Tiger Spot (tiger_spot) wrote,
Tiger Spot

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Three Stories

At this point, I assume everyone's seen this post about men and rape culture. If you haven't, go read. There's been a lot of discussion around and sparked by that post, some of which is interesting, some of which is depressing, and none of which I am talking about here.

I have some stories to tell.

I don't tell this story often, partly because I don't know what to call it. By Texas law, it wasn't sexual assault because there wasn't penetration. It wasn't regular assault, because I wasn't awake so I didn't feel threatened. It would have been indecency with a child if he'd been older, but he was my age. The closest fit in that document is "public lewdness".

So. I was 14 or 15. My dear friend and her family invited me along on a trip to Schlitterbahn, the best water park in the whole world. My friend, her parents, her boyfriend, and I were going to take their van to Houston to pick up my friend's sister and her fiance from the airport. Then we were going to drive to the park and spend the night at a hotel there so we could spend the whole next day at the park. However, when we got to the airport we discovered that the flight had been delayed. They kept delaying it an hour, then a half-hour, then another hour... eventually they canceled it, but it was too late to get home, or to a hotel. So we spent the night in the van.

The next morning, we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and I discovered that I had pen marks all over my face. What? Where'd that come from? Did something break? The boyfriend copped to it. What the hell is wrong with you? I thought, and went to wash my face. Then we picked up the sister and fiance and had an excellent time at the water park.

A couple of days later, I learned what had actually happened in the van. Apparently, while I was sleeping, he'd woken up or not been able to sleep and decided it would be fun to fondle my breasts for a while. The pen was some sort of... alibi, or something... in case I remembered being disturbed.

He never actually told me this. He told my friend, and he told my younger sibling. Who demanded chocolate as reparations.

At the time, my entire response could be encapsulated What the hell is wrong with you?, plus a mental note not to be alone with that guy, or of course fall asleep near him. Gradually, the whole set of reactions to the incident -- his, my friend's, my sibling's -- started to look like the really warped part; later, I started thinking of the incident in terms of sexual assault and of the reactions in terms of the larger societal patterns that support sexual assault.

A bit later, when I had just started at the University of Texas, I met a nice guy whose name I've forgotten (sorry, guy). We met in the lounge in Jester, the biggest dorm, and played cards for a while. Then he invited me up to his room, so we went up there and played cards for a while. Then he offered me a backrub, which I accepted. "Can I go under your shirt?" "Sure." So I got a nice backrub. Then I went home.

I think I called him a time or two after that, when I wanted company roaming around campus late at night.

Somewhat later, still at UT, I was chatting on IM with a random creepy guy. Random creepy guys didn't IM me much at the time, so it was rather novel. He wanted to talk about sex. This is entirely inappropriate, I thought. How interesting. It was late at night and I was bored, so investigating this peculiar psychological specimen seemed like fun.

He turned out to be a local creepy guy, so I agreed to meet him at a Starbucks near campus. What a dangerous thing to do, I thought. I shall take precautions. So I picked a public, well-traveled, well-lit place, over near the other side of campus far, far away from my dorm, and called my ex-boyfriend to come with me. I figured he could call for help while I was mangling the guy if he tried anything. I viewed it a bit like rock-climbing -- clearly stupid and dangerous, but not really likely to get me badly hurt as long as I had the proper safety equipment. (Charlie: Thanks for being my belay line.)

My ex and I had a nice chat and amble along to the Starbucks, where we discovered that it closed at midnight, removing my nice well-lit public place. So we went home, and I never did meet the random creepy guy off the internet.

In sixth grade, an older boy on the bus tried to scoot in close and kiss me or something.

So I scratched his face, drawing blood, and he laughed and backed off.

Nobody bothered me the rest of the year.

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