You had control over me for way too long, and that is because I did not know that you did this for a living. You were the reason I questioned my dressing in the mirror before I left the house, I resorted to wearing maxi dresses because I thought that it would. It did not, you still found something to say about my body.
I tried wearing a hat because I thought maybe you and your buds had memorized my face and you did it for laughs, you had the nerve of walking up to me to lift my hat just to see my face. I hated it when I had to walk from to the shops because it was fate that you and your many friends would be there, in the streets waiting to make women uncomfortable.
I found a temporary solution, I forced my male friends to accompany me, just so I could feel a little safer. My anxiety was lessened but your tongues knew no bounds, you still came at me and them too for moving with me. I am not sure why this satisfied you, it really felt like a waste of time to me. But what do I know?
I want to tell you that your catcalling placed fear in many women, we never knew when it was going to become more than just catcalling. You made our lives unbearable in the neighbourhood we called home. It did not help that you were the same people that drove the cars that transported people who chose not to walk, so we didn’t feel safe taking those either.
You always took it too far. I will never forget the day one of you promised to ‘taste,’ me someday. I was so afraid and couldn’t tell anyone at home because I was old enough to know that I would be told to ‘be careful.’ Not that it was their fault, it is not like they could protect me all the time anyway, so I didn’t put that burden of worry on their shoulder.
A member of your team tried me once when I was a whole lot younger in the presence of my mother. I remember it was in Makro, that day I was in my favourite outfit. It was a brown suede mini skirt, a crop top and a pair of timberlands. I was definitely feeling myself and then he stepped up and said something along the lines of, ‘who are you trying to get into bed with at such a young age.’ My mother lost it, she created a scene he was not expecting, he was lost for words by the time she was done with him.
I get why she tried to stop me from wearing my little skirts, dresses and shorts now. Those words stuck with her longer than I imagined, those were the words of a man who would have raped me had I been alone that day. Even as I grew older, she continued to see a little girl who was at risk of men who did not know how to control their desire.
You men haunted my mother, my friends, my neighbours and me. You haunted us then, you haunt us today. To me, you are a cartel, one that will never get punished because the justice system doesn’t see this as a problem. Reason being you are a part of the justice system. Women are nothing but toys to you all and I can not believe we have to exist with you on forever.
Unfortunately forgiving you doesn’t solve my problem because I will wake up tomorrow, head to the mall and one of you will catcall me. It is a trigger that I have to live with until I die. I am at your mercy and I hate it here.
There is no love here.