Just a Boob Grab

Are you pissed off yet? You should be. I hope you read the title of this post and are now looking for a reason to hit me in the face. If you can read the words ‘just a boob grab’, and your temperature doesn’t climb a few degrees, you might be a bad person. Just saying.

There is no such thing as ‘just a boob grab’ or ‘just’ any kind of unwanted sexual advance. Even catcalls are destructive things.

This post is a little outside the norm for this blog, but, I feel that this needs to be said, and there is no one for whom this subject matter is not appropriate. I write this from the viewpoint of a woman, but I want to clarify here, that these things happen to everyone, no matter what their gender, identity, or preference is, and no matter who it happens to, it is wrong.

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Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

I was just having a discussion about sexual abuse, catcalls in particular, with a friend of mine yesterday, we’ll call her Anne.

Anne is a striking woman. She sings in a band and does other performance art projects around the city I live in. She is intelligent, funny, kind and responsible. She has grown children, and is single, and lives alone.

She was telling me about the obscene catcalls she gets almost on a daily basis, even right outside her own door, on her way to her car, and almost any other places she goes throughout the day. She told me that it’s not only disrespectful in her eyes, but it also puts her into a guarded state of mind. She said when these things happen, she instantly goes from happy, or whatever else she is feeling while she navigates her day, to vigilant, defensive, and sometimes, downright scared. If there are any guys reading this that have called out to a woman they do not know on the street, I want to put this out there now. This not NOT a compliment. We don’t take it that way. You just may be frightening us. That right. It’s scary. We don’t know you. This is a form of sexual abuse.

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I was watching the news the other day, and there was a segment on anxiety disorder. Apparently, 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders in the U.S., making it the most common mental disorder, affecting 18.1% of the population, with General Anxiety Disorder, and Panic disorders being twice as likely to affect women, then men.

When Anne was telling me that the constant catcalls she has flung at her elicit a fear response from her, these statistics instantly popped up in my head.

Is it possible that women are being afflicted with crippling panic, and anxiety because over time, as they navigate their lives enduring catcalling, and other varieties of mild sexual assault, in some cases multiple times a day, their bodies and minds are being forced into some sort of hypervigilance?

Doesn’t seem like a stretch to me at all.

Men, I urge you to think next time before you call out to that stranger across the street, because you may think you are paying her a compliment, but you are not. You may in actuality be causing her PTSD later on down the line, or contributing to the anxiety she is already suffering from.

NOTE: This article was posted previously on my other blog The Beginner American. I will be slowly moving some posts from that blog to this one, as I will no longer be writing in that one. Hopefully, that dispels any confusion if you have run across this post before. Thank you for reading! 
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11 comments

  1. Wow great post, thanks so much for sharing. I definitely agree with everything you had to say in this article. What do you think needs to be done to start changing things?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe a good starting point would be some law changes. There have already been laws put into effect in other countries and even in some cities within the US that outlaw catcalls in public, with the punishment being anything from a fine, to a small amount of jail time. I believe these types of laws should be passed, and enforced at a Federal level, with repeat offenders facing the possibility of being added to the sex offender registry list. A three strikes deal or whatnot.

      Although it saddens me to have to add this, I do not think that this type of action is possible with our current US administration. I do not believe that sexual misconduct prevention/education/laws are high up on the priority list with those in charge at the moment.

      Like

  2. This is such a necessary post because people don’t realise how much these things can damage a person. Catcalls and other forms of sexually harassment cause anxiety and fear that is real regardless what people say. I’m glad you’ve felt able to discuss this and want to raise more awareness of this issue. I hope things get better for you and your friend. I worked in a club from the age of 16-18 glass collecting and I was sexually harassed every single week, despite how good the bouncers were with it it never improved. I was touched and grabbed and was tried to be forced into situations I didn’t want in my own fucking work place. It’s horrendous and I’m glad you’re speaking out. I definitely feel compelled to write about it too, thank you for inspiring me.
    Alex x
    https://allthingsalexx.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Thank you so much for this comment, for reading, and for your support! I really hope you do write about it. The more of us who speak out about how common this is and how much it changes us as people, the more likely we are to see some change. Up until this point, things like this have become daily events, and are pretty much overlooked and in some ways even deemed acceptable. This stigma MUST change. Our future and the future of our children and the safety and mental health of everyone is at stake. Much love! -Kat

      Liked by 1 person

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