So often a seemingly innocent flirtation proceeds without encouragement. Until the scenario changes. The mood darkens. Communication ceases. And one suddenly faces unwelcome abuse.
I have never been a victim of any type of sexual violence. Many of my friends are actually subjected to street harassment on a daily basis. This type of aggression has almost been trivialized and it is unbearable.
Plenty of girls have not taken legal and/or public action concerning sexual aggression or abuse they encountered in France. They are hesitant because we treat those whole experiences quite badly.
I never personally had to seek justice but have heard from friends about violence to which they were exposed. Some got harassed, grabbed without consent or in the worst cases, raped.
I think how lucky I am to be a college student with only those responsibilities to think of. There are front line hospital workers and essentials businesses risking their lives every day.
This experience made people both narrower minded and open minded. It acted as a double-edged sword, both uniting citizens but also creating confined bubbles where it's easy to forget the rest of the world exists.
Everyone struggled with highly personal issues –mental or physical health, breakdown of one’s structure or economy, fear of one’s death or the passing of a loved one added to existing concerns.
This past year was an impactful one with a global health crisis and massive civil rights movements. The pandemic highlighted not only societal inequalities in access to health care but economic ones.
The incredible pace and extent to which fundamental, revolutionary change has been brought about. This partly, of course, as a result of the virus itself. We know now that no means are off the table.
Beginning 2020 honestly was the best time of our lives. Then it went from partying and socializing to quarantining at home. One lesson I got was not to take anything for granted.