Question to women readers: have you been assaulted or violated?

October 20, 2016 • 10:00 am

One of the only good things that came out of Trump’s candidacy (for me) is my growing realization that women are groped or physically assaulted far more often than I would have thought.  I know about catcalling, as I’ve seen it often, but there’s been a spate of women reporting unwanted touching, fondling, or other kinds of physical assaults on their person.  Yesterday I asked one woman friend if she’d ever experienced anything like that.  She responded that she’d never been “groped” by a stranger, but that one of her supervisors at work asked her to tie his tie for a formal dinner, and then grabbed her breasts when she did so. In the state where this happened, that counts as fourth-degree sexual assault. (She didn’t report it.)

This kind of assault—for that’s what it is—is described by Freedom from Religion Foundation co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in an email from the FFRF called “Religious hypocrites grope for excuses for Donald Trump groping.” It doesn’t seem to be on the FFRF website, but was reproduced on Hemant Mehta’s site, The Friendly Atheist.

First Annie Laurie took a survey of her co-workers:

Motivated by the headlines, I conducted an informal poll at my workplace. I approached the 11 other women staffers who happened to be in our offices on Monday at the Freedom From Religion Foundation to ask about whether they’d ever experienced the kinds of gropes several women have testified they endured from Donald Trump.

Ten out of the 12 (including myself) have been groped or had similar unwanted experiences.* The two others had experienced sexual street harassment. One, a runner, said the intimidating catcalls and jeers are constant. I suspect this unscientific survey would be borne out as par for the course nationwide.

She then gives several of the women’s accounts, which are grim, and reports two times when she herself was groped. Annie Laurie then calls out the religious right for supporting Trump while defending “family values” and “morals”, and finally points out that the Bible sanctions sexual assault and abuse, and even the Old Testament God turns out to be a groper and an abuser:

The biblical deity repeatedly denounces women as filthy whores (Ezekiel 16:36-45, among ad nauseam references) and sexually vilifies them (see Proverbs throughout). Most shocking, the biblical deity sexually gropes and abuses women himself (Isaiah 3:16) or threatens to (“I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,” Jeremiah 13:26).

I’d like to take an informal poll like Annie Laurie’s, but among the women readers here. So I ask what she did: “Have you ever experienced the kind of groping some women said that they’d endured from Donald Trump?” If you want to give details, feel free to do so, and also weigh in if you haven’t been groped in this way so we can at least get an idea of the proportion of women who have ever been violated. (Yes, I know there’s sampling bias.)

If you’d like to post under a pseudonym but usually don’t, go ahead, as I’ll approve these “new” posts.

I’m asking because my informal poll was only one woman, but she reported a legal assault, and I have a feeling that this kind of stuff is pretty common.

389 thoughts on “Question to women readers: have you been assaulted or violated?

  1. Absolutely, numerous times from when I was young up until I turned about 30. It took that long to realize I wasn’t the one who should feel ashamed and that I wasn’t doing anything wrong or anything to encourage that behavior.

  2. Yes I have experienced this sort of behavior and know that it is very common from talking with my friends over a lifetime. No surprise here.

  3. Yes: once as a teenager by a friend’s uncle who excused it by calling me a “bonnie lass” and once by a stranger on the subway, who used a crowded train as an opportunity to aggressively rub his groin against me…

    1. I think virtually all, if not all, privately-run train-lines in Tokyo, and probably in other large cities in Japan, now provide one ‘women-only’ carriage during the rush-hours.

  4. Despite the risk this will generate a ‘self-selecting sampling error’ (as was the case with the poll that claimed ‘1 in 4 US college students will be sexually assaulted’), I’m sure the incidence of groping is far higher than we enlightened men of the WEIT community would wish to assume.
    I wonder if any members of said community have committed such gropings – and would we admit it if we have?
    I genuinely can’t recall such behaviour in my past, I’ve certainly never been accused of such, but I wonder if some ‘minor’ inappropriate physical contact I thought was ‘innocent’ could be construed as unwanted groping/touching – I suspect yes,
    Chris G (UK)

    1. Bold Comment and a great idea! This is a woman’s issue but a mans problem. Men need to update and resolve our behavior and thinking. I admit to doing things in the past, that I am deeply ashamed of now. I have had sex with intoxicated women. I have cat called. I am sure I have made unwanted advances and touched women in ways they did not want at the time. I was wrong to do so.
      I will never do it again and I speak out now when I See it happening.

      1. Hi James. A very honest reply, thanks – you’ve set the bar high for others to follow.
        Regarding sex with intoxicated women, I’m not sure that’s necessarily always an issue, depends on the level of intoxication and the ability to consent of course.
        As all readers from the UK will know, we had a high-profile re-trial of the footballer Ched Evans conclude last Friday with his acquittal on the charge of rape, so intoxication/memory/consent very much in the UK news at the mo.
        Like you, I feel my behaviour and awareness of the problem has matured to the point it’s highly unlikely I’d behave inappropriately again – not least because I have a 22 year-old daughter who leans towards a ‘rape culture’ view of western societies, and an 18 years old son who I see as far more enlightened than I was at his age.
        I’m 54, probably my 20’s were my least-controlled decade. Maybe the women’s movement through the 80’s and 90’s enlightened us, raised our consciousness too?
        But clearly there’s much more work to be done on us men,
        Chris G (UK)

    2. “I wonder if any members of said community have committed such gropings – and would we admit it if we have?”

      I never have, I know for sure.

      Whenever I inadvertently bump into a woman, I apologize, immediately, and step well back.

    3. I can say for sure that I have never sexually assaulted, groped or otherwise inappropriately touched a girl or a woman. Or even cat-called. If nothing else I was / am too shy and too afraid of rejection.

      I’ve never been one to enjoy dominating other people, male or female. When it does happen (dominating behavior on my part) it is typically momentary and a result of perceived bad behavior on the other person’s part that causes me to get angry. It is also typical that I feel pretty shitty about it shortly afterwards too.

      I am really saddened, and angered, to read the responses from women here, but not surprised. Both my wife and my sister have both been victims of very serious sexual assault and I can verify that what they experienced was traumatic, has left life long scars and in one of their cases was nearly ruinous. Too many males are still vile pigs.

        1. Daughter. That’s something I am very anxious about. My daughter is a young teen, that age where she is looking more like a young woman than a child.

          So far we’ve managed to keep her safe, but she is entering what seems to me to be the most dangerous years. I think, and hope, we have prepared her well. She is not hesitant about sticking up for herself, or others, and we have definitely tried to foster that.

          1. Add in some self defense classes. My (inner city) college, back in the 1970s, offered a specific one for women, based on Judo rather than Karate (the two prominent forms of the time) because women are generally grabbed, so an up close attack requires an up close defense. Men are generally punched, and for that, Karate was perhaps better.

            Today, I might suggest Krav Maga, based on its reputation.

          2. As long as suggestions are being offered: Judo is the sport form, Jujitsu is the martial art that Judo came from, and the art I currently do now. But I’ve also done karate, tai chi, aikido and boxing. And there are many women run classes that are short-term self-defense oriented.

            Any class that treats women with respect can be a good class. If there are no women in the class, ask why. If there are only white belt women, ask why. Don’t join any class that won’t let you observe first.

    4. 53 years old. I have never cat-called a woman nor have I ever touched/groped one w/o consent. I can’t recall the first time I actually thought about it — I was quite young I’m sure – but have never thought it was acceptable.

    5. I have never sexually assaulted any one. I have never cat-called, I never got the point of that. In my mind it certainly wouldn’t lead to dates with the target.
      I have had sex with an intoxicated woman, never the first time and only when we knew that would be the result of her drinking that night. (I don’t care for feeling intoxicated, so I have only been drunk once – because she wanted to know what I would be like drunk. The answer is I got sleepy.)
      I am a boring middle aged cishet mostly-white male. And I am happy with being that.

    6. Not intentionally, for sure.

      Accidentally once at high school when attempting to dislodge a girl who was trying to pull me under the water in a swimming pool by jumping on me from behind (I accidentally grabbed her buttocks as that was as far around as I could reach while trying to get her off my back).

      But to keep some perspective, I should add that this behaviour is not limited to males.

      Girls at high school made a lot of lewd comments while raising skirts, etc, during my teenage years, which was somewhat uncomfortable.

      I have been groped by women a few times in my 30’s, but nothing that would cause serious distress.

      Also, being looked up and down by women passing in the street in a lewd and suggestive manner, unwelcome footsies under the table in college residences. I had a crazy stalker for a few years in the early 1990’s, but that was a once off.

      “I’m sure the incidence of groping is far higher than we enlightened men of the WEIT community would wish to assume.”

      I have not often seen anyone in my acquaintance behaving like that, but my social circles are very unlikely to contain men with that mind set, so yes.

      1. Your experiences are so opposite my local culture, I have to ask: Where do you live? I’ve lived many places, all inside the USA: east and west coasts, northern planes and two gulf coast states. The women in your local culture sound quite aggressive.

    7. Great post Chris.

      The only thing I can dredge up from my memory was when I was thirteen, and quite cocky. There were a couple of girls who’d recently asked me out, so I was quite convinced of my own wonderfulness in their eyes, and when we were sat on the bench chatting I would kind of…pat and stroke them on the knee, whilst verbally flirting.

      Then one of the teachers took me to the headmistress’s office and told me that the girls had complained that it made them uncomfortable. I’ve never been so mortified in my life. It was very jarring, because in my own head it was a back-and-forth and they enjoyed it, and since they had asked me out repeatedly and would do so subsequently I assumed that it was…okay…and they were okay with it. I still remember how incredibly ashamed I was and I still cringe when I think about it.

  5. Yes.
    When I was 11-12 I was pinned down and groped by an older teen boy. He was much stronger than I and would chase me, knock me down and hump against my body.
    A few years later, an uncle started grabbing and pinching my breasts. He also wanted me to cuddle with him on a la-z-boy, which was essentially him pressing me against his erection.
    Late still as an adult, a total stranger came up behind me and started rubbing my belly and up towards my breasts. When I turned to confront him, he pushed me back and continued to try to grab me until friends intervened. He was just “partying” O.o

    1. When I was a kid in elementary school, the boys would push us down and rub their crotches against our heads!

      1. There’s an awful episode in the playwright John Osborne’s autobiography about a girl at his elementary school who with the help of some other girls, as I recall, would wrestle the smaller boys to the ground and then sit on their faces.

  6. When I was a kid my brother’s friend grabbed my boob on some kind of dare or something to be obnoxious. This is the same guy I caught using my toothbrush one day. What an ass.

    I really don’t leave the house without a companion with me. I’m a small woman and it would be nothing for a man of even modest build to overpower me.

    1. “I really don’t leave the house without a companion with me.”

      My wife would generally agree.

      To me, this makes crystal clear the problem in our society.

      To my fellow men: We need to stomp out aggression against women. Zero tolerance! Call out anyone who talks about such things. Get up, stand up.

      1. A lot of men and women would. This sort of evil is loath to be seen, though. The trick is to never be alone. Because, well, you are ‘asking for it’ if you’re alone.

        1. Hi Geckzilla,
          Do you mind if I ask which country you live in? Would be interesting to know if the experience of groping is less/more prevalent across countries,
          Chris G (UK)

          1. Thanks for confirming Geckzilla.
            I’m truly sorry you feel unable to leave the house without a companion – that’s a terrible indictment of our times.
            I’m not so sure it’s all down to testosterone though – would be a simple medical solution if it was (aka castration!)
            But surely we all hope for progress and societal changes that rid, if not reduce to a much much lower level, the incidence of groping and unwanted-attention from men to women in general?
            Can’t we say, despite the continued problem, that things have/are getting better on this front, across most (all?) countries?
            As with many other social/cultural issues, some countries must be doing better than others, surely?
            Or maybe the correlation goes the other way, maybe it’s the Scandawegian countries with their more liberal sexual-freedoms that have the bigger issues?
            Chris G (UK)

          2. I have little doubt the removal of the testes would drastically change the behavior of many men. We do it to other animals all the time for this very reason.

            Regarding my not leaving the home alone, see my reply to Rita. I think it came off a little more extreme than I intended. Or perhaps paranoia is just part of my nature at this point and I do not notice it? Shrug.

          3. Geckzilla, I had an opportunity at one of our Free Inquiry Group meetings to talk to a person who was pretty far along in transgender move from female to male. He had not been surgically changed but had taken testosterone treatments. I asked him whether he had begun feeling more aggressive or assertive. He said no. He felt more “excited” but not with any will to impose himself on others.

        2. WOW! I live alone and go places alone ALL the time, or more often alone than with friends. I cherish the ability to just pick up and go wherever and whenever I feel like it. From time to time, I remember women commenting on that, along the lines of “You’re so brave!” But I hadn’t realized how deeply some women must fear going out alone. It makes it easier to understand why so many women put up with partner/spouse abuse! Of course I’ve experienced some instances of minor assault, and a lot of inappropriate comments from men, but thankfully nothing really traumatizing.

          1. I don’t feel restricted by it. I will still go places alone if I need to, I just prefer a companion, and I almost always have one available. I also don’t need to take public transportation alone. I think this combination results in sheltering me from catcalling and potential gropers.

          2. Rita, I don’t feel restricted either, I run in the quite remote regions and often meet people who think I’m nuts, but I run with Archer, and he’s got the most marvellous ‘hard-eye’ which in pretty impressive. I’ve met hikers way up the mountains who initially seem amazed that a woman would run alone, and then spot my on point companion and think again.

          3. I hike alone all the time–no dog, no companion, no pepper spray. Admittedly, we aren’t talking very remote areas, but I do take trails that are pretty uncrowded, and it is not uncommon for me to not meet anyone else on a hike.

            Does it make me nervous when I encounter a man on the trail? A little, and I do notch up my alertness a bit. But in all my years hiking alone, I’ve never had a problem.

            As a single woman, I’ve had to make my peace with doing a lot of things alone. It’s either that or live a restricted life. And I’m not willing to do that.

          4. In fairness I should add that most of my hiking is done in open space preserves and state/county parks in the Santa Cruz mountains. These places often border on some of the most expensive real estate in the world. So we might be talking a fair amount of economic privilege here that I can feel fairly safe on the trails.

          5. It does make a difference where you walk. My problems with guys were on city streets, in public transportation, and in city parks. I haven’t really had trouble out farther in the wild, or in rural Iowa. (Well, there was a guy in rural Iowa who asked me out (no) and followed me home — I went to a relative’s instead — but when I called the police they knew him and I got the impression he was more stupid than a threat.) Anyway, not many of the real assholes get far from town. But I’m always aware there could be a few.

    2. This is an example of how a relatively little detail about day to day life needs to be better appreciated by the guys. Women routinely have to be aware of their surroundings, and think about this crap even when they do a small thing like walk from their parked car to a building at night. Doors are locked, and then checked. They have to try to not be alone.
      We guys, on the other hand, hardly have to think of this stuff. It sucks, and i am sorry.

      1. Well, Ta-Nehisi Coates describes his struggles to and from school in his youth in the same way – permanently worried about racist violence,
        Chris G (UK)

        1. Although it’s not considered PC to say, I’ve always felt that the fears of sexual or racial assault are quite similar (& similarly deplorable) phenomena, both of which are often dismissed by those who don’t have to worry about one or the other or both.

          1. Any time a person is intimidated, belittled, insulted, physically attacked, etc., because of his/her race; such as the violence Coates was alluding to in Chris G.’s post above.

            Is that stretching the definition of “assault?” I thought it would at least be clear in context.

          2. I agree with your assessement. There have been exactly two times of the hundreds that men in executive positions at places I’ve worked have independently noticed and corrected men behaving badly toward me (not sexually just in sexist ways) and both times those men have been visible minorities. Neil deGrasse Tyson also said something to the effect that he has never been a woman in science but he’s been black all his life so he has a bit of an understanding of the struggles of women. I think it’s why, for me, I find it easier to accept it when people of colour say they have certain bad experiences.

    3. “I really don’t leave the house without a companion with me.”

      In Muslim countries it is sometimes forbidden for women to leave the house without an escort. Although that is a over reaction to the problem of male aggression, it is understandable how such a custom could come about under the right circumstances. In the west the emphasis is on expectations for male civility. But, it appears that there isn’t enough civility yet to be able to call our culture completely civilized.

      1. I wish I could see a silver lining to that Muslim rule, but the fact that women *arent allowed* out without an approved escort makes it clear that it’s about protecting the husband’s property, and not about protecting women.

  7. Three times.

    Once I was assaulted by a stranger on a school playground when I was ten or eleven. I was with my best friend, and we got away.

    Twice as an adult, once by a next-door neighbor, and once by a contractor that we were thinking of using (we didn’t hire him). L

    1. Four if you count once on a public sidewalk, but the guy was clearly mentally ill, so I don’t count that. The other three were by people who were aware of what they were doing. L

  8. Yes. I was about 11, going home from school. Four or five guys, a couple of them slightly older, descended on me, threw me to the ground, and one of them went down the front of mt skirt and groped me. It was all over in less than a minute. Apparently no one else saw it, or if they did, they didn’t help. Then they let me go, and I went home. I never told my mom – would not have even known what to say. This was white suburban Wisconsin, ca 1960. I also have to say that I never experienced any kind of sexual harassment during my career in chemistry, which at least started out pretty male-dominated. I guess I was lucky to work with professionals and gentlemen.

  9. I am a large, intimidating male (really, I’m a teddy bear!)

    So nothing for me personally.

    But I can answer for my wife: Affirmative, many times as a child as as an adult.

    And I can answer for my late sister: Affirmative.

    And: I can affirm her experience of the threatening nature of catcalls, etc. when outdoors exercising (running, biking).

    And I can affirm her description of the poisonous social millieu with respect to sexual harassment and assault she experienced in the rural middle west of the US.

    And: I can affirm the sexual harassment I personally have observed in the workplace and elsewhere (years ago — today I would act immediately).

    I have never experienced “locker room talk” (as Trump wants to euphemize it) anything like what he expressed in the infamous tape. The men I associate with would never admit to thinking things like that even if they did — which I doubt very much based on their behavior.

    I like Sam Harris’s descriptions of Trump:

    “a roving id flanked by a security detail”

    and: “malignant narcissist”

  10. I have been groped in the workplace on more than one occasion. I have also been the subject of many unwanted comments and have been in the presence of men making unwanted comments to other women. The problem is getting better though, as many workplaces have mandatory sexual harassment training. I believe a lot of men think “it’s no big deal” but they’re now being made to think about it. I think some people need to be made aware of things sometimes. I feel good about the progress that has been made, though. Thanks, Jerry.

    1. Very well said.

      Many men (and others in power) always thought, “it’s no big deal.” Well, yeah, for THEM. That pretty well defines the problem.

      If there is a power imbalance of any sort, the powerful person needs to back off.

      The anti-harassment (sexual, bullying, racial, etc.) has come along dramatically since I began working back in the Pleistocene. It truly is much, much better than it used to be.

      I like to think I have always been very sensitive to this (my first several bosses were women, which I think helped).

      When I go to speak with female colleagues, I almost always sit down. I’m a really big guy and it seemed wrong to tower over them. I’ve been doing that since I was in my early 20s. I think i started because I noticed that it put people more at their ease.

      I think this issue with Trump has been a consciousness-raiser and he has performed an inadvertent service to the society. (I’m sure we’ll be invoiced!)

      In the end (in my opinion) other men need to call-out and shame men who behave badly. That’s us, guys. Just do it.

      1. That would be great if other men did that, and I think more men are aware now that what they used to think is no big deal, really is.

        My very first memory at four-years-old is of being groped by a friend of my father’s. He told me not to tell anyone. I did, but I wasn’t believed, so I just hid from him whenever he came over after that. A neighbour did the same to one of my sister’s and I a few years later and we said nothing.

        I went to an all girls high school. No problems there. Uni was mostly okay too, but I never went out alone – always with friends or a boyfriend.

        At work in the 1980s it was a constant problem at every job. I wrote a bit about that in a post I recently wrote about Trump’s accusers and I don’t want to go into detail.

        After that I was older and worked mostly in hospitals. When most of the staff are women it happens less. Also, awareness of the problem increased in NZ from the 90s on and it’s reduced from then for everybody.

        It used to be something women were expected to put up with and we did. Now they can complain and they will be listened to. Men’s attitudes and behaviour have improved a lot too.

  11. I wasn’t groped, but a boss kissed me when I was 17. He seemed shocked that I wasn’t into it and apologized after I’d recoiled. He didn’t do it again.

    Worse than that is the way men at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center interacted with female colleagues. We were rated on a scale of 1-10 for both our bodies and our faces. I was incredibly offended by this. Despite being told repeatedly that it was offensive, the men continued to do it and to comment on how sexy new female hires were.

    1. I was also raped as a teenager. But it took me years before I told people. I don’t feel sorry for myself about this and neither do I feel traumatized, though I am reminded of it every time discussions like this come up.

      1. That’s similar to me. I was raped as a teenager but also don’t feel sorry for myself or traumatized, and only think about it when things like this come up. I didn’t say anything at the time and no one in my family knows about it and I don’t want them to because they’ll ask questions and feel sorry for me. There are far worse things in my life that I have to deal with every day than worrying about some loser who has lived in another country since not long after anyway.

    2. I think that men sometimes make rude and inappropriate comments in front of women thoughtlessly. But what you’re describing at your workplace is sexual harassment pure and simple, done solely to demean women coworkers by making them uncomfortable, probably for the gratification of the harassers’ poncey little male egos. It is inexcusable and unlawful.

  12. Yes–since puberty. Men I know casually or as friends have randomly touched my breasts and strangers have intentionally pressed their groins or legs against me on public transportation (I know it’s intentional because when I move away, they manage to fill up the space again). A friend’s husband has also groped me. And this doesn’t include the random catcalls that can turn nasty when you don’t acknowledge them. It’s sad, but you eventually learn to just tune them out.

  13. Yes by both strangers and then classmates. Grateful I’m now pass 50 years old, rarely get looks or comments but then I don’t go out much.

    1. I’m a plump, white haired women and no one tells me to “smile” anymore either. It’s a bit creepy being invisible but preferable to the endless harassment I got as a sweet young thing (and well into my 40s).

  14. Yes, I’ve been groped. The first time happened when I was a teenager, taking art history classes abroad; my breasts were grabbed by a store clerk in Istanbul. The send time, I was around 24 years old; a friend of my parents’ grabbed my breasts while he and I were waiting for a bus together. I didn’t tell my parents because I knew they would not believe me.
    The third time, I was in my 40s, working as a nurse. One of the senior attending physicians was known for inappropriate behavior, but the hospital management didn’t care because he brought in a lot of revenue. He grabbed me, pulled me close, and kissed me full on the mouth, tongue and all. More than 20 years later, I still feel disgusted.

  15. Recent:
    My married neighbor tried to kiss me…I ducked.
    An acquaintance tried to pull me down into his lap, he was sitting, I was standing, in a well lit room with at least 20 other people playing bridge.

    Past: raped several times by boyfriends. Back in the dark ages when women didn’t dare say anything.

  16. I am not a female. But I asked this question of my female friends (ones I know reasonably well) and was both shocked and appalled at how frequently the answer was “yes”.

    Note: I have had my knee grabbed and my butt swatted by females that did not know me, but circumstances were such that it didn’t bother me nor cause me anguish.

    1. Me too. (Your first paragraph.)

      So, the power-dynamic is so different if a woman touches a man. It’s generally not a threat.

      For a man to touch a woman — it’s pretty nearly always a threat.

    2. I’m not sure if I know a single woman who hasn’t been assaulted or inappropriately hit-upon physically.

      When thinking about this reply, I was going to say, “besides my Mom”; but she recently told me of an incident that happened when she was 18 (she’s 81 now).


    1. I too am sad this happened to you and sorry many boys and men act this way. When I was young in the 40s and 50s, I believe politeness and respect were more prevalent than today.

      1. Yes. Because back then women (and blacks) knew their place. Once we “gave” them equal rights, things got openly uglier.

        And mild sexual assault, does carry with it the threat of force. “Hey, I’m just being friendly” can quickly turn to “You stuck up bitch! Who do you think you are?”

        Men are still larger and stronger than women, and (usually) have the *added option* of threatening the mother of their children, especially in domestic abuse situations.

        1. Two things you, SA Gould, state here suddenly caused me to recollect a couple more things I have experienced: my having small children nearly at all times alongside of me immediately scared me in to thorough and silent submission every single time my spouse threatened physical violence upon me. That always “worked out well” for him. Always.

          That other thing you stated, “can quickly turn to,” is exactly exemplified in the words of Ms Kendra Wells & seen on Feminist Elizabethan & other sites, “If you think women are crazy, then you’ve never had a dude go from hitting on you to LITERALLY threatening to kill you — in the time it takes you to say ‘no thanks’.”

          Both of these memories are quite in line with Authoress Atwood’s famous flat – out statement of, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

          Legion True

          1. Yes. Quite true. And women in such a situation often hear “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” It takes resources to get a safe place secured for mother and children. And the abuser usually has already deliberately isolated her from friends and family.

  17. Yes, when I was a teenager (a long time ago!) a man grabbed my ass on the street. I remember looking down in shock, almost expecting to see the imprint of his hand on my shorts.

    And the catcalls were of course so numerous I can’t distinguish among them. It doesn’t happen any more because I am older. What would irritate me even more was that if you responded negatively (I used to be foolish and would sometimes curse at the men doing it), the offenders would actually act as if you had done something wrong. Why weren’t you nicer about them harassing you, they seemed to suggest?

    1. Yeah, I’d agree there too. You were expected to actually enjoy the catcalls, and if you didn’t there’d sometimes be comments like, “Must be a dike.” And of course then they thought their attention would “cure” you.

      Getting older and putting on weight make life a lot easier.

      1. I hadva friend who would say in an elated voice, “approval!” Whenever someone honked or cat called her from a car.

        I remember once some creepy guy followed my friend and I on his bike. He kept asking us, “can I lick your feet for a dollar”. We were about 17 at thre time. We got into her house without him seeing us and saw him driving past looking for us. I was actually kind of scared that time.

        1. You would be at 17, especially because when we were 17 there wasn’t that much time spent giving girls the confidence to stand up for themselves. It was more down to personality.

          My youngest sister has the personality. She was groped in a crowd going into a theatre at 18. She grabbed a stranger’s cigarette, turned on the guy, held it up to his face and said in a very tough voice, “If you touch me again I’m going to stab this in your eye.” She got cheered and it turned out he’d done the same thing to three other women too in the crowd and they had been too scared to say anything.

  18. Disclaimer: I have a Y chromosome

    How many women have been groped does not tell the whole story.

    What also needs to be know is how many men have groped women.

    Because right now the stories about how almost every woman has been groped are used to demonize all men.

    But, of course, in real life each woman interacts with hundreds to thousands of different men during her lifetime.

    So even a relatively tiny percentage of gropers is sufficient to result in a majority of women being groped at least once during their lifetime.

    But such a small percentage is no justification for demonizing all men and legally discriminating against them, which is what we are heading towards.

    1. But such a small percentage is no justification for demonizing all men and legally discriminating against them, which is what we are heading towards.

      Are we?

      1. Yes, we are.

        The feminists are pushing for changing laws so that, for example, a man has to be found guilty of rape just based on the word of the accuser.

        And this is already the practice in many universities.

        I don’t know what else to call that but legal discrimination.

        1. I don’t know which “feminists” you’re talking about, but I think you’re sorely mistaken. The Title IX Act, which applies to universities, says that there has to be a “preponderance of evidence” (like in a regular civil case) rather than evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”. I don’t agree with that difference between universities and criminal courts, where the latter standard applies. But I haven’t heard anybody say that people should be disciplined based solely on an accusation.

          1. You’re narrowly focusing on the situation in the US.

            But take a look at this, for example:



            New Zealand’s second-largest political party wants to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases if it gets into power, making defendants prove their innocence to reduce the trauma suffered by victims.

            What is that if not legal discrimination when it gives women the power to throw whatever accusations they want at men and have them convicted unless the man can prove there was consent (which is usually impossible)? Because this is exactly what that amounts to. Of course you are not going to hear people say “We want to be able to send men to jail just based on a woman’s word”. The rhetoric is always focused on “victim’s trauma”. But the rhetoric does not change the essence of such propositions.

            P.S. Yes, the Title IX formulation at the moment is absurd and amounts to legal discrimination. There have been numerous real-life examples of students having their lives ruined because of that.

          2. You realise that political posturing by a party does not mean that the law is about to be changed?

            Seriously, this is a case of crying before you’re hurt.

            And all this because Jerry asked his readers whether they had been assaulted or groped.

            No-one suggested that men be held responsible simply on the basis of a woman’s accusation – except you.

          3. You realise that political posturing by a party does not mean that the law is about to be changed?

            Seriously, this is a case of crying before you’re hurt.

            Are you saying that we should wait for such laws to be passed before we are alarmed?

            The situation in universities is pretty much like that already. So it’s not as if this is purely “posturing” with absolutely no prospects of it becoming a reality.

            Also, that particular discussion started after I was asked whether we are moving towards discriminating men.

            My initial post merely noted that you cannot get an accurate understanding of the situation with groping by only looking at women. You have to also know what the behavior of men as a group is, otherwise you can draw incorrect inferences.

          4. Yes, and we are all curious how you think that asking women whether they have been sexually assaulted is in any way an attempt to discriminate against men.

          5. See, this is why I always come out of these discussions with a “Don’t ever waste your time with that again” lesson. Which I then regrettably fail to follow.

            How does what you just said follow from I wrote????

            This always happens — you write something, then it gets twisted in all sorts of ways by people who clearly cannot think rationally about these issues, and then all hope of having a reasoned conversation goes away…

          6. So according to you “Men as a group” are just programmed to sexually assault and that excuses it. Ive already explained in another post humans program their social reproductive strategy according to circumstances – which changed profoundly in the 20th century with dramatic reduction of infant 0-5 mortality worldwide, mass female participation in the workforce and contraception, . Time to catch up, you are not being rational

          7. There is the case of Caleb Warner, at the University of North Dakota, who was banned from campus for a year and a half until the organisation FIRE stepped in.
            This despite the police determining there was not only no case to answer but that the accuser had lied about what happened.

    2. How have you reached the conclusion that all men are being demonised because women are more open about discussing when they’ve been assaulted by men?

    3. Who on earth is demonizing all men here? The idea was to see how prevalent the problem was, and it seems from this post to be pretty prevalent. Regardless of how many “gropers” there are, this highlights an issue that needs to be dealt with. Women should not have to face this in their daily lives.

      1. I propose you add a switch to the web site that cuts out male comments and try again. For crap sakes males….shut up.

      2. Who on earth is demonizing all men here

        The feminists.

        Seriously, how is it possible to have been exposed to what’s going on in the Western world, and especially in universities, and not have noticed that they are in fact demonizing all men?

        1. “The Feminists” is a rather vague answer that brings up the boogey man trope – look out or the The Feminists will demonize you! This of course makes me question the legitimacy of your claim that talking about groping of women (which BTW is a way for men to relate to woman because up to now, they may not have been familiar with every day groping and being unfamiliar doesn’t make you a “demon”) demonizes men. I think it informs them. It allows us to speak to each other and relate to one another.

      3. YES! And MEN need to fix this problem! It;s not a woman’s problem, it’s a problem with MEN’s behavior.

        Thanks for starting this discussion, sir.

      4. I think also we need to consider assault and sexual assault on boys and men. I feel equally concerned about protecting boys as I do girls. I suspect boys and men feel great shame about sexually assault and may have greater trouble on average speaking about it or getting help. Certainly male suicide is higher.

        This isn’t a competition. This is about protecting people from predators, who don’t always look like you may imagine – a dirty old man, in reality it can be a 12 year old girl, a 10 year old boy, a 19 year old man… I’m not sure you can know, as sex offenders aren’t all the same.

    4. I think the demonization is localized and can often be traced to other motivations. I have only twice in my life been told I am sexist for absolutely no reason except that I am male.

      In fact, even research suggests that males are biased without them even being aware of it, e.g., hiring practices, income disparities, etc..

      I need no defense for my own actions though. I have never done anything wrong, to my knowledge, but that does not mean there are not internal biases I have to live with.

      The solution you might want to focus on when considering that all men, from your perspective, get demonized is to look for engineering controls. Think of ways our society can implement hiring or social constraints that minimize male dominance. Always look to minimize the element of sexual predation. It’s not that hard. It’s like going on a diet. Sometimes, it’s as simple as changing one’s habits or routines and this removes, statistically, the opportunities for the minority ‘gropers’.

      1. I have never done anything wrong, to my knowledge, but that does not mean there are not internal biases I have to live with.

        I haven’t done anything wrong either. Nor do I plant to. Why on earth do I have to be subjected to the constant harassment of mandatory sexual harassment, Title IX, etc. training courses where I work, and waste my time on that, and why do I have to very carefully calculate what I say in front of whom (not to mention having sexual intercourse) because I might end up wasting months and years of my life on proving I did nothing wrong?

        The solution you might want to focus on when considering that all men, from your perspective, get demonized is to look for engineering controls. Think of ways our society can implement hiring or social constraints that minimize male dominance. Always look to minimize the element of sexual predation.

        Well, let’s follow the feminist logic.

        Note that what I am going to say is just following the logic where it leads, so do not get outraged by it and do not go after me with a pitchfork, keep your cool and think rationally.

        We have the following facts:

        1. One reason why men rape women is because they can, and they can because of sexual dimorphism in the human species. Men are stronger and they can overpower women.

        2. The other reason is that the optimal evolutionary strategy for the two sexes is very different — men optimize their inclusive fitness by inseminating as many women as they can, women optimize theirs by choosing very carefully who they mate with. Combine that with the fact that the human female does not produce a lot of eggs over her lifetime, and we have a situation, in which access to eggs for fertilization is really a problem for human males. Thus rape is an option, if you can get away with it, of course (as society has become more and more complex that has become more and more difficult, but back in the days it wasn’t, and still isn’t in situations where social order breaks down and no punishment is expected, e.g. wars, invasions, labor camps, etc.).

        The combination of these factors is why patriarchical social norms have developed historically, especially in agricultural societies.

        Now, according to the feminists, all men are potential future rapists. Let’s assume that is true. So what are women to do if they don’t want to ever have to worry about rape?

        Well, given that men are physically stronger, they will always be able to rape women. Basic physics.

        And if they are all rapists by nature, there can be no reeducation.

        Thus the possible “solutions” are the following:

        1. Exterminate men, carry out reproduction by artificial fertilization. Radical feminists have in fact considered that.

        2. Institute a legal system that turns men into second class citizens legally because they are all potential future rapists, and in order to prevent them from actualizing that potential, the punishments have to be sufficiently severe and certain. Because things like presence or absence of “consent” and groping leave no physical evidence, that means the law has to be biased against men. There is no way around that. Otherwise if “beyond reasonable doubt” is the legal standard nobody can be convicted of groping, because that usually happens without witnesses and leaves no evidence. Also, under that standard withdrawal of consent after the fact is not an option.

        However, there is also a third possibility, and it is very telling about the origins of the movement that the majority of feminists never go there.

        The reason women perceive sexual contact that they do not fully consent to (or regretted in hindsight) as “traumatic” is the molding of their behavior by the evolutionary need to very carefully control who has access to their eggs combined with patriarchical attitudes towards reproduction.

        Which were established in times when sexual intercourse was tightly coupled to reproduction.

        But sexual intercourse is no longer coupled to reproduction and we (in the West at least) do not live in primitive patriarchical societies.

        So there is absolutely no rational reason to see contact between one person’s genitalia with another person’s body as something more significant than a handshake (aside from the differences in the composition of the microbiomes involved).

        Which means that we also have solution number 3: we all stop giving so much importance to sex, and we create a sexually liberated society, in which the incentives to rape are minimized and nobody throws a big fuss about who touched what and how, because in reality that leaves no lasting damage of any sort and is therefore insignificant.

        Which is the most rational and realistic solution — systems of oppression tend to be unstable, especially when the oppressed are actually stronger. And that is from a feminist perspective — after all it is an outright rejection of the patriarchy, its origins and attitudes.

        One would have thought that this is what the feminists would have arrived at after all these decades.

        Instead it was the sex-negative feminists that came out on top, and now we have the supreme irony of feminists railing against the “patriarchy” while doing their absolute best to uphold its attitudes towards the relationship between the sexes….

        1. “Why on earth do I have to be subjected to the constant harassment of mandatory sexual harassment, Title IX, etc. training courses where I work”

          Dunno, do you want to remain employed?

          Same reason you have to have racial sensitivity courses (and code of conduct courses, and regulatory refreshers, etc.). There are still plenty of people out there for whom this is all a challenge.

          And they, too, would answer: “I’ve never done anything and wouldn’t.”

          If for no other reason, employers have to train everyone so that, should it come to it, they can fire them without their being able to claim “you didn’t tell me.” Versus being sued for allowing sexual harassment to go on in their facility.

        2. Also: You seem to have a bit of a tin ear here. This isn’t really the place to rant about this subject (check the question at issue).

          Maybe a men’s support group site?

        3. I agree with the revolutionary side of what you’ve said, but saying sex is like a hand shake is all wrong.

          Sex is linked to a matrix of hormones linked to pleasure and bonding. Like you point out the archetypal male wants to spread seed and will either sleep with many or seek to nurture one. Women on the other hand will be left carrying the baby. They need one nurturer. Alternatively they can bond with a group of women and take address when they feel like it with whom they choose and depend on their female tribe to care for them. Wouldn’t likely work with bands of sex starved males around.

          Anyhow back to your comments, I’d say you’re biased by your own desires when you say lets all have a no strings attached love in.

        4. Well, the main thing is that you’ve managed to turn a thread about women being assaulted into a rant all about you and your imagined perception of your liberties being infringed.

        5. What a load of evo-pysch bovine feces. I work in computer security. Every year, I need to take three to six classes in ‘Security Awareness’, ‘Insider Threat’, ‘Phishing’, etc. Often times the same subject on behalf of different clients. I could teach those classes, and often have. Yet I still need to take them often and they have embedded tests.

          So, boo freaking hoo, that you feel harassed by taking a Title IX class once a year. Your HR department must show that just like they need to demonstrate in audits that I have to take a Title IX class and a Phishing class and a Rules of Behavior class. We get paid for that time, and your employer avoids legal risks.

          Frankly the rest of your evo-pysch rant sounds like someone who wants women to be available to you at your whim, to quote you “we create a sexually liberated society, in which the incentives to rape are minimized and nobody throws a big fuss about who touched what and how, because in reality that leaves no lasting damage of any sort and is therefore insignificant.” Rape is about power and control, not satisfying normal sexual urges.

          If I try to express how detested I am at that quoted statement, I will break Da Roolz. Hey, if I stick my fingers up your nostrils and drag you a few feet by your nose, it would not cause any ‘lasting damage’ so you should just accept that as ‘insignificant’. How about you let the victim determine if there is ‘lasting damage’ or the grope was ‘insignificant’?
          And this was your “most rational and realistic solution”.
          I suspect your annual Title IX and annual sexual harassment classes need to be more frequent. You just don’t get consent.

          1. Hey, if I stick my fingers up your nostrils and drag you a few feet by your nose, it would not cause any ‘lasting damage’

            This would clearly violate the criterion of lasting damage — you can easily tear off a man’s nostrils by doing that.

            Anyway, as I said several times, I was hoping that this would be about following the logic. Without emotions.

            I’m a fool, I know that.

          2. If I pulled you by your nose nice and calmly, it would do no lasting damage, not even a bruise. That example was hyperbole about touching people without consent. It was also hyperbole about leading you by the nose. Get it yet?

            I would have hoped that my reference to ‘evo-psych bovine feces’ would sufficiently indicate that I reject the ‘logic’ that you claimed to use ‘rationally’.

            But thank you so much for dropping a grope manifesto in a post about how often women experience sexual assault, calling for ‘cool and think rationally’, and then tone-trolling because at least one man feels that you give us all a bad name with your preferred solution of being able to grope any woman you want and they should just get over it (paraphrasing solution 3).

            And by the way, I am actually thinking rationally and coolly. Which is why I didn’t break ‘Da Roolz’.

        6. … men optimize their inclusive fitness by inseminating as many women as they can …

          There you go, off on another naturalistic-fallacy rant, GM. You do realize that men manage to overcome this drive to inseminate as many women as they can every time they put on a condom, or withdraw before ejaculating during intercourse, or engage in any other form of birth control, don’t you?

          You’ve also created for yourself a false trilemma. How about we recognize a fourth option — one where we have a “sexually liberated society,” as you put it, but where everyone, man or woman, has the right to complete bodily integrity, where they are free to treat sexual congress as more than a handshake if they so wish, where they are free to consent to sexual contact, or not, with those who wish to have consensual contact with them, as each individual alone sees fit?

          1. You’ve also created for yourself a false trilemma. How about we recognize a fourth option — one where we have a “sexually liberated society,” as you put it, but where everyone, man or woman, has the right to complete bodily integrity, where they are free to treat sexual congress as more than a handshake if they so wish, where they are free to consent to sexual contact, or not, with those who wish to have consensual contact with them, as each individual alone sees fit?

            This is why I said above that these discussions are a waste of time, because people cannot be relied on to actually read what you wrote.

            I put numerous disclaimers that I am following feminist logic to where it leads.

            Your “fourth option” does not exist under the feminist framework.

            If men are rapists by nature, what you are describing is never going to happen, because if that is true, men are not a subject to reeducation. You can only achieve compliance by implementing sufficiently severe and sufficiently certain to be meted out punishments. Which in the context of slippery concepts such as “consent” and groping is incompatible with due process.

        7. We throw a fuss about “who touched who where” not because of sex-negativity or patriarchy but because of consent. It doesn’t matter if we’re men might be more reluctant to grant consent because of an evolutionarily obsolete impulse. No means no, regardless of the reason, or the reasons for the reason. Would you be so sanguine if a gay man forcibly gave you a blow job?

        8. I wish you’d stop saying “the feminists”. I’m sure there is a minority of feminists that hold the opinions you claim they do, but they don’t all hold those opinions (I know from experience) and by saying “the feminists” you are demonising all of them.

        9. “Solution Number 3: we all stop giving so much importance to sex, and we create a sexually liberated society, in which the incentives to rape are minimized and nobody throws a big fuss about who touched what and how, because in reality that leaves no lasting damage of any sort and is therefore insignificant.”
          This completely ignores that all of the instances cited here are NON consensual
          “The other reason is that the optimal evolutionary strategy for the two sexes is very different — men optimize their inclusive fitness by inseminating as many women as they can, women optimize theirs by choosing very carefully who they mate with. Combine that with the fact that the human female does not produce a lot of eggs over her lifetime, and we have a situation, in which access to eggs for fertilization is really a problem for human males. Thus rape is an option, if you can get away with it..”
          This ignores the bigger picture of reproductive strategy. The name of the game is survival of offspring over successive generations – thats why humans, uniquely amongst species, not only live in large societies, but are dependent on those societies for the successful rearing of their young, whilst also human cooperating in societies are able to plan for the future in ways that can alter their environment. The basic reproductive unit of male and female can not raise offspring to autonomous maturity on their own; they require goods, services and security provided by the wider unit. Humans accept social rules that maximise the chances of longer term reproductive survival of members of the society; individual and family interests sometimes infringe this but if they rebel too much the society punishes them. The norms of traditional societies are patriarchal for these reasons, and they resist change because they historically have had to impose social norms over the individual for the good of all – albeit often doing little more than alleviate non-biological forms of oppression such as class, caste, etc. And of course these tribal traditional norms have quite often encouraged aggression against other societies.

          Not long ago religious figures in the West said all kinds of things were “natural” to women including not having a career or education, obeying the husband, having lots of children. Those things changed ultimately because technology and the enlightenment had reached a point where it could change some biological parameters directing most societies’ unpleasant treatment of women. Most significantly these were medical changes such as antibiotics, vaccinations, basic sanitation, and access to clean (or cleaner) water that slashed infant mortality (ie ages 0-5) worldwide in the years after world war two. At the same time, in many parts of the world, new ways were found to make food production more efficient, and ever new medical advances were made; both of which also increased the upper limit of life expectancy . The reduction of infant mortality in particular, combined with a general reduction of severe hunger or disease meant that women did not need to have so many children to maintain the population. At the same time in wealthier countries, the nature of labour changed, such that few jobs now involve physical strength. Secondly the contraceptive pill (and other reliable contraception) was developed – which for the first time gave women power over their fertility. It takes time for traditional cultures to respond to change, especially when it appears to be human and not purely environmental, because they are adapted to constrain many individual impulses. All the more reason to continue to put forward the case for rational change.

          Much progress has been made from norms of the 50s. We just need to continue.

    5. I don’t feel demonized. I feel disgusted by men who engage in such conduct, but it’s no reflection on me or others of my gender who don’t.

      The word of an accuser alone, if accepted as true by the finder-of-fact, must of course be sufficient to convict a rapist, since it will sometimes constitute the only evidence of a sexual assault. (For that matter, the testimony of one witness alone is sufficient to convict in any criminal case except treason.)

      Just as certainly, the testimony of an accuser never makes conviction mandatory. In the US, the presumption of innocence and the prosecution’s burden of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are mandatory in criminal cases under the Due Process clauses of the Constitution’s 5th and 14th Amendments. Those requirements obtain as well in other jurisdictions following the Anglo-American model. That law was well-settled by the time Blackstone wrote his famous Commentaries in the 18th century, and no change to it will be countenanced by the courts.

    6. For fuck’s sake! I don’t believe I am reading this! Who put the chip on your shoulder?

      I was abused constantly from the age of four until about 30 by multiple men. I have never demonized all men because of it, and so far I haven’t noticed anyone doing that here.

      When I wrote about this on my blog I specifically thanked a man who came to my rescue.

      I have noticed too that the men who have commented here have been supportive of women.

      Then you came along and screwed it all up. The only one who is making men look bad is you.

      1. I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you, but if what I wrote is triggering such an emotional response from you, maybe it is not me who is the problem here, and you would be best advised to abandon emotional thinking and become a little bit more level headed, cold hearted and rational about these things.

        I simply approached the question as a technical problem having to do with data and its absence.

        You are the one who turned it into “OMG, I’m triggered, how could you do that, you’re an asshole!”.

        Such outbursts should not be happening between reasonable adults.

        1. “OMG, I’m triggered, how could you do that, you’re an asshole!”

          See how easy it is? (see above conversations about misquoting)

        2. It is not “triggering such an emotional response” because of what happened to me. I am entirely at peace with that. My problem is with people who are unable to acknowledge that the issue exists, which is what you’re doing. You have also just blamed me for being abused, and you cannot see that.

          And anyone who accuses me of “emotional thinking” clearly does not know me at all. There are few people who are less level-headed and rational than I am, and I am the one who is frequently accused of not being emotional enough when it comes to issues like this.

          This is why some people need to be educated on how to treat others in the workplace. You obviously don’t realize how you are coming across.

        3. No GM non consenual anything is not OK and it is not Heather or any other woman who is the problem. It is Your Attitude

      2. Hear, hear, Heather!

        GM, males can be sexually assaulted, too. Can you put yourself into their shoes and imagine how “level headed, cold hearted and rational” you’d be?

        Actually most women do reach that state, because to not do so is to not be able to get on with life. (Reach “level headed” and “rational,” anyway. When is “cold hearted” ever a good thing?)

        1. That’s right its one in four or one in five sexual assaults are of males. All that pent up non-consensual sexual sharing can lets say rebound. It happened to poor Mahomar Gaddaffi from scummy people, and I hear it happens in badly run prisons.

      1. Indeed and if one disagrees, one is called “irrational” or “emotional”. I think GM may be from the past.

        1. I suspect that the initials ‘GM’ stand for Genetically (un)Modified. It probably accounts for the quite revolting mixture of rage, self-pity and endless self-justification that seems to afflict such males, including, of course, the deplorable Drumpf. Having been quite seriously assaulted as a young boy, I find GM’s pathetic appeals to what he supposes is evolutionary theory and the assertion that sexual contact is in the end no different from a hand-shake beyond contempt.

          1. Thank you, Diane. One also had to put up with being groped by school-masters in those long-ago days. I should have added to the list of GM’s faults the dishonesty involved in the employment of a sort of Gish Gallop of unfounded accusations levelled at anyone who challenges him.

          2. Yuck! Sorry you had to endure that! I went to highschool with guys that were horribly molested by a local hockey coach and it affected them all their lives in profound ways.

          3. I agree! And you articulated that very well. I was so shocked that I had no words (and that is an extremely rare occurrence for this big mouth!).

    7. Its not about demonising men. Its about changing attitudes in some quarters. In earlier posts you gave the strong impression of seeing nothing wrong with Trump’s disclosure of his groping and his general sexual behaviour.

  19. Yes, a nasty incident when I was 12. Several brief situations involving men pushing up against me on crowded public transport.

  20. Yes. And I think there are very few women who are lucky to answer no. This is something that we constantly have to take into account and it limits our freedom. I have not experienced anything worse than groping (involving both my breasts and my butt and on one memorable occasion a colleague stuck his toung in my ear) at several occasions, but as a kid I was chased by a man holding his erected dick in his hand. I have never ran that fast in my life. And I live in Scandinavia – known for high gender equality standards.

    1. I used to think I knew at least one woman who hadn’t been subjected to groping/harassment/assault. My Mom.

      But even she recently (at age 81!) told me about an incident that happened when she was about 18.

      1. Wow. It would be interesting to see whether the amount of harassment has changed over time… We could correlate it with skirt length fashion and probably not find any correlation. Maybe that would end the “how was she dressed” discussion.

  21. Groped on numerous occasions over the years, including but not limited to planes, buses, other public transportation (public transportation seems to be a favorite venue for gropers). Have been raped as well. I recall witnessing men exposing themselves on the trolley when I was a child. At that time, I thought it pathetic and disgusting, rather than frightening or a violation, and couldn’t stifle my derisive, childish cackles, which I hope deflated not just their egos. Most women I know have been groped or taken advantage of sexually in some fashion. Must add that I have experienced a few unbidden and unwanted sexual advances from women as well, including groping and the like. Any sort of violation of a person’s body is unacceptable, no matter the sex or age of the perpetrator.

  22. I have, to my knowledge, never even come close to doing anything inappropriate to a woman, specifically, anything that would cause fear. That being said, I feel like I am surrounded by animals (males) who have taken advantage of woman my entire life.

    I am and have been a swimmer and in the ‘locker room’ I have witnessed much talk about how men and boys treat or would like to treat women. And it is like watching a different species of animal. Have I missed out on something? Do I possess self-control that other men do not? Surely I am not that different.

    Statistically, most men are not monsters, but 10-20% of them have probably tried numerous times to assault or ‘casually’ grope an friend or stranger and they think this is ‘OK’.

    Form my observations it’s a few men (10-20%) who have caused at least one experience in every one of about 80-90% woman’s lives. Whether it be a simple touch on the butt to forced sex.

  23. Given the (probably) very high proportion of women who experience sexuall harrassment and assault and the early ages in many of these anecdotes, how do we prepare girls and young women for these experiences (while hoping they dont happen); do I make my 10 year daughter read this thread, for example to use as a conversation starter?

      1. Yes, very important.

        And we men need to stomp on this kind of behavior in every way possible: Shaming, shunning, reporting, physically intervening if necessary.

        I was taught that men should protect women, not take advantage of them.

    1. In my early twenties, I worked in an industrial laundry during uni vacation; I’m gay and was far from innocent at the time, but I was really shocked at the frequent sexual talk about schoolgirls between the other men. Tbh I was glad not to be a member of their tribe.

    2. Honestly, I think that the best thing that anyone can do for their daughter is to instill in them the knowledge that they don’t have to say yes to anything that they don’t want to go along with. Too many girls are brought up to never say no to anything, that obedience and compliance is the most important thing.

      The second important thing is to get them into some sort of physical training, it doesn’t have to be self defence, it can be boxing or martial arts – anything so they are not left utterly defenceless.

      1. Agreed Grania, my daughter is 25 and you better believe she would be very vocal in her displeasure if anyone touched her without consent.My husband and I raised her to be sure of herself and come to us no matter how unsure she was about any incident. She lives in Barcelona now where catcalling is a way of life, but she’s not shy about unleashing a torrent of scathing replies should the mood take her.

    3. Dialogue. Don’t ever except that children are going to figure out stuff on their own.

      We tell our children to not touch the fire, its hot; to not jump on the bed it will break; to not dump water from the tub onto the bathroom floor. Why on earth would we not talk to them about sex.

      Both boys and girls need to be educated.

    4. Very thoughtful question, and good answers have been proffered.

      It still remains incredibly sad, though, to look at our young daughters, when they’re full of idealism and hope, and realize we need to have conversations like these. At least much of our society is on the same wavelength when it comes to these feelings. Unlike, say the milieu Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in, one in which little girls had to be taught how vital it was to be able to fight off grown men, lest they (the girls!) bring dishonor to their clan.

      1. My oldest daughter is almost eight and I am not only dismayed to my core that I will soon need to educate her about these things, but also frightened out of my mind because education won’t necessarily stop it from happening.

        1. I so hope it’s getting better out there. I was telling a male colleague about how men would cat call me when I was walking with my mother!

        2. Though my daughter is 25 now, your remark raised a tear, as I remember those days all too well. So many of your remarks here over the years have made it clear that you’re a wonderful father, so I know your daughter will have all the love and support and knowledge she needs to handle whatever life throws at her.

          To be fair, there were things that were tough to deal with with my son, as well. We have enough lousy cultural realities that no one is spared. Some of our male stereotypes are abominable.

        3. Yes indeed. I am at that point. My daughter is a young teen. She has a strong personality, does not tolerate being dominated in any context and has no issues standing up for herself or others. And she is smart. Of course I might be biased.

          A thing that bothers me though is a seeming lack of belief on her part that it could happen to her. This of course is due to not having any direct or even close contact with such trauma, and that attitude of “I am invincible and the world is my oyster” that young people often have.

          But I could be mistaken. I certainly wouldn’t want her to be so frightened about the possibility that it inhibits her confidence and her joy of life. I do want her to always feel confident enough to not take shit from anybody and to never, ever, ever feel the slightest inhibition about telling me, my wife, police, bystanders, hell everyone, if she is ever harassed or assaulted, without delay.

          I want my daughter to find the idea that women are in any slightest way inferior to men to be alien and worthy of nothing but scorn. My wife and I have, with intent, taken great care, from the moment of birth, to not influence my daughter to conform to societal expectations for girls or woman. Same for her twin brother with respect to expectations for boys and men. I had a friend once ask me in puzzlement if it bothered me at all that my son wore his sister’s bathing suit to go swimming at the neighbors, or went to school with painted finger nails. Not in the least.

          1. “My wife and I have, with intent, taken great care, from the moment of birth, to not influence my daughter to conform to societal expectations for girls or woman. Same for her twin brother with respect to expectations for boys and men.”

            Oh, kudos, kudos, kudos! Much harder to do than it sounds. I tried to do the same, and found it easier with my daughter! In some ways the peer-enforced social expectations of boys can be even harder to flout.

  24. I was groped on a subway train by a man. I’m a man and it happened when I was 19 on a rush hour train in the morning. He worked his way closer to me and had the back of his hand near my crotch. I twisted a bit to avoid contact by he eventually just grabbed me. I pushed him away and left it at that. In retrospect I should have hit him but I was much taller than him so it wouldnt have looked good to everyone else on the train.
    I still remember it after more than 30 years. I wouldnt describe it as traumatic, just very annoying.

  25. I’ve been groped multiple times in nightclubs, but that never bothered me and the gropers in question backed off immediately when I told them to.

    The weirdest one was in broad daylight when I was going for a walk and I got set on by a gang of three youths. None of them could have been older than 15, and clearly none of them expected me to fight back. What bothers me to this day was how young they were. Where had they gotten the idea that young that they could just grab and harass any woman they wanted to.

  26. In my teens and 20s I was groped on a regular basis. At the home improvement store I worked at there was a coworker that would corner me in the lumber yard off hours and try to get me to kiss him while rubbing all over me. I never reported it because I felt like it would get brushed off and I didnt get physically hurt so I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. Years later I found out he did it to a lot of the girls.
    In my 20s I worked in clubs where most of my coworkers were walking around half naked. My work attire was provocative(I know that doesn’t mean I deserved it). I had men reach straight up my skirt to grab my butt or grab or poke my boobs. I would completely ignore it and walk away. Figured in the establishment we were in plus massive amounts of alcohol made for poor decisions. No harm done, right?
    I couldn’t even begin to tell you the amount of unwanted groping I experienced on a dance floor on any given night. In that situation my friends and I would either dance away from them or we’d put a friend in between the groped and groper hoping to make him stop. A couple times I turned around and get in someones face and that would make them stop. Some nights we’d just say we were gay so guys would leave us alone.
    Catcalling and verbal harassment are a whole other story!

  27. Yes, been groped at least 3 times, and once when I was about 14 by my friend’s father. I hate to think what her life was like.
    That said, I’d like to stand up for all the kind men who took care of me when I was too young or too stupid or too drunk to take care of myself. There are a lot of them out there, too.

    1. “That said, I’d like to stand up for all the kind men who took care of me when I was too young or too stupid or too drunk to take care of myself. There are a lot of them out there, too.”

      Excellent point, and I second that.

  28. My wife was molested as a child and sexually assaulted numerous times by her own brother. He is a real sicko. She told me of these incidences soon after we started dating. I was mortified and extremely saddened. My mother was also assaulted by her step-father and one of my ex-girlfriends was molested as a child by one of her mother’s “friends”. I’ve known for a very long time that aggression towards women is far too common.

    From this thread, it seems this abusive behavior is prevalent in Europe or at least in the UK as well. I bet it’s worse in America though, we have a more violent society.

    Thanks for asking the question Jerry. This is important enlightenment.

    1. Very many are the instances that I have read statistics (in the USA) at where brother and stepbrother incesting is even more common (which is very common) than father or stepfather incesting which also are both, and especially stepfather – incesting ) so common as well.

      Sick, yes. Still so common.

      Legion True

  29. I am a man, and unfortunately I did grope someone once in my life – someone who knew and trusted me. Unfortunately I was also the victim once of a creepy man’s inappropriate touching, but I will not say anything more about that here.

    When I was a teenager, I was attracted to my cousin, same age as me. At that time I believed the attraction was mutual. On a family vacation she let me lay my head on her lap, and I ‘used’ the opportunity to rub my head and face against her breasts. She did not protest, nor say anything about it then or ever again. It took me years to start understanding that I had violated her. Knowing that our families would not like the two of us to be together, our relationship never went anywhere. But as I grew older I have felt really ashamed about what I did to her and I wish I could apologize to her. I am disgusted with myself for that.

    Both of us are happily married now (to different people) and still in touch and close in a platonic way. But I cannot ever look at her or speak to her without remembering what I did. I wish I could say I did that in a moment of youthful indiscretion, but I still clearly remember the right versus wrong choices in my head at the time and I took the low road. I am afraid to apologize to her directly in small measure because of raking this up when she perhaps does not remember this or does not remember it as I do. Although I loved her at the time, I now fully understand that I violated her space and her trust and I am truly sorry for that.

    I want to ask the people who have been groped or raped – if there were such a man who would like to apologize or somehow try to repent or make amends for what they did (if possible), how or what can be said to you to help with your pain?

    1. I had a similar experience. A step cousin got into bed with me, I was about 12, him 10. He basically rubbed his penis on my leg then grabbed my beast and came. Having been raped and assaulted since 5, I went into statue mode and couldn’t move.

      I told his mother what happened about 25 years later (I wasn’t graphic) when she connected with me via social media. She responded by blocking me.

    2. The fact that you & your cousin still enjoy a close friendship would lead me to believe that she, too, has written it off as a youthful indiscretion. What you describe does not sound like it would be lastingly traumatizing to someone who has known you for so long and certainly seen your best side as well and probably realizes that you would now feel guilty.

      So I think if I were you, I’d leave it at that; but if you feel a spoken apology is the right thing to do, I’m sure your cousin would appreciate that as well.

      In general, for anyone who’s burdened by any bad behavior committed while young (or even later if they have at least finally understood how wrong they were at the time–notice, this discussion isn’t limited to male-on-female sexual aggression), I think a sincere apology would generally always be appropriate.

      Thing is, the pervs & Trumps of the world, the ones more likely to leave lasting scars, are never going to repent anyway. And they’re the ones leaving the biggest trail of victims.

      1. I disagree. I think that you should apologise to your cousin. Do it in the way that you think will be most conformable for both of you.

        You don’t know how she has dealt with it. She may always feel awkward around you. It might change something in her, to feel acknowledged for this transgression.

        Just needs to be a clear acknowledgement and an apology. That’s it.

  30. I am not certain what is meant within this query by these phrasings, “the kind of groping” or “groped in this way;” but these are my experiences suddenly recalled earlier this month after decades and decades of their suppressions.

    y1969 – autumn, my age of 20. Broad daylight, ~3:30pm ET, after class on a weekday walking home to West 82nd, Central Park NYC, others on walkway : I was wearing my blue and white, checked student nurse’s uniform (Cornell University – New York Hospital School of Nursing of 72nd and York / east side). Runner, appearing from his rear to be young, a teenager or a 20 – something maybe, reaches up between my legs from my behind and yanks upon my vulva through my white pantyhose, guffaws and snorts, keeps on jogging west, never turns around to see me. To see me crumpled down onto its walkway – gasping. Runner continues laughing never looking back at me. Gone out of my sight. Several steps later, I see two mounted policemen ‘parked’ and conversing, mounted police a common sight in Central Park. Nothing done as runner long gone.

    Y1976 – y1989 – daily, my ages of 28 through 41. I have no recollection within 12½ years of marriage, spouse using my first name. Only memory is of two things for my being addressed by him: i) nothing at all. I was not called anything; I just had to know that it was I to whom he was addressing his next, upcoming statements OR ii) out of earshot when no one (incl my three children) could hear him, I was called Pussy (his favorite name for me), Cunt, Twat, Whore, Stupid Ass Heifer or Bitch. The one that he did not call me my own mother did: Slut.

    During a professional hiatus of mine and to continue raising three children and IN front of them, spouse also called me on Sunday, 02 October 1988, this while swinging like a metronome in front of me an empty teaspoon between his thumb and index finger that he had picked up to maneuver for emphasis, “I don’t have my doctor – doctor wife anymore. I don’t have my doctor – doctor wife to dangle in front of my family and friends anymore.”

    That same spouse answered our residential front door in only his briefs, time and time again and in front of my children. It could be anyone at the door; he, a physician in the community, had nothing on but his briefs.

    He told me that during his rotation in OB / GYN during medical school that during its specific semester he “got up very happy to go off to class those mornings cuz I wanted to drop trou and fuck ‘em all right there on the spot, but I couldn’t ever figure out how to do it discretely.” He was referring to the models hired by the department upon whom the students were to learn vaginal examinations.

    He told a marriage counselor that he had had sex with “cows, dogs, pigs and chickens.” I saw the piece of white paper of these very specific bestiality notations — written thereupon in his own script. And have myself a copy of it.

    He attended youth soccer and other games in blue jeans with holes in their crotches and nothing under the holes but his genitalia. Pubic hair and scrotal sac tissue protruded.

    y1990: At a youth basketball game one Saturday morning held in a Catholic church school’s gymnasium, my best friend (& neighbor) on crowded bleachers there with her having chauffeured both my and her middle kids there, that (also majorly avowed Catholic – ) spouse .of mine. repeatedly rubbed himself upon her thigh but only when her attentions were given over to the kids down court and away from his side, he having purposely sought her out in the crowd to sit down beside. She told me she was nauseated, finally excused herself and left the gym. But. She was not surprised. At all.

    There is more. Of course.
    Much more. But enough.

    I saw Ms Gaylor’s accounting, too, from my having received that FFRF email transmission of hers.

    Legion True

  31. Yes- as a child( terrifying and confusing), as a teen, and as a heavily pregnant young woman( grabbed by the breast as I tried very hard to maintain gravity descending steep steps- was too shocked to respond)and as an older adult woman who did respond with a very painful back heel to the shin that must have hurt like hell.
    Interestingly, I run long distance and so train on the streets of Dublin. When I ran alone, at least once a week some gomb would lean out his window and shout something or other at me. Then in 2012 I got Archer, my GSD, and when he was old enough to come running with me I took him: presto-chango, no more shouts, although a man did holler out the window of his car ‘Beautiful dog, do you breed him?’ recently. This leads me to the conclusion that some Irish men have more respect for German Shepherds than they do for women.

  32. Many many times – but then I’m from Brazil (most times I was in the bus someone sit on my side or if the bus was full they would rub their genitals against my arm – a couple times they showed me their genitals during the bus trip). Even my professors would be guilty of it when was an undergrad… in the US I experienced less of it, but still some…

  33. Why are you only asking women?

    Supposedly, more men are raped than women in the US each year (because of prison rape).

    1. Because of Trump, but mainly because I suspect strongly that the problem of public or private groping is far more severe among women than men. I don’t know why you’re bringing up prison rape.

  34. Grabbed and kissed by a classmate in high school but nothing physical other than that. Many catcalls when I worked in a downtown with a lot of construction.

    At work I am more concerned with having my input ignored or dismissed while the input of men gets heard and validated. Or sometimes my idea gets acted on after a man repeats it or praises it. I have noticed this kind of thing with two female bosses. It’s frustrating.

  35. I’ve had attempts that I remember. One in particular from a middle aged man when I was about 20. We both worked in a park and he was a security guard. He was so gross. He used to harass all the female life guards by leering at them. He would come into the hut where I worked and when I had to move around him, position himself so I’d have to rub against him to get buy. I wouldn’t though. I told him to move his ass. This same person made lewd remarks to another security guard about me and he told me about what he said. It was really awful. I knew I couldn’t formally complain because I’d be ostracized so I went to another male (who was sexist but not a groper — he more saw women as stupid and felt they shouldn’t work there) and he scared him to death.

    After I left that job, that person was fired for harassing women life guards after a couple of the girls complained. They didn’t work directly with him like I did so probably felt he had no power over them to socially isolate them and shame them with his buddies.

  36. I’m 61 and, rather amazingly when I think about it, I have only been assaulted once, just two years ago. The assault was perpetrated by a male friend who decided to take the relationship to a new level without asking me and repeatedly embraced and kissed me against my protestations. So much for that friendship.

    I have been publicly verbally assaulted because of my gender and appearance innumerable times (catcalls, obscene suggestions, etc.), once by the COO of the company I worked for. One of the noticeable changes with my increasing age is decreased attention of all types, whether welcome or abusive, from men I don’t know. I’ll take the invisibility of being an older woman in this country over the fear and degradation of verbal and physical assault any day.

  37. Oh and in university an obnoxious boyfriend of a friend started gyrating behind me so I punched him the eye. Take that jerk!

  38. Yes. Of course. I’m fortunate in that I was never raped. I walked alone, I was young, and I didn’t have social skills to engage these people at a joking level. Not that any of this was my fault, but I could see that some friends could diffuse situations I could only blunder through. (In case you’re wondering, I dressed very conservatively, not wanting to attract the attention that I now realize was only because I was young and female.)

    On my sixteenth birthday, a man with gray stubble beard talked with me briefly about the lovely weather, than shoved me against a wall and pushed himself against me, insisting that I agree to a date later before letting me go. (I agreed, but and he didn’t show up.) That was the first time.

    Mostly there were catcalls, but sometimes men would reach out an grab a breast or run a hand down my hair when passing me on the sidewalk. Three or four times, men put their hand in my crotch on a crowded bus. I remember best the time none of us could move away so I looked down, followed that hand to arm to torso to leg to foot, and stood on the top of his foot. I remember the absolute shock on his face as he wormed away. I had violated a basic law of the universe.

    Once as I walked home late in the evening, a man walked up beside me and walked closer and closer, as I shifted closer to the wall. I walked faster (not wanting to slow and have him between me and home) but he kept up. Finally in fear I swung my purse into his face. Again, I remember his shock that I would do such a thing. Fortunately, the night watchman for our area was nearby, heard the impact, and came over. I’m still grateful he unlocked the apartment door for me; I was shaking too much to manipulate a key.

    Once in a park, a man grabbed me, kissed me, and, when got past shock to start to fight back, knocked me on the ground and — walked off, grinning over his shoulder. I rocked back up onto my feet, ran after him and kicked him. He knocked me down again. I got up again and my mind caught up with me. I watched him walk off not smiling, took that tiny “victory” and walked away. It took three days to calm down.

    Where I was in the Peace Corps, the guys were mostly polite, but only prostitutes and nuns lived alone and I wasn’t a nun, so . . . Occasionally drunk guys would beat on my door at night and demand that I open up. Sometimes they broke windows, but the louvered windows had metal frames they couldn’t get through. Fortunately, they were too drunk to realize the flimsy walls would have been easy to kick through.

    It’s hard to disentangle the elements of dominance versus sex in these incidents. They’re both there. And it doesn’t really matter to the victim.

    Some time in my thirties, I realized that it had been years since anything like this had happened. I realized that I still walked tensely, a little hunched with fear, and maybe I didn’t need to. I’m still somewhat tense when in new places. Being invisible to most men is one of the good thing about aging, in my opinion. But I can’t trust men I don’t know if I meet them when I’m alone.

    I’ve run on way too long and am now kind of upset. Drat.

    1. It’s weird that 30 is the magical age when we start being left alone from cat calls. I too noticed that was about the time that men didn’t bother to verbally harass me anymore on the street. I also drove more by then so that could have been part of it. I used to take public transportation etc. though I still got harassed in places like malls etc.

      1. I was struck by the power and insight (and dare I say it, even touches of humor) of your post, Sedge, and while reading it I was wishing I could write like that. You have nothing to regret about it!

        1. From just the tiny bit of you that you’ve revealed in your comments here over the years the thing that stands out the most, besides your insightfulness, is your compassion.

    2. “Being invisible to most men is one of the good thing about aging, in my opinion.”

      YES! You are not alone in feeling that way.

  39. Yes, raped, sexually assaulted and as an adult pressured into sex by numerous individuals from at least age 5. Never officially reported any of it to authorities. Has left me traumatised, and I struggle with intimacy. I hide it. To this day feel personal shame. Of my close friends growing up all were raped and or sexually assaulted as teens, bar one, around 6 of 8. It’s actually quite terrible.

  40. Yes, multiple times. By both strangers and acquaintances. For the most part, these were minor things, easily shrugged off and not trauma inducing. But being sexually assaulted by a stranger in a public place left me with a ‘triggering’ response that still existed more than 30 years later.

  41. “One of the only good things that came out of Trump’s candidacy (for me) is my growing realization that women are groped or physically assaulted far more often than I would have thought.”

    I think I realized how often it happened, having both a wife, and daughter who have experienced, but I have learned from the public reaction. I find the term “rape culture” to described the US, far less hyperbolic than I have previously, and find myself reconsidering using the term feminist, to describe myself once again.

    1. That’s so encouraging to hear, Mike! I hope the number of men (& women) who feel this way continues to grow, and I hope the godamned po-mo feminists that GM is so obsessed with will die off because no one pays attention anymore and we will get back to traditional feminism which is really nothing more than humanism. It’s vital for us all to be that kind of feminist.

      (And remember, if Trump loses, it’s thanks to the female voters. 😉 )

  42. Being groped and “touched up” by men, whether strangers on the train or family friends at parents’ parties, was pretty much standard fare for me and most everyone I knew in the “babe” years (approx 15 – 25).

    Back then we didn’t think of it as sexual assault, just the behavior of “dirty old men” that we had to learn to tolerate (or deal with with the appropriately placed elbow or kick on the ankle — more tricky with the parental friends).

  43. Yes. I was a teenager when a roughly 40-50 (everyone older than 16 seemed soo old…) year old man groomed me and abused me one time. I never told it, maybe because I felt ashamed and that this was all my fault. “How could you be so stupid and naive?” went through my head. I’d trusted him. That particular day this “old guy” I thought was my friend tried to rape me. I’ve started a few times now to write down the events but had to delete it. I was very lucky I got away, but it wasn’t easy and it took quite some time before I managed to break free. I understand why women don’t come forward: you don’t want to be defined by this event. You want to move on with life. It takes a lot of courage to dig that out again – for a greater cause, a necessity, yes. But otherwise, you just don’t want to go there.

    1. “I understand why women don’t come forward: you don’t want to be defined by this event. You want to move on with life. It takes a lot of courage to dig that out again – for a greater cause, a necessity, yes. But otherwise, you just don’t want to go there.”

      Well said.

    2. “I understand why women don’t come forward”

      I just recently took part in a YouTube hangout where what was involved with a “rape kit” was described. I can 100% understand why a woman who was raped, and was aware of what that involved, not wanting to have to go through it after having already been violated once.

      1. Oh, yes, I’ve read a few detailed accounts of the whole process myself, it’s horrible!

        And nowadays we read that some police departments have several years worth of yet-to-be analyzed kits, rendering the whole ordeal completely pointless.

  44. When I was a teen I had two different male bosses who made sexual comments to me and the other young female employees. Luckily it never progressed any farther, but I don’t believe anyone ever complained about it, either, not wanting to seem like a prude or to cause trouble.

    However, I was raped in high school and went through an attempted sexual assault when I was a freshman in college. In a way, the latter was more traumatizing because it brought up a lot of stuff that I hadn’t dealt with from the rape. I ended up with an eating disorder and dropping out of college.

    I’ve also had two especially disconcerting incidents while running, the occasion where I was surrounded by a group of 12-13 year olds and one grabbed my ass, and once when running alone in the park across the street from my work and a man approached me and grabbed himself suggestively and grunted and then followed me out of the park. He seemed to be amused by my fear and it was upsetting.

    I know that it’s a very, very small percentage of men who commit such acts and part of what has bothered me about Trump is that so many are willing to accept his behavior as just “men being men.” I’d like to think that is not the case.

  45. When I was 30 a stranger I passed on a staircase grabbed my crotch. It was the only time in my entire life that I had an impulse to be violent. A few seconds after he’d gone I had an image of myself kicking him in the face really hard and seeing blood as he fell down the stairs, and wished I’d done it. My one and only violent fantasy, and my own thoughts and feelings surprised me more than the actual experience did.

    When I was young, a long time ago, I was subjected to what is now called sexual assault: guys handling me, trying to kiss me, without my consent, usually but not always when drinking was going on. But to be honest, I didn’t feel either violated or traumatized by it at the time; at the worst I was annoyed and sometimes not even that. To my recollection no one I knew considered these things assault then and I certainly didn’t.

  46. That brings back way too many memories! I cannot revisit them all without becoming depressed, so will mention that there there were many assaults, some by male family members (uncle, cousin), others by non-family males.
    There was a middle-aged music teacher (the first of this kind of assault: I was 9 years old!!!My mother beat me when I told her, because I was doing a horrible thing: maligning my ‘betters’).
    Then, some years later, it was the husband of a family I babysat for, followed by my high school biology teacher (in his 40’s!), and many more. I never told anyone, figuring I was going to be labeled a slut. I felt worthless.
    Aside from the major assaults, there was more groping than I can count (something which I had come to consider as a normal part of life). I was a very conservative dresser and a very quiet young woman, and did not party very often.
    I am old now. I now see clearly how very sick it all was, and how it ruined many years of my life.

  47. Yes.
    So many times I can’t really even count. From groping to cat-calling; from date rape to harassment from male teachers and bosses; from expectations that consent was no longer needed after I’d given it previously to attempts to guilt me into doing something I wasn’t willing to do.

    I could go into much more detail, but I only had time to get in a quick response.
    I’m 50 years old and am working to do all I can to keep my now 13 year old daughter from ever experiencing these things.
    I can’t do that alone and I hope we all work to change the idea that “boys will be boys”.

  48. Wait, are you really asking women to talk about their histories of sexual assault on a blog? LOL. Happy if some feel comfortable doing this, but the request itself strikes me as, well, a little tone deaf! (Still love the blog, though. Just expressing my honest opinion here.)

    1. There was no “asking to talk about history”. It’s an informal poll, without a keep shtum. If you can’t take it, that’s your bad.

    2. I asked them to simply report whether they had been groped, and only to fill in the details if they felt comfortable. Many have filled in those details, even under their own names, which is admirable.

      I don’t appreciate your telling me that what I DIDN’T solicit was tone deaf. And the response by women, clearly wanting to describe their experience, clearly shows that your tone-policing is superfluous.

      Why did you bother to post this, anyway?

      And “LOL”? Jebus. Go take it up with Annie Laurie Gaylor.

    3. “a little tone deaf!” says the man making the 58th comment. Maybe you should read the testimonies above before making yourself look even more foolish. LOL

  49. Sure, before I hit my 60s and officially became Invisible To Men, it happened all the time. For example, I never worked in one single office that *didn’t* have one guy who would try to massage my shoulders as I sat at my desk. Many times that was the boss. I noticed that these guys never massage the shoulders of their fellow male employees, only the women.

    In addition, I’ve been grabbed around the waist and pulled close to men who were virtual strangers. I’ve had men try to touch my breasts surreptitiously.

    Actually, being officially Invisible To Men is a vast relief.

  50. Yes, I was 8 years old and walking home from elementary school with a friend. It was the first time I felt insecure and powerless, I came home and cried a little, but never told my mom. That was the first time, but not the last.

  51. Yes, of course. When I was 26, at work, when a very large, tall male would position himself in a narrow doorway which I had to pass through at certain times. The only way I could get through was to rub against him. And he also forcefully kissed me a couple of times and said that he had had a vasectomy, so I couldn’t get pregnant if we had sex. That was the worst example, but not the only one. Thank goodness I’ve never been raped. But the catcalls, brushing against me and all kinds of other behavior have been pervasive throughout my life.

  52. Wow, this is difficult but necessary to read. I feel very naive being neither the victim nor the perpetrator of these acts (crimes). I simply haven’t experienced any of this. Hopefully, the more I learn about this problem the better equipped I will be to recognize it and intervene. Thanks to all of you for the education. Here’s to a safer world for our daughters.

  53. Yes, many times. No one has ever asked that question before. I lived in Argentina until my mid twenties and there it was a constant. In a store when I was about 9 a man rubbed his erection against my bottom and for the rest of my life I had a horror of feeling anyone close up behind me. Travelling in crowded trains it happened all the time. In the cinema, even when accompanied by my mother we have had to move away from creeping hands. It is only in the last ten years, living in France, that I have learned that it is OK to go to the cinema on my own. I have been followed all day, and then to my home station in the suburbs where I got off the train in motion to dash into a friendly shop for fear of leading my follower to where I lived. Empty trains were no better because of the risk of some man exposing himself. When at boarding school we had a regular who came within sight of our classroom window every evening to expose himself. Many, many more too numerous to be recounted, and as is said in a previous answer it was all very sick and unpleasant. What to tell one’s children? Having grown up in a time when nothing was discussed openly I believe that one must, must, must find the way to talk openly, on any subject with one’s children from a very early age, otherwise that bond of trust will not be formed and they will not be able to tell you if something unpleasant and only half-understood happens to them. I know, as does every woman who has been through this, that one too easily feels responsible in some way, and it becomes a guilty secret. I count myself lucky to never have been raped.

  54. I fear that what I’m about to say won’t be very popular here..but, I’m not so sure this is as big of a problem as it’s being made out to be. I want to stress that MOST importantly, the key factor should be the CONTEXT of what happened, not necessarily the act itself. Maybe this is naive optimism, but I would bet that 9/10 times, these guys simply made a mistake of judgement and thought (for whatever reason) that the female would respond positively. Very seldom, I think, is there ACTUALLY bad men out there that want to intentionally cause harm like that. Most of the time, it’s poor judgement. That being said, I don’t think a guys life and reputation should be ruined because of a mistake like that. Where is the line between how much a person should put up with and laugh off as a sort of crude sexual joke or a “grope” disguised as a harmless playful flirt, and to the point of actually taking legal action?

    I also just want to say that I’ve been groped and grabbed this way numerous times by females, and I’ve never felt so awful that I had to contact authorities or publicly shame them for it. I was a fairly attractive boy when I was younger. I couldn’t even tell you how many times girls would grab me and try and drag me into the girls bathroom in high school, or would pinch my buttocks when I’d walk by. I once was at a roller skating party, and a stranger female at some point grabbed my genitals through my pants.

    I wasn’t always attracted to everyone that did this kind of thing to me. But I suppose most of the time there was some sense of being flattered that they obviously liked me. The worst was when a girl at a bar that I found to be quite repulsive basically grabbed me and forced me to make out with her once. That was actually worse, to me, than having my genitals grabbed, because in comparison, who cares that my genitals were grabbed? It won’t affect me later. But I don’t know if this girl has any kind of diseases or anything and I really didn’t want her saliva and tongue in my mouth! That felt more violating than anything else.

    I should also say that I didn’t live an exactly “normal” teenage and early 20’s. I was touring around in rock bands, and for any of those on this site that aren’t familiar, it’s really just a different world entirely. “Sexual assault”, if you want to call it that, is pretty common place under this definition. And I don’t mean to degrade the words by putting it in quotations, but it’s important to note the difference between how perhaps different cultures or sub-cultures might view certain acts. There are girls “crowd surfing” and knowingly putting themselves in a position to be groped profusely by thousands of people in the audience. Many will take their clothes off and encourage this sort of sexual behavior. It’s all masked under the guise of this “it’s a rock show/it’s a party” attitude. And you can actually see a real difference in crowd behavior between different audiences and different genres of music.

    A possible side effect of these type of places, and perhaps also dance clubs, might be that it becomes common place for these precise sort of misunderstandings and poor judgements to take place. Again, it’s common for perfect strangers to be kissing one another, grinding on one another, it’s a goldmine for one night stand opportunities if that is what someone is looking for. It’s not far removed from a swingers club, or something to that effect.

    Obvious then, how some men could misconstrue intentions. When most people are on drugs like ecstasy and willingly groping and allowing groping to take place, I can see how it could be a confusing environment to adjudicate between what someone wants and does not want.

    But, that being said, context is of extreme importance. Most reasonable people should have a pretty good idea if the other person wants to be touched or not. And if you made the mistake and had a moment of poor judgement, definitely don’t continue! Now you’ve learned the hard way, best to leave the person alone and apologize.

    I don’t think for a second that women should be forced to take harassment from men their whole lives. But I also think they should be very careful and selective about when and when not to push for further legal action. The problem is that it’s not black and white. It’s subjective, and relative to the individuals experiences and thought processes. There can be no (or not much of) a line because everyone has different standards for what they deem acceptable, and everyone has a different sense of humor or reaction as to whether they will interpret an action as comedic, or serious, or playful, etc..

    I think this type of thing might happen a lot more to guys than people realize as well. But I don’t think the answer is to get the girls arrested that forcefully drag boys into the girls bathrooms. They probably secretly want to be there anyway, and vice versa!

    It won’t ever happen, but I think the answer is in trying to make society more understanding and positive in their thinking. Unless you’re clearly in a dangerous situation, and someone is forcing you to do something against your will, I just think we should be a little more reserved and passive. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions and generally should give people the benefit of doubt that their intentions aren’t nefarious (without being credulous and not realizing when there may be a real problem) One can’t help but feel that in some extreme feminist circles, that they really are demonizing ALL men and hate men. It’s a generalization, but misandry does exist in some circles, just as misogyny also does. Sexism is comparative to racism in many ways. It’s like a witch hunt for all the wrong reasons.

    I think we should reserve the punishment for actual rapists and people with odious intentions whenever possible instead of pointing fingers at a guy that may have made a mistake with a momentary loss of judgement. Some people take things way too far or they are too sensitive about it. Instead of being overly sensitive, it’s too bad the whole world can’t unite as perverts and embrace their lecherous debauchery! (LOL)

    1. **I feel it’s important for me to add that I tried to end the above post on a light note, but it was not my intention to discredit pass off some of the accounts depicted in the comments. Some of your stories are truly horrible and some of these guys were monsters for doing what they did. My goal was not to defend them or play devils advocate. I hope it didn’t come off that way, and I apologize in advance if that is how it came across. I can see already how some of my post might be misunderstood.

      I do think that, like language itself, context is sometimes more important than the word or the action. Some people can use vulgar language, and if you isolate the word by itself, one might be offended. But in the context, you could actually be complimenting the person.

      I think that you can frame almost any act to look devious or to look not so bad, depending on how you describe it. If you’re oblivious to some of the circumstances or context, then it could give the listener an impression of something much worse or much better, because all of the details aren’t there. And even with the details, there is no telling how someone might react.

      I personally find things like cat calling rather disgusting. It seems somehow…very low and unsophisticated. I just hope that the right people are the ones getting in trouble. I’ve known someone once that was accused of rape. He didn’t do it, and fortunately, the court system proved that. The girl in this case was the monster. Basically it was a case of a one night stand where the girl woke up the next day and had regrets, and rather than live with the guilt of her own perceived mistake, she’d felt better blaming her actions on someone else. Just because she changed her mind about her decisions way too late, doesn’t mean it was the guys fault. This sort of accusation happens far too often as well.

      I hope everyone is just very careful and rational about the decisions they make, and they don’t just try and ruin someones life because they have a grudge or something, so they lie.

      I truly hope no one was offended by my words or anything like that. Hopefully this second post will explain what I was trying to say a little better.

      1. “This sort of accusation happens far too often as well.”

        No it doesn’t. The statistic is 2 to 8% of rape allegations are “false”. Vastly more rapes (to say nothing of other kinds of sexual assault) aren’t even reported. For example, it appears that not a single one of the assaults described by women here was reported.

    2. “I would bet that 9/10 times, these guys simply made a mistake of judgement and thought (for whatever reason) that the female would respond positively.”

      You would lose that bet.

      1. Yeah, I guess I was being really naive then. I know there are a lot of bad people out there, but it’s very hard for me to grasp that SO many men are awful like that and do things to women knowing full well that the woman doesn’t want it and they just do it anyway. It’s men like that that give other men a bad name and it helps promote misandry, unfortunately. I’m deeply sorry for your bad experiences. I can honestly say that I’ve never done anything to anyone, male or female, knowing full well that it would hurt them, or actually TRYING to hurt them… Some people need a lot of help.

        1. Look at it this way, Michael–it’s also very hard to grasp that there are SO many men and women who totally believe in and support Trump for president–but godammit, they couldn’t be more visible if they tried. It’s appalling, but it’s there and before the most recent scandal the race was much closer than it is now.

          So we do have to conclude that the world is much fuller of jerks, yahoos, and assholes than we might normally (realize we) encounter. BTW, I agree with your caveats about certain environments, esp. rock concerts, raves, etc., but, as you point out, there’s basically a tacit agreement as to mutual consent going on in some cases, so that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

        2. Misandry hasn’t leaped out of the ether! Men are responsible for the majority of violence in our society and around the world! Why do you suppose that is true? They account for most of the domestic violence, child abuse (physical and sexual), rape and murder. Good and Evil, Bad and Good? Why are there so many more evil, or bad men, than women? Could it be because they’re raised and encultured to be entitled to believe they deserve to take what they want?

          1. “Why are there so many more evil, or bad men, than women? Could it be because they’re raised and encultured to be entitled to believe they deserve to take what they want?”

            I can’t think of even one example of someone I have met who was raised that way. It is so far from common experience, it would have to be considered an extreme abnormality.

            “domestic violence, child abuse (physical and sexual), rape and murder.”

            I’m not entirely sure of the truth of this statement either. The lack of official interest in prosecuting females for some offences (such as domestic violence and child abuse) has nothing to say about how often it happens.

          2. The first person to abuse me for some time was female, from 5, although could have been earlier and I’ve forgot. It went on over 3 years. The second, unrelated was male at 7 years old. Next again unrelated was instigated by a female on myself and another boys. It was a boy that saved my from the first. He found out and told another adult, I lied to protect abuser on their instruction. But the adult took steps to intervene.

            As a teen I was taken advantage by females and males.

            Pressured into sex, raped and received unwanting fondling. These experiences left me feeling scared of intimacy and sex.

          3. Well, testosterone at least partially explains the difference in violent conduct.

            My guess is the difference in rates of sexual assault have to more to do with a culture that teaches them (um…us) that catcalling etc. is not evil. Or, at least, only trivially bad. Steal a pen from work, push a kid on the playground, tell the secretary to wear a shorter dress, I think men absorb from society that they’re all the same level of problem. Obviously not.

            Thanks very much for all the women who have told their stories here. Its very enlightening (also depressing).

        3. Hard to grasp /= incorrect.

          Its hard for me to grasp that in 95% of kidnappings, its a close relative doing the deed – but its true. Its evidently hard for the police to grasp that random stops of white people turn up more drugs and illegal weapons than random stops of black people – but its true. It probably surprising and hard for most people to grasp that cities are actually safer than rural areas – but its true.

          What shouldn’t be hard to grasp – but often is – is that humans are not divided into good and evil people. Everyone is a bit of both. Good people do bad things; bad people do good things. It takes each decent man doing only one inappropriate call, gesture, request, or grope for every single woman in the world to have experienced, on average, one sexual assault during their life.

          So yes, it should be easy to grasp why practically every woman has such a story. Do good men slip at least once during their 80 year lifespans? Yes, most do. The ones who don’t are made up for by the men who do it twice, three times, constantly. And that’s all it takes for your mom, your sister, your wife, every woman you know, to have gone through this.

          1. Very very well said, and as reluctant as I am to admit having slipped when I was young, and stupid, and drunk, I feel I must for the benefit of people like Michael. I also witnessed inappropriate unwanted touching countless times both at high school/college parties, and while in the military.

          2. That’s big of you, Mike.

            (I did plenty of stupid things myself when young and drunk–most of them ended up hurting only me, but even at the time I realized I had only myself to blame.)

    3. Which “guy” are you referring to? You mean the one running for president? Sure, why not, it’s totally cool if he wants to suddenly grab women. No problem there!

      You may have noticed that no woman here has until now called for women to wear full body veils 24/7 because all men want to jump them all the time. Most humans I share my everyday life with treat others the way they want to be treated themselves – as equals and with respect.

      But that doesn’t mean women, or men, should have to put up with the occasional “grabbing”. And if anyone feels like they can’t tell the difference between “like it” and “don’t like it”, the clue is usually in the facial expression and/ or manifesting reaction after the fact. When in doubt: STOP. How about that for a rule of thumb?

      1. Was this question directed at me? I agree, everyone should treat everyone as equals and with respect, and “when in doubt: STOP” is a great rule of thumb. Any reasonable person would already know this. As far as Trump allegedly grabbing women, I have no idea what the context was. Trump made a stupid comment, but there wasn’t a whole lot of details in his sentence captured on tape, and he was probably “showing off” to whomever he was speaking to. No one should just grab anyone one like that.. But I really don’t know anything about the context or what exactly took place. There is a time and place for grabbing one another (haha), whether Trump was in the right or wrong about that, I have no idea. By his words alone, it would sound like he’s in the wrong. Did it actually happen that way, or was he embellishing and summarizing for his audience?

        1. Have you read some of the accounts of women who have now come forward–since he tried to write off his remarks as just macho banter–and accused him of pretty much exactly what he’s now trying to disavow?

          1. Exactly.

            People say that these women only come out to get attention when they hear another accusation. More like women only feel comfortable to come out when they feel that they are not the only one, and it might not be their fault, or they can overcome the shame more easily. It’s horrific that people would believe that women come out because they want attention. When to live with such abuse is a shameful horror.

        2. Hey Michael! If a woman hasn’t asked you to “grope” her, why don’t you and every other “naive” male assume it’s UNWANTED?! Because, guess what? It’s sexual assault! If a man puts his hands on you without your consent it’s called battery, and it’s a crime in every state I know of. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out this fact.

          1. Well, I don’t “grope” anyone, so this really doesn’t apply to me… But I guess I’ve been sexually assaulted numerous times then by many women throughout the course of my life. I just never looked at it that way. And I still choose not to. These weren’t “bad” women that touched me inappropriately. I never thought to fault them. It just is what it is. I don’t dwell on it. It doesn’t keep me up at night.

            But to answer your question, I’m not sure what kind of “flirting” you’ve ever experienced, or how you’ve ever initiated any sexual act, but from my experience, it generally doesn’t start with asking permission and signing on the dotted line, though perhaps that’s what this world is coming to. I don’t need to be graphic and describe anything that could be thought of as obscene, but I can’t think of a single encounter I’ve ever had with a woman where it started with either of us asking permission for anything… And I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone either.. I guess sometimes both parties are too nervous or shy to say anything at all and things just happen… That’s not a bad thing. But again, there is some common sense in it that maybe many men lack. I’d buy that. If you don’t feel that you’ve received the mating call, absolutely do not persist under any circumstances! And No means No! Consent is very important, but again I’ve never had to sign a damn contract to ensure consent. Is this making any sense? You just know by body language and other actions sometimes.. Sometimes no words are spoken at all. So to the question of “..what context would make his statement ok”, if we are talking about Trumps statement about grabbing someone’s genitals (which again has happened to me personally), it’s not ok unless there is consent…and it’s still a dumb thing to say even with consent. People shouldn’t brag about things like that. But it’s obviously not sexual assault anymore if there was, in fact, consent. I don’t think Trump is in the right at all. He might really be a serial sexual assaulter. Especially with so many women coming forth and testifying. But without those women coming forth, if someone, not Trump, said the same thing, I’d be careful not to jump to conclusions of assault right away. I’d ask more questions about context. No, you should not just go up to someone and “grope” them…but someone might say something stupid like, and then you would have to ask follow up questions. It may not be sexual assault in all cases. With consent, you can grab anyone wherever you please.

          2. Trump specifically said he doesn’t wait, he just kisses them. He was very clear there was no consent. What more “context” do you need?

            As for flirting and your concern that you would have to have legal consent – when does flirting start with grabbing a body part?

            Read the experiences people have posted here before making up strawman arguments about context.

          3. Full context can describe the difference between consent and force. Context is so very important! But I’m not here to defend Trump. He seems to me very likely to be guilty. I’m speaking in a more general way regarding words that he’s used. And I’ve seen many examples where “flirting” started with grabbing body parts. I’m not making up strawmen. Women here have experienced some horrible things, apparently. I don’t want to discredit a single one of them. I just hope to shed light on an alternative perspective. I’m really not making it up — I’ve seen numerous times and have been the recipient of a sort of “flirting” that began with grabbing body parts. So, I believe there is more to it than that. Context is ALWAYS the main factor. Anyone can say they “grabbed” someone “somewhere’. That’s irrelevant. It’s the context behind the action that should prove positive or negative. Context is the largest factor that matters as far as I can see.

          4. Seems to me that you sorely needed a primer in setting personal boundaries when you were a young whipper-snapper. Your experiences might have coloured how you now perceive inappropriate touching.

        3. You’ve got to be kidding. Tell me what context would make his statement ok? Under what circumstances is it alright to objectify women? Is it ok to brag about sexual assault if you don’t actually do what you’re bragging about? And note that there’s plenty of evidence that he did exactly what he bragged about. Which is sicker – assaulting women and bragging about it or not assaulting women and bragging about assaulting them?

    4. There is no possible way a man could reasonably expect that a woman walking by on the sidewalk or standing in a crowded bus would actually WANT to have his hand on her breast or in her crotch. Or WANT to be grabbed or shoved against a wall.

      In fact, a lot of these men do what they do (e.g. stand in a narrow doorway a woman has to go through) precisely because they KNOW the women won’t like it. It’s an expression of power as much as of sex.

      I agree that a person’s whole life shouldn’t be ruined for being an aggressive sexist idiot, but spend the weekend in jail? Oh, yeah.

  55. I can only think of one encounter, which was when dance-floor touching, which I was originally ok with, went wayyyy too far without my consent. I was able to swat him away with the help of some other women. I didn’t know them, but they saw my distress and pulled me into their circle to protect me. I was more annoyed and surprised than traumatized, and my big take-away from that incident is that it’s important to stick up for others when you see a problem.

    I feel very grateful that as a woman in science, I haven’t faced any overt sexism on campus or at conferences. I haven’t experienced it in my alter-ego world of powerlifting either. I don’t know if it’s how I carry myself, the culture of the area I live in, or just plain luck.

  56. Yes. I was assaulted by my father multiple times when I was 7. When I went for my first pelvic exam at 18, the doctor massaged my genitals. A motel owner grabbed my tits. I was date raped. A group of guys driving past me on my bike slapped my butt and laughed hilariously. I didn’t ride a bike again for 30 years but that’s the only time I’ve let an incident restrict me. Yesterday, a group of guys in a car screamed something unintelligible at me while I was on my bike and again laughed hysterically. I won’t give up the bike this time. I had an egg thrown at me from a car while I was walking in my neighborhood at night. Oddly, it didn’t break but it left a bruise. Lots of incidents on buses with men masturbating and/or rubbing up against me. Way too many incidents to describe – these are just the ones that boiled to the surface.

  57. When you get to the group that self identify as men and have an XY genome, I’ll add that I have been sexually assaulted – which is the new definition here in Sweden, though it is trending towards being defined as rape – a couple of times.

    Mostly pinched in the butt on the dance floor, and the cases where I am certain of the perpetrators it has been girls. Not the ego boost in a man one could think.

    But I have also had to fend of unexpected attempts of hugging by drunk girls a couple of times.

    I admit that the new laws have both been an eye opener and a relief. Next time I’ll call the cops, instead of feeling abused.

    1. NO, NO, NO and bloody hell NO!

      Women are not objects to be admired.
      Women are not possessions to protect.
      Women are no more priceless than any other person.

      Women are human and deserve to be treated with respect just as all other humans should be.

  58. Fortunate to have never been raped, but I was groped multiple times by multiple classmates throughout middle school and high school. I attended a magnet high school for health professions, and worked as a nurse aide at several different hospitals from age 16 to 22. These settings were the worst, IME, for being subjected to groping, fondling, rubbing (I think it’s called frottage), and other undesired sexual contact and suggestions … not just from medical students, residents, etc., but also from patients.

    From grad school through my thirties, there were only two instances of groping from colleagues, and both occurred at holiday parties with copious amounts of alcohol, held in the department. Other instances of unwanted sexual contact occurred at outdoor concerts, sporting events, on public transport, etc., but nothing else in the context of the workplace. I loathe holiday parties to this day and avoid them whenever possible.

  59. I’ve been groped and sexually harassed by various male bosses from the time I was 18. I had to tolerate it because I couldn’t find any other work–it was early ’80’s–the height of the Raygun recession and I’d looked for work for months. I had to keep the job, so I put up with it. The last time a boss patted me on the behind, the anger I felt nearly gave me a stroke. I’d had enough. I told him if he ever did it again, he’d draw back a stump. He never did it again, but I quit as soon as I could. Since then, I’ve only worked for women and surprise-surprise! I’ve never been sexually harassed again.

  60. Yes. 3 times. Once when I was four years old, twice at around age 15/16. Not rape, but groping or exposing themselves.

    Catcalled until I was well into my 50s.

    Just want to note that “GM”, several times, instructed us readers to keep our cool, follow the logic and think rationally. Ouch.
    Smacks of alluding to “hysteria” to me.

  61. Yes. Unwanted, unsolicited groping, one true assault. Most women I grew up with or went to school with have similar stories. Virtually no one reports this. No one.

  62. Thank you Jerry for starting such an important question.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences.

    Nothing to add – sometimes it’s best to just listen and learn.

  63. I’ve been touched/kissed/groped out of the blue at parties and nightclubs, though only a few times. One time involved a beer bottle, run up and down between my legs several times by a gentleman standing behind me. Awkward, but he left me alone when I walked away from him.
    Far worse have been the times I’ve been harassed at work; I’m a chemist who’s spent the majority of my career at chemical companies. There’s been the repeated leering at my breasts and/or legs – at meetings in front of coworkers, in coworkers’ offices, in lab hallways and in the company cafeteria. I’ve been offered a promotion in exchange for sex (no thanks). I’ve been the recipient of retaliation for refusing the promotion offer. I’ve been asked (aka pressured) by a supervisor to wear skirts to work instead of pants, even though the lab work I did at the time was pretty messy. Oddly, I’ve never been touched by any of these men, though their collective behavior was unnerving and scary, nonetheless.
    I’ve seen one time what it takes to put an immediate end to this harassing behavior, when a senior manager told one of the harassers to leave me alone. It worked, and that man never bother me again. Which goes to show if one man of high status tell a lower-ranking man to control his behavior, the latter will, full stop.
    As for Trump, the only higher-ranking man around who could tell him to leave women alone is Putin.

  64. Yes. When I was about 17 or 18 a drunk man grabbed my rear end from behind when I was walking down a street with friends and then screamed abuse at me. A bouncer outside the club where he was headed saw this but did nothing. No other physical assaults that I can recall, but many many many instances of unwanted attention up until about my mid 30s, some just annoying and others scary when men would follow me or not give up trying to get me to go somewhere with them. Most women I know have had to deal with this sort of thing.

  65. Groped multiple times in my “yoof”. The only guy anywhere near Palo Alto who could fix my German tape deck grabbed my boob. I always took a male friend with me thereafter. Similar groping walking down Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley. Won’t even mention crowded Florentine buses when I lived there, and Spaniards thinking it was open season if a woman walked unaccompanied by a male. Catcalling when I worked as an au pair in Orléans. Almost raped in Mexico City by the Mexican husband of my travelling companion’s former American college roommate. Our hosts had set my friend and me up with some of his friends and after a night on the town the hostess was passed out drunk and the host tried to get into bed with me. My friend and her date were still out and host wanted me to console him for his drunk wife and our friend still out! I was sleeping in a room with host’s baby! I threatened to scream and wake his wife. I’ve never much enjoyed drinking alcohol and my Mexican date asked me if I was some kind of feminist because I only wanted one drink!!!! ( strangest definition of feminist I’ve ever heard!) This was after many hours of bar-hopping and no dinner till after 10 pm. I was very glad when my friend came home and we got the hell out of there in the morning. What a bunch of jerks!!! ( but, unlike Trump, I don’t believe that all Mexicans are rapists.)

    1. When I was 18, I lived in Mexico (Cholula) for 9 months. I was verbally harassed constantly (Guera! Guera!) but your story reminded me that no Mexican ever got mad or threatened me when I told them to leave me alone – unlike in America. They didn’t give up either, but they were always good natured. I was sometimes beyond annoyed but never frightened. Unlike in America.

      1. I was a bit frightened, being the only sober, conscious adult in the guy’s house, and not wanting to run out into the street at 3AM in Mexico City. Yes, guera, I had very long straight blonde hair at the time. In Venezuela the little kids would come up and want to feel my hair, which was sweet, not creepy.

        1. Oh, yeah, your experience was definitely scary. Mine were all sober, outside with strangers – and with lots of other people around.

          I had a fun experience walking with a blonde guy. I saw a guy coming towards us and I could tell from his body language that he was going to harass me and I remember thinking “Jesus christ I’m not even safe when I’m with a guy!”. But, no, he wasn’t interested in me. He shouted “Guero!”

  66. I have only been groped twice, once as a sixteen-year-old and once when I was 26 or so, they happened so fast I didn’t get a chance to react. Then I was cornered by a strange man when I was about 12 but managed to get away. I saw the following quote recently and think it is apropos to this discussion:
    “We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading and several men made comments such as, “that’s disgusting”. We got into the debate and eventually one man admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other passenger made a pass at him. The light bulb went off. “Oh”, I said, “I get it. See you are afraid because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you”. The guy nodded and shuddered visibly. “But”, I continued, “as a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you reach puberty, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time as you are is either a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time”. The women in the room nodded, agreeing. The men seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a woman. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to”.
    To any straight man who is homophobic: homophobia towards gay men is rooted in a fear that another man will treat you like you treat women. Remember that.

    1. “To any straight man who is homophobic: homophobia towards gay men is rooted in a fear that another man will treat you like you treat women. Remember that.”

      Excellent anecdote, but this conclusion is wrong on so many levels.

      1. Like most generalizations, this is too general to be always true. But I do think it is sometimes true. Remember, a lot of men, like the one in the anecdote above, haven’t thought these things through. Their attempt to think about how a women feels when groped begins and ends with “A woman so attracted to me she’d grope me? Fun!” They put homosexual advances toward them in an entirely separate category. They don’t like the idea and don’t see the parallel.

  67. I am a very rare case of a woman who has never been sexually assaulted or groped. I have been over weight my whole life and I’ve always assumed it has kept me safe. I don’t suffer cat calling. I know I’ve been lucky. I think my sister and mother have similar experiences. Maybe the extra weight serves as armour.

    1. I know at least one woman who is morbidly obese for this reason. She was abused as a child and the weight clearly became her armor. There may well be more issues around her weight but this is a big one.

      And thank you for posting. It is good to know that someone has escaped these experiences. Alas, I’m sure you’ve suffered other forms of humiliation as an overweight woman.

  68. I’ve had a few of these things happen to me as a guy (mostly by men), and I can only assume that it happens far more often for women.

    The other main difference, is that I’ve only once been afraid in that situation. The other times were merely annoying. The time I was afraid, I was in Tunisia, and two guys came and sat on either side of me and started rubbing my legs. I’m sure it was just an attempted pickup in a culture where there are no gay bars, but I was alone and freaked out, not knowing if they were going to try to rob me or what. I got up and hoofed it out of there, and only later figured out what was most likely happening.

  69. One date rape (not reported as I knew the guy and had engaged in consensual sex in the past – not that night though, and I made sure to never see him again.). As a 16-year-old invited home by Fanchise owner for a “3-way” which I declined. Repeatedly invited over until I quit. Called “honey” and “sweetie” in the workplace more times than I can count. And in many workplaces – I’m in Texas and this was a norm.

  70. Well I have to admit to what I now see was inappropriate behaviour, but at the time (1960.s) in the military , there wasn’t the enlightened attitude there is today. I would hate to think my Granddaughter would experience anything like that.

  71. I’ve noted some of my experiences above but now I want to add to what’s been said about solutions to this pervasive problem.

    I may have missed it, but I haven’t noticed the word CONSENT mentioned specifically. This word might be a key in education about sexual assault.

    I live in North Carolina and last year my daughter was in 7th grade. She brought home information about the sex education part of her PE class that was going to be taught.

    I looked through the materials and saw nothing about consent. I saw information about “risk prevention” (nothing specific though) but again, nothing about consent. I contacted the school and asked about this and other things mentioned. I got little information from the teachers other than being sent to the county and state information/class materials.

    I’ve spoken to my daughter about consent but everyone needs to hear this, especially boys.

    Some of the best information I’ve ever seen about sex education is in this fantastic segment by John Oliver on his Last Week Tonight show.

    I hope that doesn’t load here.

    Thank you so much Jerry for posting this question. Maybe something good has come out of Trump’s candidacy if men learn more about things women have experienced.

  72. Need “data,” do you, GM of here? for you and others of your thinking’s similar ilk from “sometimes a nihilist” — who simply states thus:

    “If you are a man and you learn about the thousands of years of oppression against women which has culminated in truly hazardous social conditions for them in the present day, and your first reaction is ‘men have problems too’, then I ask you to take a moment to truly reflect on your position, and why you feel the need — to make women’s struggle about you.”

    Legion True

    1. It’s just like responding to Black Lives Matter with “all lives matter”.

      It’s an attempt to devalue the experiences of others.

  73. While leaving a club with my boyfriend, I was walking on ahead when 2 guys approached and one hugged me and tried to kiss me. I grabbed him by the throat and threatened to put his lights out. My boyfriend caught up to us, just as the other guy was pulling away his ‘drunk’ friend, and I had to intervene to avoid unnecessary fisticuffs and bloodshed.

    Twice in public places have men exposed themselves to me. Once was on the subway on a sparsely-occupied car. I looked the guy in the eye and told him if he wanted me to cut it off with a knife I had in my purse, and I moved away towards the end of the car where there were a man and woman. I told them what the guy did. I thought of pulling the emergency brake but I was sure everyone would have been pissed off at me for the delay.
    The second time I was standing right outside my apartment building waiting for a bus. Down the sidewalk was bopping this long-aired dude in a leather jacket. As he approached I could see that his penis was fully dangling out of his fly. He offered me money for a blowjob, and I laughed at him and told him he wasn’t worth it. I should have called the police but it was before the time of cellphones and going back to my apartment to call would have made me very late for work. I’d do it differently today.

    Unfortunately, the one time I suspect I might have been fully assaulted I have little recollection of (only fuzzy images), and it was in my own home, while possibly having been drugged (my mug of tea was left outside on the deck and tasted a bit off…. I felt ill to my stomach afterwards and had to sleep it off). It was possibly done by the gas man (guy reading the gas meter) who always acted a little weird before and after the incident. I always kept dogs after this, but they can’t protect you 100% of the time. After I had children and in a different house, I found a tiny little capsule (unlike anything we kept in the house)in the dog’s bowl. I never found out who would have done such a thing – perhaps it could have been put there by one of my daughter’s ‘friends’.

    1. Oh, yeah, forgot about this incident too, when Princess Di visited Toronto City Hall many years ago. My friends and I were in the crowd standing behind the camera crew and anchorman Gord Martineau, when I felt this creep rubbing up against me. I looked around and saw this tall, skinny white man with a long trench coat behind me. He was trying to frottage me! I glared and him and told my friends and I held my briefcase behind my butt so he couldn’t get near. I should have slugged him with the briefcase, instead of not wanting to disrupt the royal entrance.

      1. Hey, I forgot one, too! Ant-war rally at UIC, a guy tried to feel me up from behind. Didn’t last long, but I thought “Who does that?” Focus on the issue!

  74. I’m a 32 woman and, as far as I remember, I’ve never been assaulted. The worst I’ve had was a comment by a college professor and a couple of car horn honks. I’m so thankful that I haven’t experienced anything close to what the rest of the women here have gone through and I understand that just because I haven’t experienced that doesn’t mean that nobody else does.

  75. Yes – absolutely! I am in my 60s, and being harassed when I entered the job market at 17 was just ‘business as usual’ and there was no one to go to for help (all bosses were generally male). It certainly was not the majority of men, but it was enough to make things uncomfortable and, well, icky! While things have improved – especially as more and more women are in positions of authority and won’t tolerate this type of behavior, it still exists and needs to be shamed out of existence.

  76. When I was 12, I was riding a bicycle in a park. The alley became too steep for me and I started walking and pushing the bicycle. A man came out of the wood, approached me, started asking me whether I have tried “a little shame”, then pressed my pubic area. I asked him to let me go and he did.

    Later, at age 24, I met a man, we started talking, he bought coffee and some soft drink, then we went together in a park and sat on a bench. Seeing that there was nobody around, he asked me to do oral sex, then tried to force me to do it. I pushed myself off and cried for help. Another couple approached, the girl remained several meters away, the guy came to rescue. He caught “my” man and ordered him to let me go or else. The creep cried, “Why don’t you ask her how much money she has drunk?”, but had to back off.

    I never reported either case.

    I generally avoid parks when alone, because even if there is no really dangerous men, there are always some exhibitionists waiving their penises in front of passing women and girls. I hope that new laws will not give these harassers new opportunities.

  77. It doesn’t surprise me but makes me very sad to read about the range of sexual harassment experienced by so many women (and men).

    It seems to make no difference as to the time, where or how we were raised. Most, if not all of us, have variations of these stories. And, in truth, I could relay such stories from my
    grandmother, mother, self and daughter(s); some
    relatively minor and some horrible.

    Abuse by family members and friends is the most
    difficult for me to comprehend. All of these experiences leave scars of some sort, lesser or greater, and the tendency in our culture is to blame the girls and women for enticing such behavior. As we all know, “boys will be boys” and “men will be men” and women must be careful at all times.

  78. 69 yrs old now, female, USA. Catcalled beyond count. Groped occasionally – mostly in crowds. Date raped once. I was quite the tomboy as a child (regularly outwrestled all but one in a neighborhood of boys – we did this for fun, ages 6-9 or so) and think this provided some emotional armor. So I encourage self defense training for women.

  79. When I was younger, in order
    • creepy baby sitter who was 4 yrs older
    • an uncle who wanted to teach me about sex
    • my spanish teacher in high school who wanted to marry me
    • several boyfriends who thought “no” meant whatever they could get away with
    • a hypnotist who I went to for help on my 1sr degree black belt test. (He wanted to turn the session into ‘you are rejecting your role as a woman and should concentrate on enlarging your breasts’ instead.

    All of the above were mild instances that elicited terror to anger as the years went on.

    Last person to harass me was my supervisor at my first full-time job (CSU, Chicago State University). He was no real threat at all, but he was constantly annoying and mocking. (‘Give me a kiss. Give me a hug.’)

    He was also a chain smoker who liked to wave his cigarette in front of my face for fun. Because I have asthma, and because he once got ashes on the *artwork* – this is before computers or no-smoking areas- I finally knocked the cigarette out of his hand. And left a tiny scratch on the bridge of his nose. He left me alone after that.

    Everything changed in 1972 when I enrolled at UICC (University of Chicago Circle). I joined the Women’s Liberation Movement, took their karate class (taught by a 16 yr old woman brown belt) and met Andra Medea who had just written Against Rape, the first book that talked about “the little rapes” (street harrassment).

    She founded Chimera, Inc., a grassroots self defense organization to teach women’s self-defense and train teachers. (The organization lasted for about 20 yrs.)

    I’ve been teaching women’s self-defense ever since I was 27. Knowing you have options changes things…

    1. I once had such an unpleasant date. We went to a movie and this guy would not leave me alone. Constantly trying to put his hand up my pants etc. Groping everywhere despite me pushing him away. It was so unpleasant. I wanted nothing to do with him after and he constantly called me and asked me out. He finally got the hint I just might not be interested and left me alone.

  80. One example of several: at a crowded music venue, guy standing behind me with an erection wouldn’t back off. He took turns rubbing up against me and the friend whom I was with.

    Similar experience for my mom, on the subway, early 1960s.

    It’s encouraging to see all the videos coming out of young women calling out their gropers in public. Time to make these guys accountable.

    1. Leslie Fish, I’m not Kim Peters or her friend but I can easily think of some reasons women don’t respond as you suggest. First, these things are shocking. The first response for many of us is often just stillness — can this be happening? Also, the situation is embarrassing, and we hate to draw attention to it. We hate to draw attention to ourselves being in such a situation. Also, it seems that when someone is impolite, just moving away should be enough — though it isn’t. Also, we’re trained to be polite ourselves. And don’t forget, we’re often smaller or fewer than the guys involved. (And, the only time I tried to kick someone in the balls, I missed.)

  81. I just want to address the conundrum of how so many women have experienced all the various types of unwanted attention (groping/harassment/assault), when so many of the male readers of this site haven’t engaged in this type of behavior. I believe it is only takes one man behaving in these types of ways, over and over again over the course of years, to affect scores of women. In my case of workplace harassment, the upper manager who offered me a promotion in exchange for sex, had a nearly 35 year long career at the company, about 25 of which were as a manager. If he only approached 3-4 women a year with his personal ‘promotion plan’, that works out to 75-100 women all together. And this is just one man. I estimate that during any one year, there would have been about 10-15 new women starting jobs at our worksite, which includes jobs as chemists, engineers, interns, secretaries, clerks, technicians, etc. This manager would have had a steady supply of young women that he could approach with his ‘offers’.
    He was only stopped when they forced him to retire early (age 60) because he was using company money to buy stuff like golf clubs and other expensive things.

    1. Exactly. Hard for me to understand why this seems to be a hard concept to grasp for some. Especially with such a plethora of recent exemplars–Trump, Ailes, etc.

      1. What’s hard for me to understand is why so many modern western women, who are certainly as well-nourished, well-exercised and healthy as most men and who have the benefit of 50 years of feminist consciousness, still seem to think that they can’t possibly fight back against a male abuser. Where did this brainwashing come from?

        1. While I understand your point, some of us relating incidents here were at our most comely 30 to 40 years ago or more… 😉

          I do hope my daughter and other young women of today are better at fighting back, and I do deplore some modern-day complainers who exaggerate relatively minor incidents.

          1. I think some of it is conditioning not to make a scene or a fuss and it’s better to just get through it without causing such an incident. I think I was on the cusp of both worlds so when men said things or leered I’d brush it off (now I’d tell them off but it ain’t gonna happen with me being middle aged now) and when pervs like the guy I worked with would try to get me to rub against him, I told him to move his ass and called attention to what he was doing. Of course, I still would face serious repercussions formally complaining and I needed the job for money for university so I had to find other ways around that.

          2. Yeah, I can see how you’d have been on the cusp, as you put it. Back in my day we were still having our consciousnesses raised. 😉

            (Not that that accomplishes much without a whole lot of male consciousness raising as well.)

        2. I think this is an excellent question to ask. I did refuse the manager in question who made his ‘offer’. And he retaliated; he was the assistant director of our worksite, who was best buddies with the site director. The refusal seriously harmed my career by making my immediate male boss angry with me, and causing numerous coworkers to ostracize me. I was only saved in the nick of time because of the manager’s forced retirement.
          Another coworker (a man 15 years my senior) spent 6 months at the same worksite leering/stalking/trash talking about me in crude terms (confirmed by another coworker), After 1 month of this I confronted him and clearly stated that his actions were unwelcome. It did no good. After six months, I finally had to file a harassment complaint. Which predictably ended with a finding of no evidence of harassment. My career was nearly ruined by filing the complaint, which led to more ostracism by both male and female coworkers, serious blow-back from my new female boss, and lower earnings. It took about 5 years to undo the damage.
          So this is why women don’t fight back more often in the workplace. I still believe I did the right thing in both instances, but there was a serious price to pay for speaking up for myself. It’s not brainwashing that keeps women from acting; it’s that the price for doing so is often one that a good many women can’t afford to incur.
          I don’t want to equate this with rape, which indeed is serious – it’s a violent crime.

          1. Oh my – that happened to me once too. A married boss had a crush on me and when it was clear I was not interested and was with another man (who I was flipping living with for the love of all that is holy!) he abused me by calling me into his office for trumped up offenses and yelling at me, reporting me to HR for things that weren’t true (which I was able to prove). In the end, the whole place wasn’t worth working at & I quit. I even had to escalate to his boss (our Director) at one point.

          2. I want to add something to what I wrote above. I don’t look down on women who have been harassed and decide not to file a complaint within their company. They have their reasons, and I respect that. What is more, these are not contests between women to see who has a stronger backbone and can stand up to the harasser (or groper or assaulter). This way of thinking also takes the focus off the perpetrator, and puts it on the woman, who people can look down on and say: she should have done this or should have done that, and obviously since she didn’t do anything, she must be a weakling who can’t look out for herself.
            There are times I think that the problem isn’t just that these gropers/harassers/assaulters are among us, but it’s our societal attitudes that relieve these individuals of the responsibility of controlling their behavior, and instead puts the responsibility on women to react in some way to make the behavior stop.

  82. After having read many of the comments, I wanted to digress at the end a bit and mention how pleasing it is to see atheists and feminists really are on the same side. So often have I observed instances in which individual atheists and feminists (often big names associated with each label) are seemingly at odds with one another that it has greatly perplexed me. It would seem that there is very little actual disagreement, but where disagreements do happen, they have a tendency to blow up. It is, of course, a fallacy to lump all self-described atheists and feminists into monolithic blocs, but our brains love to simplify the process of reaching a conclusion by doing so.

    1. I think the men here on this site are, for the majority, real menschen (going with the German plural and assuming Yiddish is the same ha ha). Once, long ago someone came on here and told all of the women that the men on here were oppressing us. It was annoying and amusing. That is the farthest thing from the truth here.

      1. I agree. It’s quite contrary to opinions I’ve read from outsiders. A few prominent atheists have had a few vaguely (and, rarely, quite) sexist opinions and they’re all men and then that one atheist feminist said so, so… well there must be something patriarchal going on there beyond the usual noise of general society. Enemy!

        …Not so much.

  83. Yes, in my collegiate youth I really was raped by a man I thought I could trust — until he pushed me face-first down a railroad embankment and started his merry attack while I was knocked out. I eventually got him, and yes, revenge was very sweet.

    I’ve also dealt with men grabbing gropes and stealing kisses, and believe me, these are trivial annoyances — easily dealt with — compared to real sexual assault. I’m annoyed by women, and men, who pretend that women are such delicate weaklings that leering looks, dirty words, stolen kisses or stealth gropes are as “devastating” as real rape. Grow some spine, you fools, and seriously practice martial arts. That will do you — and the world — a helluva lot more good than your tearful whining accusations.

    1. Leslie, it’s bad that you were raped. That is far worse than being groped!

      Nonetheless, being groped is also bad. It’s in invasion of one’s person, a denial of one’s autonomy. It’s NOT as bad as rape, but it’s on the slope toward it. None of this should happen.

      These lesser but bad experiences have shaped lives, including mine, They changed my interactions with unfamiliar places and with men I don’t know. (I’m very fortunate that all the guys I trusted have treated me well — that a man you trusted did this to you is even worse – a double betrayal!)

      I agree that fighting back feels better than not (if one isn’t injured). The few times I could manage to hit back felt good, even though the effect was minimal. However, we women should not have to study martial arts just to take a bus or walk alone in a park in peace.

  84. Wow, this is a depressing but enlightening thread. My thanks to Jerry for starting it and all those who answered.

    I sign in as one of those men who have never
    catcalled or ever come close to assaulting/abusing a woman. The very idea seems alien to me, and this seems shared by by my male friends (which isn’t to say none of them ever did anything wrong – I know how they talk about women around me, but I’m not privy to everything they have done).

    Although I know women are assaulted and have to take into account the possibility in their daily lives, my own bubble of experience still renders the details I read here shocking. As in “who is doing this? I don’t seem to know any men who would knowingly do such things.”

    But as some have pointed out, even a small subsection of men acting badly can produce enough transgression to affect many women and influence the mindset of most women.

    Yep, we still have to do more to change this.
    (For my part and my wife’s, we have tried to instill an acute understanding in both my boys about acceptable, compassionate and respectful behavior with the opposite sex.
    Fingers crossed, the lessons seem to have sunk in and it’s hard to imagine either of them engaging in such boorish behavior).

  85. Let me count the ways. As I read comments, more memories surface, and the number of sexual assaults — on myself, alone — is far greater than I can consciously handle all at once. For that reason, I will add them as I recall them. I knew there must be more than two rapes and some pussy grabbing. Stay tuned.

    1. I am pushing 60 and will reach it before this year ends. When I was a young teen (“tween” as some are calling that age, now), mini-skirts were in. Girls still wore skirts, not pants, especially in The South, and that includes (to the surprise and dismay of many) Virginia, much of Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

      I was ten, when we moved from the capital of Viriginia, walking distance from the White House of the Confederacy, to a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.

      There, walking places in my miniskirts, truckers in their seemingly giant 18-wheelers would honk their loud horns at me. It was intimidating and terrifying! I tried to be brave, though, because it was the only way I could get to or from school, if I missed the bus, or get to the store, if I needed to work or shop. I started working at age 14 (not counting baby-sitting).

    2. As I grew, a more physical assault became popular: Boys started smacking girls on their fannies, because (“real”) men were smacking women on their fannies. The men seemed to think this was not only fun but a compliment to the women, as though the best way to suggest her value to society was to impulsively hit her on her presumably best feature.

      A lady’s “proper” response, back then, was to turn (removing her fannie from reach) and immediately slap the man’s face.

      Indeed, this chauvenistic game of “gotcha” became the way to tell a lady from a slut. Women were seen as either/or. I always made sure to prove I was a lady. I didn’t want to get raped over the presumption of sluttiness or the excuse of “she was asking for it.”

      In junior high and high school, especially back in Richmond, this slap response was so frequently employed, it became a learned reflex. I recall only one time when there was some confusion over who had touched me inappropriately and whether it was intentional. The slap-recipient’s expression showed shock and hurt feelings. I apologized and explained. He understood, but I could see his feelings were still hurt. Maybe he had a crush on me, and was goaded by other boys into doing what he got slapped for. I can imagine they’d have told him, “Girls like it.”

    3. In college, in the mid-70s, I became sexually active. There was one guy I dated awhile, broke up with, and ran into a couple years later. He asked me out for dinner, but showed up for our date with a box of fried chicked. I invited him in, and after we ate, he forced himself on me. I said, “No” and told him I meant it, but he kept going.

      Back then, a woman who fought and was overcome by her date was considered an engaging challenge, fit to prove her rapist’s manhood.

      How charming… (Not!)

      Had I screamed or yelled for help, or called the police immediately afterward, he would be pitied for my promiscuity, and I have been labeled a slut for life. Not only would I have been ostracized by that label, but more men would have more easily gotten away with raping me, even more violently, afterward. That is how things were.

      Since I lacked the strength to block or stop him, I calculated the best revenge: Lay there, motionless and emotionless, to prove I meant what I said, and to humiliate him, hopefully for life.

      After he was done, he said, “You really did mean it, when you said ‘no’, didn’t you?”

      “Yes”, I replied. “I meant it.” My tone was deliberately icy.

      He left with his proverbial tail between his legs. Another couple years later, we crossed paths. He was outside, with a handful of other students. I was humiliated to see and be seen by him. We didn’t speak. I did note the expression on his face, though: He, too, felt humiliated. GOOD! Let him live with that the rest of his life, and do no harm to anymore women.

      1. In the 70’s, women were told by the Chicago Police, who were- at the time- considered to be *the experts* on the subject.

        I heard them cheerfully tell women “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” And, “Don’t fight back, because “you’ll make him angry, and he’ll only hurt you worse.” (That advice they got from convicted rapists who loved the attention.)

        All that was later disproved and discredited by the women’s movement, with the help of supportive and caring men.

        But one Chicago cop deserves special mention: police sergeant Louis Vitullo, who developed *the nation’s first rape kit,* the standardized tool to gather forensic evidence after sexual assaults.

        Before they didn’t bother collecting evidence. It really was he said/she said.

        1. I remember such “training” talks for us young women, too. Sadly, there was some truth in what they said, though. I am trying to gather myself together to tell of my own violent rape experience, in which I actually used that advice to avoid injury or death. I must sleep, now. It’s too much, and I’m too sick (chronic disabling neuroimmune disease). And there’s more to come, after that.

          Anyone, please tell me if I’m writing too much and should stop. I’d almost appreciate the excuse to stop spilling my guts, here.

          1. Your call, Doc. If it helps, keep posting.

            I’ve done sort of the same thing but deleted every draft…

            I’m so sorry to learn of your ailment!

          2. “…8 years and counting, so far.”

            Must feel like an eternity! But I’m glad to hear you mention that it’s something that does get better.

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