[Trigger/content warning: this post discusses a sexual assault threat]
Thought I'd share a dream I had this past weekend.
In it, I was playing in a women's basketball league. During a break, I went to use the bathroom. While I was in a stall and about to sit on the can, a male janitor came in with a mop and a bucket.
Not wanting him to be embarrassed about me being in there, I hollered, "Yoo-hoo, someone's in here!"
So, I shuffled my feet to make some noise and then I repeated myself.
A few seconds later, a second man came into the bathroom.
I stood up and exited the stall and said, "I'm in here, just so you guys know."
The men looked at each other, grinned, and one of them said, "It's not that safe for you to be in here with two men, you know." The man holding the mop began stroking its handle while making a gross, leering face at me.
Their intent clear, both men then began creeping toward me, keeping themselves between the door and me.
I thought about bolting for it, but I didn't. Trying to act nonchalant, I instead walked toward them confidently, being mindful of positioning myself so that I didn't end up in between them.
"You think?" I said, as I reached them.
They cockily nodded.
The second man began unbuckling his belt.
I was about a foot from the man with the mop now. He was swinging the handle from one hand to the other.
As it made its way from one hand to the next, I quickly reached out, grabbed the handle and ripped it from him before he could grab it. Wielding it like a bo staff, I jabbed it toward his face and said, "Try it, fucker."
Both men fell backwards, startled. Scared.
I threw the mop to the ground and then ran out the bathroom door knowing the two men would be hot on my heels.
Down the hall I went, quickly making my way back to the gym, where about 50 women were playing and watching basketball. There, I ran into the middle of the court and, just as the men entered the gym, I pointed and yelled, "Those two men tried to rape me!"
50 women, all of them now holding basketballs, softballs, and dodgeballs (I don't know, it's a dream, just go with it), starting hurling the balls toward the men.
And then I woke up.
When I did, I didn't feel scared, traumatized, or disturbed, although it certainly had the potential to provoke such reactions. Instead, I chuckled for a second, thinking to myself, "Really?"
As I tried to process it, I kept thinking that perhaps it's a symbol for what feminist blogging feels like for me sometimes.
As in non-Internet life, some men are violent, aggressive, entitled assholes on Internet, but there is something empowering and satisfying about creating and cultivating different online feminist communities to name that aggression, call it out, and question rape culture's rule that it's women's god-given role in life to always have to cater to and live in fear of that aggression.