Women since childhood are conditioned to modify their being in such a way to protect from sexual assault, harassment and degradation. Throughout the day women are aware–subconsciously even– of the measures needed to steer clear of uninvited attention or danger. At the gym, at school, catching Uber, going to work, walking to the car, even in the safety of homes, women must be aware they are a woman. This narrative teaches the male counterpart is the predator– women are the prey– vulnerable and delicate. Moving through life so conscious of her beauty, her sexuality that she could be violated at any given moment. The male gaze can often feel intrusive, so even if she’s fully clothed, she’s naked and exposed. While it is true that we all must be on guard as the world does not always give us permission to go free unharmed, let us re-visit the narrative. If a woman walks down the street fully clothed head to toe, that does not constitute for male violation, if a woman walks down the street naked head to toe, that does not constitute for male violation.
Objectifying a woman and placing the responsibility on her to deter sexual violation perpetuates a society that is unsafe for her to live. Let culture be accountable for the narrative given–teaching men to practice self- discipline respect of boundaries, understanding consent, and unlearning unhealthy power dynamics of men and women. Because a woman’s existence is not automated permission for violence, access is not granted, no matter the scene or circumstance.