Are we really at this point in the collective that we turn away from something so degrading? Do we really think if we refuse to see, hear, or feel, then it must not have happened?
Way back when I ran through the streets of New York with a yellow Sony Sportsman, without a care in the world except going the distance, and staying aware of my surroundings, it never occurred to me I would have to protect myself. But one day I had to.
I cut through Riverside Park to round out the last of my ten mile run. I stopped to tie my shoe and in one brief moment, headphones still engaged with the sounds of C&C Music Factory, someone came up from behind me and grabbed my vagina. I turned around to see a man standing there. Smirking and just standing there.
I told him to run. “Run, you mother fucker. If I catch you, you are dead.”
He ran. I ran after him. In New York, they say you never yell “rape” when in trouble, you yell “fire”. So there I was somewhere around 94th and Riverside chasing a smirking piece of shit all the while yelling,”fire!”. He cut up a side street, I still gave chase, when out of nowhere,someone in a car opened up their driver side door and stopped him.Dropped him flat. I caught him. I caught the smirking pussy grabber, grabbed him by the throat and while I can not remember all I said, I remember looking into his pathetic face- and him pleading to let him go. He said he had a 2 year old daughter at home and what he did to me was no big deal.
No big deal.
I remember not letting go until the police arrived. I had him arrested. He was taken away. I walked back to my apartment on the Upper West Side, called my parents and a couple of friends, and sat there, not feeling too terribly triumphant, not feeling powerful- but feeling like I should not have bent over to tie my shoe.
Then I got angry.
I was angry I had to yell fire to get someones attention. Angry the smirking piece of shit took advantage of one moment because he saw an opportunity and felt entitled to grab something that was not his to grab.
Have I been scared for life? No. Did I feel a twinge of disgust as the recent stories of another smirking piece of shit bragged about grabbing a pussy and that it was not a big deal. Yes. I am angry. Angry at the dismissal of something so abusive,dismissed not only by men, but women as well. Angry this has become acceptable by a collective. We are here in this very strange and dangerous time of questioning our strength, our truth and the very nature of who we are, as a feminine voice. What we are going to do?
Time to yell “fire!”
Yell as loud as you can.