The first time I was “grabbed by the pussy” I was 10 years old. It was my last year in elementary school and I was waiting at the bus stop. An older “boy” (he was a teenager, although I’m unsure of his exact age) would often come to the bus stop and tease those of us standing there in the typical schoolyard bully type teasing. I had mastered the art of ignoring people like him, so I would just stand to the side, avoiding eye contact and waiting quietly.
One day, my lack of attention got the best of him. He walked up to me and slid his hand as low as he could down my backside and between my legs and then all the way back up my posterior. I will never forget the embarrassment I felt. My body froze, blood rushed to my face and I instantly felt ashamed.
I never told my parents of the incident. However, because the bus stop was just across the street from my house, I avoided future situations at the corner by waiting until I saw the bus coming down the street before I went out there.
I wish I could say that was the only time in my life that I was subjected to the type violation in which Donald Trump spoke of during his conversation with Billy Bush. Unfortunately, like many women, it wasn’t.
When I was 13, I went with a friend to a neighborhood park. There was a boy she liked and asked if I would ride my bike with her to the park to meet him. I did. The guy she liked was there with one of his friends. I sat on the swings while she and her guy-friend walked way to talk alone. That’s when his friend became really aggressive. He exposed himself to me and I ran. He chased me. I attempted to get on my bike to leave, and he grabbed it away from me and threw it to the side. I ran up the platforms that led to the slide, trying to get away from him. He grabbed me and then pinned me down.
I was sure at that point I was going to be raped.
He pushed my shirt over my head, holding it and my hands above my head as he groped my breasts. I screamed. He kept tugging at the waistband of my shorts and grabbing my crotch. I was crying. I was struggling with all my might to get away, but he was just too strong. Fortunately, my friend heard my screams and I heard the saving words from her guy-friend, “Get off her!”
He pulled his buddy off me and I quickly pushed my shirt back down and ran to my bicycle. My assailant was so angry about his plan being stopped, he plugged one side of his nose and blew “snot rockets” all over me before I was able to escape.
Over the weekend a recorded conversation was released which revealed Donald Trump saying the now infamous lines to Billy Bush:
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
When Donald Trump speaks of how his wealth and power allows him to do whatever he pleases to women, my mind can’t help but go back to a time when older boys, who were more powerful than I was, did the very thing in which Donald Trump spoke – to me. And, I know I’m not alone.
When I was a child, I was fearful to tell anyone of what happened to me. The boys who touched me did not receive any punishment for their actions. I buried it. I did everything I could to avoid being in those situations again.
Those who support Trump seem to think those of us who are upset by the Trump tape are upset because of the offensive words he spoke: “pussy” and “fuck.” He could have described his actions in sterile language and the statements would have still been just as offensive.
It’s not the words he used, it’s the actions he described – those actions can only be described as sexual assault. I will not be silent about it, anymore, and neither should you.
Featured image via Getty Images/Jessica Kourkounis/Stringer (edited by Elizabeth Preston)