I love having you guys around; being back here reminds me of just how awesome it is to actually have a life! But last night something pretty awful happened and I want to take this opportunity to clear up some things that you may not be aware of.
One of your… associates was getting a little bit grabby with me. When he first rubbed his hand across my backside I just put it down to an accident. Our kitchen is narrow and there wasn’t a lot of space to get through. An honest mistake, right?
Then he did it again. Deliberately. Blatantly. It was the kind of grab that not even my husband would do in public. I looked on in shock and disgust as he continued on his way as if nothing had happened. Suddenly things weren’t so fun anymore and I was on the defensive in my own home.
I didn’t want to make a scene so I pulled one of you aside and asked for you to keep an eye on me. I figured it better to have allies who could pull me out of trouble should my efforts to avoid him fail rather than having a smash up erupt in my rented house.
You told me you saw it happen. You also told me that you saw him do it to the other woman over at the time as well.
Why did you just sit back and watch?
To my other friend who works with him: when I pulled you aside and let you know that your friend was going around sexually harassing guests, you told me that he “gets like that when he’s had a few”. You also told me that he nearly lost his job when he did it to a work colleague and she filed a complaint against him. You promised you would give him another talking to, but not before telling me that he wasn’t your problem.
Why didn’t you warn us about what to expect?
To the person who got defensive when they found out and questioned the way I reacted; questioned if I “…loudly and forcefully said, ‘Don’t touch me’” and told me I “really should have handled it better”. Fuck. You. You have known me long enough to know that I suck at confrontation. Guess what? It turns out I’m especially terrible at it when the person who has just spent a good 10 seconds copping a feel is double my size. You will never experience that kind of powerlessness because you’re a big bloke who also happens to be a black belt and not a 165cm chicken.
Why did you question me and not him?
I am hoping that this letter doesn’t come across as an attack, because I don’t think any of us have been in a position like that before. I’ve been hanging around with you all for almost a decade now, and never once have I felt threatened. You guys are good people who understand that it’s not cool to help yourself to a woman’s body. Some of you tried your hardest to make sure I was safe. The thing is, it’s is not okay to just sit back and watch it happen. It is definitely not okay to excuse that behaviour because someone has had a few too many to drink, and it is NEVER IN A BILLION YEARS OKAY to attack the victim over the way they handle the situation.
Friends don’t let friends get sexually harassed.