I Shared My Crotch-Grabbing Story and Here’s What Happened
Yesterday, I was getting really pissed seeing so many people dismiss GOP Candidate Donald Trump’s remarks about grabbing women’s p*ssies without permission as “locker room talk” or saying “you liberal women like 50 Shades of Grey but you can’t handle the word p*ssy?” Women have always been held to one double-standard or another, and today’s seemed to be, “If you like sex and swearing, you should want dudes to randomly grab your crotch.”
So, I got pissed and wrote a very personal story I’d previously only shared with my husband, my therapist, and a handful of friends. (Oh my god she’s liberal AND goes to a therapist? Shocking.) At first I put it on “private,” since it was about my privates, (ok technically it’s called “custom”) and made it so that most of the people over 45 that I was related to couldn’t see it. Quite a few people commented on it, mostly women, initially, saying “OMG, that totally happened to me, too!” And then I started to get some private messages. Women told me their rape stories. Women told me about times they had their breasts or genitals fondled on trans or busses. More than one told me “It’s happened several times, and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t my fault.”
Of course I knew that lots and lots of women had been sexually assaulted, but it didn’t occur to me that my own facebook friends would think that a time they’d been groped or fondled was their own fault. Another thing I didn’t realize was that the experience seemed nearly universal. Yet many people ALSO didn’t realize that what they’d experienced was actually assault. Actually a crime.
More and more people shared their own stories, either on the post or in a private message. It was sad to see how many people said “Me too,” but hopeful to see people talking about it openly, as much as they were comfortable with. People gave advice on how to handle that situation, and people empowered others so that they knew it was NEVER OK. Several friends asked if they could share and finally, I realized that me being precious about protecting my whoo-ha story wasn’t going to help anyone when this was a very serious problem.
So here’s my post. If you like it, I hope you’ll share it. What’s the point of my mom and dad being disgraced by telling the world I have a p*ssy (mom, dad…. I have a p*ssy) if it’s not going to get seen by lots of people. The post, that is, not my p*ssy.
Donald Trump doesn’t think women’s privates have a “private” setting so let’s PASS THE … you know.
Let’s talk about crotch grabbing for a second.
When I was in my early 20’s, I went to a club with a friend. It was a theme night and I was dressed provocatively in line with the theme. I didn’t feel I was putting myself at risk since we were taking a cab straight to the front door and then going straight inside, where the club would have security. Also, though not appropriate for a day job at the office, this outfit showed less skin than a female Olympian would in a one-piece bathing suit. Like, the boring kind.
Once inside for a while, a dude, who I had no interest in, started hitting on me. Instead of directly telling him I wasn’t interested, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings (???) I said sorry, (???) I’m here with her, pointing to my friend, and we’re lesbians. (You can tell I was naive because I thought that lesbian would say “Hello, we’re lesbians!” rather than, “that’s my girlfriend,” Or, “f*ck off, perv.”)
Gross Dude responded by saying something like, “You wouldn’t wear an outfit like that if you didn’t want the attention of a man.” 2016 Shannon would’ve said, “Well, you’re no man, Creepy McCreepster.” (Or, “f*ck off, perv.”) But early 2000’s Shannon sputtered and said something like “No, I swear, we’re REALLY lesbians.”
At that point, in front of God and everyone, this man slid his hand between my thighs and grabbed my crotch.
In the last 10–15 years, I’ve thought about this moment over and over. What do I regret the most? That I didn’t just punch that goddamn piece of garbage in his gross-ass face and yell until security came over. I’ve had this fantasy over and over again where I defend my dignity and my whoo-ha with blazing fists of glory. In the fantasy, of course, I hit his stupid face so hard he lands on his back, and then some big burly dudes drag him away.
That is NOT what I did. I’m not sure I knew that was an option. Instead, I giggled nervously like an apprentice geisha, and moved his hand. I chastised him in a voice you would use to scold a kid for trying to sneak a cookie before dinner. Then I lost him in the crowd and found my friend.
We went in the other room and I yelled above the music SOME GUY JUST GRABBED MY CROTCH. It was pretty loud so I had to repeat it. She finally heard, and looked at me like, what? Are you kidding? Were you making out or something? No, I said. We weren’t even dancing. He was just yelling in my ear, like we’re doing right now.
At the time, we laughed about it. I think it was my defense mechanism. “OMG can you believe that guy? Gross!” I don’t think I realized at the time how it would stick with me. It’s been over 10 years and it’s burned into my brain in the place reserved for walking across the stage for graduation or saying my wedding vows. The first thing I always feel is shame. Fresh, hot shame, like it happened 10 seconds ago. I didn’t know enough to know that, even had I been walking around nude, that was still not my “fault.” It wasn’t a punishment for my poor judgement, it was a violation. It was sexual assault. I didn’t see it like that. I thought “well, I guess it’s actually NOT ok to leave the house like this.”
As soon as I heard the section of tape where Donald Trump bragged that he could grab a woman in her kitty-cat parts without repudiation, I felt that shame again. I’ll bet many women did. I can almost guarantee you he actually has done that to women, and I’ll bet they felt shame too. Why didn’t I do more to stop him? Why did I let that happen?
I’ve told this story before to a man whose response was, “See, a guy would love it if a chick grabbed his crotch.” A) not the right answer. B) it’s possible a certain man would like a certain woman randomly grabbing his junk. But that’s not the story I’m telling. This story is about a person who touched another person in an unwelcome way that exerted power over them and embarrassed them.
If you can’t imagine it being unpleasant to have your crotch fondled by someone who didn’t ask first, try to imagine a different sexual intrusion. This is graphic, but imagine someone asks if he can massage your shoulders and when you say no, instead he pokes his finger between your butt cheeks and rubs your anus.
Yeah, that’s a little disturbing, right? (I know some of you might like that, too, but the group that can publicly admit to enjoying butthole caresses are less likely to dismiss the gravity of sexual assault.) It would be a huge ass (sorry) invasion. You might be embarrassed. You might feel guilty. You would probably not be happy.
Here’s the thing: I think a lot of the time people discuss sexual assault and others assume that, if there was no actual physical pain inflicted, that it’s not that big of a deal. Like, rape is just sex with somebody you didn’t want to have sex with at that time so it’s just, like, not really enjoyable sex. Like a bad lay. But still — a lay! A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at the office, amiright?
The California govt calls any sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent SEXUAL VIOLENCE. That is the LEGAL DEFINITION. Touching someone in a sexual way they don’t welcome is VIOLENCE. It’s not an inconvenience or a bummer or an awkward back rub. It is a legal violation. It is the stripping away of dignity and free will. It is exerting power over someone weaker than you. It is controlling and harming and the other person may remember it for her entire life.
So when Donald Trump says his conversation with Billy Bush about “grabbing them in the p*ssy) was “locker room talk,” don’t buy that shit for a second. Imagine he’s talking about you and your asshole. Imagine he is saying that his wealth and social position means you must let him do whatever he wants with it. Make no mistake. Donald Trump feels that his PRIVILEGE gives him a special right to commit violence against people with lower status.
So let’s not let him finger America in her special places. Let’s all collectively punch him in his goddamn f*cking face by voting November 8th.