Since I have been celibate since 1985 I thought that I was safe from old memories of all things sexual. Then all the women got the courage to come out and testify against their sexual harassers and the dam burst.
Sexual predation and assault starts early in this country. Being raised Catholic did not protect me in any way from the sly insinuations of my younger brother, since deceased, or the poor little altar boys from male predation. How about all the incest among the oh –so- fine Amish families, and the assaults on young Mormon girls from their fathers, uncles, older brothers and grandfathers?
This is a direct result of the historic fear of women and devaluing of our worth.
The first instance of sexual aggression came from an 8 year old girl. She waited until we were in a private setting and asked if I would like to touch her acorn sized breasts and actually took my hand to place in the appropriate spot. I thought she was a whacko, and never continued the relationship. The next time I was propositioned was by a third grade boy who laid in wait and shoved me into the boy’s restroom. I dealt with him by using defensive skills and decked him with a roundhouse right to the chin. He never came near me again. (And I was so disappointed in him, as I had a mild crush on him. Maybe that was his way of rejecting me)
During a summer when I was around ten, three neighborhood boys from across the road asked me over to “play”. The “play” was for me to lay down on a skateboard in an empty garage with all three waiting like wolves in the corners, ready to attack. I went home in disgust.
The reason that I never complained or reported the incident was because the ringleader was the son of a woman who was a pillar of the community and my Mom’s employer.
Even then in the early 1950’s children knew enough not to make this behavior public.
A scary incident that happened in my own home was when a guest of my Dad’s exposed himself by posing on the roof and making sure that I could see up his khaki shorts with no “tighty whities”. He was up there ostendibly helping to repair the roof with my Dad.
Later he got me in a hug and rubbed his forearm between my legs.
That time I did complain to my Mom, and we saw no more of this man. Nothing was ever discussed about danger of this kind either.
In high school I had a date that had to be discouraged from ripping my clothes off by my hitting him over the head with a handy flashlight. I got out of the car and went into my house, and that was the end of that.
A high school social studies teacher once challenged me on my weight, and saying that I could not weigh 125 pounds, and wanted me to go to the nurse’s office to get weighed.
Later he accosted me and lifted me up over his shoulder. No one was around, as it was after school, but it was not in a secluded spot, so I let that one ride.
Naively I dated a “bad boy” that other girl friends had the wisdom to avoid. I got out of a potential rape situation by yelling for my brother to go and fetch a neighbor. I was at fault here as I let this predator into my bedroom when my Dad was at work. Since my Mom had died already, I was kind of floundering and made some potential serious mistakes.
Marriage was a refuge and protection as my husband was a very possessive sort. Then the 1970’s rolled around with pot smoking and wife swapping. He wanted to engage in some friendly neighborly wife swapping but I was against it as was the neighbor’s wife, if she even knew of the plan that the husbands were hatching up.
I was not going to write and publish this in a blog, but then read some stories about today’s politics and sexual harassment situations.
For fine reading to get a liberated woman’s blood to boiling I recommend Nasty Women, edited by Samnita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding.
There is such a flood of confessions and accusations going on now, I think that a 78 year old lady’s past is not going to bother anybody much, especially with one exception these persons are all dead and buried.
With the headlines of the celebrity figures falling like tenpins, I regret that these memories have surfaced, but it is better in the long run to write about them and get the poison out.