For Anxy Magazine
Someone asked, “Who was your first Harvey Weinstein?” now that his name is synonymous with sexual predator. Every woman who heard the question had to stop and think because it has happened for so long, so often, in so many different ways.
It happens early for most of us, the subtle ways we’re told that we don’t really have autonomy over our bodies. It begins with the husband of one of your mother’s friends, who pats your butt whenever no one is looking. This seems wrong, but in a way you don’t know how to articulate. So you don’t. You are told to give your relatives a hug and a kiss, pushed forward sternly even if you don’t feel like it, and this seems similar, though not exactly the same.
You learn about stranger danger and never accepting a ride home, but not what to do if a man you’re supposed to greet with a hug touches your seven-year-old ass when no one is looking. One time you see him greet your mother, and notice him patting her butt as well. She doesn’t seem happy, but she doesn’t seem upset either, so you assume it is one of those things that adults understand and you don’t. You never really feel comfortable around him, though, and years later when he and your mom’s friend divorce, you are secretly relieved. Your mother tells you that there were “other women” and you realize you knew that long before she said it.
As you get older, you become used to other things. (continued)