I remember I was at this party one time. I was about 19. I had come back home from college, which was honestly only one hour away yet felt like an entirely different world. I don’t know why this specific incident stands out from the rest, but it is most likely because this is around the time I started losing faith in men in general.
I don’t even remember his name, but we were friends in high school. He was one of the “dudes” I could trust. We were all hanging out in my friend’s backyard, having drinks, and goofing off. I was pouring myself something I would barely be able to swallow back in the present day and this guy that I thought was one of my “dudes” grabbed my butt. I was wearing a skirt and he just grabbed it as it belonged to him. I was beyond annoyed and felt intensely violated, but I laughed and walked away. Full-on awkward giggle. I didn’t want to be the girl who complained and ruined the party.
I thought about this for a long time after it happened because I couldn’t understand what made him think it was okay to grab my butt. My skirt wasn’t exceptionally short. I never flirted with him. I literally acted like one of the guys. Was it just the alcohol? I was only on my second drink.. I left shortly after because it affected me to my core and I never went back. I didn’t see those people ever again. I was embarrassed for actions that weren’t my own.
I imagined what he was saying about me after I left. Was he telling them he grabbed me and I liked it because I laughed? Was he telling them that he did more? It wouldn’t be the first time a guy had made up a rumor about me. I felt dirty and used. I felt misunderstood. A part of me was already mad at myself for not punching him in the face. Regretful for my response or lack of. I was kicking myself for not causing a scene.
The worst feeling of all was getting home and thinking that once again, it was somehow my fault.
I have had my butt grabbed more times than I can count or would like to admit. Before this incident and afterward. By strangers, men who I thought were my friends, boyfriends claiming me as their property, you name it. Yet every time it has happened, I shuddered as if it was the first time.
I know I’m not alone in this. There is some man manual out there that says if a girl is fun and outgoing with a drink in hand, go ahead and grab her butt, she’ll love that. On a serious note, why does this keep happening to women? If you’re a guy and reading this and have EVER grabbed a girl’s butt without permission (her being your girlfriend is not permission) then please tell me why you thought this was okay. I am honestly very curious!
This violation can happen so fast and it is one of the most demeaning, embarrassing and disgusting things I can say that has happened to me. The simple act of a stranger cupping your cheeks for their pleasure and making the assumption that you probably like it too is beyond me. It’s only recently I’ve been able to accept that none of these incidents was my fault. I never said, “Hey, come grab my ass, please.”
If I could talk to my younger self that day as she was leaving the party early, knowing she would never return out of pure embarrassment, I would say, it is not your fault. It doesn’t matter that you were wearing a skirt. It doesn’t matter that you’re fun and friendly. Your outfit and personality don’t give anyone permission to touch any part of you. You don’t have to change you. Not in any way. You are perfectly imperfect the way you are. Please don’t feel like you are less because someone was ignorant and horny.