The first of many violations happened when I was 6 years old. I was at a small department store with my dad, and true to our usual routine at this store, I asked to go look at the toys and books.
In the aisle of children’s books, I became deeply engrossed in one, and barely noticed that a young man had come to stand next to me. At one point, he said something to me, and I looked up to see his penis in his hand.
I threw the book into the shelves and ran. I ran so hard, I was panting and red faced when I found my dad, my mind racing.
My dad looked at me and asked what happened. In that moment, I knew that if I told my dad, he would put the store on lock down and kill the guy. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want the guy to get hurt.
So I shrugged it off and held my dad’s hand tightly as we walked through the store. I was only 6 years old, but I remember feeling even smaller.
Several minutes later, the guy was walking down our aisle towards us. He pointed me out to his girlfriend and they walked by us, laughing.
My dad said something like “weirdos” under his breath, and I remember feeling so confused by their laughter. Had I done something wrong? Wasn’t it a bad thing that he did? Why did she in particular laugh at me?
There were at least 5 other physical violations by the time I was 19, and countless catcalls and unwanted come-ons. The other physical violations happened at the hands of a doctor, a man who approached me in his vehicle when I was walking alone on a dark road, a stalker who was given my home address by a college professor, a man who grabbed my pussy in a bar, and a date that I mysteriously don’t remember after the second drink.