TRIGGER WARNING: Hints of sexual assault, rape culture
Today something happened while we rode the bus, something that hurt my heart and my head so deeply it took me almost 20minutes to stop shaking.
We got on the bus near a high school, just as school ended. Several high school students piled onto the bus, jumping, falling, climbing all over each other like giant puppies. It was kind of sweet to see what my own children will become one day. Every second word was a curse while they tried on being big and brave and grown up. My daughters looked at me with wide eyes, but they know the words, and no harm was meant by them. Though several of the students looked over at us with apologetic looks on their faces. No one actually told the boy cursing to stop.
Though after a couple blocks another boy began laughing and talking – the cursing stopped. Something much more sinister and disgusting filled the space where mere words used to be.
The boy that spoke laughed and laughed about a man, a bodybuilder in Texas, who removed a picture of his daughter from social media because of this boy’s comments on the picture. (turns out he was only blocked, the picture was not removed)
I won’t quote directly, it was too difficult to listen to, this boy proudly repeated what he’d written on the girl’s picture. He talked about how he wanted to sexually assault her. Him and his buddies laughed when one of the guys pointed out that the girl’s father had said she was only 11. He boasted, “She looks 15, that’s good enough for me.” He then made further comments of what he intended to do.
Honestly the whole thing is a little hazy, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that not a single other person there told him that wasn’t okay. I was so busy worrying about what my daughters, my 10 year old, were hearing.
One girl did tell him to stop. Him and his buddies laughed. That’s when I snapped. First I thanked the girl for standing up for others, then I turned to the boy.
I was a little emotional, far from eloquent, and missed so many points as to what exactly was problematic about his comments, my words were mostly about how appalled and disgusted I was and how he should be setting examples for younger children not terrifying them. I wish I’d said things differently, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. In the face of someone actually saying these things, I couldn’t form a coherent thought.
My 10 yr old hid her head as I yelled at the boy. But I couldn’t let it go.
This is a boy that goes to a school my children walk passed several times a week. This is a boy talking about sexually assaulting a little girl that looked so similar to my own little girl. This is a boy laughing about rape and a bus full of teens who laughed along with him. This is rape culture and it knocked on my door.
This is rape culture and now my girls are afraid. He wanted to hurt a little girl. Or an older girl. It could have been any girl. Any girl.
A person that a bus full of teens stripped of her personhood and diminished to a piece of flesh to be taken and used. Abused.
I am disgusted.
I am sad.