Rape culture is a thing. And it’s a bull shit thing.
Today I was walking down Elgin – much like the rest of Ottawa’s down town core – enjoying the warm weather and hearing the laughter. People really brighten up when the season changes. Coming towards me I saw a group of five boys that were no older than 15 and I thought to myself “I remember being that age”. Because I do, and I started to feel nostalgic and friendly towards these kids who were just out having fun. They were awkward and a little pimply and clearly not the cool kids at school – but they looked sweet and young and innocent.
I smiled in a friendly way as I made way to pass them on the side walk and then one of the guys in the group – who is chowing down on a McDonalds burger -looks at me and hollers as he walks by. Then he and his friends turn around to look at me and burst out laughing.
I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything to a kid almost 10 years younger than me, in the middle of the day, on a busy street. I’m angry with myself for not having the courage to say something. I’m angry that I assumed an age of innocence for these kids and I was wrong. And I’m angry that people say rape culture isn’t a thing – because if I’m silenced by a kid? Then fuck you, rape culture exists.