Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stealth Grabbers

Like most other women, I’ve experienced my share of
street harassment. I thought it might end when I
entered middle age—no such luck!

One of the most memorable experiences occurred a
couple of decades ago when I lived in Arizona. One
hot summer morning, I took my dogs for a walk in a
quiet, suburban neighborhood, clad in standard Arizona
hot-weather clothing of shorts and a halter top,
although these were not particularly revealing. Two
high school age guys rode by on bikes, and then they
apparently turned around, and in a stealth move, one
rode up behind me and grabbed at my breast, then sped

I was so angry, and tried to think of what were my
alternatives if he decided to repeat the action. I
had the dogs, and wouldn’t dare endanger them by
trying to respond physically, nor, I decided, would I
have time, since the guys were on bikes. Obviously,
you have to consider your safety first in determining
what, if anything, you can do. I was a mile from
home, and I imagined that, conceivably, they could
keep attacking me in this way if I did nothing. I
decided that my only defense was my lung power.

Sure enough, one of the guys again swooped up from
behind me on his bike and grabbed at my breast. This
time I yelled at the top of my lungs, “You fucking
assholes, if you try that again I’ll call the cops!”
The words weren’t a part of my usual vocabulary, but I
decided they were essential in this instance.

The guys rode back by—on the other side of the street
this time—and one yelled, “Bitch!” at me. Yeah,
right—they violate me by grabbing at my breasts, and
I’m a bitch if I object. But that’s when I knew that
I had won. They didn’t come back.

Submitted by Bee in San Francisco.

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