Editor’s Note: While the founding premise of SFAR was to provide a place for singles to find humor in real-world dating experiences, the site was also established with the mission of creating a safe space for people to share honest, sometimes difficult stories (and advice) about being a single person in the world. This story falls into the latter category. We thank our readers for turning to SFAR as a safe space to share intimate and personal stories, and relate wholeheartedly to the challenges females face in the modern world. For more information on what to do if you or someone you know have been victimized, we encourage you to reach out for support. Rape, Assault & Incest National Network (RAINN) provides a plethora of information and resources via their website accessible here.
I have been living in Washington D.C. for a year now since I graduated from college. I’m employed, but don’t make a lot, so I walk pretty much everywhere to save money. Sometimes, despite my better judgement, I walk at night because I really don’t want to pay for a cab. I joke that if my keys and lighter won’t help me fend off a perpetrator, surely my four inch heels will. I didn’t really know what I would do if I was ever assaulted on the street. Sure I liked to think I would defend myself, but how would I actually know?
I suppose you have to experience it first to know what your reaction would be.
Well, the other night I figured it out the hard way. I was walking through Dupont Circle around 9pm, where it was swarming with people per usual, on my way to my friend’s house. I noticed a man on a bicycle try to start talking to me, and like every other guy cat-calling from a bike or a car, I ignored him and kept walking. Like most girls, I’m not a fan of the gesture.
A few minutes later, as I turned the corner, he came up behind me and grabbed me -literally grabbed me. His hand went up the skirt and made full contact with my behind and more. I was so shocked and appalled, I didn’t think of how to react or what I should do, I just hit him. I didn’t report it. I didn’t scream. I wailed on him. Again and again. And then he has the gall to smirk at me (I think he was so surprised by my reaction that he didn’t know how to respond). Then he tried to apologize, which only pissed me off more, so I started profanely yelling at him, telling him to go f*ck himself and that he had no right to grab girls – not now and not ever. Then I threw a few more punches to make sure he got the point.
I was fuming afterward and wished I had done more so that he would be punished for what he did. What is it that makes men think they can treat us like this?
The next day, while working off a hangover from the endless whiskey drinks I had after being assaulted, I discovered that there was an article in the Washington Post: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/why-dcs-bicycle-groper-must-be-found/2012/07/16/gJQAbOuSpW_story.html) describing a very similar incident with other women. Knowing that it happened multiple times to other girls infuriated me.
I started lifting weights and taking kickboxing classes that afternoon. Try it again and see what happens.