We should and need to talk about it

I had a good day; a really great day, actually. After a couple months of hopping around from temp job to part-time job to freelance job, I had my first day at a great new company, where I can already see myself becoming invested and I’m excited for what’s to come. After work I went home and had dinner with my family and was, for once, thrilled to talk about my day at work. My mom even complimented me on how cute I looked for my first day, despite the fact that it was due to a minor shopping spree I had no right to go on–*whoops*. All great, yes, but that’s not what this post is about (and you probably already know that because I don’t often post to Facebook, if ever.)

After dinner, I hopped on the train home, still riding the wave of a solid first day. I got off the subway and was feeling good while listening to music as I walked the three blocks from the subway to my apartment. I was walking down my block–a block I have lived on for nearly three years, in a good neighborhood, and have always felt safe in no matter what time of night–when a man walked by me and decided it was okay for him to casually grab my ass as he passed by.

It took me a second to digest what had just happened. I had a great day…I was on cloud nine…I was less than a block form my apartment…I was listening to music. There was no way that guy would have the audacity to grab my ass as he walked by, right? But then it hit me… yes he fucking did. Who the fuck did he think he was? So I ripped my headphones out of my ears, turned around, heavily stomped the 5 paces back up the hill and SCREAMED at him. “Who the FUCK do you think you are that you can grab my ass?” I swear he jumped away from me so fast you would have thought I had a knife. “Who the FUCK do you think you are. Don’t you dare touch me or any other women’s ass you filthy piece of shit. You fucking pig.” He ran away like the pathetic little piece of shit he is, because he didn’t think a young women was going to turn around and get in his face, did he? He didn’t think I was going to say anything. He thought I was just going to keep walking down that hill, lying to myself, telling myself that nothing happened. Or that it was an “accident” and he didn’t mean to. And you know what? I almost did. And it wouldn’t have been the first time I had walked away from a situation like that, out of fear. Fear of confrontation. Fear he might get more aggressive. Fear he might follow me home. Fear of the truth–that it really happened. But today was different. I had SUCH a good day. I felt empowered. I was riding a high. And there he was, waiting at the end to bring me back down. Not this time. The day was mine. And it was great. And I’m not going to let that speck of dirt ruin it for me.

I wouldn’t normally post this story, and honestly I almost didn’t for a few reasons. For one, I’m not asking for anyone’s pity. This isn’t a cry for attention, and anyone who knows me knows that that is faaaar from who I am or what I want. I’m not alone here. In fact, I’m sure many girls reading this have experienced something similar, if not worse. 1 in 4 women are sexually abused by the time they graduate high school. HIGH SCHOOL. That’s wild. And the statistic grows as women get older. The other reason I didn’t want to post this story is because it’s personal–really personal. I felt violated. I felt powerless. I felt humiliated. Yeah, I spoke up, and I’m glad I did. But yelling at him…is that really going to stop him from doing it again? Is that going to take back what he did? Or how I felt? Am I going to call the cops and sit down with a sketch artist because some guy grabbed my ass? No, I’m not.

But what I can do is share my story. Share what happened to me so girls and women who I know can feel a little less alone if/when it happens to them, and so guys in my life/community know that this is something we deal with. It is happening to girls in your family, girls who are your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers. If we all stay mum and act like nothing happened then nothing’s ever going to change. We should and need to talk about it. You own your body and no one else has the right to touch that shit uninvited.