I, fortunately, am not one of those people who have a name that is often misspelled. I had the option of buying my name on a keychain. It’s fairly traditional. So traditional, in fact, that I go by something the more interesting Sahara on WordPress and in a few other places.
I got my daily dose of street harassment yesterday.
At 4.5 months pregnant, I’m still in the stomach phase of ‘I look like I ate too much.’ (Cohiba’s like: Yeah – if you ate a baby.) I was walking back to work from an afternoon coffee jaunt and these two young guys passed me. One of them yelled, “How far along are you?”
At the end of March, President Obama made April 2014 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Sexual assault: Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling.
I’ve survived this. I’ve never said it in this way before, but I have survived this. Twice.
Those times weren’t traumatic. They weren’t violent. I knew both the guys. (Many survivors know their assailant!) I didn’t like it and I felt icky afterward; I still feel icky to think about it. Despite this, I never thought of it as sexual assault. I’ve always thought: You know, we were both drinking the first time, and he said he was really ashamed about it afterward. And the second time, well, I was “sewing my oats” that summer and that was just part of it. You got burned. I never considered it assault.
But it was.
Yesterday was one of those days I love and hate my work. We had a Christmas party for the clients, and it went really well – it was a lot of fun, and I was seeing some things I’m going to miss when I’m gone. For example, the clients were in groups playing Pictionary and one of them was trying to draw “Angels we Have Heard on High.” One of the guys said, totally serious: “Angels got high.” I was rolling with laughter, and it’s something I’m going to miss when I’m gone from here.
Then, we served lunch to anyone in the community, like we always do, and I got harassed by one of the guys. He took something I said to my boss and twisting it around sexually. I was embarrassed and angry and I put him out for the day. Things got better and I was walking to get some coffee before an afternoon meeting, and there was this guy in front of me…