I was in the third grade when a classmate ran up behind me, put his hand down the front of my shirt and squeezed my chest and shoulders and yelled, “Nice shoulders BABE!” I yelled at him to stop, but he and his friend had already ran off, giggling as if they had just egged someone’s house.
My 8 year old mind couldn’t process what had just happened. I just stood there and hung my head. like a scolded puppy. I felt dirty, embarrassed, and confused. I wondered if I was supposed to feel this way or if it was just another “boys will be boys” incident?
A few days later, I decided that I *really* wanted that punk to get in trouble for what he did. I didn’t care anymore if it was typical for a boy to squeeze a girls (non-existent) boobs and shoulders. I wanted revenge! So, I did what most kids do when they’re pissed: I went to my mom and told on him. I wanted her to get angry at him like I was. I wanted her to go to my school and demand that he be punished for treating HER little girl that way!
Yeah, that definitely didn’t happen.
I don’t remember the details of the conversation. I remember recognizing the bullshit excuses
I’d heard from others of my moms generation: “If it upset you, you should have told your teacher….He’s just a little boy who has no idea how to treat girls….BOYS DO THESE THINGS WHEN THEY THINK A GIRL IS PRETTY.”
This was my first encounter with sexual assault under the guise of harmless flirting, and it definitely wasn’t my last. I have too many memories of male “friends” who would attempt to kiss or touch me without my consent, or relentlessly try to pursuade me to do sexual things for their own amusement (like eat a banana a certain way, flash my boobs, or grab their erection, just to name a few). I continued to excuse their behavior, knowing in my heart that what they were doing wasn’t right.
Those male friends of mine were taught that it’s acceptable to assault women when they’re growing boys with raging hormones.
And that’s my story.