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Women Get Assaulted All the Time

2016/06/08

Being a woman who has been on this planet & in this country a long time, I want to talk about what it’s like sometimes. Usually it’s pretty damn good, and I’m thankful for it.

The last few months I’ve been seeing a lot of ugly things about and toward women on media. I read a blog post about sexual harassment on the street, which brought to mind public sexual harassment I had experienced once. From a person I worked with. In his environment, a construction supply house. And I hadn’t thought of it as harassment, I just felt ashamed, not really knowing why. I realize now it was definitely sexual harassment.

I ran into him there one Saturday & I was picking up a part a mechanic needed “in the field.” This guy had an audience of guys working behind the parts counter, who knew me by phone, but I’d never met personally. His name was Joe. I’ve lost touch with him but Joe and his wife ended up having about 8 kids, maybe more, and I used to babysit for them sometimes. Not after this happened. His wife was a saint. He later went into the ministry.👀

I don’t remember exactly what was said but Joe said something personal & embarrassing about how I looked. And it was posed as a question, so I felt all eyes on me. Don’t remember what it was. I just know I felt: humiliated & sad. I never wanted to see those guys at the supply house again. I was embarrassed the next time I had to call them for something. It was the days before email. Some people would say my telling this out loud is making a big deal out of nothing. I learned this bc I have a big mouth, and sometimes talk very frankly about my experiences. This is your warning. 😊

Now, in 2016, I feel like he wanted to humiliate me, bc I had never seen him act like that to anyone. And I babysat for him! I was about 22, so I hadn’t learned to stand up for myself at all. It still does not come naturally. Sometimes standing up for yourself is viewed negatively, too.

This particular incident came to mind when I thought about street harassment. Thinking about this incident made me think about the number of times I’ve been sexually targeted, so to speak. This incident felt like that, and it was the least ‘sexual’ of the times I’ve been targeted. I remembered 4 more times that were overtly sexual. Once a stranger masturbated at me in a parking lot we were sitting in.  A few spaces down. It was night & I was waiting for my sister to get off at the Shoney’s in Ashland.

Another time I was looking at the travel sizes at the drugstore, oblivious to the guy next to me until he ejaculated into the travel sizes we were viewing.

Another time I was at the Westhampton Library and noticed a preppy-looking guy, prolly in his late 20’s early 30’s. Looked like a Dad, cute. I was prolly 20. A few minutes later I was looking at books. In the aisle where I was there was a window at the end. I was engrossed in the books, then noticed this same preppy guy standing outside, outside this window, rubbing his dick through his khakis.  I walked or drove quickly away after ea of these incidents.

There was something else I don’t remember at the moment. I had never thought of them cumulatively before a few mos ago! Oh, and in elementary school I was assaulted on an ongoing basis for about 3 years by a group of bigger boys. They’d circle around me & tease me & put their hands on my chest & crotch, through my clothes. And I wasn’t particularly safe after I told my Mom, which is prolly why it went on for 3 years.  Although it tapered off after I told her. I felt more empowered, I think, to say stop. And it became a memory.

I remembered 2 more a few days later. A total of 6 times I have been sexually assaulted. This doesn’t include Joe’s or anyone else’s harassment. The last 2 incidents are a rape when I was unconscious, mid 20’s. And something with a great uncle  when I was 10, that I hate thinking & talking about and don’t remember all the details. I remember the way I made sense of it, when it came to mind later, was I thought he was having a diabetic seizure. But why didn’t I run & tell my grandmother & aunt? It was at the beach. Memom was prolly on the beach & Aunt Louise was prolly sitting on the street side in one of those plastic folding lounge chairs w/ no arms, with the sides up on ea side of her. I remember being too scared to tell anyone, so.

To be clear my assaults occurred in these places: a library, a drugstore, in a parking lot in Ashland, VA, at elementary school, at a friend’s house and at the beach with my grandmother, in the cottage where we stayed. In the living room, watching tv.

So, that is everything I remember at the moment. Women get assaulted all the time. It starts young. Maybe it tapers off too. I haven’t been assaulted in 20-25 years! And I’ve done a lot of healing work around all of my experiences. Don’t feel sorry for me. Know that most women you know probably had or will have one or more of these things happen to her.

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9 Responses to “Women Get Assaulted All the Time”

  1. bbeyes4 Says:

    Thank you for being so brave as to share that. I’m sure the memories are not easy. 💗


  2. WOW! Amiga – that’s brave & courageous | thank you for sharing your story. Gentle hugs 😦 LCA

  3. Julie Says:

    Thank you so much! It’s been on my mind for a few months.


  4. Hey, Julie! You are truly brave for sharing those awful memories. Just glad they didn’t stain you for life. Take care!
    Bryan
    P.S. My wife was raped on her 10th birthday, by her next door neighbor.

  5. giantoaktree Says:

    I read your post. Then, I read the victim’s letter in the Stanford Rape Case. Then, I read two comprehensive reports about the case. Now I have a new, deeper understanding of the effects of a sexual assault. In a way, there are two crimes being committed at the same time. There’s the sexual assault that can destroy a victim’s life. That’s bad enough. But reading your blog post and reading the Stanford victim’s letter has made me realize that another more horrific crime also took place. Murder. The killing of the innocent little girl living inside you and other victims. All of the assaults you experienced, the crass words, the indecent acts are simple attacks and murders of your innocence.
    When I read the story about the Stanford assault I noticed another report about a young man who slipped and fell into one of the Yellowstone park hot springs and drown in 400 degree water. It should have been that rapist, all of your attackers and all the other fiends out there.
    Any woman who reads this; please know that there are decent men in this world who will do anything to protect you. The two bikers that caught that dumpster bastard, countless fathers, brothers, and sons. We have a new awareness and will not forget our responsibility.


  6. I am having a hard time commenting. I understand your pain- all to well, I grew up on the west side of Chicago, most people think they are safe at work, they are not.


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