The first time I was grabbed in public, I was about 8, 9 years old. This little boy grabbed my butt on a playground, and I didn’t know what to do. The touch felt wrong, and it was so quick I didn’t even know who it was.
As a little Black girl, your body is in a state of policing–of constant policing. As a woman, your body is on this strange rack–always to be consumed, scrutinized and discarded. What I have admonished my daughters, and the women that follow me on any platform, is that you have ownership of yourself.
You have the right to your body, in all its function. In all its power. In all its space. You have the right to rest, rule and abide in whatever space you traverse. You own every step, all pacing, and every sentient step.
I have the right to go out into public and not be accosted, not be bothered–or even killed because I want to be left alone. Women are not public wares to be bartered, traded or sold. I have the right to go into public spaces and come out of them–unhurt.
People do not have to touch me to talk to me. No, I don’t have to smile to make you at ease. No, I am not taking out my headphones to talk to you. I have the right to be in a space, occupy it, and that be okay! My body, this vessel that I traverse the cosmos in–or public transit, the supermarket, the gas station–is mine. It is mine and I need to be able to move through the world without being bothered. Or attacked for not wanting to be in yours.
The public is not hunting ground for women. It is not the a meat market of fresh chattel femme flesh for the serving, drooling, starving male populace. The value of my life is not equated to my sex or its services to man–or any man for that matter. I am whole all by myself.
That is enough.