The Unjustified Lives of Women
By Nelaa Thananjeyan
Late at night, her breath is shaking as she talks on the phone with her best friend. Her keys intertwined between each finger in one hand; trying to act casual as if nothing is wrong. The truth: she is scared out of her mind. Pepper spray or taser? Uber or call a friend? Walk or run? Is he armed or not? Will I get out safely? These are thoughts that go through a woman's head when she feels like she may be in danger.
Once someone is faced with traumatizing experience, it can impact them in many ways. Changing routes, always needing someone with her, purchasing self-defense tools, suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety are all examples of the aftermath of sexual assault or harassment.
According to NPR, a survey finds that 81% of women have experienced some sort of sexual harassment. The same survey states that 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment during their lifetime. Comparing both, the percent of women is approximately double the percent of men. A shocking 57% of these women have experienced this before the age of 17. These are the lives of young kids and teenagers wrecked because someone couldn’t control themselves.
When talking about sexualizing women, people often say it’s not all men. The hashtag #notallmen went trending on social media for some time, in defense of men who claim they do not sexualize women. This was quickly shut down by the rebuttal: it may not all men, but it’s 4 in 5 women. Women don’t choose to be sexualized. If a woman can’t live in a society where she can be free, then we failed in shaping the world into a world of freedom and equality.
Anyone can help end the inequality between both genders, big or small. Raising awareness and addressing similar situations are great ways to go about it. Most women who have experienced sexual harassment say it was done to them by someone they knew and/or trusted. These experiences often happened to them in school neighborhoods or workspaces. Teaching people at a young age and raising awareness in school or workspaces can help reduce this unfair injustice towards women.
Feminism is about how the female race is treated. Being treated differently isn’t fun, and it can make someone feel like an outcast. If we can’t change the older generations, we can start teaching the future ones. A pillar in our society should be to always treat others with kindness and respect. Feminism is just that: it is believing in equality for all.