by Lana Hope cross posted from her blog Wide Open Ground
Editor’s note: So we’re well past the debates and election for president of 2016. But Lana Hope makes an important point in this piece, a reality that many of us have had to deal with just because we were born female. Chilling in light of all the honey badger Evangelical Christians like Lori Alexander and Nancy Campbell insist that women have no rights or influence anywhere but the kitchen and cradle.
I live in a three story townhouse, which means both wall noise and social contact, whether with those in my house or those next door. We share walls, yards, and parking spaces.
Recently, I shared with the student in the basement that I am frustrated with the guy who shares a wall with us because he games at 3 a.m. on the weekend, shouting at his buddies, banging the wall in excitement. Sometimes I hear gun shooting from the games, and I have a lot of gun trauma, and I can actually start crying. During the summer, the noise has been especially loud because he has no reason to close doors and windows, not needing to use his indoor heater.
When I mentioned my frustration to the student in the basement, he said, “well, why don’t you just speak with him?”
At that moment, I trembled. See, I cannot speak with him, because I am afraid. The guy next door, you see, will turn it back on me. “I’ve heard you go to the bathroom at night” and “but I’ve heard you in the closet at night.”
But, of course, there is a huge different. That I make a little noise at the night when I move is significantly different than a person intentionally shouting names and banging a wall, at 3 a.m.
But I know the guy next door. I know how the conversation will go, because I know him. I know how it goes because we’ve had talks and conversations, and I just know.
I bring this to attention in light of yesterday’s presidential debate. During the debate, Trump talked down and bullied Hillary, and she could not call him out for his sexist, bullying behaviour. She need to be able to not only fight back loud and strong, to literally say “B.S.” at him, but also to be able to say out loud, that his actual behaviour at that moment was unacceptable.
After all, at the republican debates, Trump’s opponents were known to say to Trump that he needed to cool down before responding. “Count to ten, Donald,” “breathe, first, Donald” I remember Cruz saying. Hillary could not respond in the same way Cruz did, and no one was there to stand up for her, either. She was not alone in the room, and yet she was alone. No one blew a horn and interfered.
Every woman knows what it is like to be in that situation, and it was painful to watch.
The hardest part of being a woman is not sexual harassment, the lower pay wage, or less rights: its living in a world where men are usually “right” and have to work less to get further. Its living in a world where you silently bear the pain because no one is there to fight for you.
Its needing to send your friend or partner to speak for you, because the guy next door would never listen to you.
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