per·sist

“continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure”

I haven’t written in a while simply because I lacked the motivation to do so. Even though there has been many events that have merit a conversation… But what got my here was my Friday night.

I had two memorable yet shocking experiences. The overall night was great; spent it with old friends, celebrated their birthdays, and got to meet new people. But I want to mention my two events. This happened all in one night and pretty much an hour or so separate from each other.

At a club, my friend and I were about to order our last round of drinks for the night. We were at the bar waiting for the bartender to serve us when two guys approached us. One made a decent conversation and offered to buy us our shots. We made a casual conversation and then took our shots, then I thanked him; “I greatly appreciate it, very kind of you. Thank you.” (Note, I am not one of those girls who fish for guys for shots or drinks, so when someone does, I do appreciate it).

But, unfortunately, the obvious happened. He asked for my number and expected something to happen after the drink. I kindly told him no (least I think I did…). I noticed my friends were leaving so I told my friend we should head out. She was taking her time, which made me a bit annoyed. The dude noticed I was getting frustrated and came up to me and said something between the lines of: “Hey, I know you’re Colombian and all, but tone your spicy latina anger down, there’s no need for it.”  I was taken back by his comment and immediately told him to NOT stereotype me because of my race and nationality.

Being hispanic doesn’t mean I get angry, annoyed or mad or whatever it is, easily. OR for that matter, doesn’t give anyone the right to make this a justification of being mad or upset. I was frustrated for certain reasons and I didn’t need this man to tell me not to be.

I get that this may be a silly reason to get upset, but don’t go telling me that my emotions are silly because of me acting like a “typical” latina. NO!

The second event was later that night at my friend’s friend’s house. Granted, at this point I was hungry, tired, sleepy and annoyed. But I wanted to be there for my friend because I love and care for her. So I stuck it through. But damn, was it eye opening.

We sat outside on a swing in the balcony. It was a group of us hanging out and watching the Toronto view. I sat next to a guy, that I’ve never met in my life. We made quick conversation and exchanged the basic info (what we did, where we were from, what we did that night). But suddenly I felt this guy caress my thigh. I’m here like, “what the fuck did I do to welcome this guy’s hand on my leg?” I looked at him and said, “no… please don’t,” as I took his hand off my thigh. He did this several times and I did my best to tell him no. You’d think he’d take the hint.

We later had an in depth conversation. I am paraphrasing the conversation but this is the sum of it. He said that I wasn’t a city girl and clearly didn’t understand what living in the city was like… I didn’t know what he meant by that so I asked him to elaborate. He said that when a gathering of this sorts happen this late at night, it usually leads to things because it was human nature for it to go there. And if you need to know where there is, he meant sex or some sort of hook up. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told him that if thats the concept of life he had, then he needed to evaluate his life. The city may have a few weird things, but that never implies whatever this dude meant. I told him that I came here to be with my friend and to care for her. I didn’t come seeking to hook up with a person I didn’t know up until 20 mins ago.

OH but wait, then he goes on to say that I am overreacting and getting upset because I’m Colombian and latina’s tend to get pissed off quickly……….. I’m sorry, but any women would get pissed off if they were to have a conversation like this. It has nothing to do with my race and who I was. I made sure to tell him that my frustration was a reflection of his stupidity and disrespect for women (not just me).

I wanted to leave at that very minute, but of course I wasn’t going to leave my friend. He then began to mansplain how what I thought was not right and that his opinion was valid. After calling him out for mansplaining, the dude eventually did back off after he finally realized I wasn’t giving in to the idea of hooking up with him.

I felt strong the whole night. I felt confident and empowered because I stood up for myself. But I got lucky. Many women don’t get the chance for their voice to be heard or feel respected. I don’t understand why in this world men feel entitled to treat women this way. I had a glimpse of what some women go through and I hated it. That is why I will continue to stand up for myself AND other women… OR ANY HUMAN BEING FOR THAT MATTER. Because this isn’t just a female problem. Its a problem that can and does affect anyone. I had a glimpse of sexual harassment and I will forever remember how it felt. I wanted to share this story because this can happen to you. And I want you to know that you don’t have to give in or do anything you don’t want to do, as well as not being afraid to stand up for yourself.

-Natalia

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