Reading a story today, prompted me to share my terrifying ordeal of sexual harassment/ assault.
It was my first full day in the big Apple. I was filled with nervous anticipation as I set out on my own. I grabbed a tour bus and then headed down to times square. After several hours of window shopping, and relieving myself of money, I stood on the corner and hailed a cab, my very first ever. A cab stopped and he opened the front passenger door. Now I know people usually ride in back, you see it all the time in movies, but this was real life. I didn't know, so I trusted him and got in front. Later others would ask why I did that, but my only answer was he opened the door. I told him my destination and as he turned down different streets he asked me questions, one by one getting more personal in nature. What brought me to the empire State, who was I staying with, was she a friend or "girlfriend." I answered his questions, as I've never really been shy about saying I'm dating a woman. I remember laughing a little inside, wondering if he thought I was a man, talking about an ex girlfriend.
He shifted one of his hands over mine for a moment, and then moved it away. I felt nervous, but he'd moved it right away so I relaxed a little. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw my hotel, only he turned past it. I told him and he said something to the effect of going around the block. As he turned down yet another road, his hand found my inner thigh. I stiffened up as he let it linger there. I asked him to take me to my hotel. We hit a stop light and sat for a minute or two. His hand moved up, and his fingers slid an inch inside my pants. I sat there paralyzed. My jeans we're tight which kept him from truly violating me. He removed his hand and told me how pretty I was.
I was 17 yrs old, a Sr in highschool when an adult told me these same things. As he said them, and talked more sexual to me, hinting at what he'd like to do with me, I felt that same paralyzed feeling. In my head I knew I could shout or yell no, I could tell him to get away from me, yet I couldn't. I knew the flirting was going beyond what was safe. And in the cabbie's car, I felt that same sense of dread and helplessness that I did when I was 17. I had control, but I didn't know how to be assertive. My parents stepped up and handled the situation for me, when I was in high school, but in this cab, I was alone. I was just praying for him to get me around the block, back to the hotel.
He began asking me if I liked swimming. I love it was my reply. Of course he asked bc he wanted me to come over that night. I told him I had plans. I was staring straight out the window when I saw the hotel again. There was no stop light this time and he kept driving. I muttered that I had someone waiting for me and I was late. He said he'd go around the block. By now my constant smile and friendliness left me and I was frightened. I felt his hand touch my breast, and I shifted over towards the door. I was ready to jump out of the cab. I hated him for making me feel this way. I hated all the men before him who saw me as a meek, easy mark. Ones who didn't care about me but said things they shouldn't have, or tried things I feared would go too far. I was weak, anything but assertive, outside of my daily relationships. I was afraid of this man, and thought he could do anything he wanted as long as I got out at my hotel. Seconds, minutes dragged on forever and I found myself holding my breath. He pulled up and I felt a surge of relief. He handed me his number. I didn't care, I was going to throw it out anyhow. As he put it in my hand, he grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. After a moment I pulled away, all the while cursing him in my head. I opened the door and left a $10 bill on the seat. "Call me," he said. Not on your life you stupid mother f***ER is what I thought, but I was too shocked to say anything. mermaid bridal dresses with long sleeves
My legs shook as I crossed the street to the hotel. I thought about what transpired and I started to cry. I went inside but my friend wasn't there. I turned to the front desk worker and started sobbing. In between tears I said I thought I was just sexually assaulted.
Later that night the police were called. I told them what happened and apologized for not yelling or running from the car. I even told them it might've been my fault. In the end, the police recorded a phone call I made to this man. In it, he apologized for touching me and agreed I never gave him permission. They had me set up a time for him to pick me up, and when he showed, the police dragged him across the front of his cab, cuffed him and put him in the squad car. I hid behind a pillar and cried, and then flew home alone. I cried because I got him in trouble. I cried because my trip was ruined. I cried because people had thought I invited it by not yelling at him.
Have you ever been so afraid, you wanted to wish the situation away? Or you couldn't find the courage to simply stand up for yourself? I was deeply disappointed in myself. My family was disappointed I'd ever let someone do that to me.
I was in control technically, but I felt no control, literally. You don't have to say you're sorry. It happened many years ago, but, as these stories of sexual harassment come out, remember that. Fear is a powerful thing. Feeling helpless is the common theme. Only a select few know my story. It's just one of many out there...