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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nobody has right to violate another's body

Editor,

This last weekend I had the distinctly unpleasant experience of being on the receiving end of sexual harassment from a woman to myself, a man.

I have never knowingly or deliberately engaged in wolf-whistling, lewd catcalls or copping a feel, and to find myself on the receiving end and having my crotch grabbed by someone I barely knew was shocking, to say the least.

I have come to a painfully personal understanding that the worst part of such an experience is that, while I was horrified and paralyzed by the shock, my body responded to the woman’s groping of my person. This is a very painful reality that any victim of sexual harassment or assault must deal with: that we cannot fully control our bodies’ sexual responses, no matter how much we might wish to or try to fight it.

Sometimes you hear in the media or from people that someone was asking for it when a victim speaks out about this. To say this is a flagrant lie is putting it far too mildly.

I struggle with social interaction for the most part and tend to feel very awkward around people I do not know. In this instance, I was so stunned that I was not able to give voice to my objections to being treated this way. Yet society would say, “He must have done something to deserve it.”

That is complete and utter bullshit.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves to have their personal boundaries or body violated in any way, shape or form whatsoever. Unless someone explicitly and emphatically says that yes, they do want to engage in sexual activities with you, leave them alone. Either ask outright, or do not bring it up at all.

No one has the right to another person’s body, and to suggest otherwise is stating that a person who was sexually harassed or raped does not have the right to their own body or life. Everyone in this world has the right to live their own life as they so choose. If someone wants to be promiscuous, that is their choice. If they are like me and feel that sexual intimacy is not to be a casual thing, that, too, is their right.

I do not care who you are, how much money or power you have, whether you are male, female or transgendered. You do not have the right to violate another person’s body or boundaries. For whatever reason, our society pretends that such things are acceptable to engage in. These invasions of people’s space and bodies never have been okay and never will be.

Until we can actually learn to respect one another’s choices and boundaries culturally we cannot claim to be a mature or civilized species, for only barbarians with no regard for others engage in such activities of violation.

Jamison Wagner

UNM student