I am not a piece of meat!

Being a busty girl has never been all easy but still, I love myself and I love my body. So when I get looked at or treated like I’m just some piece of raw meat to be glared at and desired, I start feeling very conscious of my body and I hate that feeling so much. That is exactly how I feel everytime I’m harassed on the street. Catcalling,  unwanted comments, gestures, honking, wolf-whistling, following, persistent sexual advances, touching and the rest by total strangers. IT IS NOT OKAY! It’s the worst actually. It is outrightly disrespectful but not just that. It is scary because you don’t know what can happen next.

Image from websterjournal.com

It might be okay to take a glance or two at someone. Maybe that cannot be controlled. But when you stare at someone so much that the person feels naked or assaulted or you start making unsolicited comments then there is a huge problem. I’m honestly tired of walking on the road and being a victim of all these. Sometimes, I’m really pissed off and I reply angrily with a snarky comment. Sometimes, I just ignore. Sometimes,I feel unsafe and I walk faster or even run if I have to.

On so many occasions on the road, I’ve had men say really disgusting things.  Some would outrightly shout things like breast or ass or make silly comments about what they want to do to me. I was coming from the office one day and a strange man started staring at me. I tried to look away as if I didn’t see him staring but I could feel his eyes boring into me. I felt so uncomfortable. I turned to look at him again and he looked into my eyes and started to demonstrate grabbing breasts and pressing them, with a mischievous smile on his face. I’ve never felt so humiliated in my life.

Image from stellies-afro-chick.blogspot.com

Another day, also on my way from the office,  I was going to board a bus at Ikeja when one of these agberos (street thugs) blocked my way and started shouting “Hayyy Oyan! Oyan reee! Haaa” (See breast, this is breast). That alone was embarrassing but not as embarrassing as what happened next. I tried to maneuver my way to leave but this guy pulled me back. Like he actually grabbed me and pulled me back. I yelled “Are you mad?” or something of the sort, I don’t remember. But this guy grabbed me even tighter. I got scared.

Image from msmagazine.com

Note that I was at a bus garage so there were actually people there, but it was just as if they weren’t there because nobody did or said anything. I started to shout at the guy to leave me alone. I remember saying something about him sleeping in a police cell if he didn’t let go. He finally let go and I couldn’t even board my bus again. I was shaking.  I just called an uber, got inside and  I cried.

I don’t even know exactly why I cried that day. Maybe because I felt assaulted and humiliated, maybe because I was so scared something worse was going to happen or maybe because this thing has become so normalized that nobody even came to my rescue or even at least asked what was going on. I was still shaking even when I got home. The Uber driver turned back to show me the cost of my ride and I flinched.

Before anybody asks me what I was wearing, remember that on both occasions, I was coming from work. So I was corporately dressed. But still, the way one is dressed should not even matter. Bad behavior is bad behavior and should be addressed as such. Don’t call it compliments or whatever.

Image from thebubble.com

These are just a few of the very annoying things that I have been through and I’m sure some people have been through worse. Sometimes, I avoid a short cut and pass a longer route just because I can see group of guys at the short cut and I don’t feel comfortable because I can’t tell if they would cat call or make stupid comments to me or about me.

Image from flurtmag.com

Some will stare at you so much that you can feel them taking off your clothes with their eyes.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who experiences these but if you do too,  I would say speak up. Defend yourself and your space.  No one has the right to make you feel insecure, scared or uncomfortable. That day as that guy grabbed me. I was afraid. I felt fear. Real fear. I started to feel suspicious of strange men coming close to me and for a while after the incident, I still flinched anytime someone came disturbingly close.  I honestly don’t think it is okay to feel that way because of another person’s inability to behave like a human being.
However, I think that while we are telling girls to protect themselves, we need to educate people to behave themselves because if they do, then the girls won’t even need the protection in the first place.  Society needs to stop normalizing abnormal animalistic behavior. It needs to stop viewing these things as harmless or minor because it is in fact sexual harrassment and also traumatizing.

Individually, I would advise us to all try to stand up against sexual injustice anywhere we find ourselves. I’ve had a guy stand up for me once when I was being harassed and I’ve never been more grateful to someone than I was that day.

I’ll do a post soon on how to respond to street harassers and maybe another one on ways men can stop street harassment. I just keep hoping that somehow everything would change one day but till then, let’s all continue doing our parts to make things better.

If you’ve had similar experiences or you have something to say on these issue, by all means feel free to drop a comment or send a mail to tinyeyed@gmail.com . Let’s talk about it. Drop a comment.

Thanks for reading darling. Stay consistent.
Much love 😍

Your tinyeyed storyteller.

Heyyyyy!  Before you leave, be sure to subscribe to my blog and also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @mz_tomiiee  Thank youuuu😁😁😁

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “I am not a piece of meat!

  1. Whao! This is so so disheartening. So sad. No one deserves to be treated like that. And this is one reason why I hate Lagos somedays – People don’t stand up for others. They just stand and look… no standing up for those treated wrongly. Crazy city!
    Heyyy… You don’t deserve to be treating like that. No one does… Even me that I am not heavily endowed as such, I still receive nasty comments and its not even clothes! cos I’m pretty close to a mary-amaka.

    One thing I do though, I ‘strong’ my face, I don’t laugh or smile at anyone unnecessarily. I also try to put earphones in my ears (more than half of the time, I never play any thing because its unsafe) but that way, I can pretend to not hear these rubbish. And you touch me, I hit you! Most guys get shocked and that window would give you the opportunity to escape (I only do this when people are there for safety sakes)

    It is well jare. We go dey alright las last

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never understood why the onus is always put upon women to keep themselves safe, to dress appropriately, to act in a demure way, etc when it’s clear to me that it’s the guys that need to learn how to treat women like… well, human beings, not pieces of meat that exist purely for the sexual gratification of men. There needs to be a lot of education around raising our children to view themselves and everyone else as equals. Nothing more, nothing less. Thank you for writing this as I find such articles to be teachable moments for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really don’t know where the correction should start, from school systems? Or where. Just keep being strong, people go through a lot these days, but stand up for yourself at that moment!!!, crying later is allowed sometimes just to air out emotions

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Comforting to know someone can relate to exactly how I feel every time I go out. Every time I leave my house and I’m walking on the road or trying to get transport, all I can think of is “God I need a car”. This form of harassment is one of the reasons I don’t like to go anywhere. It happens every time I go out, dressed nicely or shabbyly, with or without makeup, I’m honestly tired. Sorry you had to go through that and welldone for using your blog to speak up about it. Sad thing is these street thugs can’t read it😔

    Like

  5. I can relate to your post. It’s not a new thing. It happened to me when I was in my teens and twenties, which was 40 years ago! The worst consequence was the one time it happened and I was riding my bike; I was so startled that I dropped my bag, which got caught in the wheel. I was thrown over the handlebars, and landed on my face in a gravel patch and skidded to a stop. Emergency room and many stitches later, I realized that my face would never be the same. I never let an ignorant stranger distract me again….

    Like

  6. ’ I’m so sorry about what you passed through tomi but the truth is that all girls pass through it. In India if a girl doesn’t agree, the useless idiots could pour acid on her face. It so sad. I have learnt to ignore honestly. And when I’m on the road, I don’t smile. No matter who you are, you will think twice before to you allow the devil use you. Don’t be scared my friend, don’t let anyone try rubbish with you cause you are young. My mother says we girls should be carrying pepper spray or at least a weapon to protect ourselves from useless men. Maybe you could try that. God bless you once again. ♥♥♥

    Like

  7. I’m so sorry about what you passed through tomi but the truth is that all girls pass through it. In India if a girl doesn’t agree, the useless idiots could pour acid on her face. It so sad. I have learnt to ignore honestly. And when I’m on the road, I don’t smile. No matter who you are, you will think twice before to you allow the devil use you. Don’t be scared my friend, don’t let anyone try rubbish with you cause you are young. My mother says we girls should be carrying pepper spray or at least a weapon to protect ourselves from useless men. Maybe you could try that. God bless you once again. ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This touched me, the issue of body shaming/harassment has been talked about in different circles for a while now. We female’s (especially) are really starting to speak out and this is a good sign. I am sorry you had to go through this baby girl, just remember you are beautiful and people who harass you are not worth your 2 cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a constant struggle even right on campus. It is referred to as ‘aroism’ and it is just outright rude and annoying. The fact that it goes on and has some what become a norm is disheartening.
    I’ve learnt to just ignore plus I’ve not really encountered up front confrontation.
    I think maybe we’ll have to harm ourselves with mace, pepper spray, physical combat skills etc.
    Nice work Tee, you’re a strong woman and no one can bring you down.

    Like

  10. This is very disheartening🙅
    No one deserves to be treated like that by total strangers. People are just plain rude. Very soon, we ladies would have to be armed with pepper sprays to teach this people a lesson. Just that “Agberos” will always be “Agberos”. May God help our society.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s