10 of My Worst #MeToo Moments and What I Did About Them

Mass shootings are becoming such a regular part of American life, that I lose track of names and faces of victims and shooters, alike. When we say that shooting, we now have to specify. Which one? Which state? Which one in that state? This year, one took place just two miles from my home.

Even so, there was one thing which stood out in the recent Texas school shooting, and that was the allegations made by the mother of one of the victims. She claims her daughter was sexually harassed by the shooter for four-months, before she finally stood up to him in front of the class—embarassing him.

This new detail became the new impetus for conversations about how boys and men handle being spurned. They say hell hath no fury like women scorned, but perhaps this is not as true as many would have us believe. After all, most rapists and stalkers are not women, but men. And by most, I do not mean more than 50 percent; I mean upwards of 90.

What are we teaching our boys? Why is being told “no” such a crushing blow? Do they learn these behaviours from their fathers? Older brothers? Or is mummy the woman who never had the guts to say “no”?

For almost a year, I’ve had this blog post sitting in my queue unfinished and unpublished, but today I think I’ll add my own ten cents to the dialogue, showing that sexual harassment is a serious issue in modern society, and affects women not on occasion, but almost every month, every week, and for many, every day.

Here are ten of the worst times a man has failed to understand the meaning of the word no in my life.

1. I Will Cut You

I was sixteen and at an event at my college. As has ever been the case in my life, most of my friends were guys, and I was standing with them. We hadn’t come for the show, but to hang out, so while we were in viewing distance, we were to the back of the hall.

I was minding my own business when a guy walked over to me and poured his bottle of water down the front of the white button-up blouse I was wearing. I jumped back and asked him what the hell was wrong with him. He said, “You have nice boobs, and I just wanted to see what they looked like under a dripping wet, white shirt.”

“Really?” I said, digging in my purse for a razor I always kept handy. “Can I borrow your hand for a second?”

“Sure,” he answered.

I slashed him on the forearm and walked away.

2. Under My Skirt

I was seventeen years old and at a college party at a local club. My friends had gone to get drinks, so I was by myself, waiting. I don’t remember if I was dancing or standing, but at some point, some guy saw fit to sneak up behind me and press his groin to my backside.

I turned around and told him politely that I wasn’t interested. For good meausre, I moved, but not so far away that my friends couldn’t find me. He saw fit to move, too, and this time shoved his hand under my skirt. “I’m [insert generic name here],” he said, when I rounded on him. “We go to the same school.”

“What’s your point?” I asked him. “If you touch me again, I’ll break your fingers.” Whether from embarassment or entitlement, the anger boiled within him. But before he could try his luck, along came my friends with our drinks—once again, all guys. He saw he was outnumbered, and walked away.

3. Do you Know Who I Am?

I had only just moved to a new neighbourhood for university, and had no idea I would find myself in the middle of the ghetto until I was already living there. As one of the only lighter-skinned Blacks in the community, I stood out like red chalk on a sidewalk, and drew a lot of unwanted attention.

One day, while I was waiting on a cab for class, I heard a guy cat-calling me from across the street. I ignored him and continued to walk. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see him crossing the street and coming towards me.

“Didn’t you hear me calling you?” he demanded, blocking my path.

“I heard you.”

“Then, why didn’t you answer me?”

“I have no obligation to answer you.”

He narrowed his eyes at me, menacing, and took a step closer. “Do you know who I am?” he asked, no doubt implying that he was a member of one of the gangs, maybe even their leader.

I took out the knife my boyfriend had given me some weeks before. “Do you know who I am?” I returned.

He was so stunned that for a moment, he only stared at me, and then he started to laugh. This is probably the only instance with a happy ending. I was untouchable in the neighbourhood thereafter, under his protection. He didn’t need to be anywhere near me. Whoever he was (I still don’t know), his word was law. Even so, I moved to a better neighbourhood a month later.

4. Nice Ass

When I was 20 years old, and in university, I lived in a house on a hill not loved by cars. So, almost every evening after classes, I would get out at the foot of the hill and take the quiet walk up. One day, when I exited the cab, I noticed three thug-muffins sitting on a wall by the foot of the hill.

“Hey!” one of them called to me. “You need to smile! Why you look so miserable?” I ignored him, but he decided to follow me. When he was close enough, he reached out and grabbed my ass.

I spun around and served him a slap to the face as hard as I could. “You want to try that again?” I asked him.

He was so stunned, he backed away and kind of fell against the wall in a daze. His friends didn’t say anything, either. I was in a daze, myself. I hadn’t intended to slap him, but my body apparently, wasn’t having it today.

Kudos for reflex?

5. I’m Going to Rape You

While still living at this same neck of the woods, I was waiting on the bus to get to school one morning, when a motorcycle whizzed by me. He made some sort of cat-calling attempt, but I was on my phone and pretended not to hear. Less than a minute later, I heard the bike coming back in my direction.

“Didn’t you hear me call to you?” the man asked me.

“Yes—and?” I replied.

He narrowed his eyes at me and said, “I’m going to rape you; watch.” And then he rode off.

6. Nice Arm Rests

After college, I met this older guy who took a liking to me. One day, I mentioned a movie I wanted to see and he offered to take me. I advised him it was no date, and he said he understood and that was fine. To prove the point, I invited one of my female friends along, and all three of us went to see the movie, together.

In the theatre, she sat to my left and him to my right. When the movie started, I felt his arm around my shoulders, with his fingers hanging idly over my breasts. I moved it; he put it back. This time, the tips of his fingers were very clearly on the cleavage beneath my blouse. I moved his hand again.

“Come on, now! Don’t be like that!” he said, ordering me really, to allow him to continue to touch me as he pleased.

“If you like your hands, you will keep them to yourself,” I warned him. My friend who knows I don’t take kindly to these things (as you’ve probably noticed by now!) watched out of the corner of her eyes with a smirk on her face.

She was not disappointed. In the parking lot after the movies, I let him have it, and then her boyfriend came to pick us up and drop us home.

7. Marry Him, But Sleep With Me

Maybe less than half a year after this, I went to the club with my boyfriend-at-the-time. While we stood talking together, and later dancing, there was this guy nearby goading him on. “Yes, man!” he said. “Your future wife, that!”

My boyfriend then noticed some of his friends not too far off and excused himself to go talk to them. I assured him I was fine, and would wait where I was. He had barely taken two steps away when the guy who had been encouraging him to wife me two minutes earlier grabbed me and pulled me against him. “It’s my turn now,” he said.

I tried to pull away from him, but he wouldn’t let go, and the other men around us only watched while he dragged me further and further away from where my boyfriend had left me. As we passed the table of one of these men, I took up their bottle of beer or rum or vodka (I don’t remember) and turned around to whack the guy across the head with it.

He immediately let me go, and backed off. And can you believe, told me I was being unreasonable? Needless to say, no one bothered me for the rest of the night.

8. Pay for Easy

I met a Hungarian who, for whatever reason, was head-over-heels for me, and made it clear from before the first date that he fully intended on making me his wife one day: an assertion I paid little attention to.

On our first date, he had been mostly a gentleman, but on date two, I guess he thought he would try his luck. While we ate, he suddenly set his hands on my thigh and started to stroke it. Looking him dead in the eye, our conversation uninterrupted, I reached under the table and moved it. He smiled and seconds later, it returned. This time I reached under and threw it off. When we went to the movies afterwards, he tried the same game again, and was met with the same result.

For as long as I had known him, he had often complained that women were only ever drawn to him because of his money. So, at the end of the night, I told him, “Since you want women who don’t have boundaries about their bodies and what you do with it, keep paying for them.”

I never went out with him again.

9. Foot Fetish

When I worked in corporate, I often wore heels or flats. However, I hated walking in them, so I would often walk out to where the cabs sped by on the main road in my sandals and then change into my work shoes in the car.

One morning, after a cab picked me up, I hopped into the front, and immediately began to change from sandals to shoes. As I took the sandals off, the driver looked down at my feet. “You’re showing off, eh?” he asked me. “Such pretty feet!”

I looked up just as we almost drove into a light pole—so distracted was he by my feet. He then righted the car, and reached for a foot. I slapped his hand away and asked him if he had lost his mind.

Suddenly, he seemed to come to himself, and began to focus once more on the road. I hurriedly slipped on my shoes and put the sandals in my bag, watching with obvious unease, while he struggled to keep his eyes on the road. This is hands-down the creepiest cab ride I have ever taken.

10. Stalked Home

When I was still on my nomad journey in the U.S., I often bounced between my mom’s and my husband’s (then-boyfriend’s) apartment. When I stayed on her side of town, I would walk with her to the bus stop from her apartment complex, and then walk back.

One day, as I returned to the complex, a car pulled up in front of me and blocked my path. The two guys in the front then stuck their head out the window and started to shout “flirtatious” obscenities at me. I pretended not to hear them, walked around the car, and continued on my way.

At the stop sign just ahead, they made a left, and I made a right towards mom’s division. When I got to the parking lot just before her building, the car pulled up in front of me, again. The driver jumped out: eyes wide, temper flaring.

“Didn’t you hear me holler at you?” he said. “Why you gonna play me like that? You ain’t gonna answer me, shawty?”

Again, I pretended not to hear him, and kept on walking. But rather than go home, I took a deliberate wrong turn and went to a different division. I waited for a few minutes, and when I was sure he was gone, I cut around the back of the building, and crept up the stairs to the door.

For the men especially who read this, do make note of how many times women are assaulted throughout our lives. It’s not an occasional occurence for a rare few. I didn’t say the ten times I was assaulted; I said ten of—and it took a lot of time to decide which ten I would use.

As bad as these instances are, there are at least three so horrific I will never post them online. One saw me dragged to a police station with tears in my eyes at nine years old. The other launched me into a month-long depression where I practically fell off the face of the Earth. And the third, left me on an angry rampage for a year, making intimacy with others almost impossible.

Naturally, I am a fighter, as my grandmother was a fighter. I do not come from a line of women who bow to men’s wishes and efforts at submission. But what of all the women who were not raised by fighting women, like I was? What are their everyday realities? What are their endings like, in these scenarios?

I know this is a sensative topic for many of us, but as I’ve rambled off ten of my worst, will you share yours with me in the comments? Men need to better understand the world they have created for women (their mothers, daughters, sisters, wives) to live in, and rein in their bad apples, before it spoils the whole lot for the rest of us.

Also men, do not fail to note that in none of these instances did another man step up in my defence. Not one.

We don’t all have the luxury of strong women who set an example for us, so why not see it at work in fiction? From the nonchalant and unfeeling to the emotional and intense, strong women follow a wide and varying spectrum. We need not always be painted as men to be strong. See women like these at work by pre-ordering my upcoming novel via purchase of any of these items. Thanks for taking the time to read my rambles!

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55 thoughts on “10 of My Worst #MeToo Moments and What I Did About Them

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your experiences sound absolutely awful but sadly I’m not surprised. I’ve been sexually harassed since the age of about 6 (my neighbours grandad thought it was appropriate to sit stroking my thigh when he dressed up as santa – thank god I wasn’t sitting on his lap). Catcalling, being grabbed in the street, being physically threatened, even having my friends dads making pervy comments about how they would “have me” if I was a few years older (I was 11) were all part of my CHILDHOOD and it hasn’t stopped. I’ve had numerous occasions where men have physically pushed me up against walls and tried to molest me, usually in clubs or at parties (one time even following me home and trying to break into my flat). Oh, and I spent 18 months in an abusive relationship with a coercively controlling man. I applaud you for fighting back but it can be so dangerous. Last year a van full of men drove level with me, making obscene gestures out of the window. I stuck my finger up. They got so mad that when we got to the lights they got out of the van and came towards my car, swearing and shouting. Luckily I was able to drive off but it was terrifying. I don’t even know how we begin to tackle this problem.

    1. It’s terrible how widespread this is, and even worse, how young of an age it starts. I had a few instances like that as a child, as well. I remember being cat-called by a high school student when I was in 5th grade. I was so confused, I just stared back at him, and since I had the audacity not to answer, he gave me a piece of his mind.

      You are right that fighting back is dangerous. A lot of women are killed just for politely saying no, so pulling out a knife or slapping one across the face is a hell of a risk. But I like to be able to face myself in the mirror every morning, and I couldn’t if I didn’t fight back.

      Here’s to hoping it gets better for all of us.

      1. Absolutely, and I know that if I hadn’t used force to physically get myself out of certain situations things could have ended very differently. I think it’s incredibly sad (and here in the UK, illegal) to have to arm ourselves to stop men from attacking us though. What a world to live in.

      2. Not allowed in Jamaica either, but the police don’t enforce it unless you use it for malicious purposes. They understand the importance of it.

      3. I don’t doubt it. Jamaicans are a bit more practical about applying laws.

        I was robbed the October before I moved here and when I reported it, the police officer asked me if I didn’t have pepper spray or a knife on me. I pointed out that it was illegal to be running with either of those. He said, “Yet, if you had them, you wouldn’t be sitting in my office, today. None of us are going to arrest you for having pepper spray unless you use it to attack someone else for no reason, or to commit a crime. Using it to defend yourself is okay. Get one.”

        I got one right afterwards, but then ended up moving to the US the following summer anyway. Gladly, never had occasion to use it.

      4. Wow. I get that that’s a practical solution, but it also sounds a bit like victim blaming?

        Whereas here, a farmer who legitimately kept guns was sent to prison for shooting a burglar.

      5. I didn’t take it as victim blaming. He knew the law and why I obeyed it. He was making a point that some laws are meant to be broken and that the police would be lenient about it.

  2. thank you for sharing am very sure every woman has encountered such every other day its great the at you are a strong woman who can tell them as it is .the reality is men need to be educated i mean they have sisters and mothers and am sure they wont stand for having them treated that way

    1. Thank you! If they know it’s wrong to treat their mothers and sisters that way though, I wonder if it’s education they need or a conscience.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these very specific scenarios. Oftentimes, the shame surrounding the very nature of the situations can force you to not ever want to discuss it with others. By By sharing you demonstrate how common these occurrences are and that no one is alone! Thanks, gurl!!!! 🙂

    1. I’ve learned not to hold myself accountable for the stupidity of men like this. It took me a long time to get there.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. I avoided dating for the most part because I was terrified of the same scenarios you just described living. I bought into the lie that if you were good and minded your own business and kept your head down, you wouldn’t attract negative attention like that…but it’s a damned lie. You can get this treatment just for being a woman and breathing.

    I talk to everybody I meet, and I used to mostly work around men, which didn’t bother me. But i was taught to be nice to everybody (and I am still scrubbing that “pushover” sticker off my forehead), and I hoped one would take the hint that I wasn’t interested in meeting him outside of work or anything, and he never understood that when I was blushing and stuttering, it was because I was anxious and getting pissed off; I was not secretly enjoying his attention. It wasn’t til the last day I saw him I got a little scared of him, because I was sure he was going to get his truck and block me in down at the parking lot away from prying eyes and ears to have his say (I’m sure he heard I was not interested and refused to speak to him from co-workers). He was waiting around and that was enough for me, and I wouldn’t say a word. He always tried to talk me down, but it’s hard to do that to a brick wall. Yeah, I quit that job, and he eventually got let go.

    It’s been over a year since I last saw him, Christmas since I saw any texts (that I can block now–the word “misunderstanding” big in those last texts) but I still stiffen a bit behind the wheel when I see an old model truck that looks like the one he drove to work all the time.

    And now I’m more paranoid than ever. Every time I imagine getting outside my comfort zone and trying to meet people, my feet are glued to the ground and I can’t speak. It’s slow going, but I’m working on that, working hard. Because I’m tired of being afraid and alone, and have been for too damned long.

    1. I have only been in one relationship where the guy failed to understand that NO meant NO, and it was hanging by half a thread at the time it happened, so that was his shoe out the door.

      I find that these things happen more in our everyday lives: men at work, on the bus, at the gas station, at the pub. And yes, that definitely makes meeting people and socialising a very risky experience.

      I know you mentioned standing up for yourself feels hard, but please never allow a man to make you feel guilty for retaining autonomy over your body. It is yours. You were born with it, and you set the rules for it.

      I’ll tell you a story of how the incident with that ex forever etched that into my mind and my behaviour.

      One day, long after the incident, my mum and I were at the mall and these two men approached us. They began to compliment and flirt with us, but I ignored them. Mum tried to be polite. When they asked for our numbers, we told them we were both married. They continued to insist they could just be “friends” and kept pushing, eventually offering their hands for us to shake. Mum accepted out of politeness. I looked the guy dead in the eye and said, “Sorry, but no, thanks.”

      When he got into the Uber we were waiting on mum started to laugh. She said, “I can’t believe you didn’t shake the man’s hand.”

      I said, “Why should I? My hand is a part of my body, and only I decide who gets to touch my body. His ego and his feelings are not my responsibility.”

      I find that once we start setting boundaries on even those seemingly inconsequential interactions, it’s easier to stand our ground later on for the big stuff.

      Again, I’m so sorry you experienced that. *hugs* 🤗 Hang in there. Better people are still around.

      1. I like that because it’s true–his ego and feelings aren’t your responsibility. Definitely something to keep in mind when I’m out and about and getting uncomfortable vibes. I just keep finding nuggets of wisdom everywhere today (yay!)

      2. Haha, well I’m glad it’s been a day of wisdom for you and that I was able to contribute.

        I hope your interactions going forward are more peaceful and happy!

    1. Thank you, Norah. Glad I could shed some light on how common this is, and get the conversation going.

      I’m also glad to see men joining in!

      1. I was thrilled to see the male comments. I agree with those who say that men need to start intervening to protect women, and men from violence at times, too.

  5. Sexual harassment was such a normal part of life that I never even thought to keep track of it. It is interesting at 71 to see behavior in the work place being called out. Much of what is being addressed was absolutely ordinary. What a change!

    1. Isn’t it sad what girls and women have come to accept over generations as ordinary parts of being female? I’m glad these are being called out. Physical assault, especially, cannot be allowed to continue.

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately for many women who choose to fight back, it is their last stand. Isn’t it funny how we’re allegedly the emotional ones!

      1. Of course. I suppose with them it’s just charming and such, a show of masculinity. 🙂

  6. You are definitely a fighter. The most succinct explanation for this kind of male behavior that I know of is in a quote from Margaret Atwood; “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” That part about the laughing has to be it, because I just can’t wrap my brain around the idea that those guys really think what they are doing is attractive. Another explanation is that they understand sex as a sport with women not even as the opposing team, but as the goal or the target, and the competition is with other men.

    1. I have heard that quote before and it hits home every time. What a difference in realities we face in our interactions with the opposite sex.

      I do believe that some men think of women as all a part of sport, but truly I have to wonder if they think a woman will be more attracted to the man who threatens to rape them with actions or words than the man who is charming.

      1. The man who threatens is not aiming for attraction. He is demanding compliance. That is not about sex or love, its about power and control. He might, with sufficient mental gymnastics, believe that she will swoon when faced with his “manly strength and determination”, but that is his delusion.

        Of course, there are predatory men who begin with charm and only proceed to domination gradually. They are more clever, but no less dangerous.

      2. I dated one of those latter men you described. He is responsible for that year-long angry rampage I mentioned after the list. For all the ridiculous things he did, that one incident put an immediate end to the relationship and is the one thing I will remember him for until the day I die.

        Worse, long after I had cut him loose, he texted me about his poor treatment of me, saying how very sorry he was, and it came up. He called it a “misunderstanding”. I have never wished I could reach through a phone and strangle a man more than I did that day.

      3. To be honest, I never thought of him as charming. He had always been a little awkward and clueless about women. I told him the first day we met that he wasn’t my type, and why, but he was eager to learn, or at least pretended to be, and I didn’t mind teaching. Over time, we spent so much time together, I learned to overlook his many faults as quirks. In the end, he grew jealous of what he and his family called my habit of “overachieving” and rather than strive to match me, he strove to keep me down. I suppose he believed that was easier, but as you’ve seen, I’m a fighter, so that didn’t work out too well.

        Glad that’s all behind me!

      4. I see what you’re saying about the guy calling back and it was a “misunderstanding.” In stories like this, I seem to see that word an awful lot from the guy’s side. I’m growing to hate that word.

      5. Agreed! The worst part is, it could never have been a misunderstanding. No sane man could expect affection from a woman at that time, after all he had done earlier that day.

        When he claimed misunderstanding as his cop-out, I told him if he thinks I had any interest in being touched at him after those things, he needs to have his head checked.

        It was as the gentleman said below. He had expected compliance, not so much consent, and I gave neither of them.

  7. The culture needs to change! Men have been the worst allies–complicit with our silence and inaction–because it’s one thing to convict a Bill Cosby or charge a Harvey Weinstein with sexual assault but it is the culture that allowed them to carry out their dark deeds for so long that is the real danger!

    1. I agree, completely. In a lot of these instances, other men see their brothers and friends commit these acts and do nothing because, it’s not their business, it’s his marriage, and it’s not their daughter. But as Martin Luther King once said, “For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing.”

  8. Just had to say something here …

    Sorry to hear of your experiences with men. I often am disappointed by how many of the men I meet behave.

    I would make the point that “gentlemen” do exist, although our declining culture seems to be changing that. It is unfortunate.

    I have had an occasion where I came to the aid of a woman being accosted by a man who I believe was an ex- boyfriend. There was no way I could sit by and just watch what was happening. But, that was some time ago.

    Anyway, I wish you and your husband well in the future.

    1. Hello Gilbert, as I mentioned in the article, most of my friends are men. This would not be the case if I felt threatened by them, or in any way had come to believe that gentlemen did not exist. So, while I appreciate the reminder, I do hope you understand it is not one needed.

      The point of the article is not to throw men under the bus, but to shed light on the bad apples who make peaceful life almost impossible for women going about their daily lives. The focus shouldn’t be on whether men are good or not, but on the experience of women, and I think the natural diversion by men to rush to defend their kind rather than focus on the issue raised is a big part of the problem itself.

      Thank you for your well wishes, and for taking the time to read and comment.

      All the best to you and yours!

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