The hand grabbed me from behind, strong and confident. There was no hesitation, no pause. It grabbed like it belonged there and dug into my ass. I was somewhat taken aback, as I was in the middle of my shopping and debating which was the best brand of cooking oil. “Surely” I thought “It is someone that I know that just happened to see me in the store and is saying hello in a very friendly way.” and I turned around to see who had such a huge handful of my ass in such a confident matter.
I came face to face with a complete stranger. A man I had never laid eyes on before. A man that felt he has the right to come up to me from behind in the middle of a store and lay his hands on me. Two of his friends stood next to him grinning.
I did not deal with it particularly well, to be honest.
My screams of rage brought the entire store to a halt. He pulled his hand away and bolted. I was not going to let him get away with blithely laying hands all over me. Without consequences, he would feel free to do something like this, or much much worse, in the future. I was going to take a stand, I have rights. My rights are not to have my body touched without my consent.
The perp fled out the store with me hot on his heels. Eventually he was cornered and captured by security in the parking lot and the cops were called. As I answered all of the officer’s questions for the assault report, they remarked how brave and strong I was, as if bringing a store to a halt, screaming at someone assaulting me and chasing them out of a building was unusual behavior.
It shouldn’t be.
Are most women trained to be quiet and acquiescent? To allow strangers to grab their bodies and not make a fuss because women shouldn’t be fussy? Would most women not give chase to a man who laid hands on them?
That saddens me.
Maybe I am not most women, I do not know. What I do know is that I am not afraid to stand up for myself. I am not afraid to demand my rights. I have a right to go shopping in broad daylight in a store with multiple witnesses and not have complete strangers coming up from behind and grabbing me. Ladies, do not be afraid to stand up for your rights. Do not allow people to violate you and say nothing because you don’t want to come across as “fussy”.
Because I was not afraid to stand up for my rights, the man that felt he could lay hands on me ended up in the back of a cop car. If all women reacted like me, I can tell you that men would think twice before assaulting. Please do not be afraid to take a stand. Please not be afraid to speak up. You have a right to not have your body touched if you do not give consent.
I will be pressing charges. I will do everything in my power to give this individual a wake up call. Hopefully he will never do something like this again. We will see. At least he has a record now.