Once, after breaking up with my ex because he was having his own private party in his bedroom with another girl while I stood out in the hall, he stole all my stuff so that I couldn’t leave his apartment. And then, because he didn’t want me to “make a scene” he had his brother keep me in his room. He then went about making arrangements for me to stay the night at the apartment of the woman he’d spent the evening with in his bedroom. All because he said that it wasn’t safe for me to take a cab to the bus station at 2 in the morning.
I eventually got my wallet, phone, and shoes back by convincing the brother that I was effectively being held hostage. I made a break for the door, and when my ex yelled down the stairs that I couldn’t leave because he still had my laptop, I said “I’ll sue you later”, which I thought was a pretty clever pun considering the circumstances. He sent his girl friend out after me to give me back my laptop on the condition that she could come to the bus station with me, but then, like a miracle, when she went back inside to get her jacket, a cab came rolling down this little back street with its light on and picked me up. I got the bus station, and shortly thereafter, my ex’s brother came by under the pretence of keeping me safe, but really so that he could make me take my ex’s calls, begging me to not tell my parents about our relationship.
Not all of my examples are so extreme, but the examples are endless of guys refusing to respect my wishes on the basis that I didn’t know what was best for me. And, more to the point, that I wasn’t entitled to make my own mistakes. “Please don’t talk to me” elicits the response “I’m just worried about you”. “No thanks, I’d rather walk home alone” elicits the reply “I’m not taking no for an answer”. “Hey, did you change me into my pyjamas when I passed out last night?” elicits the explanation “You shouldn’t sleep in your jeans” *cringe*. It gets to the point that we internalize the belief that we are weak, and that our agency must be commensurately limited, such that we need to seek the approval of whichever man happens to be around to make certain decisions.
And so, when a man tells me that “you can’t just [insert something you’re perfectly entitled to do here]”, I have practiced the reply, “I certainly can, and if you respect me you’ll respect my wishes”.
Posted in: Progress