I have a constant surplus of blog posts in my brain about sexual assault, feminism, consent, and why #YesALLWomen is important. I could talk for hours about how afraid the statistics make me, and how my own experiences have made me default to fear and anger when it comes to my thoughts on men. I will never stop talking about how serious this issue is, and I will never pretend that it doesn’t exist. Whether the statistic is 1 in 5 or 1 in 500 it is not okay. This is something that deserves attention, and I think it is important that this conversation continues.
But right now, I would like to pause this conversation to say thank you.
I would like to say thank you to the men in my life who do not make me afraid.
Thank you to the guys who respect my boundaries. Thank you to the men I feel safe dating, and thank you to the ones I feel safe rejecting. Thank you to the men who stop the second I say “no”, and thank you to the men I don’t even have to say the word “no” to. Thank you to the boys who have called me beautiful, instead of yelling out crude remarks to me as they drive by. Thank you to the men who rushed to my house to offer support after another man threatened to rape me when I said no to a date. Thank you to the man who sat in my living room when I was scared to be home alone after a stranger tried to attack me when I was walking home from rehearsal in my sweatpants. Thank you to the men who walk me to my car. Thank you to the men I know I am safe riding in a car alone with. Thank you to the men who are fighting against rapists, instead of cheering them on or blowing them off as insignificant. Thank you to the men who get angry with me, instead of at me, when I talk about how infuriating it is to be treated like an object. Thank you to the men who have made me feel safe falling in love.
Thank you to the men in my life who serve as protectors, rather than predators. While much of the world makes me angry and afraid, I am more grateful than you know that you are here to make me feel safe.
We women have grown up clutching keys between our fingers, checking our back seats before we get in the car, and crossing the street when we see a stranger approaching in the dark. We have been raised to keep our guard up, to be cautious, and to be afraid of an entire gender. Thank you to those of you who prove us wrong.
To you good guys: Thank you.