All posts by inmidnights

Is a twenty-something from Manila who loves books. A compulsive reader, aspiring photographer and wannabe linguist. Loves learning, writing, culture, traveling, food, musicals, art, philosophy, fashion and bargains.

Trigger Warning.

It was a sunny day and I was 16. I had just come from a university interview, drained emotionally from it and physically from the 2-hour commute back. I was wearing a dark polo, khaki slacks, the stink of an accumulated 4 hours of commuting, and didn’t care an iota about make-up.
A man was walking up our street. While I usually ignore strangers, he stopped directly in my path. I assumed he was going to ask for directions, so I stopped as well – after all, we were in broad daylight in a public place (4-way street intersection) and I was wearing “proper” clothing. He said something incomprehensible; when I asked “Ano po?”, he unzipped his fly and took his privates out. He started touching himself in front of me.

Stunned, I backed away and ran towards my house. When I was closing the gate behind me, I looked back, maybe hoping it wasn’t real. He was still there, doing that.

Until now, that image is burned in my brain.

It’s been 11 years and this is the first time I’m telling this story, to anyone. Back then, I know I would’ve been blamed if I talked about it – that it was my fault for stopping or that at least “nothing” happened.

Thinking about it now – a man I did not know started touching himself in front of me, in a public place during broad daylight, the very street that I grew up in, a place that I’d always viewed as ‘safe’ – is that really “nothing”?

Sometimes, my family still warns me about wearing skirts, dresses, or shorts (my wardrobe choices are now 99% skirts and dresses – they’re much more comfortable than pants); or going out with friends at night. A couple of years ago, my bag was slashed and my wallet taken inside a jeepney and when I recounted the story, it was, of course, my fault for letting that happen. I know it’s not, just like getting catcalled because I’m wearing something I find comfortable, or getting stared at because I have boobs is not my fault.

I know my family’s hearts are in the right place but I’ve long learned that getting harassed has nothing to do with what you wear, where you go, or what time of the day it is.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that stopping 11 years ago in order to help someone I thought was lost was an action I made, but what that man did afterwards is not my fault and  that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Today, I sat in a jeepney wearing a 3/4 sleeve dress with a backpack across my lap and a Mumuso ecobag full of sanitary napkins across my legs. The man sitting in front of me on the jeep (incidentally, it’s the same jeep route where my bag got slashed years ago)  suddenly jumped up then slid down, even if the jeep was moving at a regular pace. I spared him a glance because of it, which I ended up regretting.

He had his dick out and he was masturbating.

My mind blanked out because of shock. Again, in public, broad daylight, now in a semi-full jeepney. Barely 5 minutes ago, that man was sitting next to a mother and daughter, who looked no older than five. I couldn’t decide what to do–I couldn’t yell, couldn’t say anything, didnt even think of taking out my pepper spray (which really isn’t a smart thing to do). I considered stopping the jeep even if it wasn’t my stop, but what if he followed me? I barely had the presence of mind to snap this photo. I just kept thinking, ‘putangina’ and ‘I hope he doesn’t finish’. I made eye contact with the woman next to him and just when I mustered up the courage to say something (because no matter how loud my mind was screaming, telepathy doesn’t work), the jeep stopped. He left the jeep with his fly still open and his dick still out. Later, I’d wish I put his mug on Facebook Live. Later, I’d wish I managed even an, “ang liit” as he was going down. But I didnt, and I only have this photo.

But you should know–this happens.

====================================================================

1.26.2016

I’m adding this here, hopefully to make a few understand WHY this post is about rape culture–even if and regardless of a possibility of a psychological disorder.

Rape culture:
http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/
http://time.com/40110/rape-culture-is-real/
http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/…/examples-of-rape-culture/
http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

Hopefully, this will make men stop trying inform me that this is definitely a mental disorder by sending a link to Wikipedia (omg legit!) or telling me to Google it :)) ) I have, before I posted. This is also for those expecting or implying that I should also champion awareness for my harasser’s (unconfirmed) psychological disorder. To, in a way, DEFEND the person whose actions has caused me stress, anxiety, tears, and numbness this week and gave me trauma that I will carry for the rest of my life.

Some are quick to diagnose this man with a disorder based solely on this one photo and incident. Exhibitionism can be a general pattern of behavior or a disorder. To qualify as an actual disorder, it has to meet several criteria.

“If an affected individual does not meet all necessary criteria, he or she will not meet the standard for an exhibitionistic disorder diagnosis, even if he or she has clear exhibitionistic tendencies that meet the definition for a paraphilia.” (http://www.hypersexualdisorders.com/…/dsm-5-understanding-…/)

I’m truly amazed at all the men who were able to diagnose him based on that one photo. That you were all able to perform the necessary tests (http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Exhibitionism.html).

This man MIGHT meet that criteria to qualify as a disorder. Or we might have just given him (and people who know him) an excuse. Or he can just be a pervert.
– This man was aware enough to wait until the full (kandungan-levels) jeepney was only semi-full before adjusting his modified pants to expose himself.
– He was aware enough to do it near his stop.
– He was aware enough to place his bag strategically so the other passengers would not see what he was doing outright.
– He was aware enough when he looked at me and made eye contact before touching himself.

Maybe he can’t help it. Because maybe he does meet the criteria.
Maybe he also has a job. He may also process enough mental stability to NOT masturbate in front of his employers and workmates in order to keep his job. Or in front of his family.

If I’ve learned anything these past few days, it’s that sexual harassment via public masturbation is NOT rare. A lot of women (and some men) have come forward with their stories, both in person and online [through blog and FB comments, shares with their stories attached to my post, direct messages] about men harassing them in this manner—and worse.

These people are strangers online. People I work with. Friends. People I’ve known for years. Family. And I didn’t even know it happened to SO many people, and so many people I knew personally, until I decided to share my story to raise awareness that things like this happen and to hopefully, help rid girls and women of the notion that it’s their fault.

Some of our harassers could likely suffer from a psychological disorder. But hey, are ALL those men who did this to us—do they ALL suffer from it?

Would they all pass the criteria and diagnostic tests for it to qualify as a disorder? Or do they all now just have an excuse to save face, claim those criteria apply to them? Is it better to be seen as ill as a reason for doing something “out of the norm” than actually in control of your actions? Is it that hard to believe that some men get off on doing this?

Supposing they all meet the criteria perfectly, after proper testing. Then does that mean we, the unwilling participants, should just sit back and “understand” them?

Does this possibility take away from the fact that we were actually harassed, that we felt violated? That we’ve come away from those incidents having to deal with trauma?

That victim blaming is so ingrained in our society that some of us struggled for years in shame and fear (and some continue to do so)? That the most common phrases I’ve read the past few days were, “I’ve never told anyone/Wala din akong pinagsabihan”, “Nahihiya ako/Natatakot ako”?

That we kept quiet because we’d be blamed? That these men get away scot-free because we’ll be accused as liars or just laughed at? That I needed a proof shot because when it comes to cases brought forward by women, the default thinking is “pics or it didn’t happen”?

That all these things are part and a product of rape culture?

Does it? It shouldn’t.

I’m allowed to react and feel the way I feel. I’d like to think I’m allowed to write about my actual experiences and work through my trauma without having to make excuses for my harasser or tiptoeing around his feelings or condition. Without having to also carry his issues and advocate for him. Regardless if he truly has a condition or not.

Because even if you know the existence of a disorder that can explain his actions—surprise! We do too! And that has nothing to do with how we still FEEL about it—how we will always remember how we felt so damn helpless, how we will carry those images with us until we die, how they will surface from our minds, unbidden, in times we thought we’re finally okay, how we will never feel 100% safe regardless of where we are—at school, in the mall, the route we take to work, and so on—because a lot of our harassers acted ‘normal’ until they whipped their dicks out.

Know that possibility or even actuality of a disorder does not make our struggle, burden, and trauma any less real. Some of you may mean well and understand this, and did not mean to imply that the two cancel each other out, or that mental awareness is more important than what rape culture can do to people. But asking those of us who have been targets to, even implicitly, either pity, understand, or advocate for our harassers too, is just… I’ve run out of words to express how to feel about that.

That is why this post is about rape culture.

If you’re a stranger and see this man, if you can, report him to the authorities. Even if you think he’s innocent because his actions are excused by a psychological disorder. Maybe they can actually get him checked for it and give him the help he needs.

If you know this man, let me know. If you are invested in him in some way and don’t want him getting in trouble, then at least make an excuse like… hmm, you’re already getting him checked for a disorder, and then show me that you’re actually doing it. Please.

I just want him out of the streets, far away from other women and children. Away from your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, daughters, nieces… who I hope will never have to experience this. Or will never have to experience this AGAIN.

Before the week ends, I’m going to blur this man’s face on the photo. I need to heal. If we haven’t identified him online by now, then it isn’t likely we will. I’ll just trust that the authorities will do a good job with a photo.

Ultimately, this post is about what he and others like him did, letting people know that things like this happen, and mostly about my struggles to overcome rape culture.

That’s my bit. I’m emotionally exhausted. If you read ‘til the end, thank you for hearing me out. You may not understand me, and you may think me heartless for not advocating for a man who could possibly be sick, a man who harassed and caused me trauma and anxiety, and that’s okay.

And to everyone who supported me in this—you will never know how much your words, actions, and defense meant to me this awful week.

Continue reading Trigger Warning.

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{BOOK}The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream WardrobeThe Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Truthful, helpful, and detailed.

Rarely do books about fashion and organizing eschew the fashion “rules” to tell you fuck it, if you feel confident in it [and it’s comfortable and well-made], then wear it.

I didn’t expect this to be my first read of the year, since it was an impulse download. I read half of it while waiting in line for a government ID and it was surprisingly engrossing. The steps to curate your closet are extremely, thoroughly detailed that it feels foolproof. There are chapters on color palettes, style goals, cleaning, composition, styling, and so on. It’s a well-thought out book that will guide your journey from a full closet to a curated one.

I think this is one of the most useful books I’ve read on this subject. I find this a lot more useful than KonMari.

2017 Customized Planner (Under PHP200)

Happy 2017! Posting a quick entry to show my customized planner for the year.

I customized again this year since my 2016 Moleskine became so lumpy; I really do need a spring one. I also wanted to try a grid layout for the year, so when I chanced on this planner one day, I immediately got it.

Here’s a quick view of my 2016 Moleskine.

I bought a Harmony Planner from UP Town Center (you can find it in the tiangge for P100, or inside the Department Store for P189. You can also get it at Fully Booked for P275).

The planner is open dated.

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The original layout had

  • (16-month) Monthly Grid View spread
  • Weekly Grid View (half the notebook)
  • Grid Pages (2nd half)

I wanted the weekly grid view on one side, while the other side had a blank/grid page–which obviously wasn’t the original arrangement of the notebook.

It was easy enough to bring the planner to U.P. Blessings to get it wire-bound* for only P43. They took the planner apart, cut the spine, and before they began the punching and binding, I re-arranged the pages to the layout I wanted–Monthly Grid View Spread, Weekly Grid+Grid Page spread. I also changed the cover by getting a photo printed (I resized the photo ahead of time and availed of U.P.’s printing services as well).

Here’s the result:

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How vain am I? USING MY OWN PHOTO AS A PLANNER COVER LEVELS OF VAIN, APPARENTLY.

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 Weekly Grid View on the Left, Bkank Grid on the Right
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Close-up of the Monthly Grid View
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Pen Test
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Stamp Test
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Stamp Test (back)
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Starting off the year

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2017 To Read and Have Watched List

Total Expenses: P262

  • Planner – P189 (I found the department store planner first, before I saw it out in the tiangge. 😦 It’s still cheap though!)
  • Binding – P43
  • Front cover printing – P30 (You can do this at home as well! Just bring the print-out when you get your planner bound so they can include it)

If you manage to buy the P100 planner, your total will only be P173 (including front cover printing) or P143 (re-using the original front cover or bringing your own print-out).

*They don’t call it wire-binding anymore; I forgot the specific word they used. They will recommend it though, when you ask for a wire-binding.

What’s your planner for the year? Hope this post gave you some ideas!