“Woman with skirt up run faster than man with pants down”

Ask your mother this:  As a woman have you ever felt threatened or unsafe or less-than because of a man? Ask her.  Did you tell anyone?  Every time?  Call the cops?  File a complaint?

My story is not remarkable, ask any woman.  Not including the boyfriend who abused me in multiple ways and broke my rib, just the ones that come to mind easily… baby When I was 6, a bunch of older boys stole my books and harassed me and asked me to show my underwear. -I was timid but I did it because I needed my books back. I told my mother and she told me no matter what anyone said or did, I should never let anyone make me do anything.

When I was 15, and walking in the suburbs, a guy pulled up in a car. I thought he was asking directions, when I walked over he was obviously masturbating.  He asked me if I wanted to make $5. -I walked away, grossed out. He drove away.  It was morning, and there was no one else visible on the street.

When I was 20, a fat dirty biker guy tried to dry hump my friend and I at a packed concert. -One of us elbowed him and the other stomped on his foot and we forced our way through the crowd.

In my 20s I got off the bus and a man followed me and put his hand up my skirt, felt my panties, and ran away. -I turned around and screamed at him while he ran away.

In my 30s my friend and I were walking home through suburbia late at night.  We realized through peripheral vision that another person was coming up beside us.  It was a grown man with no pants on.  Shirt and shoes, but no pants, and dick in hand.  -My friend yelled at him and he went away.  She called the police when we got home and made sure to call it his ‘little white dick’.  (She, herself, was ballsy.)

In my 30s I was paid less than the men I supervised.  When I complained I was told I had a lack of respect for authority.  -I agreed, and I quit.  (When I wrote up my whole experience (including the VP suggesting I sit on the programmer’s lap) for Unemployment Insurance, I was not penalized for quitting.)

In my 40s after an accident left me with two black eyes, I got those looks from people on the bus. -If you look them in the eyes, they always look away (like you pass shame onto them, interesting).

In my 50s a nerdy guy I had a passing acquaintance with bought one of my paintings at my art show.  He proceeded to email me that he loved me, rang my doorbell late at night (I didn’t answer)… -I emailed him to grow up, he didn’t know me, we don’t know each other, your behaviour is scary, see a therapist, and stop reading comic books where the guys gets the girl like a trophy.

Stairs to nowhere

Stairs to nowhere

These are not the only examples as any woman knows.  They are not even my only examples, just representative ones. Every woman has a list she could rhyme off that would be similar. This isn’t including the minor gropes.  The degrading comments.  The sort-of?stalkers.  The guys that got scary for a moment when you push back.  Weirdo dates, when you know you better not be alone with this one.  When you are alone with one that started out nice, but now have to figure out how to get away, dissuade his persistent arguments.

My father taught me to go for the eyes, the throat, the balls, the shins or stomp his feet (especially if in heels).  We all learned not to use our first name, only our initial, on mailboxes and telephone listings.  Never admit to a telephone solicitor that you live alone.  How to walk holding your keys like brass knuckles.  A bar owner gave a bunch of us lead pipes covered in rubber (for our hand grip- it would still inflict damage).  Several women carried mace.  Did my brothers get any lectures about anything?

Remember they are not counseling us to call the cops.  They are counseling us to defend ourselves against men.  It is a father’s duty, n’est-ce pas?  They are admitting that we should be afraid of men, that we are targets, prey.  All the dad jokes about locking up daughters… from? their friends’ sons? younger versions of themselves?  My abuser was a high school (drop-out) guy, someone’s son, someone’s brother.  I’m so glad he is dead, never knew why he was the way he was, but over the decades I have learned his behaviour was not unique to him.  It was “normal” when I read up on spousal abuse.  Where did he learn it?  Where do they all learn it?  Where does it come from?

 
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