WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY? — Women’s March Bergen, 19th of January 2019

Not that long ago, a man sat down next to me, and put his hand on my thigh. When I pushed it away, he stood up and asked: “Why are you so angry?!” Stunned, I thought: “If you only knew.”

So, today, I’m here to tell you

why I am so angry.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

I am angry because I learned early on, as a little girl, that the world would a different place for me, than it would be for my male friends. That all of those little boys would grow up to be free, and I wouldn’t.

That all of those little boys’ bodies would be respected, and mine wouldn’t.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

Because my human rights are limited to how much I am seen as a human being. And as a woman, even to this day, I do NOT have real bodily autonomy. Instead, there are laws put in place to ensure that I cannot decide for myself what happens to my own body.

Men do NOT have to ask for permission. Men do NOT have a committee that will decide what they can and cannot do with their bodies. MEN are the ones who decide.

Choice. REAL CHOICE — The POWER TO CHOOSE — is a privilege only afforded to men. And privilege is invisible to those who have it.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

Because my best friend is a man, and we are the same age, and grew up in the same place, yet he has never been sexually harassed, abused or assaulted.

But I have. I have. I have.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

I am angry because I’ve changed my body, the way I dress, and whom I’m with. I’ve changed where I walk, how I travel, and where I live. I’ve changed who I talk to, who I’m nice to, who I smile to, and even who I look in the eyes.

I have changed nearly every aspect of my life, all in an attempt to protect myself and my body. Because I’ve learned throughout my life, that my body isn’t mine, my body isn’t protected.

And if someone does something to MY BODY — that I don’t want to, and I have not consented to — it is MY fault. Therefore it is MY responsibility to stop it from happening.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

Because I am TRYING my hardest to protect myself. But while I thought I was building a wall to keep them out, I was building a prison to keep myself in. I was the one who was restricted. I was the one who was stopped.

It changed nothing. I am still targeted. I am still prey. Because I was never the problem in the first place. It was never about me, my actions or the way I looked. It was about them. It was about a system that allows men to not see me as an equal, but as an inferior and as an object.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

I am angry because I am tired of being scared. I am tired of being sad. I am tired of silenced, shamed, blamed, pushed down and away.
I am angry because I’m not supposed to be.
I am angry because I am not allowed to be.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

I am angry because we are supposed to be free. But this is NOT freedom. Just because you can’t see my shackles, does NOT mean that this is not bondage.

I’ve been told: “I wish you would stop fighting.” I would. If there were no fight to be fought. No battle to beat. And no war to win.

WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?

Because 1st of October someone tried to rape me — again. But I got away, because I got angry.

Why are you so angry?

Because my anger saved me.

Speech held at Women’s March in Bergen, 19th of January 2019

A segment of this speech was used in Women’s March Global’s highlight reel in 2019

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Anine Bråten

Anine Bråten

Student, feminist, anti-racist, activist. Freelance writer and public speaker.