Fear and Loathing: My experience with male entitlement and sexual harassment

WARNING: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN TRIGGERING MATERIAL

An upcoming post by my good friend Epiphora made me start thinking about my own personal past experiences with male entitlement.  Before reading her post I never thought I had run into any harassment from men and was quite thankful for it, but after reading, I realized that I had been repressing certain past events or even erasing whole parts of them to paint a prettier picture.  Therefore, I decided that I needed to speak out about these acts, for myself and for other women who have experienced the same.

Event #1: Asshole Concert-Going Guy

I was at a show in 2004 (I was 15 at the time) at about this time of year with a small group of friends.  We got let in early because one of my friends had dated the security guy.  It was a relatively small venue as it held only 400 people at maximum capacity, so we pressed ourselves against the stage waiting for the waves of people that would eventually crush us.  Somehow I end up in front of a guy who seemed nice – not overly good looking, but he was “normal” looking and was with a couple of friends.  However, I soon realized he was drunk.  This guy wasn’t just your average fumbling drunk though, he definitely had a routine that he had practiced before.

As the show started the crowd pushed forward, so in what I at first thought was a good gesture he stood behind me, planting on hand on the stage as to prevent people from completely crushing me making it difficult to breath (which I soon found out was something I much preferred to this asshole).  After a few minutes he wrapped the other free arm (the left, yes, I still remember) around my waist.  I thought, “Okay, whatever, just to keep me from falling over.”  Soon I heard him laughing and mumbling something to his friend, which I later found out was a bet to get me to have sex with him by the end of the night.  The next 45 minutes to an hour were filled with this guy not-so-subtlety trying to get his hands up my shirt and down my pants.  I’m not sure what he thought this would accomplish considering we were in a room full of 400 people.

Luckily, I eventually got the attention of my friend Christie and she came over and pulled me out of there.

While it was going on I was scared shitless.  This was my first encounter with harassment, and to be honest I didn’t even know how big a deal it was until recently thinking about it and writing this.  I was a victim.  Just because he never got to rape me (as I’m sure he would have) doesn’t mean that I was any less objectified and abused.  I now realize this and am better for it.

Event #2: Mr. “All women should bow to me”

While this case is nowhere near the first one I have presented here I think it is still relevant to the post.  I went to Mexico for two months in 2006 on a study abroad program.  It was absolutely fabulous, but what wasn’t fabulous was a certain guy’s sense of entitlement and his idea that all American women are “sluts.”

He was a good friend of my host brother who I had met a couple of times, and oddly enough I have no hard feelings against him even though I should.  José Pablo was probably not a bad guy, but through an injection of machismo they must be giving every Mexican boy at birth, he thought he was the gift to women that we all needed.  One day when my host parents weren’t home my host brother brought him over and we chatted for a while, but something was odd – You know those smiles guys have on their face when they are scanning you up and down like a piece of meat?  Yeah, he had one.  But I was so used to the construction workers yelling obscene things in bad English to me on the streets that I ignored it.

Little did I know that my host brother had been “commissioned” to play matchmaker.  Matchmaker not so much – it seemed like he was more my pimp than anything else.  Against the rules of my program I got in the car with them and drove around.  The time I started to get nervous was when I noticed we were going up into the mountains which are very sparsely populated with absolutely nothing in them – why were they taking me there?

We got out of the car, José Pablo tried to get me to smoke, I said no thanks and he automatically called me “fresa,” which in a nutshell is high-class, stuck-up, not giving up anything to just any guy.  Yeah, we were already off to a bad start.  After that he pushed me up against a wall and started kissing me.  I honestly wasn’t too into it, but figured it would be easier to go along with it than tell him no – besides, it was only kissing, right?

Well, soon my host brother got tossed the keys to the guy’s car and was told he could drive away for a while.  Keep in mind that none of this was done with me in the conversation – I was standing right there, but they acted like I was some kind of property.  Soon, I got scared.  I was alone in this isolated place, up against a wall with a guy I barely knew who obviously wanted more than I did.  Thankfully, he didn’t do any more than kiss me, for the moment.  We went back home and I got ready to go out with friends.

Later that night I was out with my friends for dinner and he came by and dropped me a phone without saying anything.  The first thought in my head, “Oh fuck.  Not this shit.”  He then called me and asked me to come outside – I found him there on the sidewalk with my host brother asking me to get in the car.  This time I tried to stand up for myself and say that I didn’t want to go with him.  I went back inside and finished out the night.  When I was done I went over to my host grandmother’s house waiting for my mom to come pick me up, but the thing is, my host brother had called my mom and said to pick me up at José Pablo’s house an hour later.

He ended up getting me on the couch and repeated trying to get my underwear off (I was wearing a skirt) even though I was plainly saying no.  He then couldn’t believe that I didn’t at least want to give him a blowjob.  A few minutes later my mom showed up to get me, I’d never been more relieved to see her.

In conclusion

I’m fortunate enough to currently be in a stable, loving relationship with a guy who sees me as more than just a piece of meat.  I’m also fortunate that the worst didn’t happen in those situations and that I wasn’t raped.  But the fear I felt was defintely real.

If you’ve ever had anything similar happen to you, please speak up and write about it.  This happens more than we care to believe and until women start voicing what has happened, it won’t stop.