My friend asked me why I’m so social with girls and standoffish with guys. The question set off a million flashbacks and memories I’ve tried to convince myself didn’t happen. Like the first time I was catcalled & followed was when I was 13 & running late to an appointment in Redwood City. I was alone, but it wasn’t a big deal, it was a short walk. I realized I was alone in the vicinity except for 3 grown men leaning against a wall. They started saying really vulgar & graphic shit about me as I passed by. I was so confused why they were talking about me. I was a fucking child for christ’s sake. When they pushed themselves off the wall and started walking toward me & I picked up my pace & basically jogged into the building. After my appointment, my mom came inside to pick me up. We were leaving & my mom got a call & became distracted. The same men were there. They saw me again & got off the wall. One of them came up maybe a foot behind me & said something like “daaamn ma that ass tho, I could fuck you raw.” I froze. I didn’t know what to do, I just wanted to get out of there before they crossed the line any further. I remember feeling disgusting, absolutely disgusted with my body. I blamed myself. I wanted to burn the clothes I was wearing. I took a shower right when I got home, attempting to wash off what had happened, I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it. I kept trying to convince myself it didn’t happen, I wasn’t remembering correctly, I was being dramatic. Another standout moment was in 8th grade when a bunch of guys kept groping my ass whenever I’d get up during class. For a whole week. I kept my back to the wall when I could or sit down as much as possible. I didn’t tell the teacher because the guys said it was a joke & my friends said I was being dramatic. I didn’t want to be “tHaT bItcH” that couldn’t take a joke. It wasn’t funny though. Sophomore year I got drunker than I’d ever been at a party & hooked up with a guy I didn’t really know. I was practically incoherent & he tried to go further. I didn’t realize really what was going on & when I did I pushed him off me. I really don’t think he meant to cross a line & I have no ill will toward him, but I was definitely not in the right frame of mind to be able to give consent (ex: I blacked twice that night). A lot more little instances have happened, but those first instances have really stuck with me. It never mattered what I wore or what age the guys were. A lot worse has happened to people & they’re fine interacting as normal & it kind of makes me feel broken sometimes. Like why do these situations have such an impact on me to the point where I can barely interact with guys without feeling unsafe?