why am I putting up with this shit? I went back and thoroughly bitched them out. They said they were just trying to tell me that my eyes were beautiful. Blah blah blah. I can call the cops if I want.

I don't give a shit. I stood my ground.

Every woman who saw gave me the thumbs up. They can go fuck themselves. At the time I felt satisfied, vindicated.

After years and years of this shit, I finally said something. Even more, all these women were on my side.

About two minutes later, I stopped. I called my mother. Why is it that this is the norm everywhere I go? Why can't I go to the grocery store, or to a restaurant, or to the corner kiosk without getting hit on? Why is it that no matter where I go-- Egypt, Turkey, Portugal/Europe, Dc/USA, I'm never a person, but a woman? And even more so, why is it that every woman who saw this felt the same--yet none of the men did?

Years and years in Egypt, I would be harassed, followed, groped. You don't say anything--when you do, it escalates. It becomes physical. It's better to be quiet. When I resisted, I got dragged from a moving vehicle. But there's worse.

There was a girl who caught the headlines in Turkey. She was murdered for resisting rape.

I told my mom that I wish the men who acted this way would die. I wish they would experience a slow painful death. I wish that they could feel the fear, the pain of all the women gang raped. Murdered. I want them to feel the terror those girls felt. And seeing that written out is scary--the girl who never believed in corporal punishment.

The feeling of being a second-class citizen is overwhelming. My entire purpose of being is to please others. My eyes are beautiful, my ass is beautiful, and that makes me not even worthy. But, I'm there.

Is this normal? I don't even know anymore. All I know is I spent the last day in Porto on the phone with my mom. Never saw the sun setting on the Duoro. 

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