Here’s the first time (that I had the vocabulary and context to identify it for it was). I was nineteen and in Las Vegas with my fashion-merchandising class at a buying event (fun fact: I actually have a degree in this). While wandering in and out of casinos, an older man in a dark suit and a gold tie bar (the things you remember) goosed me before disappearing into the crowd, smirking.
Nineteen-year-old Erin Bomboy. Hello '90s style.
Here’s the most recent: During this July’s Midsummer Swing at Lincoln Center, I danced with a gentleman (because that’s what you do, dance with people, trusting that we all will follow the protocol of social dance) who, at the end, turned to his friend and said, “I know how to pick ‘em, like tomatoes at a grocery store.” After seeing my horrified expression, he rushed to assure me. “I need a safe space to say things like that. You have to give that to me.”
Forty-year-old Erin is terrified the world will be a worse place for her daughter.
In between these fabulous experiences lays a spectrum of gray that extends from full-on sexual assault to guys mansplaining to me why a woman deserves to be raped: she was drunk, she came on to me last year, she was wearing a navy-blue shirt dress and everyone knows women who dress like secretaries are asking for it.
It has happened. It is happening. It will continue to happen unless everyone says STOP. Please be the person who says STOP. Who will STOP.
*"If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Please copy/paste."