Sexual Assault: I Finally Get All Feminist on My Ass

Gentle reader, this weekend I traveled to Chicago to watch rugby. It was a huge deal. The seats were full of screaming rugby fans. And they cheered for both teams. I did, too. I cheered for rugby. It was an amazing experience; rugby players were all over the streets and in the bars that night. It was incredibly beautiful.

But I’m not ready to write about that part because, you see, one asshole ruined that for me. And yes, I’m still giving him the power to ruin it as I write.

It happened like this: The game was over and a small group of my friends was wandering trying to find a way out of the stadium or a taxi or anything to get to where we wanted to go. At some point we stopped to discuss what to do when I felt a slap on my ass. Now. It wouldn’t be unsual for one of my friends to do this, but something about the way it felt told me it was a stranger. Besides, they were all in front of me. So I see, out of the corner of my eye, some dude walking away.

I grabbed him by his collar, started pushing him,  and said, “If you’re going to slap my ass, at least take us on your fancy bus.”  (His friends were boarding a small, private shuttle.)  He tried to put his arm around me, and I hit it away and repeated that we wanted a ride. “Where are you going?” I asked. He tried to grab me again, around my shoulder, “Home,” he said. I pushed him and said “Fuck you” and then went back to my friends. I overheard his friend say, “Wow. You’re really good at making friends.”  And it was over.

But, you know, it’s still not over.

For the next two hours I wasn’t fun to be around. I kept replaying the whole thing in my head. Why didn’t I just fucking punch him? I could’ve just tackled him. Seriously. I was even with 5 of my rugby teammates. Why was my gut reaction to try to get something from him in exchange for that ass slap? Why didn’t his friends grab him immediately and tell him that wasn’t cool? Why did they laugh as I pushed him and yelled in his face? Of all the groups of women who are bothered, shouldn’t my group of rugby players be the one to teach him a lesson? Why didn’t we?

I want to tell you that not many years ago, I probably would’ve turned around and called him an asshole or just said something sarcastic. If I heard someone telling me this same story, I’d probably tell her it sucks, of course, but she’s over reacting. Worse things happen in the world. However, things have changed for me recently, though. With all the discussion of America’s rape culture, I want to be part of a solution. I am aware that an ass slap is much more than that; it’s a symbol of everything that comes next.

I hate myself that I didn’t just hit him right in his fucking face. I keep thinking, you know, I’m socialized, as a woman, to smooth things over and just deal with it.

So, I decided to share this information with one of my classes today. I thought it was fitting with the elections and issues, and college campuses having higher than ever sexual assault reports.  I told my students the whole story, in my most serious voice, and told them how rarely this happens to me, but when it does…. And one guy says, “Yeah, Ms. H. every time I get slapped on the ass, I just turn around and…” I cut him off. “No. This is not funny, Student, This is exactly the problem.”

Most of the girls in the class had little to say about the situation. One said she was proud of me for not hitting him. I asked, you know, how can a woman react so that a man knows he’s really done something incredibly terrible?  No one knew. I suggested, again, that if I would’ve just fucking laid him out… One male student said he agreed. That if I just beat the shit out of him, he might think twice next time.

Think twice. The assumption he’d even think about it again.

I’m now remembering about three months ago I was out dancing with friends. I danced a minute or two with this guy. When he turned to leave, he reached out his hand and stroked my crotch. In just one, quick swoop. My reaction, as always. Shock. Then he disappeared in a crowd. Again, that guy needs a good kick to the throat, too. But what I remember is the way he looked. There was this smile on his face.

Like he’d given me a gift.

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One thought on “Sexual Assault: I Finally Get All Feminist on My Ass

  1. Pingback: Getting Trumped | Christina Holzhauser

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