As I was walking home today a group of teenage boys passed by.
“Oh baby, I love you!”
“Blondie, you got it goin’ on!”
“AAOOW–I need to be your workout partner!”
Eliciting catcalls at my age feels remarkably different than it did at sixteen. Today, I decided to accept this bullying as an unwelcome compliment–take that forty-two! But under different circumstances it would throw me into paroxysms of rage. It is intimidation. Pure and simple. This self-perceived right to verbally attack women on the street is perplexing. On what planet does their opinion matter? And don’t ask me what I was wearing because that doesn’t matter either.
But this form of verbal violence is nothing compared to the current state of women’s affairs in Egypt. Recently, the National Council for Women reported that Egyptian women get harassed seven times every 660 feet. A report by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights found that over two-thirds of Egyptian women are harassed every single day. And once school lets out, the girls must walk through a wall of pedophiles exposing their penises and shouting obscenities.
To which Todd Akin would ask, “Well, what are the women and the girls wearing?” Stupid question hypothetical Todd, but I’m glad you asked it! Most of the harassment victims are veiled or wearing the niqab. Even so, the boys contest that they are not responsible for their own behavior. They say: “If the girls were dressed respectably, no one would touch them. It’s the way girls dress that makes guys come on to them. The girls came wanting it – even women in niqab.” Just so we’re clear on what a niqab is, here’s a picture:
“AAOOW! I need to be your workout partner!”
So that’s the first thing Todd Akin has in common with an Egyptian street thug–both blame the victim. The second similarity is the apparent empathy-ectomy both Todd and the street rats have undergone. To believe an idea as reprehensible as “legitimate rape” and to be capable of attacking innocent women one must have an utter lack of compassion. The third thing they share is a lust for power over women’s bodies. Is it because they feel so powerless over their own reproduction? Or is it their fourth commonality: they both claim “Our God told us we have dominion over women.”
Now of course Todd brings his own little twist with a stunning scarcity of biological understanding. So why is he on the House Science Committee?
Blaming the victim, zero compassion, and a God given right to overpower another human being–these are the meat and potatoes arguments of any bully. Unfortunately, bullies never go away unless you stand up to them. Which is why I would encourage you to do two things: “like” the facebook site Egyptian Women for Democracy and Against Harassment:
And sign the petition to remove Todd Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee:
If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch this little chestnut:
So, to Todd and the street thugs I would like to say: Hey Douchbags! NO MEANS NO.
Justine Moore is a native New Mexican who has been working as a professional writer, actor, and playwright in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC for over fifteen years. Her autobiographical one-woman play, Ecstasy and the Ice Queen (in which she played all twelve characters) was the LA Times Critic’s Choice and garnered numerous award nominations including the prestigious Ovation Award and LA Weekly Award for best solo show. Moore is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and SAG/AFTRA. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Columbia University.
This post is originally published on The Immaterial Girl. Cross-posted with permission.