I’ve had my breasts squeezed and my ass grabbed.
I’ve been grabbed by the actual pussy as I was walking down the hall in high school. The guy (an acquaintance) behind me reached between my legs and grabbed me and tried frantically rubbing my genitals (through my blue jeans), without any warning or hint of what he was about to do. I was so stunned I couldn’t speak for about half an hour as I processed what just happened to me. Then I confronted him and let him have it. Well you didn’t say anything so I thought you liked it, he sputtered as I raged at him. I hope I made such an impression on him that he never tried that again with another woman.
I’ve been threatened with sexual violence. I’ve been chased. I’ve been stalked. I’ve been harassed. I’ve been catcalled too many times to remember.
I had a guy angrily accuse me of lying about a boyfriend when I turned him down for date. He made a scene at my workplace where this encounter happened. Oh yeah, he sneered, so where’s your ring then? (I did have a boyfriend at the time but even if I didn’t I knew it was more palatable to say that you did than to turn down a guy outright. In the male mind, you were then off-limits because you were someone else’s “property” and that was acceptable whereas being refused was not.)
I’ve had more than 1 guy suddenly force his lips on mine, without invitation or warning.
When I was 16 another teenage boy attempted to rape me at a campfire. I had made friends with a gentle guy who often visited the beachfront restaurant where I worked that summer. One day close to the end of the season he invited me to join his group of friends for their nightly campfire. I asked if there would be other girls there as well and was assured there would be. So I went. And there were other girls there. A big blond guy (the group’s “leader”, I realized) sat next to me, and the guy I was friends with moved across the fire from me. At some point I looked up from the fire and realized everyone had silently vanished, leaving me alone with the big blond. Immediately I said I had to leave and asked him to point me in the direction back to my parents’ trailer at our campground. Instead he proceeded to pin me to the ground and started slobbering all over my protesting mouth. He then threw his heavy body on top of mine with such force that I vomited. This changed his mind and I was allowed to get up and leave. I realized afterwards that I was set up and the whole encounter was premeditated by the big blond in collusion with everyone else there. I never saw my so-called friend again at the restaurant. I told no one because I knew I would be blamed for this happening to me.
Once back in the early 80’s, when I complained to a friend’s father about all the catcalling I received when I waited for them on the street to pick me up to take me to university, he countered by saying if I didn’t want the attention why did I bother to dress attractively, comb my hair and wear makeup? Really? I said, Just so you know, even in the dead of winter when I stand on the sidewalk wearing no makeup and my oversized duffel coat that makes me look like a small red refrigerator I am still catcalled and honked at! Just what the hell am I supposed to wear to avoid “attention” as you call it??? There was no answer.
I just hate that no matter what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, wear or don’t wear there are people who make sexual violence or harassment the fault of the victim, not the perpetrator. It was true when I was growing up and it is still true today. People’s attitudes haven’t changed that much. Not really.
And don’t even get me started on the bullshit attitudes and comments I had to put up with from male police officers when my ex was stalking me. I had to endure months of fear and harassment (and police inaction) before I finally connected with a female officer who immediately made a restraining order happen. Not that it helped, much…but that is another story.
We still talk about women who have been raped rather than men who have raped women. We still talk about harassment of women rather than the men who harass women. We still don’t believe the women who are brave enough to come forward.
Well, here’s me saying ME FUCKING TOO.