- I am 17 and flying alone. It is my first time being on my own. An older man sitting next to me takes an interest in talking to me. We talk about how I like to write, and he says he has people with whom he can put me in contact with who can help me with my writing. I am excited, and give him my home number. The conversation turns personal and I am uncomfortable, but I lack the assertiveness (or headphones) to escape the conversation. I was raised to be respectful. Not to challenge my parents. Not to question authority. Do what I am told, without question. I am ill-equipped to handle this situation. By the end of the flight, he has begun to stroke my face, and tell me (and all my acne) that I am beautiful. I tell my mom about that guy, and when he calls that evening, she tells him to never call back again. He doesn’t. (Thank you, mom!)
- I am 16 and working at Schlotszky’s. I am wearing my very trendy choker necklace while working drive-through. A man and his friend pull up to the window. He says, “I like your necklace. Does it come with a leash?”
- Older guy, maybe in his early 30s works at Schlotszky’s – I’m 16. He’s always asking me out on dates. I continue to refuse. He asks until the day I quit. Coworker at Schlotzsksy’s asks me one day, “Yo, Kerry, when we gonna stroke?”
- I am at a bar with friends, who know the owner. I’m up in his office talking to him about school, and he asks me to stand up and turn around. He comes up behind me and I hear his pants unzip as he starts pulling up the back of my skirt. I, as a guest who is drinking for free at the bar, laugh uncomfortably and jump away, and “Ha, no, no.” He says, “I just want to see something real quick …” I go downstairs and rejoin my friends.
- I am 19. I am with a guy who is 10 years older than me. I’ve dropped out of school and am depending on him for everything. We don’t have a place – sometimes, we stay at his parents’ house, and sometimes we sleep in his car. He loves his meth. And when he’s on it, he wants to have sex. I quickly learn that saying no doesn’t work. He’s going to, anyway. If I resist, it isn’t good. And I have nowhere to go. He says all I have to do if I don’t want to, is just lie there. I often do.
- I am 33 and pregnant — but have just found out that the baby’s heart stopped beating. I can’t stand the thought of possibly carrying around the baby for days or possibly weeks while I still have morning sickness because my body hasn’t figured it out — but have to wait for an appointment to get medication for my body to begin the process of miscarrying. In the meantime, I have to take a flight to take my child to spend the summer with my parents. Miserable flight, thinking about the baby I’d wanted so much – and that now it is dead and *inside me*. Then the guy next to me, who has his arms crossed, seems to overextend his hand to start touching my side. I lean away, more toward my child’s seat. A few moments later, I feel his fingers on my side again. I’m already teary, and I know if I confront this guy, I’m going to lose my sh*t and it will probably be the kind of situation that will probably get the plane landed. I don’t want my kid to see me lose it. I fake a cough and jam my body back up against his hand HARD, then squeeze so far away in my seat that he can’t reach me unless he is less subtle about it.
- It’s last Christmas Eve and I am standing in line at Walmart. A guy turns to me and makes small talk about the warm weather. I say I’m not fan of sweating in December. He says he likes sweating any time of the year, any time of the day, and he’d like to make me sweat, too.