I have always felt I was “one of the lucky ones” because I have not (yet) been raped. I have been taught that statistically, my rape is almost inevitable. Statistically, if I’m not raped, many people I know will or have been. Statistically, rapists don’t get caught. Statistically, rapists don’t get punished. Statistically, rapists are people I know.
But in light of #YesAllWomen and reading women like Kate Spencer + Maureen Johnson’s recounts of all the times they were sexually harassed, touched inappropriately, screamed at, etc. I realized: I never reported my own sexual harassment.
This week, I wrote about ONE instance (out of dozens) of times I was threatened or harassed online. But I didn’t write about any of the times I was physically harassed, threatened, abused, or fondled — which I am realizing now has happened to me many times over since I was a kid.
These are just the situations I can remember.
I never told anyone about the time I moved to New York City in 2007 with no job so I could take an unpaid internship with a publicity company, only to have my boss sexually harass me two weeks in. I called my mom that night — who taught me from the time I could remember to leave ANY situation that makes you uncomfortable — and I quit the next day. I never reported it.
After that, I worked at a giant, billion-dollar global corporate technology-based retail store, where I quit after watching one of my coworkers be sexually harassed by multiple coworkers, managers, and other people in power. I was planning on quitting quietly, but my female boss pressured me to explain myself — so I did. I told her everything I had witnessed. No one was fired, talked to, or written up that I know of. As far as I know, many of the perpetrators still work for the company and have been promoted.
I dated a man once for a brief period of time who I tried to have sex with me while I was asleep. When I woke up and realized what was happening, he freaked out, started crying and said that I “owed him sex” — because he had given me an iPhone.
My freshman year in high school, a boy a year older than me was interested in me. I was not interested in him, but a lot of girls liked him and it was implied that I was “lucky” to get his affection. He was terrifying. He tried to assault me behind the Dunkin’ Donuts where we smoked cigarettes. He chased me home from school yelling “Breezer” as he followed close behind me. He touched me many times without consent.
Also during my freshman year, my “best friend” left me alone with her boyfriend’s friend to, apparently, do what he wanted with me. I pushed him off of me several times in her living room, waiting for her and her boyfriend to come out of her bedroom and take me home. I was 15. I couldn’t even drive myself home if I wanted to.
That same friend gave me a bunch of expired condoms once and told me “I was never going to have sex anyway, so I might as well take these.” Again, I was 15.
When I was 12, an old man at my cousin’s wedding tried to get me to sit on his lap. I of course didn’t do it, but had to ask him to leave me alone, repeatedly.
I was once told by a class president at my high school that I didn’t “look like a virgin.” He also said other obscene things to me as if I would all of a sudden be interested in hooking up with him. Secretly, of course, because I was by no means cool and he wouldn’t even be so much as caught talking to me in public. But he would whisper disgusting things to me in the hall.
Once, a few summers ago, I was walking downtown and a boy on a bicycle rode by. He reached out and grabbed my crotch and kept riding.
This is all I can remember right now. 9 times. Just 9 times in my life. I’m one of the lucky ones.