Have you ever been minding your own business at a coffee shop when a guy walks up to you to compliment your hair or some other physical feature? While it may seem good-natured on the surface, the truth is that such behavior is straddling the line between innocent flirtation and sexual assault.
If you brush his compliment off and don’t acknowledge the man’s advance, there is always the possibility that he goes on his merry way and takes his loses for the day. However, times have changed and a lot of times these flirtatious lines are just precursors to more aggressive and ultimately unwanted advances.
I can recount multiple times when I have either ignored the man or said that I had a boyfriend (even if I didn’t), hoping he would just leave. But instead, the man would start being confrontational and asking why I didn’t like him, even though I didn’t even know him whatsoever. And even if the man eventually left after a few seconds (or minutes) of aggressive dialogue, he still assaulted me with his words and the intentions behind those words.
And that is still just scratching the surface when it comes to sexual assault. Sometimes men take it even farther and start touching women inappropriately. This is particularly prevalent in the workforce where women almost feel forced to allow touching by their bosses or other coworkers, simply because they fear the repercussions if they refuse.
But even if you are touched inappropriately as just described, keep in mind that such sexual assault isn’t even the worst kind. There are numerous women around the country who have been raped, which is just about the worst kind of sexual assault out there. And the saddest part about it is that it can come from all sorts of men.
They may be strangers who you meet at a bar and unsuspectingly go home with (or in worse cases they may even drug you so wake up in his bed with no recollection of being raped at all). Or your boss who is making you have sex to keep your job (or suggesting that it is the only way for you to get a promotion). Or in the very worst of the worst cases, it may be someone from your own family who is raping you. Whether it be an uncle, your brother, or your own father, being raped by your family member is so terrible because there is an added emotional trauma that comes along with it.
Keep in mind that sexual assault in any form is absolutely disgusting and should not be tolerated by anyone. If you are sexually assaulted, it is important that you talk about it with someone close to you and someone that you can absolutely trust with this sensitive information. They will be your support system that you need. And perhaps the most important thing to do is to disclose the sexual assault to an official when you are ready. Coming forward in this way may be difficult, but you will be better off in the long run.