Leggings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 29, 2014
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I walked down the damp sidewalk to my friend’s house, stepping to the beat of my headphones. I was almost there when I heard a long honk from a car. It sounded broken and old, and when I turned I saw a man who fit the same description. The smirk on his face made my stomach turn and my feet stumble out of rhythm.

Sweetheart. Nice ass. His words followed me along with his car. I was 14. I walked the wrong way down a one-way street to escape his pursuit.

When I got to my friend’s house I told her the story, almost in tears. I was scared. She laughed and said I should be happy that I already attracted attention, like it was a blessing to be followed by a man more than twice my age. She said I should have said thank you and moved along. If only she knew that my knees were shaking and my breath was caught in my lungs.

I tried to imagine turning and saying thank you to the man, his twisted smile and proud eyes gleaming as he leered at my body. I clutched the chair as my friend talked about how jealous she was. I wanted to leave, but I felt paralyzed by the idea that the man was out there, that any man or woman could be like him. We turned on the television and never talked about it again. But it happened again, then again, and again, each time flooding me with a mixture of shame and fear. I told myself that I shouldn’t walk alone, that I needed a man with me, that my body put me in danger.

I realize now, but wish someone had told me then, that it was not my fault. That what happened had nothing to do with how I dressed. That my body did not defined me. That I have control. That I should not say thank you when people objectify me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Skyler.rawr said...
Jan. 9, 2016 at 12:02 pm
Wow, this is an amazing story. I was able to understand your fear.
nuha.anwarThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 16, 2015 at 9:01 pm
It takes courage to make sure that we don't rely other's opinions and that our body should be keep to ourselves. I too was approached by strangers the way you were, but I learned to not bother with them.
BreeZephyr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm
Whoa. What a total creep. Good for you for seeing things the way they really are.
GillianBorromeo This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm
That's a good realization! God bless you :)
TheBassist said...
Jan. 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm
You're completely right. I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. I'm sure you've thought what made them this way? I think maybe it's because they have a similar past. Most child molesters were molested as children themselves. Or you know it could be because they can't get any genuine girls for themselves because they think there is something wrong with them. They start believing that and then they become that. Idk im just rambling.
chari said...
Jan. 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm
You are absolutely right. It's wrong. Girls shouldn't feel in danger by simply walking down the sidewalk. Kudos to you for sharing this.
MissEmilyDickinson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm
Oh, pssh posh my applesauce. This is amazing too. You were just honest, filling it with emotion. I sincerely hate that people do that. It's just not respectful and it's wrong. You do have a talent and greatness and light and a beauty that is your own; and so much more. You are an amazing and wonderful and talented and beautiful writer and person. Your body doesn't define you, seriously. You define yourself. Congrats on the Editor's choice because you truly deserve it! Thank you so much for... (more »)
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