Monday, October 10, 2016

Heavier Things

A lovely day, a sobering reminder that there is still so much work to be done.

The weather sat squarely at the intersection of summer and fall: cloudless, brilliant blue sky, late afternoon sunshine to warm my bones and a stiff, changeable breeze that made an outer garment a necessity, at least for me while we were at the gazebo overlooking the river at Osbourne Boat Landing.

The meal leaned more toward summer than fall at Cochon on 2nd, with a salad of baby lettuces, roasted corn, bleu cheese and pickled onions followed by a hearty bowl of grilled prawns with corn, butter beans and tomatoes in a ham broth. Chocolate mousse pate is season-less.

The presidential debate, watched at Green Leafe Cafe with a noisy crowd, landed somewhere between the here and now and the past that every woman knows and wants put behind us.

"I moved on her like a bitch"? "Grab them by the pussy"? "You can do anything when you're a star"?

By the time we got home from Williamsburg, debate reaction was all over Facebook, as it should be given that a culture of "locker room talk" that makes light of sexual predation is of the utmost concern to far more than the half the population it diminishes.

An acquaintance posted tonight about being sexually assaulted in high school and then being bullied for reporting the football playing perpetrators to the school administration.

"Even if I had not had this horrible experience, I would still recoil when I hear the way Donald Trump speaks about women. We can NOT allow this narrative of locker room talk to be funneled any further to future generations."

Preach it, sister.

The sad part is, almost every woman has a story - or many - about the inappropriate things said and/or done to her simply because she was a female.

I was 12 the first time it happened to me - while I was babysitting - when the friend of the people I was sitting for unexpectedly came home early and alone, laying down on the couch where I was watching TV with his head in my lap. He began stroking my face, telling me how pretty I was and scaring me to death about what he was going to do next.

Thank goodness the couple came through the door shortly thereafter because I was not equipped to handle where the situation was going. Nor should I have been.

Flash forward to adulthood and my second day at a new job when one of the male employees came into the office and said, "You must be the new girl." I introduced myself, he did the same and then he smacked me squarely on the ass, complimenting its firmness as his hand left my backside.

Mind you, this was the early '90s and that was still legal workplace behavior.

Just a few years ago, I was at the Second Street Festival, part of a tightly-packed crowd watching a band when I was groped from behind. I turned and confronted the man and told him to leave me alone. He denied it and I moved further away from him. A few minutes later, he started up again.

It was left to me to move to the back of the crowd where people talked over the music and I could no longer see the band to escape him.

How any woman in this country could vote for a man who thinks and speaks of women in this way is inconceivable and it stops only when we start holding all men accountable.

That day can't come soon enough.

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