Uninvited touching is unacceptable regardless of circumstance

by EMILIE WOODSContributing Writer (ewoods@fandm.edu)

Something bothered me last weekend. Something that I have been accepting for quite some time, but that I don’t want to accept anymore. Something that other females all over have been taking as well.

I’m talking about this: I walk into a dark, crowded party. I’m dancing to my kind of music, talking with my friends, and having a marvelous time. All of a sudden I turn around because someone has just grabbed me briefly around the waist. I am caught off guard when I see a guy — someone I don’t know — walking away from me. It’s quite clear he’s the one who just did this. That’s right—he put his hands on me in order to pass me by. Actually, I’m not really taken aback here. This, in fact, is something that happens all of the time.

Every female out there — and on college campuses especially — knows exactly what I’m talking about. When women place themselves in a dark place with drinking and loud music, many guys think this is an excuse for them to touch us, to hold onto us briefly while they gain a satisfaction unbeknownst to me.

Having experienced this yet again on Saturday night, I have become pretty disgusted with the whole thing. Usually I acknowledge the act momentarily before moving on, but this time it stayed with me. It clung to the back of my mind for the rest of the night and into the next day.

Before I became familiar with this macho habit, there was honestly something kind of flattering about it. I felt special, noticed. But after it began happening time and time again, I came to realize these guys have no real interest in me, and they’re just trying to get somewhere while using my shapely hips as a guide to their destination. Now I can see the true obscenity of the act.

A woman’s body, while curved or thin and beautiful in its own way, belongs to its owner, plain and simple. When I enter a party, I’m there to have a good time with my friends. Sure, maybe I’ll dance with someone if he asks me. However, I have certainly not agreed to give up any of the rights I walked in holding. My rights to my body are mine as long as I’m still on this Earth, and no one should think for one moment that a girl with a few drinks in her is any invitation to take these away. At a party I am the same girl you pass by walking to class every day, the same one you see studying in the library, and the same one you work out next to at the gym. You wouldn’t bother that girl, so why are you bothering me?

This act is an ugly habit many men have adopted, and it’s just not okay anymore. Would he do it in class as he’s rushing out or in D-Hall as he’s squeezing his way into the omelet line? Hell no. If he did, he would be considered rude. Why, then, do some men think rudeness is acceptable at a college party and that showing respect to women goes straight out the window? It is a notion that baffles me.

I do not mean to call out all guys here. I’m not anti-male (no feminist is, by the way). I think most of you are wonderful people, just like most of us girls. However, if you recognize this as a habit of yours, work on changing it. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not cool. Moreover, it doesn’t make you any manlier. If you are not her significant other or her friend, hands off. (And just to be clear, if you are her significant person, her body does not belong to you either—it’s still hers.)

If you like the way I look, please, come and talk with me! Just don’t touch me, dude. I don’t even know you.

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