I Am Not Your Sweetheart

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I am not your sweetheart.

I am not your baby girl.

And I am not your ma.

As today’s Time’s Up movement continues to mobilize women’s voices,  I am contributing my say that, yes, we women have had to endure everyday battles. 

Let’s be real. We live in an era whereby a man can blatantly brag — “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” — and still be elected President of the United States.

Like many women in New York, I am verbally harassed on a daily basis.

We get honked at by taxi drivers. We get psstt at by construction workers. And we get inappropriate gestures from your average Joe.

After years of this, you’d think that in a resigned sort of way we’d get used to it, but we don’t. Though 98% of the time I choose to respond in silence, I can’t help but feel a sense of discomfort and violation each time I am subjected to whatever the hell affront it might be at the time. 

My dad sent me an article a few months ago from The Good Men project called ,“Why Women Feel Routinely Unsafe and How You Can Change That”

"[The author] attended a Tony Robbins event with 2000 people, about half men and women. Tony asked this question one day of the men: “Men, raise your hand if you have felt unsafe at any point during the last week.” Maybe 5 hands went up out of a thousand men.

Then he asked the same question of the women. “Ladies, how many of you have felt unsafe at any time during the last week?”

A thousand female hands shot up, while men looked around shocked at the revelation."

One of my own personal experiences came to mind. One night I was leaving the nail salon around 8 in Manhattan and was walking towards Canal Street station to make my way home. As I stopped at a cross walk, a man approached me from behind and says, “Let’s take a picture together.” He then attempted to lean over to put his arm around me. I immediately stepped back and loudly said, “Do not effing touch me!” (the Baysics friendly version, people) I had mentally gathered every angry feeling I ever had and directed it at this man. The crosswalk light turned white, and he quickly responded with a plethora of names that are not my name.

Out of nowhere, he was joined by four of his male friends.  My anger quickly progressed to fear as now all five of them followed me yelling derogatory names. People watched and looked at me like I had done something to antagonize or cause their behavior. No one intervened to help, and no one spoke up on my behalf.  I was embarrassed. I was scared. And I was angry.

As I scurried to the train station, I kept thinking, “Why me?Why were they targeting me?” All I had been doing was simply going home.

Those were the longest two blocks of my life.

While those five men probably have no recollection of this event, I, however, cannot forget it.

It remains a reminder of why I feel I have to live life cautiously and defensively, anticipating assholes at every turn. I wear sunglasses to avoid making eye contact. I wear headphones to help drown out cat calls, but only play my music loud enough to still hear what’s going on around me. I take my keys out before getting out of an Uber to decrease time searching for them outside my apartment building. I share my location with a friend or roommate when dating someone for the first time. 

These are but a few of my realities. 

While those thousand men at the Tony Robbins seminar were shocked at a woman's everyday reality, I hope  today's Time’s Up movement will bring awareness to everyone. We need to educate our sons, our brothers, our husbands, our friends, our boyfriends, and our neighbors.

So again.

I am not your sweetheart.
I am not your baby girl.
I am not your ma.

You will call me by my name or not at all. 



Link to “Why Women Feel Routinely Unsafe and How You Can Change That”


Baylie Robinson3 Comments