After the audio tape was released of Donald Trump making lewd comments about making unwanted sexual advances on women, Canadian writer Kelly Oxford invited women to tweet their stories of being groped.
To her shock, the response was overwhelming. She received 50 tweets a minute for 14 hours. I’ll do the math for you..that’s 42,000 tweets in less than a day. She’s received more than ten million tweets since.
This news story brought up a few memories for me. Yes, I have been groped. I was in junior high when a boy I liked came up and touched me between my butt cheeks, not once, but on several occasions. I told him to cut it out, but he grinned and kept doing it. I was in high school working as a cashier at a grocery store when one of the bagboys reached out and twisted my breasts. I was working at a television station in Charleston, South Carolina, bending over to get some paper for the copier, when a male co-worker came up behind me and smacked me on the butt. Hard.
I don’t consider myself a victim of sexual assault. These are things that happened, annoying and distressing at the time, but I moved on. I hadn’t even remembered that they occured until Ms. Oxford’s tweet. It made me wonder. Why would I dismiss these events as no big deal? In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t. There are women and men and children who have suffered horrendous sexual abuse. A butt grope, a titty-grab, and an ass-smack don’t even rate.
I told my husband about these incidents and he immediately went all Knight in Shining Armour, “Who, When, Where was I?” He never knew, even though we’ve been together for nearly thirty years, because I didn’t think they were worthy to be mentioned. I have been touched without my consent because I lacked a Y chromosome, ho-hum. I told him it’s quite likely his sisters and his daughter have been groped too. I’m sure my female friends have been touched inappropriately too, and if you feel comfortable sharing I welcome you to the discussion. Stand up and realize we don’t have to accept it just because of our gender.
This news is opening up a bigger conversation, beyond just Donald-Trump-is-a-Pig. Women are realizing they’re not alone and that it’s okay to speak up. Men are realizing that this is the norm rather than an aberration. Understanding there’s an issue is the first step to fixing it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. Speak up. We can shame this nonsense, whether it’s a clueless prank or predatory behavior.