Friday, July 06, 2007

Groping for the words... describe what it feels like to have some stranger's hand unexpectedly squeeze your private parts. Yes, it is a violation and in my case, it brought about extreme rage. I turned and screamed obscenities at the grinning and rapidly departing face of the young man who had stuck his hand between my legs as I had turned away from the street to unlock my door.

This incident occurred many years ago, in the Adams Morgan area of Washington, D.C. But it can happen anywhere at any time to any woman of any age. It happened to two women at the Chapel Hill Mall this week, as reported in today's ABJ. One woman states that upon feeling the grope, she turned and hit the man:

``His whole body just brushed up into mine,'' she said. ``And then he grabbed my butt. It felt intentional. It was not just a bump. I turned around and I said, `You just groped me,' and I punched him in the arm and the shoulder.

``He was just shocked and ran out. I was so angry that he could just get away with that. I thought, he just walked in here grabbed me and then walked out.''

Good for her! I wish I had done the same so many years ago.

Not only did she strike back, she got the authorities to arrest the guy and during the process another young woman appeared who said the same man had groped her while she was shopping at Victoria's Secret. Neither woman knew each other. The accused perp in this case turns out to be an assistant pastor at The Chapel in Akron who claims to be innocent of the charges. What he was doing in Victoria's Secret and Charlotte Russe stores at the mall remains to be determined.

Ever since the day that I was so rudely handled by a strange man, I have learned some self defense techniques that can come in quite handy. A feminist friend of mine uses reverse discrimination on out of control perverts. She screams all those negative foul words that have been created to keep women in our places. If you want to see something amazing, look at the faces of men who are unespectedly addressed as "whore," "bitch" and "cunt." They literally freeze in their tracks and don't know how to respond.

I prefer to use my old trusty friend, William Shakespeare. There is a fabulous monologue in Richard III by Lady Anne, one of history's saddest victims. Shakespeare gives her some marvelous passages to show us how much hatred she has at the beginning of the play for Richard. Try screaming the following at any man who is harassing you in public:
Foul devil, for God's sake, hence and trouble us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.--
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!
Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
Thy deeds, inhuman and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.--
O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
Either, heaven, with lightning strike the murderer dead;
Or, earth, gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood,
Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered.
When performing this, be sure to include various invisible characters in your actions. That will put the creep on edge, for sure. I have used this technique on the streets of Akron and invariably the male who was intent on bothering me backed off and made a rapid exit.

For those women who are determined to take back the streets and walk upon them whenever and wherever they choose, I would also encourage lessons in self-defense and some kind of concealed pepper spray and/or alert whistle.

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