Fear. What is fear? Fear could be losing your mom in the crowd, it could be the prospect of losing a full ride scholarship or being fired from your job. It could be dropping your phone or missing the last bus.
Fear can also be walking alone at night, clutching your keys in between your fingers, your finger placed over the call button ready to press it at the slightest chance of danger. Fear can also be a mother deciding whether or not it’s safe for her daughter to leave the house, fear can be a father worrying whether that boy will take advantage of his little girl because he knows how men can be. Fear can be your friends worrying after not hearing from you when they know you were out late with a boy.
Fear is a feeling ingrained in every girl from the moment she can comprehend. ‘Stranger danger’, “Don’t talk to boys you don’t know.” “Be careful with the boys you do know.” “Keep your head down, don’t retaliate.” Are all lines we’ve heard growing up.
Fear is what I feel when I walk in the dark alone, fear is what I feel when a man stares at me for a little too long. Fear is what I feel when I get cat called, when boys make disgusting comments as I pass by and what’s worse? This is a feeling for every girl. No matter how you look, who you are, where you’re from or how much you make if you are a women you know this feeling of fear.
You can ask any girl you’ve met and at least once in her life she has felt that fear crawl up behind her and grab her by the throat threatening to choke her and immobilize her.
If your shirt is a little tight and you walk into a place filled with men suddenly you are hyper aware of your breathing, you are aware of every heave made and the movement of your chest. You feel guilty, you feel afraid and all that for breathing. All this fear for simply breathing.
Why am I afraid to wear a skirt that’s a little too short? What am I afraid of wearing an off shoulder top? Why should my mother worry that if too much of my skin is exposed someone will consider that an invitation.
How dare you take away my right to feel safe? How dare you take away my right to walk in the streets? How dare you take away my right to trust? How dare you take away my right to BREATH?
How dare you make me feel like my body is yours.