Friday, October 14, 2016

I Still Believe Anita Hill

I guess I was lucky. I wasn't busty and beautiful enough to attract the attentions of Gargoyle Trump. I was too old for Jarrod and didn't eat at Subway all that often anyway. I wasn't the type for Bill Cosby, didn't run in the right circles, though I bought every record of his I could find and can still quote passages from his conversation between Noah and God. I never worked for one of "those" bosses, although as a boss I got to report an obscene comment, from a potential manager I was training to one of my junior staff, higher up the chain of command that got the trainee fired. (Hey, one tiny victory. But I bet the jerk hasn't changed.)

While I somehow managed to miss all those stereotypical situations where sexual harassment and assault are commonplace, I didn't grow up unscathed.

I was on my way to high school in the big city of St. Paul. 99% of the time that involved walking 2 miles of sidewalk along main streets in daylight hours, very much in public view. I have no idea what I was thinking about that particular day, but it wasn't about paying attention to the guy approaching me on the other side of the sidewalk. He didn't look at all out of the ordinary, act strange or threatening, just another one of the hundreds I passed by through the school term.

But there was one difference.

Just as he was ready to pass me, he stuck out his hand and shoved it in my crotch. I was too startled to do anything but yell, "Hey!", but he was already running away, laughing.

Lucky for me.

Maybe lucky for him that all my fantasies of vengeance are just fantasies. There's no power here, no striking back. Never had a self defense class, wouldn't have been fast enough to chase him down had it even occurred to me. I wouldn't possibly even have been able to have identified him two minutes later.

I don't remember it often. But when I do, I remember the feeling of being ambushed just for being young and female, of being for the last time able to thoughtlessly pass a man by, of being embarrassed for not having done "something" while having no clue what that might have been, and being unable to tell anyone about what happened.


Till now.

So when I hear those ridiculous denials of wrongdoing because (a woman) / (several women) didn't report it right away, they don't count with me. They're crap. You better have a way better defense than that, Bud.

I still believe Anita Hill.

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