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24 Years online
••• The International Writers Magazine -

They Act Like They're Scared of Us.
• Brayana Godbolt
Fear of women divides society

respect women

“Hey beautiful.” As I continue to unlock my car door, I ignore the men approaching me. “What you aren’t gonna say hi?” His friend adds on, “they act like they scared of us or something.” As the two men walk away, annoyed that I did not entertain their passes at me, the words stayed in my head.

They act like they're scared of us…


One in ten girls are cat-called at least once before their eleventh birthday. From there, the number only goes up.

I was ten. Walking with my friends. Wearing shorts and a tank top that was perfectly appropriate for a girl to be wearing in the summer. A car slowly drove past as they rolled their windows down and whistled at us trying to get our attention by yelling “hey baby” and other things that I don’t care to remember.

Around thirty-three percent of high school girls report being harassed in school.

I was fourteen. My freshman year, a guy walked up to me after school and asked me to be his girlfriend. I had just met him at that moment so of course, I said no. But he lingered, poking and prodding until I finally gave him my number, scared to say no again.

He tried to call me every day, I never answered. That evolved to him finding me at lunch to try and talk. That evolved to him following me to class every day. That evolved to me changing my route to class.

He just could not catch a hint.

Between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four over eighty-seven percent of women are harassed on the street, and over half of those women experience being touched, grabbed, or brushed.

I was nineteen. Standing at a party, a man walked over to me. I was texting on my phone, when he looked over my shoulder asking, “who are you texting.” Hoping to get him away from me, I responded, “my girlfriend.” But it did not work. As I continued to try and ignore him and have a fun time with friends, he got closer.

That’s when he grabbed my throat.

Unsure of what to do, I froze. After he finished saying whatever it was that he was saying, I immediately left.

They act like they're scared of us…

Because we are scared.

From a young age, we are taught to never walk alone, to wear “less revealing clothes,” to carry pepper spray, or a pocketknife.

We are taught to fear men.

But what are boys taught?

They’re taught that women are objects. A means for reproduction. They’re taught that they are superior. A woman should never say no to them. They’re taught that a woman’s clothing is an invitation. The less she wears, the more she wants it.

It’s not right.

Women shouldn’t be forced to entertain men. Women shouldn’t be scared to reject a man, in the fear that he might get mad and do something to her. Women shouldn’t have to worry about if they have forms of protection with them. Women shouldn’t have to fear men.

Men should be held accountable.

Men should learn to respect women. To see us as the humans we are, and not just a piece of meat to use for their own pleasure. Men should be educated and taught from a young age that women are their equals. Men should be taught that they are entitled to nothing.

But yet:

Here I am. With my keys clutched between my fingers, as I walk anxiously to my car. Feeling eyes watching me in the darkness.

They act like they're scared of us...

It’s not an act. And that’s the problem.

© Brayana Godbolt     4.22.23

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