Fighting back

The first time I was “grabbed by the pussy” I was 12 years old and shopping with my family in Payless. A man came up behind me, and brushed my buttocks with his hand. I was flustered but assumed it was a mistake. I moved to another aisle but he followed me there.

I was staring at shelves of toys, trying to calm myself down and convince myself that what felt like a deliberate act was just an accident when he reached up my school uniform and “grabbed my pussy.”

I’ll never forget the sensation of illness that swelled up inside me. Followed swiftly by fear. This man, this criminal, had taken something from me and I would never get it back.

Over the years I’ve endured more unwanted attention – cat calls, groping hands, uninvited touch, and forced kisses.

When Donald Trump said that he could “grab women by the pussy” he epitomized the rape culture that we all want to believe doesn’t exist but can’t help but acknowledge the existence of.

I am saddened and sickened to think that in the 21st century, women are still treated as inferior – mere play things for the entertainment and pleasure of men – and that men and women alike are so willing to dismiss an act that amounts to criminal behavior as simply “locker room talk.”

I, for one, am not going to sit around and let my sons grow up in a world where women are second class citizens. In November, I intend to vote my conscience by voting for a candidate who epitomizes what I find great about this country and not for the candidate who plays to our lowest elements.

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