[Warning: Yet again, we’re gonna talk about sex/assault. (And I’m gonna use that word in the title without asterisks.)] (Sorry, this is a long one. Eep!)
A week ago, a tape of Donald Trump came out where he talked about being able to do things to women because he’s a star. He said he “grabs them by the pussy.” Some people are dismissing this as “locker-room talk.” (Donald Trump himself is trying to call it “locker room talk.”)
Friday, June 5, 2015.
I wake up in the morning in the arms of the man I adore.
[Note: Yes, I feel SUPER weird talking about a relationship in the open and on the blog… In fact, I have a post about how weird it feels planned, coming up. But he is relevant to the story. And I am leaving him completely anonymous (and only saying nice things). So, hopefully, it should be fine – even if utterly weird to talk about him out loud in a public place, on this blog.]
So, I wake up in his arms. We have a very lovely morning. He kisses me goodbye, and I head to the subway – as I’m gonna go get my favorite donut from Universal Studios. (It’s National Donut Day, and I have a season pass.)
As I’m walking along the street, this random stranger guy starts walking beside me. I feel a little off about it, so I’m not wildly responsive. But I’m also trying not to be rude…
Then he starts asking if he can have my number/take me out.
“Oh, no thank you,” I politely reply.
He pushes. I continue to be polite. He starts to push a little harder. “Please, stop. I have a boyfriend.” I figure that should make him listen (as most women know, that’s what often (though not always) works – it’s not enough if we don’t want to give our numbers, it has to be because he’d respect another man…). He continues anyway.
I slow down; so does he. I speed up; so does he. At this point, I can see the subway. We’re close. I can’t go a different route. There is no other route.
After all, he’s just being kind of rude, just ignoring my repeated requests for him to stop talking to me. This is a normal daily encounter on the streets of a big city. If I took time out of my day every time I felt uneasy about a man on the street yelling at me or hitting on me, I’d never go anywhere or get anything done.
So, I try to ignore him as best I can. As soon as we get to the subway, I see the entrance he’s going into, and I go as far as I can to the steps on the other side.
Then I walk down to my platform. As I do, I don’t see him. I figure he must be going to another train or something.
I’m wearing my favorite white skirt. I love it. (It’s also one of the favorites of that man I adore – that’s partially why I wore it. So, he’d think I was all cute when I left his apartment.)
When I think the coast is clear, and everything is fine, and that dude was just yet another rude dude and nothing to write home about – I feel a hand reach very quickly, sharply, and strongly up my skirt. He reached in behind me, thrusted his hand up and forward, and he grabbed me where Donald Trump thinks it’s okay to grab.
As he did it, he whispered something in my ear I don’t remember verbatim – something somewhat innocuous on it’s own (like “Have a nice day,” I think). But in the moment it felt so gross (because of what he was doing, and his inflection when he said it).
I whipped around with fury. And he was already running away. He turned his head back though, so I could see him smile and laugh as he ran.
It wasn’t funny.
Billy Bush and Donald Trump laughed on tape about how funny it is to get to grab women there. But it’s not.
I was a little upset on the subway. And I kind of admonished myself for being upset. After all, “I’m fine.” “He only grabbed me. Who doesn’t get grabbed on the subway? He didn’t injure me.” “I’m strong.” “I can’t be too ‘dramatic.’ It’s just a grab. Who cares?”
And on and on and on.
I grew up in a culture that thinks this “locker room talk” is okay (and that permeated in how I thought I was supposed to think/react).
I had a man reach in under my clothes and really grab me in a very strong, startling, scary way… And yet I worried I might be being “dramatic” if that upset me…
I start texting the man I adore with the ridiculous story of what happened.
He is so, so kind about it all.
In an exceptionally anti-feminist-seeming way, I’m actually more upset about the fact that, “That’s yours to grab, not his!”
I realize that it’s actually mine. My body doesn’t belong to the man I adore… But still. We always had a lot of fun banter back and forth, about how we were each other’s. And I was mad some stranger seemed to take that away from me – to encroach on the space of the man I adore…
So, we were texting, and I was upset. I was worried it was dumb to be upset. But he was incredibly upset – perhaps even more so than me. My gut instinct was minimize, minimize. And his was, “You’ve got to report this guy!”
So, we text as I go up to Universal Studios for donuts and all that jazz. He’s being a super sweetheart. And I’m having a fine time. (I looove Universal Studios).
But, ultimately, even in this place I love on this beautiful day, I’m still a little distracted and a little angry. I pick up some donuts for my co-workers (and myself – let’s get real) and go to work. (I work a night job at that time.)
I get out of work early, and I ask someone who works at the metro station how I’d report. He tells me the stop where the police metro station (or whatever exactly that’s called) is.
I get off at that stop and go in. I tell them about what happened earlier in the day. I apologize and tell them I hope I’m not wasting their time for something as simple as being grabbed. I know they have bigger issues.
I happen to give my report to a female officer (though a male officer may have been just as understanding).
She tells me that she’s very happy I reported. She explains that if he so brazenly did this, he’s probably done it before and will probably do it again. And if more women report this kind of behavior, it might be easier to find the guy (and potentially make a case).
They ask me a lot of really specific questions, and I realize how little I was paying attention.
That stranger dude kept talking to me above ground and I kept averting my gaze. I kept looking around wondering where I’d go if he did something, or where I could go to get away from him if need be. I looked around for other people on the street, because I figured nothing would happen with witnesses. So they made me feel safe.
I looked at 1,000 things without ever taking a really good look at this guy.
Thankfully, there was security footage. So, you could easily see what he looked like. You didn’t need me to tell you… But it did make me think I potentially should pay a little more attention to my surroundings, so I don’t feel like a total idiot in front of a police officer again. (I mean, I had some idea of what he looked like, but not a ton.)
I finish reporting and make my merry way out of there.
It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was certainly an inconvenience. It disrupted my day. It made me feel tons of emotions from violated to embarrassed to stupid to “dramatic,” et al.
It made me spend time I wouldn’t normally have spent stopping at that station, giving a police report, then waiting for the train again.
None of it was a humongous deal. But it wasn’t fun. It’s not just like, “Hey, let’s grab a pussy. It’s hilarious!” It’s not hilarious. It’s a disruption, at the least.
In case you’re wondering, of course the man I adore then has me stay at his apartment. After all, it’s been a long day. He’s very happy/proud I reported. And he’s really happy with the helpful police officer’s response (as was I).
And I’m certainly happy he has me come over, because I need to be touched immediately. I just want to feel like that stranger dude is off of me. I want to be touched in that same place on my body by someone whom I want to touch me there. I want it to feel normal and good, and I want that immediately, before I start to feel any weirder about it…
So, that’s what we did. (And I don’t know if that logic is sound, or works for everyone. But it worked really well for me.)
I never heard anything more from the police about this. But I did wake up in the arms of the good man, and I never felt weird about/worried about that day after that… (I even made sure to wear that same skirt on the subway again, because I don’t want one bad encounter to dictate what I wear, or make it so I don’t wear the things I feel beautiful in…)
I’ve barely ever even mentioned that day ’til now. It was a small thing in the grand scheme of life that affected one day. But I’ve had numerous inappropriate experiences like that – that affect me for a day, or an hour, or what have you. It’s not always long, but it’s always inconvenient (if not worse).
And now a presidential nominee is bragging that he does that to women? Aye aye aye aye aye aye aye.
So, I thought it was time to speak this story out loud.