Sunday, October 9, 2016
Untold Story #8: On Being Grabbed
My family moved to Tennessee when I was eleven, but before that, we lived in Pennsylvania. My mom had a girlfriend who's dead, now, a woman she'd met because her daughters were in Girl Scouts with me. It's funny how little I remember about this woman, my mom's friend, besides how thin and addicted to cigarettes she was, and how beautifully she wrote in cursive.
The daughters I knew (there were others, already grown) were older than I, and there was a son between them in age. He was a young teenager, and I want to say three years my senior. (I can't say precisely how old I was, but based upon the time of our move, I know I was no older than eleven.)
One day, a bunch of us were outside their trailer playing hide and seek. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I decided to hide under the trailer. The boy must have seen me belly crawl under there because he crawled in behind me. I remember his grabbing me very suddenly, very aggressively between the legs.
I remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realized I was in trouble. It was impossible for me to move with any speed, as the trailer was so low to the ground that I couldn't even get up on my knees to crawl. The boy was much bigger and stronger than I, and I remember--as I tried desperately to belly crawl away--his grabbing at my legs and pulling me backward, toward him. I remember his fingers brushing my crotch and hind end, and while I can't say I remember screaming, I remember fighting to crawl forward: grabbing at the ground under my hands, pulling with my arms, and kicking...kicking so hard. Finally, my foot met his face, and I was able to break free.
This was not the only time I've been assaulted, but it was the memory that surfaced just after I heard Donald Trump say about women, in a 2005 recording: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” My eyes welled up, and I felt it; I had been undecided, but I felt the proverbial breaking of the camel's back.
I am a woman; I have been grabbed; I have daughters; I will not cast a vote for this man.