I knew I wanted this blog to be about harassment and I am now realizing the many forms of harassment women face.
Just yesterday at work, a male coworker grabbed my ass as I was walking away. He did this casually and unexpectedly after a conversation that had us both laughing. He did this in a hallway with no cameras and noone around. He knew he couldn’t be caught and that it’d be my word against his.
However, sexual harassment is not the only harassment women face.
I’ve always been outspoken and unique. I went against the norm that society and my family were used to. When I moved to New Orleans for college, alot of my family members had negative thoughts about that. I go to Loyola- which has a Chicago campus. However, I picked New Orleans because I felt the Midwest was smothering me. I picked New Orleans because I love the city, people, culture, and climate. I picked New Orleans because I have a sister ten years my senior who lives here and had made a home and a family here of poets, artists, healers, and strong women. I picked a strange city with my radical sister to get a liberal arts education. This fact made some people mad. Even members of our own family.
Facebook harassment from our male family members became commonplace. Every few months, they’d post a comment with a subtle jab against us. When my mother got a facebook and moved to New Orleans to help me with my newborn son, the same thing continued. Online harassment or cyber bullying from members of my own family continued.
I wouldn’t have thought to include this if this hadn’t happened. I posted a status saying I had enjoyed visiting friends and family in Chicago but came back with a terrible cold. This is what I was met with. Abusive and misspelled hate mail from my mothers youngest brother. He behaved so childishly, that I pointed out his spelling errors first off.
Then, I let him know that he was not entitled to anything from me- including my time. I had an agenda and a schedule and if he didn’t contact me in advance or reach out to me when I was there- he had no right to think I’d be making time for him in my visit.
**The purpose of this visit was because my best friend had a family/life emergency of sorts and I needed to make sure she was okay. So, I booked a week long trip during the coldest and most inconvenient time of the year to make sure she’d be okay. I picked a week because I could get the time off work and it was cheapest to fly on those dates. I arrived back in time for the start of my semester-four hours before my first class started.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO JUSTIFY YOUR ACTIONS OR DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST TOXIC PEOPLE INCLUDING TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS.
YOU DO NOT OWE THEM ANYTHING.
Also, life happens. I don’t drive and so I was relying on friends, public transit, and the occasional Uber. I was not able to see my sister because of her work schedule and personal life conflicts. I wasn’t able to see a my newest second cousin or his mom and siblings because they got sick-and I was on a schedule. Those people- did not write hateful things to me on the internet, in person, or in general. They understood because life happens and vacations and planning are hard. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them- I do. I had a visit day with my Aunt, cousins, brother, and grandfather and I wasn’t able to make it on time- I came three hours late. I came late because I don’t drive and my ride had a scheduling conflict and then we popped a tired on the way. Life happens. When I got there, they welcomed me with open arms. It wasn’t ideal that I was late- but my brother was also late because he was working all day. People and family need to be understanding, not toxic and combative.
Also, here’s a post I made days before my trip to see if anyone wanted to make plans.
This same family member posted some pretty mean things on my facebook page when I posted a status asking if anyone knew of any scholarships I could apply for. I asked this because alot of people’s employers or churches or different organizations offer scholarships that may not be well known.
He told me to get a job without knowing anything about my employment. I work a full time morning job, a night job, a work study job, a promotions job, and hold 3 on campus positions in student organizations. His words were not helpful nor were they kind. I do not have to deal with that shit. I appeased him with a thanks for the compliments but also let him know- I was still seeking scholarship information.
Hateful and toxic people will have no interest in helping you but will take the time to write or do hateful things to you. That’s not love, that’s not tough love, that’s not how families are supposed to be. Don’t let blood relationships tie you to people who only want to bring you down.
I should have in hindsight, confronted/deleted/and addressed this person after this jab he wrote to me on a beautiful picture of my son on his first thanksgiving.
Where is the father? That question is probably never necessary. Reevaluate your life and the situation if you ever find yourself asking that. Why did he want to know? I’m not sure. Because he’s nosy, because he has judgy ideas about babies conceived out of wed lock, because he believes in society’s model of a nuclear family and anything deviates makes him uncomfortable, because people hate mothers and especially young single mothers. As you can see with these past posts, I tend to make a joke of things and laugh it off. I try to throw back a little wit at them and if they get it, great- if not, I still get it. But that is not necessary- YOU DO NOT NEED TO LAUGH OFF OR BRUSH OFF THESE INSULTS. THEY ARE INSULTS AND THEY ARE MEANT TO HURT YOU. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL SLIGHTED, HURT, AND UPSET. You are also allowed to delete, block, confront, or sick your mama on them!
This one in particular was very insulting to me. At this point, his dad and I were living together and coparenting as a couple. He wasn’t in the facebook photo because he probably took it. Things have since changed between us, and we live seperately and have a unique arrangement- but that is NONE OF YOUR NOSY RELATIVE’S OR FACEBOOK FRIENDS BUSINESS.
Imagine if that person had commented “where’s the father” on a photo of a baby conceived by rape or incest. Also, why the fuck is that a relevant question. Babies have been raised and nurtured by strong women and strong single women since the beginning of time.
I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THAT MISOGYNISTIC FUCKERY. I WILL NO LONGER TOLERATE SUBTLE JABS, HATE MAIL, CODED LANGUAGE FROM ANYONE. THAT INCLUDES FAMILY MEMBERS AND MY SON’S RELATIVES.