A woman’s safety, boundaries, and personal space.
October 21, 2022
I am a woman.
These four simple words can mean or can bring to mind different things for most people.
Depending on the situation and context there are also negative connotations with being a woman. If you are too strong, independent, and vocal then you are sometimes viewed in a bad light.
Then there are the stereotypes of women based on factors such as a woman’s looks, culture, background, education, or belief system.
Yet, in all these topics of discussion, the most important items are never fully addressed, a woman’s safety, well-being, and overall security with just existing as a woman.
I am writing this blog today based on my own perspective and experience.
Late yesterday evening, I was scrolling through Facebook and that feature “People you may know” came up.
The profile that came up was personally upsetting to me. It was a picture someone had taken of me and another relative. This relative is using it as their profile picture. I did not know because I do not follow relatives on Facebook. I did not give the person permission to use my picture on their profile, it was never asked.
It upset me to the point of blocking the person on all my social media accounts. It made me feel physically ill, and my anxiety became extremely high most of the evening. I became mentally quiet and introspective in my thoughts about the situation.
That evening when I picked up my son from work, he could tell that it had bothered me tremendously. I also spoke with my online person about it and had to assure him that the relative does not know where I live and is not close by.
The person who used my picture is purportedly not mentally mature due to an accident he had as a child. My intuition tells me, he knows exactly what he is doing, he is in his forties and no longer a kid.
When he sees me, he always tries to give me a hug or a kiss. I do my best to keep him at arm’s length. I have never seen this pattern of behavior being directed at any other women in our family, just me.
It is one of the main reasons I do not attend very many family functions anymore. I just want to avoid the discomfort and awkwardness of being around him. I was also, at the time that picture was taken, trying to avoid taking any with him, as I had for so many years. Our newly found relatives did not know that history and snapped the picture.
Then I saw my picture being used on his social media account. I know that if I were to call him out on it, and ask for the picture to be removed, that would instigate an issue within my relatives or his family. They do not see his behavior as harmful. Well of course his behavior is not harmful to them, it is being directed at me.
I am a nice person. I always have been. I have been told by others that I am too nice. This has been a problem from the time I was a kid well into adulthood.
I do know from my therapy sessions that it is overcompensating and trying to make people like me due to the trauma. It was a survival instinct to avoid further harm. It is a hard habit to break. I never thought being a nice person would cause harm but it has for myself.
People, men, have mistaken this “niceness” as me having some sort of interest in them. There have been many awkward conversations over this misunderstanding. There were some who felt so upset by the mistake that they took it upon themselves to seek revenge for me “embarrassing” them. I have been called every nasty name in the book when they got angry over it.
I have had to leave job positions for this very reason. It created a hostile work environment and since I was normally the new person, or in a subordinate position, it was recommended that I resign. Instead of dealing with the other person’s inappropriate behavior, I got pushed out to avoid further issues.
That is the issue, personal boundaries and safety, being overstepped by people who did not, would not, or could not take “no” for an answer. Their egos were bruised by my lack of interest in them whether it was a relationship or just a friendship. These people never seem to understand that these types of attachments are always naturally occurring parts of human behavior, it cannot be forced.
These misbehaviors or moments of misunderstanding have occurred within my family, within workplaces, within schools, and sometimes just within places that I used to frequent or hang out at.
I would be made to feel like I caused the issue, when in fact, I never feigned interest in them, I was just being a nice person. A nice person to everyone that I would meet.
Then there are those people, both men and women, who physically overstepped the personal boundary space. Touching my hair, face, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, knee, or my waist. There were others who tried to force a kiss on me because they thought my saying “No!” was flirting and I did not mean it.
These behaviors by people, overstepping boundaries, getting too close to my personal space, unwanted attention, harassment, innuendos, sexist remarks, and misogynistic viewpoints are harmful, there is no other way to see these in a positive way.
These types of behaviors only strip away a woman’s basic human right to feel safe in their environment.
If a man were being treated this way by another person they would feel unsafe and combative towards the unwanted attention.
If a woman protests or tries to defend herself, she automatically gets the blame and told she must have done something to cause it.
In general, is that even fair to any human being to be treated this way?
For the time being, I am trying to get the image and feelings associated with his actions out of my thoughts hence the reason for this writing.
This is my own personal experience dealing with personal boundary issues with others.
I see in the world today, there are far more worse issues occurring that are related to a woman’s sense of safety, stability, and basic human rights.
It just needs to change.
If not now, when?
When will the world stop viewing women as unequal members of the human race?
When will a woman be seen as a person and not this “object” to others?
When will a woman saying to or telling a person “No,” actually be enough?
When will women be able to stop teaching or talking to their daughters about how to defend themselves from these unwanted attentions?
When will a woman be able to just go about her day freely without having to plan an alternate route, without having to change her outfit, or without having to keep something in their bag or car for self-defense?
Only time will tell when this absurdity of unwanted attention, which equates to a form of control over another human being, will finally be over.
In my case, I will keep defending myself, standing my ground, and keep cutting out the people with unwanted or toxic behaviors.
My own peace of mind and safety is the most important thing.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.