Australian model Jessica Leahy is encouraging parents to change how they socialize young girls and boys so that both can grow up in a safer society. Part of that means sharing her own stories of harassment, some of which are extremely harrowing.
Leahy has been harassed a lot in her life, and not just because she's gorgeous. Women everywhere can harassed by men. She wrote about her experiences for Whimm, explaining what she thinks needs to change if life for women is going to change.
Leahy's experience is sadly way too common:
For me, it happened on a train in broad daylight where a stranger forced his hand up my skirt and grabbed at my “pussy,” as one world leader might say. Perhaps more shocking was the fact that I did nothing. I made no attempt to attract attention, I had no desire to make a fuss. The train doors opened and I rushed out onto the platform without looking back. Why? Because of our cultural obsession with raising girls to be “good”.
Leahy wants parents to stop teaching girls to be"good" or quiet, especially when they're the targets of harassment or abuse. She writes, "From birth, we are told not to be rude, or bossy, or difficult and above all, not to be a bitch. And it’s this obsession with 'being nice' that is getting good girls into bad trouble."
But it's not just on girls to change and get less "nice." Leahy writes that for women, it's a constant struggle to decide which battles to fight. It can be exhausting calling out and confronting every instance of sexual harassment and sexism you encounter everyday.
She asks that men start stepping in when they see a woman being harassed. She asks that when men are along together that they call out "locker room talk." She says what we need are "decent guys raised to be equally invested in making bacon out of chauvinist pigs."
Give the ladies a break and pick up some of the slack, fellas. Or at the very least, keep your hands to yourself.
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