Last night I barely slept after having a tough evening. My head was pounding and my mind was swirling. The evening wasn’t tough because I was operating on minimal sleep & working the clock for 3 consecutive AAU basketball games. The evening was tough because of a man, who had a diffiult time accepting that I was not interested in him. In an effort to keep my mind calm, I won’t relive his words or actions so I’ll just say things got a little intense.
Thankfully, he eventually left me alone after sitting a piece of paper with his name and number on the table. The last game was a blur as my head started to pound. I remember trying to focus on the game yet grabbing my head because it felt like it was going to explode. Many thoughts went through my mind: Did I do something to deserve this treatment? (Ummm no!) Did my smile lead him on when I walked into the gym? (No again. A smile is a smile. Nothing more, nothing less. My smile and nod was a method of speaking). Why did I give him a nervous smile and speak so low initially? Especially because he was out of line withing 10 seconds of speaking. (I still don’t know 😞). Why didn’t I say something to the Coordinators or call 911? (I still don’t know however I am used to holding my own and taking up for myself so that’s what I did. However, I plan to contact the Head Coordinator tomorrow).
I am the survivor of sexual assault therefore this guy was about to catch it for every person that hurt me in the past. Luckily, I was running the clock, trying to keep it cool because my kids were in close proximity and I really was trying to focus on the game. More importantly, I praise God that he finally moved on. His actions left me puzzled last night. His boldness, arrogance, lack of respect and persistence disgusted me.
I reminded myself that the world is filled with sick people. I have to be mindful of my surroundings at all times for my personal safety and my children’s safety. And when someone crosses the line, I must always stand my ground, just like I did last night. Though I didn’t call 911, in the end, I believe my locked gaze with no response, helped him to understand that I was not giving in.
Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t ever let someone disrespect you whether speaking vulgar or touching you in a manner that makes you uncomfortable. Say something, walk away and/or call 911 if necessary. Please educate your daughters, sons and all loved ones to do the same. Rejection is a part of life and people must learn that and respect it if they receive a no to their advances. Unfortunately, victimization is also a part of some of our lives BUT the days of being silent are gone.
We must stand bold and have courage to respond from a place of truth and report the behavior if necessary. Stand bold and know that no matter what, we do not deserve to be violated. If you see someone else being harmed, call for help. I appreciate the gentleman who intervened last night even though the guy ignored him. Additionally, I know that intervening can be dangerous at times so call security, 911, or whoever is in a position of authority who can assist.
To everyone reading this, your voice matters. YOU matter!
May God’s peace and grace be with us as we keep pressing forward.