Living in a foreign culture that either doesn’t respect a woman’s sexual and physical boundaries or that has a different conception of those boundaries can be unnerving, especially if you’ve been warned that the men are “forward” and expect American women to be “sexually adventurous.” And while America is still far from being a country that takes sexual harassment seriously, we have made important strides that give me optimism about the future. I like to think that this shift is the result of insistent, persistent demands to take street harassment, slut shaming, and victim blaming as the microaggressions that they are. But when we recognize the pervasive sexual violence women experience worldwide, American complaints sometimes seem almost quaint in comparison to a rape victim being honor killed in Afghanistan, a teenage girl enduring a forced clitoridectomy in Somalia, and the recent organized, mass sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, on New Year Eve.

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