That is how many I have filed in my life…
Assault Charge #1
The first one I filed was against a boy in high school who snuck up behind me and grabbed my breast on the bus. I was a sophomore. As I was exiting I told the bus driver what had happened and she just shrugged her shoulders at me. I didn’t understand her response. “Am I overreacting?” I thought to myself.
The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. So, I told my mom when I got home that day. She said “Oh, don’t worry about it. He’s young and just wanted to cop a feel.” I was floored by her response. Didn’t she understand that I had been violated and embarrassed? Didn’t she know that I was stressing that this might become a game for the other boys on the bus if I didn’t do anything about it? To me, it wasn’t as easy as just chalking it up to “boys being boys” and wait, we didn’t live in that era anymore, right? At least, I didn’t think we did…
I saw the boy on the bus the next day, he was laughing about it with all of his friends. We were in the same civics class too. Later that day, before civics class started, I told him if he continued to talk about it, I would press charges. During class, he was laughing and pointing at me again with his buddies. I knew what (and who) he was talking about. In that moment, I forgot that no one other than me seemed to care and I said to myself “Oh, screw you buddy, what I said was NOT an empty threat. Game on.” I raised my hand and asked to go the office. The look on his face when I turned back at him as I headed to the office was pure terror. He knew he screwed up and he knew then that I was not messing around. Now, and most importantly, I had the power to change this for myself. He immediately regretted doubting that I would report him. Perhaps he thought I would be too scared, or too naive, or too embarrassed to repeat out loud what he had done to me. I wasn’t. I threw down the gauntlet at that moment and I knew I had to follow through with filling out the report.
He was called to the office shortly thereafter.* He had to answer for what he had done. He profusely apologized to me after his little office visit. He was sincere and I felt bad for him. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and dropped the charges. He still ended up going to court over it (which was a good thing). He had to write me an apology letter and do community service. In this case, I had closure and I knew he was truly remorseful for his actions and I forgave him.
Assault Charge #2
The second assault was about 2 years later, I was 17. I prefer not to go into detail about this one but he ended up losing everything. Not just because of me but because of the many of women including me that came forward. He was a real piece of work and he got a little bit of what was coming to him, let’s just say that. He never received an accurate punishment if you ask me.
Assault Charge #3
The third assault happened to me much later and as a married woman. I was in a bar during happy hour with colleagues. This colleague asked me for a hug just as I was leaving. I obliged and during the hug, he grabbed my ass. He thought it was funny and flirty. I was shocked. I left embarrassed, angry, and confused. I filed a police report a few days later after I was able to process it a bit more and get some advice from friends. I never pressed charges against him but instead I gave him a “warning shot”. I filled out the report and I had the officer go to his work to inform him I filled it out on him. It will remain in his record. It won’t do anything as long as he stays away from me. I can press charges at anytime if I chose. Ultimately, I decided that essentially ruining someone’s life/career over an ass grab seemed like a bit much. Does he deserve it? Certainly, but not by me. Not this time at least. If he does do it again, I would like to think I have given a fighting chance at real justice. He’s a repeat offender, guaranteed. It will just be a matter of time for this POS.
I’m not going to be silent
This shit happens. As a woman it is infuriating, disgusting, humiliating, demeaning, violating, and unfair. What has happened to me has been minor in comparison to those have been assaulted on unspeakable levels. However, as long as we continue to speak up, speak out, and fight for each other, we can and will turn this around. It won’t be without a hard fight that we will bring these sickos to justice. We know that already, but it’s not hopeless. As long as we fight, it will never be hopeless.