Thought I’d change the title of the blog for a few days in honor of HRC.
So strange that it took Donald Trump’s contemptuous treatment of the women calling him out for boorish and worse behavior that made many of us realize all we have all absorbed WITHOUT calling out anything.
This nasty woman thanks you for the chance to do so now.
My experiences include:
- Being grabbed in that now famously grabbable place by a relative in the middle of a driving lesson. My first time going above 30 on a highway. I’m still a poor driver.
- Being grabbed again by a man passing me on a sidewalk in Syracuse where I was a college student. I didn’t even scream I was so taken aback. He strolled away laughing.
- A boss who called me “Buttons” in the newsroom until I asked a male colleague to visit him at home and set him straight.
- Another boss who pursued the idea of investigating local swinger culture by posing, he and I, as a “couple.” Eventually I reported him to higher-ups.
- A city official who promised information for a story I was working on if I met him first to get to know me better, after-hours, at the waterfalls. I didn’t get the story.
- My sexual assault and harassment stories began when I was in 2nd grade. We were playing hide and seek in my neighborhood. An older boy suggested we hide in a tent in someone’s yard. He got on top of me and began rubbing himself on me. I remember being so confused and terrified. I felt trapped, like I couldn’t breathe. I remember his breath, the sounds he was making, to this day. I never told anyone. I was ashamed.
- I have had no less than 15 experiences that have involved force, pain, fear, loss of control, terror.
- I’ve been grabbed by neck and slammed against walls, had a telephone cord wrapped around my neck while he lifted me up on to the wall and continued to slam me into it.
- I’ve had my blouse ripped open, been forced on to beds by men I’ve known and not known.
- I’ve had my head smashed into a wall.
- I have tried to leave abusive relationships, sometimes too late, sometimes I tried when I shouldn’t have. Two of these men forced themselves on me, saying that if I just remembered how good it was I’d stay.
- I’ve been taunted by boys, by men. I was stalked for years by one ex-boyfriend who followed me across the country, kidnapped me and held me a hotel room for 2 days in Atlantic City during which he wrapped a lamp cord around my neck and wanted us to get married.
- I didn’t remember some of this until I heard Donald Trump’s words about sexual assault. It was the next day, the continued talk about it and then I just began to sob. And couldn’t stop. Most of these incidents were hidden even to me. How could I tell anyone? They must have been my fault. I must have some responsibility. I shouldn’t have worn that skirt, I shouldn’t have smiled so much, talked so much, shined so much.
- At 49 I am still trying to shine. I am, at my core, an extremely happy and optimistic person. But, there have been moments in my life where others, men, have tried to crush that. I rise, every time. I do walk alone now. I carry things to protect me but I walk alone, and I stand up straight and look men in the eye as I walk past them, knowing that I am strong.
- I was 4 or 5 — in the infants at primary school. I bought a new book and wanted to read it to my mum. She was busy. My step-grandfather was staying with us. He said I could read to him. He sat me in his lap and I started to read and he put his hand up my nightie and started to touch me. I froze and carried on reading. Then I got uncomfortable and slipped off his lap and went to bed. The next day I followed him around trying to make it better. He apologised and told me it was my fault as I was too passionate. The abuse continued till I was 12.
- I was abused by another family member when I was 8 till 13 — he used to lock me in the bathroom and make me give him oral sex. He would corner me in the airing cupboard and make me have sex.
- When I was 14 I went to a festival. I woke up and a man was sat outside my tent – he’d opened the zip and had his hand in my tent, in my sleeping bag and was touching me up. I froze. He left and I went back to sleep. I woke up and he was doing it again, this faceless man. This time I grabbed his wrist and said, “If you want to fucking lose this then keep going.” He went and I moved in to the middle of my friends who were sharing my tent. My friend John was next to the door then and he said he woke up and some man was outside and John asked him to zip up the tent, which he did and then left.
- In my last year of secondary school a guy in my class would constantly sit next to me and put his hand up my jumper. I would just sit there frozen and never said a word.
- When I was about 18 I went out with work people and my then boss. I got so hammered and he took me home to his and tried to have sex with me. When I realised what I was doing, I started crying and asking to leave. I couldn’t find my way out of his house and I was begging him to show me and he just laughed at me. I eventually managed to find my way out. I reported it to the company. Nothing happened apart from that we didn’t work the same shifts anymore.
- One night I fell asleep on my sofa with a male friend — I say asleep — passed out drunk. My boyfriend was asleep in our room. I woke up to find this friend inside me. I quietly rolled off the sofa and crawled away knowing he was watching me but not looking back.
- When I was 32 and me and my husband split up I was alone in my flat and a male friend rocked up drunk at about midnight. He wouldn’t leave even though I asked him lots of times. He said that my words were saying one thing but my body was saying another. I told him to please just listen to my words as I can’t control what my body does. He just laughed. I ended up giving him a hand job so he’d leave me alone.
- I have a this sexually promiscuous being that lurks inside of me who needs attention from men and flirts outrageously and gets me into situations that makes me hate myself. She is not always there and I can’t stand her but she ruins all my relationships. I’ve spent the last 15 years battling her. God damn if I am going to let all those experiences continue to define my internal reference. Sometimes I just wish that I’d won the battle already though – it’s really tiring!
- I am 9. My parents have recently divorced. My brother and sister and I are spending one of our court-appointed weekends at my dad’s. I sit on his lap on the recliner while watching TV like I have a hundred times before. This time he has an erection. I can feel it under my left thigh. I never sit on his lap again. The next weekend we’re supposed to spend with him I have a stomach ache.
- Later that summer I am at a friend’s house. Her father, who has been pretending to nap on the recliner in the living room, unzips his fly and starts to play with himself. My friend tells me I should go home now. I don’t want to leave her alone with him, but I do.
- I am 9 or 10. I am home alone because my brother and sister aren’t home from school yet and my mom is at work. The phone rings. It’s a man. I my mother home? No. Would I like to make some money? Of course. He’s friendly and he asks me if I would describe myself as mature. No. He asks me in what way I think I am not mature. I tell him I’m not mature because I’m afraid to be at home alone. He tells me that my mom and I could make money posing nude for him. I hang up the phone.
- I am 12. I am riding my bike home from school. A man is on the sidewalk coming toward me. He is completely exposed and erect. I try not to look at him as I ride by, grateful that I had not walked to school that day.
- I am in my mid-teens. I am awakened by the sound of my bedroom door opening. A round spot of light from a flashlight moves across the far wall of my bedroom. I am frozen with terror. A man walks into my room. He stands over my bed looking at me for what feels like ages. The heater comes on, causing a door in the hallway to bump against its frame. He leaves my room to investigate. I jump up and close and lock my door. I sit in my bed listening, waiting until it is safe. Then he is outside knocking on my window. I turn on my radio, jump up and run to wake my mom.
- I am in my mid-teens. My best friend and I are at a movie matinee. A man sits down in the seat next to mine, even though there are plenty of empty seats. After the lights go down he puts his hand on my knee. I freeze, not knowing what to do. I whisper to my friend who jumps up and leads us to seats in another row. I am grateful that she has the courage to act.
- I am 17. The 21-year-old I’ve been dating doesn’t stop when I tell him to. I cannot wriggle away from under him so finally I give up trying. I don’t want it to get ugly. I blame myself. I shouldn’t have been at his apartment. I don’t want to believe that my first time was rape, so the next time I see him I have sex with him willingly.
- I am in my early 20s working a night shift at a college-town pub. The power goes off. In the darkness a man yells “rape the waitress!” Drunken laughter.
- I am in my mid-20s walking in the Boston fish market with my boyfriend. On my right, from the crowd that walks past me, I feel a finger deliberately placed along my butt, tracing the line where it meets my thigh. It happens in a split second, but it is not an accident. I stop and turn around, ready to yell an accusation, but it’s crowded. Maybe it was the heavy-set man walking with his wife. I can’t tell so I keep walking.
- I am in my mid-20s visiting my boyfriend in New York. I’m walking along a road that runs through a park in Brooklyn, killing time while he is at work. It is a grey winter’s day. I’m thinking I shouldn’t be walking here. There’s the occasional car, but no one else is around. A man comes jogging up alongside me. He stops and asks if he can walk with me for a while. I say “sure” because I don’t know what else to say. We chat. I try to sound casual, confident. He tells me he’s a Marine. He walks with me to the edge of the park, where the road hooks up with city streets, and tells me it’s not safe for me to walk alone there. He continues on his jog. I am unnerved that a stranger felt the need to escort a foolish young woman out of a dangerous area. I am grateful he wanted to help me, not hurt me, but I am angry that the decision was up to him, not me. I am angry that my boyfriend had not warned me. I am angry that I needed to be warned.
- I am in my late 20s. I am talking with my boss about something work-related when he stops, looks at my breasts and says, apropos of nothing, “Did you know Grand Tetons is French for big tits?” I quit a few weeks later.
- I am in my early 30s walking home from the bus stop. A pickup truck towing a flatbed with landscaping tools pulls up and parks on the street just a little ways ahead of me. A man gets out of the passenger’s side and stands next to the truck. When I walk past he addresses me like you would address a steak dinner: “MmmmmmMM!” I keep walking, hoping he cannot see how much I am trembling in fear.
- I am in my mid-30s. A man has just finished spraying for bugs in the house I am renovating. Although I have paid him, he stops on his way to the front door, which is open, and just stands and stares at me. I walk over to where a broom is leaning against the wall and take it in my hands. I start sweeping with it. He finally turns and leaves.
- I am in my early 50s. The first woman to ever be nominated for president by a major political party is running against a man who foments hate, racism, and sexual violence. I watch a video online of one of his supporters saying he wants to see her arrested and shot in the vagina. I see a picture of a man at a campaign rally wearing a T-shirt that describes her as “a cunt.” No matter who wins, I am worried about the social fallout that is soon to erupt.