Please, Don’t.

A woman can wear whatever she wants and should be able to wear anything she wants, revealing or otherwise, without being harassed.

But that isn’t what happens.
For years, and years, anytime a lady is harassed outside, there’s always someone commenting about how she should have known better. There’s always someone there to point out the fact that it was late, or that her dress was too short or showed too much of her body, or that she shouldn’t have used the shortcut where there were no witnesses or that she should have worn a jacket or perhaps she should not have walked too confidently or talked back… etc. There’s always something the woman did or should not have done. Always.

While pointing this out, I must also point out the fact that lately, for every person who passes a comment of this sort, there’s always someone else (man/woman) who responds by saying that the harassment was not the woman’s fault. Which is the truth. And it warms my heart to see this because it shows that change is here.

It is never anyone’s fault for being abused, or harassed or bullied. Regardless of the gender. And please do not pass some snide comment about men being too strong to be harassed or how men actually enjoy it and so it doesn’t count. It does count. And no, they do not enjoy it. As a matter of fact, nobody enjoys being molested. Way too many people have been hurt by a lot of things we turn a blind eye to because we tell ourselves it is all we’ve ever known. Please, be enlightened.

A lady was sexually harassed today. A random guy touched her butt. At least ten guys saw it, but only her boyfriend stood up for her. Fought for her. And only his bestfriend had his back. Her sister was trying to prevent anyone from getting hurt. She could only do so much. Really. The lady ended up joining her boyfriend in the fight, and got hurt. Someone recorded the whole thing.

I wonder, if everyone had shamed the man for groping the lady, would there have been a fight? If everyone had stopped thinking about themselves for a split second and instinctively hooted at or shunned him, would he have had the nerve to cause a fight or felt justified in doing what he did? And more importantly, would the embarrassment have been sufficient grounds to make him reconsider groping another female in the future?

There was a party recently. A video was uploaded. Everyone was dancing, drinking, laughing, and just having a great time. At the party there was this guy who was sipping on his drink and minding his business. Out of nowhere came this girl who started dancing and twerking all over him. After a moment of shock, he quietly moved away. He wasn’t interested. Miss Dancer, however, did not take the hint and followed him to wherever he moved to. Each time making sure to vigorously twerk on him. This man was being sexually harassed and no matter how much he tried to make a dignified escape, the young lady was bent on preventing that. It was mortifying to watch.

Under the video, there were numerous comments pointing out the blatant assault on the man. Yes, it’s a party. Yes, people dance with strangers and they all have a great time. But the moment someone shows disinterest, you have to respect their wishes. It is that simple. There were people who claimed that perhaps she was embarrassed when he first walked away so she decided to continue as a joke. A joke? With all due respect to Miss Dancer and her supporters, jokes of that kind are not appreciated. At all. Since when did embarrassment become a reason to incessantly harass someone? There were people who said he should have been more violent about his disinterest. Perhaps she might have received the message then. Really? Is this how it’s going to be? Is violence the only solution? Isn’t it possible to simply respect one’s wishes in spite of our desires? Can’t we do that?

It takes just a moment of our time to stand up for someone, whomever they are. It may not change what happened, but it just might change what will happen, while letting the victim know that they are not alone, and that what happened to them is neither okay nor their fault. And, it starts the healing process too. It takes just one person to effect change in their circle of friends. It may not happen to overnight. But I am willing to believe that it can happen if we each make a conscious effort to call people out when they err instead of hoping that if we ignore it long enough, it will go away.

Don’t you agree?

Dr Nyameba 💜