In hindsight

by

More than ten years ago I was part of an amateur dramatics group in Australia as a young twenty-something. We would hold after show parties following each play when there was much drinking and merriment.

One year, a group of us decided to dress up a bit for the party. I had a nice long black dress, a bit slinky, which I decided to wear. As a normally self-conscious girl, I was aware it was a bit clingy so put a change of clothing in my friend’s car as a back-up.

At this party, one of the older men, probably in his sixties and a well-respected member of the amateur group, decided he couldn’t keep his hands to himself and decided to grab hold of me as I was walking past him and put his arms around me as if to cuddle me. He pulled me into his groin making typical dirty old man noises. After I wriggled free, another of the older men in the group, who was married to the play’s director, decided that would be an opportunity to grope my bottom. Upon turning around, he blamed the man next to him, who I knew was not the type of person to do that.

A friend of mine, who saw what happened, asked if I was okay, while another friend, after I told her what had happened said to me: “The reason they do that is because they don’t get any at home.” I fled to her car and got changed straight away. I didn’t report it because I was shocked and thought either no one would believe me or would tell me it was my fault because of the way I was dressed. If I had my time again, I would have said: “If you do that again, I will knee you so hard in the groin you will have to explain to your wife why you can’t get it up – if you could in the first place.” Oh well, #MFIF.

KH, Milton Keynes, UK

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5 Responses to “In hindsight”

  1. ausbirch Says:

    It makes me quite angry that KH immediately assumed her choice of clothing was responsible for the sexual assault, and went and changed. A clinging dress is not an invitation to touch.

    I have a personal plan for the next time something like this happens to me at a party or event. I will reach out forcefully and grab the offender by the crotch, making sure to get a good low grip (scrotum rather than penis), and squeeze until I see real fear in his eyes. If he backs away I’ll keep my grip and follow. It’s incredibly threatening to be groped like that in public, without one’s consent being even sought, maybe doubly so when it’s someone you know and previously thought was decent person. More men need to know this on a visceral level. Of course this approach probably won’t work with completely drunken yobbos, but there are plenty of gropers among more polite society.

  2. jennygadget Says:

    That’s just awful. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. 😦

  3. atozinco Says:

    That’s horrible, I hate that you felt like you had to get changed just so those men wouldn’t notice you so much. What they did is assault (and quite scary/threatening), but the men, and the others who saw what they did, treated their behaviour as harmless – “boys will be boys” (even when they are old men who probably have daughters and wives of their own).

    How did the man ‘wrongly accused’ of groping you take it? I wish that him – or one of the other men who had seen – had stood up for you & told the groper man off. If the friends of gropers let the behaviour slide (even if they don’t like it), they’re implicitly endorsing and encouraging the behaviour.

  4. piewackett1 Says:

    “It makes me quite angry that KH immediately assumed her choice of clothing was responsible for the sexual assault, and went and changed. A clinging dress is not an invitation ”

    I hope your anger wasn’t at KH. Women (and men) are constantly told this. Clothing has been used against women in rape trials, and IT WORKS. We are told we are asking for it some way or another. A woman can’t do anything right in a patriarchy.
    “She was asking for it”, right? How many fucking times have you heard that? And she never, not once, was asking to be killed, raped, beaten, etc.

  5. ausbirch Says:

    Piewackett – no, of course it doesn’t make me angry at the OP!

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