Before this starts, if you have any sort of trigger that deals with sexual assault, please stop reading. xx
I really didn’t know how to write this post because it’s so personal, but at the same time, such an issue. If you don’t know already, I spent 3 weeks in Rome. Being the cheap person I am, I decided to take a cheap bus to Fiumicino Airport and now that I’ve done it, I regret not spending the extra money and splitting a cab with a friend. When I was on the bus, a very sexually aggressive Italian man decided it was perfectly fine for him to put his hands on me and I’m very vocal in saying…KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY BODY!
For an hour, I was stuck next to this man and no matter what I did, from speaking up and telling him to buzz off to making up a fake boyfriend, I would still find his hands on my legs and waist, using my backpack to push him off. I hate unwanted attention, I really do, so I was so uncomfortable with the entire situation and I just wanted to die.
I was being sniffed, touched, and in plain terms, assaulted and in reality, in what point is this ever okay? When is it ever alright for someone to think that they can put their hands on a person? I know that in Italy, there are not a lot of black women, so often times, if there is a solo, black woman, she may be a prostitute. I do know that I am not a prostitute, nor do I look like one, especially on that day. There is never an excuse for someone to be placing their hands on someone unless they have explicitly consented to such actions.
I asked multiple women who have traveled to Italy or other countries and you know what was shocking? This is not the first time this has happened. Women across the world have experiences like this in mass numbers, which makes me so angry. I’m not an object. Women are not objects. I keep trying to wrap my head around how this keeps happening, but in reality, I will never be able to process this. It is a disturbing fact at how many women are sexually assaulted on a daily basis, simply because people do no think about how women feel when they assault them and put their hands on them.
This entire experience put me off of Italy and in all honesty, makes me never wants to go back, but I know that I must do so. I can’t let one experience put me off of an entire country because that would be letting fear run my life. To the man who touched me, I hope your hands fall off, but I also hope you realize that just because you want something, does not mean that you can touch it. I, and no women no matter who they are or what they look like, are not objects who have to be poked, prodded, sniffed, and touched just to satisfy your sick needs. To the people reading this post, I hope that if you are ever in a similar situation, that you speak up and know that this is not normal. It’s degrading and never okay, so be strong and don’t ever let someone make you uncomfortable.