Last month I had a little more free time than usual.
It wasn’t that I wanted it, but it was do to the impossibility of speeding up the paperwork that would allow me to begin working.
And in my case, having a lot of free time has been synonymous with having a lot of time alone – walking along the many streets of my city, catching buses and going into various establishments, alone.
Perhaps because I used to always spend my free time going out with my partner or my friends, I never felt like I do now: Harassed!
Thus going out on the street has turned into a challenge for me, one that I have to tolerate.
Apparently, fifty years since the 1959 socialist revolution and the foundation of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) have not been enough.
The attitude of many men on the island is far from being respectful; they definitively don’t look at us as their equals.
I feel that somehow, instead of shining as a woman, I more closely appear as a piece of meat.
I have to put up countless obscene allusions regarding the most varied parts of my body.
They walk beside me bothering me for more than a block and even try me to buy me with a can of beer.
On occasion the anger makes me respond by calling them harassing cavemen, others I totally ignore.
If we agree that I don’t have the body or face that these types are accustomed to seeing in magazines or on TV, and that I generally don’t wear clothes that are very colorful, nor do I ever put on makeup, then one could deduce that this experience doesn’t happen exclusively to me.
I’ve noticed that many women are also under this same type of pressure.
We are still relegated to the old role of sexual object, one which it’s possible to buy, and that the man can treat any way he so desires.
While I battle with the lustful eyes, the saliva-dripping tongues hanging out of their mouths, and the gross language from all those I consider more animals than men, I’m at a lost as to how to respond.
I understand that these harassers are victims of their historical past, that because of their ignorance they don’t know how to please a woman, but this doesn’t allow me to accept being dealt with so abusively.
I end up wanting all men who commit such acts of disrespect to be fined or tried like in some other countries.
But this isn’t going to happen. Nor do I see any type of campaign aimed at raising awareness around this issue. In Cuba, women have not attained the same status as men, and I haven’t seen any serious work on this problem.
But after 50 years…isn’t it about time!