Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Today I am going to use this blog to talk, not about books, but about a harder subject to discuss that hits close to home: Violence against women.

It has been 5 days since the Isla Vista horrible shooting and the #YesAllWomen has been trending for a while now. I've been reading the news, refusing to see the videos of this guy just because to listen to him feels to me like I would be empowering him somehow. And I've been reading tweets and articles of women that are being open about situations that most of the time we try to keep in the dark, because they hurt, because we were told to, sometimes directly sometimes it was just something we knew.

So I will share, because this is a cause worth sharing, this is a cause that has to be addressed. Because if I ever have a daughter I want to know that I also spoke up and tried my best to change things, even if just a little. It has taken me a good couple of hours to write this post and to gather the courage to press the button post. I am afraid because, as many people do, I fear the repercussions saying some of this things out loud might have.

Violence doesn't have to be physical. The first memory that I have of being aggressed for being a woman was when my father said to my brothers in a matter-of-fact tone that I did not count as his first born, since I was a girl. Fast forward to the first day I got an allowance. I thought I was getting it since I was the eldest. My brothers got a bit jealous, and then my father clarified that he was giving me money so I wouldn't "give it away" for a piece of food...try to guess what "it" is.

When I was 15 I cut my hair short, pixie style. I was told that girls are supposed to have long hair.

During high school, taking violin classes, my male teacher correcting my posture he said, approached me from the back and I felt a certain stir pressed against my butt. I mentioned it to the directors of the music school, I was told to really think what I was saying because "he was a married guy with a kid, I wouldn't want to accuse him if it wasn't true right?

During my bachelor's I was touched inappropriately by a teacher. I reported him. I was first asked if I was sure it wasn't an accident. Then I was told we could continue with the procedure, but it would take long time, it was my word against his, and it wouldn't probably do much.

Now I work in a field where the chances of my articles being published would increase if I stop using my name, which is clearly a woman's name, and start using just initials, hence masking my gender. One day I came back from vacation to find the vacuum pumps of the lab with labels naming them after women. In case you don't know this, vacuum pumps are supposed to aspirate other words suck them up. Get it? It was, apparently, meant as a joke. While I am happy to say that when mentioned it to my director he immediately addressed the person and it stop, the guy in question talked to me afterwards, told me I was exaggerating and then I overheard him telling his friends that he wouldn't stop doing his jokes, he would just do them when I couldn't hear them.
This is not a comprehensive list of situations I've been put through as a woman or because I am a woman. It's just a post with some of them. This is not a post saying that every single man has treated me badly. They haven't and I have wonderful men in my world, and I am grateful I know them. This is just another woman telling you what has happened to her, because she is a woman.

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