Monday, December 8, 2014

12/06/2014: Why I don't say hello

I first need to remind you that this blog is a reflections of my own views and not every volunteer has the same experiences or opinions.

A while back there was a flutter of posts on Facebook about catcalling in the states and I wanted to share my story of being here.

I used to be annoyed by the catcalling in the states, offended and hurt. Then I came here. I'm not even sure my experiences are considered catcalling since at times it has led to me simply just not leaving my house for a few days. It became so exhausting, I did the only thing I could think of. Many people found my behavior rude. But it was all I could muster to enjoy the time I did wander into the village.

I stopped greeting people.

I didn't enjoy being rude. I like talking to people. I like meeting new people. But that was my survival tactic. Sure I never physically in danger, maybe one day someone could have crossed a line but I never felt like they would. But that doesn't make it less exhausting and less hurtful to have to hear crude comments from EVERY guy.

I don't mean a few men hanging out at the bar or the rare whistle from a passing car, or even the student with a little crush. I mean EVERY guy from the second I opened my front door to the second I got to the village and all the way back again. And FYI...there's a lot of guys hanging around out there.

I experienced catcalling in the states. And I hated it. But something about the way many of them talk to me here and the fact that they make it pretty clear it's because I'm an outsider, makes it feel so demeaning and offensive it ways it never felt back home.

My REDES friend and I talked about it because I told her it was one of the truck load of reasons I'm going home. And she even told me a lot of young girls just become used to it. But my fear wasn't getting used to harassment or even really the verbal harassment itself (though believe me, there are days it sent me home in tears hearing them calling out). It's what could potential happen to verbal harassment after one too many beers. Or the fact that these guys really don't have respect for young professional females that even harass the TEACHERS (which generally is one of the most respected professions here).

Maybe it was rude to never say hello, but the fact that going to the village sometimes put me on the verge of me that's more disrespective. A tough skin is important but at somepoint the words have to stop as well. It isn't just on me to develop a tough skin, it's on them to learn how to be respectful.

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