Written by Jenn Sadai
Discussions about rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are finally getting some media attention! Talking about any type of sexual exploitation has traditionally been something people considered taboo. Women suffered in silence because they blamed themselves for the man’s behavior, which meant men got away with it, over and over again.
In a twisted way, one politician’s disgusting and degrading comments have publicly started a necessary conversation. Although I wish I hadn’t heard the horrible things these two guys said on that bus, it does highlight a major problem in our society that needs to be addressed. Some men still view women as property and base their entire opinion of a woman on her sex appeal.
This extremely entitled opinion often manifests into bullying a women into sex or even rape. The man thinks he has a right to say or do anything he wants to this woman; she’s just a body to be used as he sees fit. I’m sure there are some cases where women are just as merciless about men, but it’s certainly rare in comparison.
I’m a woman. I’ve been sexual harassed and sexually assaulted. It’s happened more than once, and I was only fourteen the first time a man touched me inappropriately without my consent. He was my boss and he repeatedly, “accidentally” brushed his hand or body against my butt when I was washing dishes at the pizzeria he owned. He also made comments that we would attract more business if I stood outside in a bikini. Let me repeat, I was only fourteen!
That wasn’t the only time a guy touched my body without my permission. I worked in the hospitality industry where sexual harassment is considered normal. In the same manner that a Presidential candidate tried to fluff off his horrific remarks, my former bosses considered guys grabbing my ass or telling me that I had nice “tits” to be harmless. It’s just “boys being boys.”
There’s nothing harmless about sexual harassment or assault. I was treated like an object that was only valued for her ability to sexually excite a man. I wavered between feeling like it was my job to sexual satisfy men and then feeling like I was responsible for the harassment I received as a result of my behavior. It affected my self-esteem and took years for me to realize I was so much more than just tits and ass.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are NEVER the victims fault. The only shame is on the person committing the sexual abuse. Women need to find the courage to confront the situations, safely and with confidence. It’s your body and your right to protect it, don’t let anyone bully you into thinking otherwise. Staying silent about the sexual abuse gives power to the person committing the crime; speaking up takes that power back.
Permission to post by author Jenn Sadai
Jenn Sadai is a Canadian author and advocate who’s just crazy enough to think she can change the world. Jenn shares her stories of surviving domestic violence, depression, and workplace bullying in hopes that it will help others cope and heal. She is the author of Dark Confession of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman, Dirty Secrets of the World’s Worst Employee, and Cottage Cheese Thighs. Website