I was putting our rubbish bags out into the larger bins, at the front of our apartment building.
My hair was scraped up messily into a bun on top of my head, and my face was mostly bare.
I was wearing a white striped chambray play-suit, with an aqua green, off the shoulder jumper thrown lazily on top, and peach-pink satin Puma trainers on my feet.
It was warm out, and I probably didn’t need the jumper. But it was cosy, so I kept it on.
I bent down to tie one of the bags up at the top, before popping it in.
And as I rose and lifted the lid, that was when I felt it. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt something.
Instinctively, I looked up, and there were his eyes. Leering. Smirking. Waiting for me to look up the entire time. Or not. But unashamedly staring at my body. Devouring it like a starved animal.
This was the second time in two weeks. Same me, different man.
Both times, I wanted to scream and shout, but the words wouldn’t come out.
I glared at him, letting my rage fill my face, but his eyes didn’t leave me until he’d had his fill and decided he was done staring.
Fire and fury consumed me for the next while, and stuck around for days playing on my mind.
How dare you leer and linger over my body, as though it was made for your cheap thrills.
My body does not exist for your pleasure.
Her body does not exist for your pleasure.
Women do not exist for your pleasure.
Degrading experiences like this continue to happen to women every day.
We learn, over time, that it’s something we have to endure for being born with curves and breasts and a vagina.
So we shrug it off. Maybe we pretend it hasn’t happened. Perhaps we convince ourselves it’s our fault. Or we suffer in silence, allowing the injustices and inequality to consume us.
Boys will be boys they say.
That’s just the way things are.
The ways things are doesn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for any girl or woman in this world.
Things need to change, and they need to change now.
Because my body does not exist for your pleasure.
My body was not made to excite and arouse your densely hedonistic existence.
My body was made for me. For my pleasure.
My body was made from the tides of the ocean, and fragments of the stars. She was made from the earth beneath your feet, and by the all-knowing hands of the Cosmos, way above the clouds.
My body was made, the perfect temple for my soul.
She was made so I can feel the warmth of the sun’s angel rays on my back, and the refreshing coolness of rain droplets cascading down on my face.
She was made for exploring new lands and seas, and meeting dazzling new faces and places.
And she was was made for sowing, weaving, and creating magic with her heart and hands.
She was made to experience the pleasure of sweaty, steamy climaxes, and the sweet softness of her own skin.
She was made to laugh from her belly, and roar from her throat. To dance vivaciously with her hips, and kiss wildly with her lips.
A miraculous gift, and a wondrous marvel, this body is.
And she was made for me.