Jenny! Your post resonates with me so strongly and it meant a lot to me to read.
Something similar happened to me — only I was coming home from the yoga studio and putting my bike away. (I *was* wearing my tight yoga pants!) A stranger followed me from my garage through our back gate and up to my front door, where he groped me aggressively. It was at night, I didn’t know his intentions, and it was really scary. Luckily, he was startled when I took a deep breath, turned around started yelling at him with all the power I could muster. He ran back into the alley! I was so shocked, relieved, angry (furious) and shaken by how it was so casual and intentional at the same time. Why did he feel he had a right to my body like that? I knew intellectually that it wasn’t my fault, but I too wanted to “smile it off” as a minor incident and no big deal.
I’m so impressed by how brave and open you were in your response in the moment — trying to take care of yourself (first, as you absolutely should), but also even him when you realized how young he was, and maybe how sorry. Even after a few years, I still find heartening it read your story and know I’m not alone in what I experienced or how I felt about it. We aren’t. Thank you for sharing.