Leaving the grocery store, standing on the edge of the pedestrian crosswalk waiting to make my way across the parking lot to my car, I looked both ways before hurriedly moving forward. There was an oncoming truck directly in front of me and I waved at him to go ahead and make his turn. He motioned back telling me to go ahead and cross the street. Thinking that he was kindly acting as any gentleman should, I waved in return, smiled gently, and tried to move quickly so that I wouldn’t keep him waiting.
I safely crossed to the other side when I began to realize someone was yelling in my direction. Turning around to see where it was coming from, I noticed the man rolling down his window while turning his truck, and looking in my direction, he shouted, “I just wanted to look at you.” He began laughing as he stared for a reaction before finally pulling off. Not completely processing what he meant, I laughed back. But it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t flattering. I felt completely objectified. I had done nothing wrong, but I was embarrassed.
Laughing, he drove off. Completely mortified, I continued on to my car.
I’ve never been sexually assaulted. I’ve never even come close. This situation is not comparable to a situation of that nature and I’m not for a second comparing getting hit on to being physically abused.
What I am saying is this: treating women as objects for self-enjoyment begins as a mindset.
I’m a bit confused as to why we, as a society, think that we can use sex to sell things and then wonder why we have to start a #metoo movement. I’m not defending men who degrade and/or abuse women.There is no excuse on the planet that is justifiable.
But there is a bigger issue here – we have cheapened sex. And by doing so, we have cheapened our own value. When you act as though sleeping with whoever you want is a casual, personal choice, you have depleted the value not only of sex, but of yourself. You have become a casual, personal choice for someone to make.
When we see commercials using attractive women to sell everything from perfume to candy bars, why on earth would we not expect men to subconsciously view us as a means to get what they want? The very society we live in is using us to sell their products. It’s beyond degrading, and yet, we compare ourselves to those women instead of standing up for all of us and the deep value we have.
I don’t know what the answer is. This problem is so big and it feels like it just keeps getting bigger. I know that we need to date men of character, marry men of character, and raise men of character. But it’s more than that…we have to be women of character who encourage godliness instead of sexuality. In so many ways, this starts with us. It starts with how we dress, the way we interact, and the way we carry ourselves.
There’s nothing I could’ve done to prevent what happened crossing that parking lot. For so many of us in so many more serious situations, this is your story. If you have been sexually abused, hear me when I say this: You are not what happened to you.
You are not dirty.
You are not any less valuable.
You are not any less loved.
You are not any less desired.
You are an infinite amount valuable and loved and desired by the One who created you.
We stand here in support of you, saying it’s not okay that society views us this way and vowing to do our best in every way we can to change things.
While we can’t change everything, we’ll change it in every way we can.