Sanchez: No groping and grinding

BY SADIE SANCHEZ | JUNE 24, 2015 5:00 AM

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For years, women have been subject to unwanted touching, fondling, grinding, and other sexual advancements on public transportation.

It has become so common that it’s barely a shock when it happens — a man’s hand grazing your butt as regular as a morning cup of coffee. Even grinding, when a man rubs his private areas against a woman, has gone without consequence all this time.

It’s been an unpleasant, degrading reality, one that women across the world have endured without hope of change. But now, thankfully, something is being done.

On June 18, the New York Legislature officials implemented a rule that will make groping and grinding on the state’s public transportation punishable by law.

This bill, introduced by Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn, gives police officers the right to pursue misdemeanor charges against subway riders who can’t keep their hands to themselves. The bill is expected to go into effect on Nov. 1 and will protect all riders of public transportation, not just the subway.

While the new bill is a welcome change, one that will make the commutes of women across the state a whole lot easier, it does raise an important question: Why do we need it in the first place? And, why did it take so long to implement?

For too long, women’s bodies have been objectified, sexualized, and subjected to harassment by men. When a woman walks down the street, she is not a person with a brain and soul. She is not a college graduate, a daughter, or a dog owner.

Instead, she is a body. The concrete is her catwalk for male onlookers to ogle and comment. And when a woman enters the subway, she forgoes her rights to herself, as men sometimes pinch and smack where they want.

Maybe I grew up with different moral standards, but isn’t keeping your hands to yourself, like, rule No. 3 of “How to Be a Human?” When did we forgo our basic manners in favor of sexual gratification?

With things like catcalling and manspreading running amuck in women’s everyday lives, it is apparent that there is more to the problem than police involvement — it’s a problem with our society.

The solution to this problem starts at birth, with the way that we’re raised. It starts with the media and how women are objectified everywhere from McDonald’s burger commercials to Times Square billboards.

And it starts with us, the adults, to reach internally and unlearn problematic behavior that we’ve developed over the years.

It is not a simple solution nor easy, but it is necessary.

Cities across the world need to see what New York is doing. Take note: first groping, then catcalling, and soon, a new world. It’s a long journey but not an impossible one. And with proper education and awareness, anything can be achieved.

For too long, women have been bodies. It is time we become people.

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