Is it actually my fault?
Staring, touching, sexualising, grabbing, flirting, following threatening. Which ones do you get? Which ones scare you the most? Is it your fault?
A man stands behind me on the crowded Northern line. His hand brushes against my back. Then lower. Its so light I second guess whether it was intentional. But then he takes my skirt between a thumb and finger and grazes up against my tights. Blushing, I move against the crowd of bodies away from his touch.
I’m twenty one. Although, this could have been when I was eleven. Or thirteen. Or eighteen. Almost every day, I experience some form of unwanted sexual attention.
Well of course, it’s my fault. I wear heels, black tights, my hair long and lipstick. What poor man wouldn’t stare at such attention seeking. Except: well, except I never dressed for you.
I like looking the way I feel. Powerful. Strident. In control. Tall. I like men who wear nice suits and expensive shoes. I don’t molest them on the tube or follow them in the street.
Well, maybe they think I like it. Maybe they are just admiring a confident woman. Well, why call me a frigid bitch then? Why insult me when I won’t stop for you? Isn’t this really about you getting the attention of a woman you want?
Or is it me, who subconsciously wants the attention? I am melodramatic, deep thinking and loud. Maybe my sexuality is too. Is that my fault?
I don’t mind you saying nice things, really. I don’t even mind you whispering about my low cut dress. But I don’t like the touching. I really don’t like the relentless fingerprints and kisses and embraces I scrub away after each day. I don’t know your names, half the time. Dealers, Academics, Artists, Bankers. Your title and introduction allows access to my body.
Is it my fault for permitting it?
Is it my fault for smiling through the mask?
Is it my fault for inhabiting this body?
Tell me how to stop you. I will try it.