This past week, thousands (Tens of thousands? Hundreds?) of women started sharing their stories of being sexually assaulted. Some were kissed against their will, others were fondled, some were penetrated. All were assaulted.
Conservatives, especially conservative men, seemed baffled by this. Why didn’t these women stop it? Or, worse, why didn’t they feel flattered at the attention?
Let me explain it in the context of my own sexual assault, a story I’ve shared before.
I was in Dallas on business and went with some friends to the gay nightclub scene. Not being gay myself, I wasn’t looking to hook up with anyone. This, however, did not stop men from pinching and groping my ass several times throughout the night without my permission. This was, by definition, a series of sexual assaults.
Now, here’s the where the experience of men and women differ.
Whereas a woman finds this kind of thing threatening and demeaning, I found it amusing. Why? Because I am very not skinny six feet and two inches tall and this was a unique experience for me. At no point was I even remotely concerned that someone would try to force themselves on me. And when I left this particular area, I knew it would never happen again.
I might have reacted if someone had tried to kiss me or grab my crotch because of the invasion of personal space, but I still wouldn’t have felt threatened.
That’s the privilege of being a man. I have the luxury of brushing off unwanted contact in a public space.
What I consider an interesting story to tell my friends is what a woman would consider humiliating and frightening. Add on top of that a culture that would rather call her a whore and a slut before condemning the man for touching her without consent and you should have just the barest glimmer of understanding of why Donald Trump casually bragging about sexually assaulting women has enraged so many women on both sides of the aisle.