Sexual violence against women is a growing problem.
Almost daily we hear tales of women being subjected to behaviour which is totally unacceptable, and it’s horrible to think about.
One woman who was assaulted – in broad daylight – is writer Mary Karr.
The bestselling author wrote an essay for The New Yorker, where she told of the horror of a stranger groping her in the street.
— Mary Karr, Author (@marykarrlit) August 11, 2016
She recalls the day she was walking up Ninth Avenue in Manhattan after having lunch with her son and a friend, and was sexually assaulted by a man she didn’t know. She writes:
“An approaching guy chatting equably with a tall friend dodged at me to grab my crotch. I don’t mean brushed by it maybe accidentally; I mean he grabbed between my legs with a meaty claw, big as a waffle iron. He also called me the C-word with breath that stank of beer. Then he passed on into a sandwich shop with his buddy.”
In the letter, the author describes the spectrum of emotions she felt after the man grabbed her crotch.
“Shame hit, a cold backwash of elemental shame: something bad had been done to me; therefore I was bad. Even though I knew better, I started scanning for how I’d incited this.”
While in her moments of shock and confusion, she had to opt for fight or flight, choosing the latter.
“If this sick bastard will do this to me in broad daylight, what’s he doing to these young’uns at 3 am?
“My mind shuffled through the myriad times that run-ins like this had happened before. Then I came to and shouted from the doorway, ‘Not today! Not this bitch! You picked the wrong woman to fuck with today!’
After her outburst, Mary found solace in a homeless man who encouraged her to call 911. When the police turned up, Karr joined them in the car as they pursued the groper, who, it transpires, was a serial offender. They arrested him for his offences.
Karr described the feeling at that point:
“How satisfying was all this? Very.”
She ends her story with these words:
“My own pet opinion is that the guys who make creepy comments on the street or grab you or constantly seek to reassert sexual possibilities in ways that make you uncomfortable aren’t just oafs. They seem to get a perverse thrill from mortifying you. That’s why I chased the Grabber down.”
But also warns other women:
Dear Everyone who's shared with me yr own story of (supposedly) minor sexual assault. Big thank you.But chasing somebody isn't always smart!
— Mary Karr, Author (@marykarrlit) August 12, 2016