Outrageous

I voted.

I can’t remember the last time I skipped voting.

I think it’s important to make my voice and opinions heard, regardless of whether or not I’m a huge fan of the candidates, measures, or propositions.

This is not a political blog.

I don’t write about my political beliefs, although I do occasionally let my distaste for certain politicians be known.

I have a few friends who have a different political persuasion than me.

And honestly, I have found that NOT DISCUSSING POLITICS is the best way to stay friends.

But sometimes I JUST HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING.

And for that, I don’t apologize.

I have at least one friend who is to some degree a Trump supporter.

The other day he posted on his Facebook page that he was never going to watch Saturday Night Live again because a cast member made a joke about veterans.

I think the joke was in poor taste and missed its mark.

I don’t watch SNL nor do I plan to.

However, I found it HUGELY ironic that my friend felt this was worthy of a boycott while still supporting a man who joked about sexually assaulting women.

Grab them by the pussy.

It’s just locker room talk.

Totally excusable.

But heaven forbid someone make a bad joke about veterans.

I’m not excusing the veteran joke.

It was a bad joke and other castmates have spoken out against it.

However, if you’re going to get outraged about things people say, then I think that outrage over someone bragging about sexually assaulting women is not misplaced.

If we generously ASSUME Trump was making a joke, I personally think both “jokes “are distasteful and worthy of my spite.

Just saying.

Predators

If there was a time long ago when I didn’t think of men as trying to TAKE something from me, I can’t recall.

Of course, I was only in ten when I was sexually assaulted (TWICE) in Payless right under my mother’s nose.

Rather an early indoctrination into sexual assault, but sadly there are those younger than me.

Throughout my life, I can recall other men who took without asking.

I’m not surprised that the #MeToo hashtag took off.

I was CRUSHED by how many of my friends had similar experiences.

Sexual assault seems to be a universal experience for the women in my social circles.

I am a woman who TOLD on the men who sexually assaulted me.

Even when I was ten.

I told my sister and then I told my parents.

They in turn called the store and reported the crime, but did not contact the police.

During another incident I was at a London pub with my hands full of drinks and my breasts were groped.

I told my friends AS SOON AS I GOT TO THE TABLE.

Outraged, they asked me to point out the man who assaulted me but he was nowhere to be seen.

And another time, while holding a tray of food in Fresh Choice, my breasts were groped again, this time by a busboy who was trying to “help me” with my tray.

He did it twice.

There was no mistake.

I reported the incident to the Campbell Police but since it was a case of he said/ she said, nothing was done about it.

Although I imagine it at least started a paper trail on this man.

My point is this:

I felt helpless when I was sexually assaulted.

Each time, my instinct was to freeze then walk away as if nothing had happened, just to ensure I could get away from my attacker.

Later, when I felt safe, I was capable of sharing what had happened to me.

And whether it takes 1 minute, or 30 years for a woman to report what happened (btw, men report sexual abuse by the clergy DECADES after it occurred as well and they are taken seriously), I’m glad to see that there are people out there willing to investigate these claims.

Perhaps this President, elected by a minority of US voters, has done us a favor by bringing sexual assault into the bright light of media scrutiny with his “grab them by the pussy” comment.

I felt SICKENED and all those emotions I had about my own sexual assaults came flooding back to me when I heard Trump laugh about sexually assaulting women.

In the end, I suggest that the nearly universal experience American women have when it comes to sexual assault needs to be addressed.

Publicly.

Starting with a thorough investigation into the claims of Ms. Ford and Ms. Ramirez.

Surely a presidential predator is enough predator for our “great” nation.

#MeToo

A few days ago, I posted #MeToo as my Facebook status to show my friends and family that I had survived sexual assault.

What was a little unexpected to me was the total deluge of women (and some men) admitting that they too had experienced sexual assault.

The first sexual assault that I can remember happened in 7th grade when I was 12 years old.

I was with my mom shopping in Payless. I was in the toy aisle, looking at toys.

I was wearing my school uniform – a blue and green plaid skirt, a white peter pan collar short sleeve blouse, white knee socks, and comfortable shoes.

My mom was elsewhere in the store when a man moved past me and as he did, I felt something brush my butt.

It almost seemed innocent, at the time.

I thought for sure I was making things up.

But just to be safe, I moved to another aisle, away from the man.

As I was looking at merchandise, the man came down my aisle and THIS TIME HE STOPPED, REACHED UNDER MY SKIRT, AND GRABBED ME BETWEEN MY LEGS.

In the pit of my stomach I knew this was wrong, just like I now knew the earlier touch had been intentional.

I should have screamed. Yelled. Pointed my finger at him and shamed him.

But I was little.

And scared.

I only told my mom what happened when we were safely at home away from the man.

The last time I was sexually assaulted was when I was out to dinner with my kids.

We were eating at Fresh Choice, and I was carrying two trays with food – one for my boys and one for me.

A busboy offered to help me with a tray.

When he reached for the tray, his hand rubbed slowly against my breast.

That sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach started to bubble up again.

I sat down immediately, trying to calm myself.

Feeling tears coming on.

When he set the tray down on the table, he brushed my breast AGAIN WITH HIS FUCKING HAND, and I nearly came undone.

This time, I’m happy to say I reported him to the staff at Fresh Choice AND to the Campbell Police Department.

Since it was a he-said-she-said case, the District Attorney opted to not prosecute, but at least I started (continued?) the paper trail on this predator.

In the 30 some years that transpired between these two incidents, there have been countless others – friends of my sister’s boyfriends who thought I was there for their pleasure, strangers in bars who liked how I looked and wanted to touch me, predators who offered to take my photo but turned it into something else, etc.

I’m proud I fought back as an adult woman but I have to admit, whenever I get sexually assaulted, my initial reaction is ALWAYS the same.

A sick feeling followed swiftly by fear and the urge to get as far away from the predator as I possibly can.

I’m still 12 years old.