Seriously, I Was Sexually Assaulted with a Turtleneck and High Wasted Pants On

This weekend’s comments by Ayesha Curry hit a nerve.

After tweeting her feelings about how she’s not into the “trend” that is “wearing less clothes” (if that’s even a trend right now), I was taken aback by how so many women couldn’t wait to jump in and put down women who choose to wear clothes that may be revealing, or show their figures. Because you know, women don’t have rights to dress their bodies and shit.

This isn’t about shaming Ayesha and her views. She is entitled to feel and say and wear what she wants. While I don’t think the tone of her comments about women wearing revealing clothes were necessary, I took more offense to the comments by women who not only agreed with her but proceeded to shame and demean women they felt dressed too revealingly. I took offense to the women who agreed with the idea of women deserving disrespect, sexual harassment and other forms of torment for simply wearing what they felt like wearing on any given day.
Three years ago, I was sexually assaulted walking home after leaving a work holiday party. I had on high wasted orange dress pants and a turtleneck. I was “covered” up. And I was still assaulted. I screamed so loud that the man ran off, before anything besides him coming up behind me and grabbing my breasts could happen (even though that was traumatizing enough).

But, it wasn’t that incident that stuck with me as much as a comment my roommate at the time made about my pants. After coming home furious, shocked and numb that I had just been assaulted, my old roommate made a comment, saying something along the lines of “he must have seen you in those orange pants!” She said it in a laughing matter, but I was not amused.

415665_868853089464_1034917116_o

I haven’t worn those pants since then.

My boss at the time was the most comforting. I texted her everything that happened and she consoled me. Days later at work, I’d find myself at the office, late, around 8pm or so, unexpectedly crying to her because I suddenly became nervous about going home in the dark. The incident had emotionally and psychologically gotten to me. She gave me her personal credit card, and then told me to take a cab home.

I got therapy and have since healed from that experience.

I tell that story to follow up with the message that hearing women tell other women how to dress (or how they should dress) if they want to be taken seriously and respected is not only anti-feminism, but also the yin to the yang of men who do the same. And it makes me so upset and furious when I see women do this to each other.

And it happens a lot. Especially on social media.

Let me state that I understand that when a woman decides to wear revealing clothes, it will bring attention her way. Attention that she may or may not be comfortable with. But essentially, she will get attention. But to be honest, most women will probably also get attention (this including cat calls, men hitting on them and women feeling some type of way about what they have on) when wearing sweatpants, jeans, shorts, business suits, and so on and so forth. And neither choice of said clothing styles (whether modest or not) would grant women and our bodies the respect we deserve, just because. It doesn’t work that way. As a woman, in today’s society, it doesn’t matter what you have on. We’re all subjected to sexual harassment, catcalls and disrespect from men (and now, seemingly, women), just for deciding to get up and walk down the street. You’re damned if you do and also damned if you don’t.

Which brings me to the sad reality that over the weekend, I watched as hundreds of women criticize and demean other women who choose to dress sexy, show off their figures and/or wear revealing clothes. As if we haven’t been through this enough with men.

For some, a woman who proudly shows her shape and body must be punished by laughable critique, hate, and disrespect from both sexes.

But why? Why do we feel this way? What harm is a woman who chooses to show cleavage or legs or the beautiful curves she has doing to these people? And how could it even feel slightly okay for women to pass harsh judgment on other women who choose to live their lives and dress they way they want to? And seriously, why the f*ck do they care so much?

https://twitter.com/thumbcramps/status/673530779671117825

I’m not naïve enough to think that our culture has finally understood the idea that a woman should not be granted access to respect based on her choice of clothes, her body count, her job, or, essentially the shape of her body. I remember telling a guy I liked that I was virgin (when I was) and he literally laughed in my face. He thought I was lying. When I asked him why, he basically said, “Because you’re so curvy”.

Dead ass.

But I digress.

Women deserve to feel the freedom of rocking that body con dress on Saturday, a chic suit on Sunday and short shorts on Monday and feeling respected when wearing each outfit of choice. I understand that Curry didn’t necessarily mean to invite harsh criticism and promote an attack on women who don’t agree with her. But, I think she should have understood that this topic of respecting a woman’s body, regardless of how she is dressed, is sticky. It’s tricky. And, it’s sensitive. Especially to the many women, like myself, who have been assaulted by men who just felt like they deserved our body. We don’t owe anyone shit.

Oh, and once I can fit those pants again, I’m rocking the hell out of those bad boys.