The whole Trump tape scandal and the political debate on Sunday really got to me this past weekend. I know it is because I have had so many experiences with men like that, men who thought they were entitled to touch or use my body without my consent. It’s been so prevalent in my life. And while I’m happy, in a way, for there to be a larger national conversation about abuse and assault, it is also depressing and of course triggering to have it all over the news.

Saturday evening I shared an article about the tapes on Facebook and commented on how frequently I had encountered men who thought they could kiss, touch, beat, or fuck me whether or not I wanted them to. Well, I didn’t use those words because, duh, these people know me in real life. But even though I was restrained in language, it was much more personal than my typical FB posts about my dogs and travels and garden projects. So I felt disappointed when I got some likes from friends and my sisters but only one comment, from someone I don’t know very well. By late that night, I was telling myself no one really gets it. Maybe I make too big a deal of it. Now everyone thinks I am oversensitive, or too revealing. They are embarrassed for me. I felt I never should have posted it. I stayed up too late, which never helps the wise part of me and instead feeds Anxiety and Self-Loathing, who are already active enough without the extra carbs.

Sunday I was unfocused and out of sorts all day. I appreciated Kelly Oxford’s #notokay Twitter project, even while I was horrified by the huge number of responses she got. I posted there, too, under my real name, though on my personal, rather than professional, Twitter account. Sometimes I felt lousy, as if all this had happened recently.

In the late afternoon, I got a text from my sister Debra, and it turned into a whole conversation, one we’d never had before.

Just read your FB comment about being grabbed and groped over the years… made me remember this time when I was walking down the street in a new purple shirt that I thought I looked good in. Some stranger passing by reached out and grabbed my boob. I went home and threw that shirt in the trash. That asshole owes me a shirt.

And could actually be arrested for that! Ugh makes me so mad!

I screamed at him, FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER! He backed away with his hands raised up like he was afraid I was gonna hit him. I think I scared him, ha ha.

And Trump (and others) sees nothing wrong with it. I’m sure he’d say, “it was just a joke; she shouldn’t take it so seriously.” I wish you’d grabbed the guy’s crotch and pulled. Or kneed him really good.

Right. I wish I had too. I remember at least two times being on the subway in Boston, and feeling someone’s hand on my ass.

I seriously have trouble remembering all the different times. [name redacted], [name redacted], [name redacted] (when we were all staying at his house in VA), guy from NH church whose kids I babysat, stranger at the Rastro market in Madrid. Stranger in gardens at Versailles. Doctor doing physicals at [name redacted] high school. Stranger on subway in Paris, in DC, on bus in [current city]. Guy I met at a bar on my first visit to HI.

Oh god, that’s so terrible!!! I think that most of the ones I remember were strangers. That’s so much worse when it’s someone you know and presumably trust. I’m so sorry hon. Bleah. 

It’s so common in our culture.

Wow, it’s a lot, you are obviously much more attractive to perverts than I am, lol.

Or seemed like an easier target. Bc I was, had not idea what to do about it other than take it.

Sorry, shouldn’t joke about it. I was naive too.

I was either 12 or 13 with [name redacted], who is a bit older than Dad. How sick is that?!?

Eww so gross what a pig.

I wish I’d known to tell Mom. I wonder what she would have done.

I wonder too. I remember she told me once that he wrote her a letter saying I was growing up to be such a pretty and nice young lady. Maybe he was hoping for a chance to grope me too. So disgusting. She thought he was a friend and paying her a compliment on her parenting.

I remember a year or two later, we saw him in the summer at a BBQ w Dad. He was watching you and talking about you getting “all grown up” [note: she would have been 12 or 13 by then]. I tried to stay next to you all night so he wouldn’t touch you. that’s the best I could think of at the time. True story. I bet he liked that age.

Thanks for being my bodyguard! It worked, he never came near me. I owe you big time! What a piece of shit.

Like many other men [note I am not saying “all men”], he saw girls and women as there for him to look at, touch, whatever. Not as human beings in their own right. And I see that same attitude in Trump, part of why this gets me so worked up. Very glad creepy [name redacted] never touched you!

I’d only ever tried to tell her any of this once, earlier this year I think, or last year, and I’d shut up immediately when she brushed it off as “oh, that was a long time ago.” It felt really good to have this conversation, to open up something between us. She didn’t disbelieve me. She didn’t trivialize it. I know, this is only a small part of my experience, and I still don’t dare tell her the worst of it. But it’s something, so thanks, Donald, for that.