My oldest child lives with her father and visits me on weekends. Up until the age of 14 (she’s 16 now), she lived with me and she was given the choice to move in with her dad if she wanted. I’ve had 14 years of teaching my daughter that she is a strong, independent person and her gender should empower her – never hinder her.
She came to visit this past weekend for Mother’s Day and was supposed to leave early Monday morning taking the buses back up to her high school. This didn’t go off as planned and she ended up staying a bit extra on Monday. Honestly, I was relieved because I wasn’t keen on her taking public transportation that early in the morning – I was still reeling from her telling me someone had grabbed her backside while traveling by bus in Seattle about a week and a half prior. The resulting talk we had about that incident was pretty much “You scream and yell pervert and I’ll be guessing that guy will think twice before randomly grabbing ass!”
She left in the late afternoon (just about the time when people are starting to come home from work). My little girl hadn’t even gone 5 blocks away from the house when she called me in a panic. Some guy had followed her a bit, turned onto a corner street, got out and flashed her. She screamed and yelled pervert. No one in what amounts to about a dozen houses within her voice range came out to see what the disturbance was. Hightailing it back to my house, she said she was sure the guy was following her the whole way.
We promptly called 911 and she ended up giving all the information she could on the phone as well as to the officer who came by shortly thereafter. She wasn’t able to get a license plate number – the guy wasn’t completely stupid. He pulled the car up and away in such a manner as to make it very difficult to read the plates unless you ran up on the vehicle. My sweet little girl spent the rest of the afternoon trying to calm down.
I called her father. We are a one vehicle family here and my guy works swing shift. This means I don’t have a vehicle from about 2:00 pm until midnight. For reasons that still have not been brought to my attention, her father (who has a rental car) and his wife (who has her own car) could not come to pick up our daughter. To further enrage me, my daughter informed me that her step-mother actually asked “What were you wearing?” when the ass-grabbing incident had been brought to their attention.
What were you wearing? Excuse me? WHAT WERE YOU WEARING? What does what she was wearing have to do with some random pervert deciding it would be really a great idea and so awesome as to reach out and place his hands on my little girl’s backside? In this day and age, who *still* feels it is the fault of the victim and not the criminal when it comes to this stuff? A friend on Twitter said today “It’s like saying I asked to be burglarized because I had nice stuff in my house” (exactly http://twitter.com/baristaman!).
It is *never* ok to sexually assault another person. Never. E-V-E-R. It’s attitudes like this and those of police officials in Toronto that continuously perpetuate the erroneous belief that how you dress or how you act automatically gives perverts the green light to assault you.
A friend on Facebook recently sent me an invite to an event coming up to combat this kind of crap: SlutWalk. The first one was held in Toronto and was a great success. I really hadn’t thought much of this event nor was I going to RSVP until yesterday. I’m hoping all who read this and who live in the greater Seattle area will give it some thought and, at the very least, support the upcoming SlutWalk in Seattle: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142324145837036. I know my daughter and I will be attending.