Someone forwarded a post on Facebook and it ended up on my timeline. I thought it was extremely relevant and wanted to translate it so more people could get the chance to read this very important message.
The original was written by Linnea Bontin. I only translated her words as accurately as I could manage. Please spread this message.
I walk along [the street]. Past closed stores, quiet street corners. It’s close to 3:30 a.m. and my keys chafe between my fingers. I hold them so hard the marks they leave last for hours. I hear voices from the other side of the street, they call out to me. “Hey girl! Hey! Sexy! Come on! We have a surprise for you”. The last part of the way I run and don’t relax until the elevator doors close behind me. I lean against the wall, let go of my temporary Wolverine hand.
Thinking: how lucky that nothing happened.
Nothing happened. Hours earlier I was slapping hands away from my hips. Escaping from arms that caught me. Apparently I was dancing too damn suggestively. I yelled that I didn’t want [to], but they didn’t stop until I told them that “I have a boyfriend and he’s right over there”. They respected another man more than my own will, my own words, my own body.
Nothing happened. In the school yard my students play tag, and get noisy after a while. The boys argue, throwing hurtful words around. It doesn’t get out of hand until one boy says “don’t be such a girl, a little c*nt”. The worst thing he could call another boy. The guys get in a fight, the girls look down at the ground, possibly concluding their own value right then. We go inside to discuss the issue. It’s the third time this week. They’re 8 years old.
Nothing happened. On my way into my high school classroom a hand finds my butt. And another, another, another. Palms smack against the denim. Bra strap whips against my back, fingers pull at my hair. The teacher sees my look of desperation, but doesn’t say anything. I don’t dare. And why should I? This is how the boys show they like me. This is what happens in high school. In life. My body is public property.
Nothing happened. On American streets several women are shot to death for refusing a man, for saying no. Nothing happened. Girls all over the world are married off against their will, girls all over the world are denied education, girls all over the world are denied growing up.
Nothing happened. On March 8 women all over the world are congratulated on the International Women's Day. They may not understand, but they say: congratulations women on being oppressed. Congratulations women on lower salaries, fewer opportunities. Congratulations women on the constant sexualisation, objectification, minimalisation. They don’t acknowledge, they don’t change, they don’t fight - they congratulate. Congratulations women, on March 8 the world celebrates that we still manage to exist. Well, some of us.
I get off the elevator, still breathing hard, my eyes still terrified. My fingers bruised from the keys. Congratulations woman. Congratulations me.