Thursday, October 4, 2018

For those who don't believe, Number One

And these aren't even bad. I wasn't hurt. I was ashamed for some of them, but - never hurt.

But in almost every case, my wishes, my voice, my space - subordinate to what a man wanted. There are men like this.

I am five
I am at the park across the street from our apartment with my friend. We are playing on the swings.

This is back in the days when parents would let their children go to the park alone. I still think it's OK to let children go to a park alone. Just teach them.

My friend and I are playing. A man sits on the swing next to us. I notice he has some weird pink thing on his lap.

I realize that the pink thing is his penis. I have a brother. I have seen a penis before. And even though I am only five, I know that a penis is not something you show to other people.

Then he asks us if we want to go into the men's room with him.

We run back to my apartment and tell my mother, who calls the police immediately.

My friend says he had long hair and was wearing jeans. I remember that he had short hair and was wearing khakis. (I doubt I knew the word "khakis" at that age, but whatever.) We disagree on every aspect of the story except

  • He had a pink thing in his lap, a pink thing that was his penis
  • He asked us to go into the men's room with him

I am eight
We live on a military base in Spain. A  military base has controlled access. This one has a barbed-wire fence around the perimeter; that perimeter is patrolled. You do not get though the gate without proper identification. If you wanted to walk or drive onto the air force base near where you live, you probably would not be allowed to.

My sister and I are walking home from school. 

We are walking home from school in an area with controlled access.

A man - not in uniform - approaches us. His penis is hanging out of his pants.

I am twelve
My friend and I are walking home from school. It's the middle of the afternoon. 

You know where this is going. A man walks toward us with his penis hanging out of his pants.

Honestly. What do these guys think will happen? That we will be so entranced that we will forget that we are just little girls and decide that we want to play with that thing? Even as an adult, I don't understand the purpose of penis photos. Are they supposed to make me interested? Titillate me? What is the point?


  1. I wrote an immensely long post on my FB wall talking about my experience of growing up and learning about sex and what women do and what men do and what will matter or make a difference throughout the years. Interestingly, I approached it the same way you did - I listed myself at various ages and a snippet of something that was going on or had happened.

    I get that the men around me have never had a full picture that this is the experience in some form of EVERY SINGLE WOMAN and are horrified and flabbergasted and some of them are in denial and some of them still can't see the full picture and I get that because it means changing their own views of what temptation and self-control and responsibility are. Makes me sad, but I get it. Except for that one Evangelical preacher/lawyer who is a lifetime friend of a friend that I keep butting heads with. He got upset that not even the mutual friend would stick up for him (even though they frequently disagree) and felt piled on and took his ball and went home. Him, I want to throttle.

    What really upsets me are the *women* who still don't get it. Who still buy that there's more responsibility on the woman to "keep herself safe" and "not tempt the males" than there is on the men to "have self-control" and "treat women like human beings and not toys or objectives".

    [hugs] I'm sorry you had to deal with all those penises long before you wanted anything to do with any of them.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous Cat. I am angry at the men but also angrier at the women. I get so tired of this crap that women are these amazing temptresses whom men are too weak to resist. So we must cover ourselves or stay away from places after dark or whatever.

      Even worse, to me, are the women who claim that this sort of thing doesn't happen. Do they not remember? Because I know things have happened to them! Things have happened to all of us! I admit, I have been lucky and never been hurt, so it took me some thinking to realize that some of the events I am writing about were actually very wrong. But that's because I had been thinking about them in the way the culture wanted me to think about them - that this is just what men do and oh well.

      But now, I am pissed.

    2. Today is making me despair with anger. I don't know how to handle the willful blindness and what it means and will continue to mean for all of us.

      If you're interested in what I wrote in my immensely long post, it's here:

  2. I feel left out. I was in college before a guy thought that hanging his penis out of his pants was a good idea. (He liked beer ... a lot!) But my mother was only five (in 1928, mind you) when it happened to her - much like Goldie's first story - in the neighborhood park with her 6-year old friend, who immediately recognized the danger and dragged mother home.

    And, i'm with you. Women who don't get it are a huge problem. I bet that if we all sat down with five friends and really asked, we would find that at least two of them had this experience or much worse. It's time to stop letting boys be boys and make them take responsibility for their behavior.

    1. I told the Evangelical preacher/lawyer I was arguing with to go talk to all the women in his life and find out how many of them had experiences like mine. And that I wasn't interested in talking to him again until he had done that and thought long and hard about what would be necessary for women to stop having those experiences.

    2. I think there are so many times where we don't even think, "It shouldn't be like this!" This is how things are and you don't question how things are. You just survive in how things are.

  3. I am nearly 60. My father was a pastor. At some point in my middle school years, he began coming into our bedroom to give my sister and I "back rubs". Only they weren't just back rubs. I don't remember how long it went on, or how often it happened. I just remember feeling icky and uncomfortable. I guess the good thing was that there was never any penetration...just very inappropriate fondling. I was an adult when I told my mom. She was horrified. My sister acknowledges it happened, but refuses to talk about it. How do you protect yourself from someone in your own house that is supposed to be your protector? I don't feel ashamed anymore; but I am angry at the culture that allows this to happen.

    1. Oh I am so sorry. Reading this makes me sick to my stomach. How awful for you.

    2. My friend's Dad, a Pastor, did the same thing to us one night. I never spent the night again. I didn't tell my parents because I was afraid they wouldn't let me spend the night with anyone ever again. I mean, if you can't even trust the Pastor, who can you trust? 😔