I remember the first time a man “grabbed me by the pussy”. I was at the Easter Show with my girlfriends. We went one afternoon straight from school, taking a spare change of clothes and stuffing our uniforms in our bags. We felt so grown up. Giddy with independence.
I was 13-years-old.
I didn’t notice him until it was too late. His hand grabbed me forcefully as he walked past. And he kept walking, disappearing into the crowd.
The shock hit me instantly and confusion was right behind it. What just happened? I felt sick. I knew it hadn’t been an accident. This was different to someone rubbing up against you on public transport when you find yourself second-guessing the sick feeling in your gut.
What he had done was obvious. And I felt dirty and small and vulnerable. And suddenly, I didn’t want to be independent. Suddenly the thought of being young and out in the world on my own, with my friends, felt frightening and like something I maybe couldn’t handle.
So that was my first experience of being sexually harassed or assaulted in public.
Back then – in the 80s – there wasn’t a name for what happened. Maybe groping. That’s the word being used by so many in the media to describe Donald Trump’s casual conversation about ‘not even waiting’ for permission to kiss women who he finds “beautiful”. To “grab them by the pussy”. That’s not called groping anymore.
That’s called sexual assault.
Donald Trump excuses it as ‘locker room talk’ and insists it was a long time ago. Yeah it was. He’d been married for three months and his new (third) wife was pregnant.
Not that it matters when it was said or to whom. There is no context in which these comments are excusable or justifiable.
We knew that Trump had the lowest, leering regard for women. We’ve known it again and again with every disgusting, sexist comment he’s made not just for years and decades but throughout this campaign.
These latest grotesque comments will resonate with women because tragically, there are few of us who cannot tell a story of being sexually harassed or assaulted.
Do you remember the first time it happened to you? Or the most recent time?
Share it. Because what Trump describes is not just fun banter between blokes. Real men, good men, don’t talk about women like that in public or in private.
Let’s put some stories and some words around the statistics so that the world can understand the real world consequences of that kind of “lighthearted conversation” about assaulting women.
.@kellyoxford I was 11. An older boy walked me home, turned around w/ his dick out. I just realized: I have no memory of what happened next.
— Emily Lindin (@EmilyLindin) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford neighbor’s dad comes by when mom is out of town to “check on me.” Tells me I’m very mature. I’m 15. Tries to kiss me; I scream.
— Hexica ???? Zollman (@jayzombie) October 8, 2016
— Kate Spencer (@katespencer) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford Age 13, crowd-surfed at a music festival. Ended up with many much older men’s hands down my pants and up my shirt.
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 15, at a hs theater competition dance. a guy i’d never met shoved his hand down my dress so hard my strapless bra fell down.
— Claire Fallon (@ClaireEFallon) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford maybe not first, but most vivid. Rome, 20, guy on train gropes me under my skirt. Ran off the train after I elbowed him.
— db (@d_1_1_b) October 7, 2016
@kellyoxford old man Disneyland cups my butt and fingers hit vag while I’m in line for ice cream at Disneyland when I was 14
— Ginger Gonzaga (@gingerthejester) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford Optician fitting me for my 1st contact lenses “drops” one down my blouse, grabs, strokes my breast as he “saves” it. I’m 14.
— Paula Simons (@Paulatics) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 14, work experience at hospital. Alone in lab, Dr kept ‘helping’ me by pressing himself against me, running hands down my waist
— Jennine Khalik (@jennineak) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 8 yrs old, my cousin cornered me in a bedroom & “grabbed my pussy.” I kicked him & tried to tell my aunt, she called me a liar.
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford I was 10, he was my babysitter. Told me he was training me for boys when I got older.
— Laurenn McCubbin (@laurennmcc) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford first: Breasts grabbed at Halloween party when I was 14. Ass grabbed when I was wedding dress shopping at 27.
— Laura Hazard Owen (@laurahazardowen) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford guy in a bar tries to finger me while we are dancing. I push him away and he says I’m lucky he’s nice or he’d hit me.
— Jaya Saxena (@jayasax) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford Man rubbed against my ass on the train then blew me a kiss. I was in fifth grade on a school trip.
— Julia Ghoulia (@SayWhatSugar) October 7, 2016
@kellyoxford when I was 15, I was raped. My first assault.
— Maureen Shaw (@MaureenShaw) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 17- waitress. Asked to ‘settle a gentlemen’s bet’ re my underwear. Refused to answer; they grabbed my ass to see themselves
— Ariel Ufret (@arielufret) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford old man next door neighbour notices I’m home alone. Gropes my breast and bum, tries to kiss me.
I was thirteen.
— SoNjA (@__SonjaLouise__) October 8, 2016
— Sarah Sophie Flicker (@sarahsophief) October 7, 2016
@kellyoxford 60-year-old neighbor who said he could “help” me rake leaves.
I was 8.
— diana (@thereisnohurry) October 7, 2016
@kellyoxford When I was 15 I was locked in a shop in Barcelona with a friend of mine who was 13, by 2 men who tried to kiss us and touch us.
— Jovana (@soulteaser_) October 7, 2016
.@kellyoxford I was forced to give a guy a blow job after he offered me a ride home and then threatened me. I was 14.
— Sasha Stone (@AwardsDaily) October 8, 2016
— Lola Bananas (@BananasLola) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford in the pool on vacation while having fun swimming w/ a new friend I just met – it was her dad. I was 11
— Kim Martin Bannerman (@kmbannerman) October 8, 2016
— Melinda Byerley (@MJB_SF) October 8, 2016
Not my 1st, but I used to walk 2.5 miles to & from work in NYC because my pussy was violently grabbed so often on the subway.
— ???? (@leahmcelrath) October 8, 2016
— Teresa Tanzi (@tanzister) October 8, 2016
— Christie Tate (@TheOutlawMama) October 8, 2016
— Abby Petersen (@AbbyAfterAll) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford “grabbed in my pussy” by a stranger who tried to drag me into a doorway on the street. I punched him and screamed. I was 17.
— Alana Russo (@alanarusso) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford My fourth grade teacher fondled my butt behind his desk as we were looking at homework. I was 9. That was just the first.
— Angela (@angelahockman) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 19, 5am, walking to my opening shift at a cafe. Man approaches me, holds out money in one hand, grabs my “pussy” with the other
— Vagenda of Manocide (@swedishpeaks) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 40 yr old neighbor shoves me against door and kisses me. I was 12 and had been playing with his daughter.
— Susan Clark (@noliroots) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford family friend put his hand up my skirt @ dinner. Later that night undressed with the door open across from my room. I was 11.
— Alex Nicholson (@Alex20001) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford I was 12 and someone at my dad’s business cornered me in a dark bldg to tell me I was still pretty even ‘with my braces’
— Amelia Sawyer (@chefswidow) October 8, 2016