In case you live under a rock, I'll get you up to speed. So, it turns out that Harvey Weinstein is a vile, entitled, and unrepentant creep, bully, and sexual predator. But what's almost more noteworthy has been people's reaction to "Hollywood's worst kept secret." Many have expressed shock and disbelief that this man could have gotten away with this for so long. You know who isn't surprised? Women.
So, women have taken to social media and have been sharing the simple, yet powerful, phrase 'me too' to show how pervasive sexual assault and sexual harassment truly is. As someone who has been excessively open with my own experience with rape, I have felt unsure about what I could contribute. So, below are some additional experiences I've had with sexual harassment and assault [CW].
This photo was taken in a women's bathroom in a bar/club in Chicago.
In addition to having been raped...
I’ve been catcalled, coerced, and cornered. Complete strangers have shouted to me on the streets, insisted I smile, and begged for my number or to know where I was going. I’ve had a smug-ass teenage boy come up to me and ask for directions...to my bedroom! And then he laughed and ran off before I could process what happened. I’ve had random men shout about my body and what they’d like to do to it. When I was a teenager, this dude walked by me, turned to his friend, and exclaimed, “Check out the tits on her!” He was probably arms length away from me...and it was in Disney World.
Once I crossed the street to avoid a guy who was walking toward me, because I was alone and nervous. So, he yelled, “Don’t worry! I’m not going to rape you!” And then he chuckled to himself. Because (you know) being afraid of rape is hi-lar-ious!
When my internship was ending and some of my therapy clients (a few of whom were men) were distressed, the clinic psychiatrist said, “No wonder they’re upset. Have you seen her?” He said this in a meeting...in front of a group of my coworkers. I dealt with sexual harassment from cooks when I waitressed. And, at another job, a maintenance guy gave me a bottle of “massage oil” (which was really lube) and told me all about how great he was at “giving massages.” *wink, wink*
When I’ve been out at bars and clubs, I have had countless guys grind on me, grope me as they walked by, and grab me when they decided they wanted to talk to me. Once a guy grabbed me by the wrist when I was walking through a bar with my boyfriend. I yanked my wrist away, unfazed and not breaking my stride. My boyfriend, on the other hand, froze looking shocked and horrified.
While dating, I have been pressured, guilt-tripped, and harassed. I have received unsolicited dick pics and introductory messages from random guys telling me how they wanted to lick me, fuck me, and tie me up. I have had guys hug, kiss, and touch me, even after I’ve gently or directly asked them not to. When I’ve rejected unwanted advances, I’ve witnessed denial and outrage, and was once told that my response was bewildering because, as the guy explained, "most people enjoy my company.” After declining a second date with a different guy, I was told that I was ugly, anyway, and that the only way I would look good was on my knees...sucking his dick.
It feels so strange to put all of these stories in one place. I'm sure there are plenty that I've blocked out. And I know there are others that I have deliberately omitted, because they are just too effing disturbing. So, if you know women who are fearful, jumpy, or suspicious, there are likely countless reasons why. Probably more reasons than would fit into one blog entry. And if you’re wondering why most women aren’t in the slightest bit shocked by the news of Harvey Weinstein, it's because we all know someone just like him...and most of us know many.
If you would like to read more about this, here is one of my favorite pieces I've read so far. It includes some pretty powerful messages for men.
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