It Doesn’t Matter How I am Dressed: A Voice Against Rape Culture & Slut Shaming.

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It Doesn’t Matter How I am Dressed: A Voice Against Rape Culture & Slut Shaming.

protest rape culture

 

By Michele Genzardi

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do.

It is one of my solaces; in an all to busy world, there are days I’ll sneak away and I’ll hike and write in nature. Last weekend was one of those days.

It was a hot, Texas summer day so I dressed in shorts and a flannel shirt, with a bikini underneath. After a couple hours of both hiking and writing I swam in one of the rivers in the park. As I got ready to leave I put my shorts on, but left my flannel off, choosing to hike the last mile or two in my bikini top and shorts.

I was so caught up in the wildlife—the trees, the sound of water running over the rocks—that it took me a moment to realize I was being followed. A man I had seen earlier on the trail was now less than five feet behind me.

Feeling as though my personal space was being invaded, I stepped to the side of the trail to allow him to pass, yet instead of passing, he too stepped to the side and just watched me. At this point I was feeling unnerved—enough so much that I leaned over to retrieve my shirt from my back, and as I did so I felt a slap to my butt.

I jolted up looked at him for a second and then ran. I could feel him behind me, but luckily an elder couple was entering the trail, saw him and my face of terror and kindly led me to the park ranger station. As I recounted what had happened, I was not met with sympathy, understanding or even a sense that his man did anything wrong.

Instead the ranger remarked about my state of dress.

He said I was in his words “tempting any man on the trail with my short shorts, and shirt with a bikini top showing”

I was outraged.

I demanded to speak with a supervisor, who unfortunately shared the same opinion. I went home that evening deflated and feeling as though I was being blamed; that I was responsible for this man touching and making graphic and sexual gestures at me because of my choice of clothing.

I spent an evening allowing myself to bear the plan. I thought of changing my dress, or as the supervisor kindly suggested “not hiking without a male escort.” By morning however, I knew I held no blame here. Instead, it is the tradition of slut shaming and rape culture that our society is allowing.

A woman gets raped after going home from a club, and she’s judged for the length of her skirt. If a woman chooses to have sex with multiple partners and then later is assaulted by one of those partners, she is told she asked for it.

What I wear—or don’t wear for that matter—is my choice. I can walk naked down a street, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to touch me, assault me or yell sexual phrases at me.

I am over with being told that men cannot handle their hormones, so I must cover up my legs, my shoulders or my ass.

I am over  with being blamed for the things men say or do because of the way I am dressed or being told it would lower their temptation if I wasn’t wearing those shorts, or that bikini, or this dress.

Screw that!

I am a grown woman. I love nature, I love solitude while I write, and I won’t give up my freedom, because some man tells me I must. We have to stop judging women, or worse—blaming them for crimes committed against them because of what clothes they wore.

I will continue to hike, to swim, to wear my shorts and bikinis and enjoy this life on my terms. I will not allow anyone to tell me what I can or cannot wear, and I won’t allow anyone to slut shame or try to put blame on my shoulders for the actions of someone else.

We need to take a stand against the shaming of woman, and the word slut in general just shouldn’t be used.

As woman we need to stand together and defend and support one another.

And keep wearing those bikinis.

 

Michele GenzardiMichele Genzardi lives in San Antonio Texas with her husband, three kids and her dog, she is a nomad and gypsy traveler at heart, a writer who also loves photography. She is a history nerd and bookworm, who loves to sink her toes into nature.

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall

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The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha was founded by Buddhist author Ty Phillips and Dana Gornall. What started out as a showcase for Ty's writing, quickly turned into collaboration with creative writer, Dana Gornall and the home for sharing the voices of friends and colleagues in the writing community. The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. So while not necessarily Buddhist, we are offering a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living.

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By | 2016-10-14T07:50:57+00:00 June 27th, 2015|blog, Featured, News & Politics|0 Comments

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