Yes, Me Too

By Cyberquill 11/17/201710 Comments

It happened when I was thirteen years old, not on the way to the forum but in the foyer of a small theater in Austria.

I was bidding good-night to a group of people after a show, and when my turn came for what I expected to go down in history as no more than a pedestrian handshake with a rather toothsome 19-year-old acquaintance, she suddenly, without warning or having ascertained my consent—which, even had it been sought and obtained, would have been irrelevant on account of my having been underage even by Austrian standards—pushed her lips against mine for a second or two.

Needless to say, given my budding puberty and the pulchritude of the predator, following the incident I sojourned on cloud nine for weeks.

For decades thereafter, I would remember and cherish the experience as my first kiss of sorts.

Of late, however, in light of escalating public awareness regarding objectionable transgressions of a prurient nature, I’ve come to realize that not only does the incident described fail to fit the bill of a memory worth cherishing, but that it has the markings of sexual assault, and sexual assault of a minor (!) no less.

I am currently struggling to adjust to my yet unaccustomed role as a survivor of such.

Traumatic as it now is upon its reframing, this assault would not remain the only one to find myself at the receiving end of.

Fast-forward a number of years. I had matured into legal adulthood and then some, and I had rented out the bedroom of my small one-bedroom NYC apartment to a co-worker in temporary need of accommodation.

Not only because providing shelter to the needy invariably accrues toward the positive side of one’s karma ledger, but I could also use the extra cash.

And yes, the co-worker in question was young and gorgeous, and I had a major crush on her; factors that likely facilitated my decision to share my humble abode and dispense with my treasured solitude for a while.

Riddled with personal flaws and shortcomings as I may be, pushing myself upon women, no matter how attractive and no matter the circumstances, isn’t among them. If anything, I incline toward the other extreme, namely exhibiting what some members of the opposite sex may regard as an offensive indifference to their lures, or as my denying them the opportunity to exert their powers of rejection.

Whatever my underlying insecurity, in order for me to have a satisfying romantic or sexual experience, it is imperative that I feel genuinely desired, a prospect instantly doomed were I to impose myself in such a way as to arouse discomfort in my prey—for how can I feel genuinely desired if the target feels coerced, cornered, intimidated, or revulsed (or is drunk, drugged, asleep, or charging money for that matter)?

Anyhow, so I had this adorable sylph lodging at my place, and I treated her with my habitual air of courteous disinterest.

One evening, about a week into her stay, we were casually chatting at my desk in the living room—the topic of conversation, as I recall, was towels, specifically where she could hang hers to dry after showering—when she abruptly and utterly out of left field, sort of in the middle of a sentence, grabbed me by the back of my head, pulled it toward her, and mashed her mouth into mine.

Since I offered the polar opposite of resistance, we passionately tongue-wrestled for a lengthy spell, and when we finally came up for air, she hit me with the following—and, in hindsight, quite disturbing—revelation:

“I thought you didn’t like me!”

Think about that statement.

Assuming I had indeed so successfully dissembled my infatuation with her that she had sincerely believed or suspected I didn’t care for her in a romantic sense—even if she was merely uncertain as to whether I would appreciate her tongue thrusting into my mouth with zero heads-up—her aggression provides a textbook example of sexual assault from the aggressor’s perspective.

That I just so happened to more than welcome her assault (and to this day count it among my life’s favorite moments, if not the favorite one) doesn’t change the fact that that’s precisely what it was.

Criminal behavior is a function of the offender’s mindset at the time an act is committed, not of how the victim feels about it afterwards.

Nor does a victim have to deem him- or herself a victim in order to be a victim.

Unlike civil law, it is a core feature of criminal justice, as I understand it, that the state (i.e., society), not the victim, gets to decide whether a crime was committed and hence whether a victim exists.

Just because I may have enjoyed what you did to me doesn’t necessarily mean that what you did to me was not a crime. If you take it upon yourself to incinerate my barn, you’re guilty of arson, even if I was going to tear it down myself anyway and am grateful to you for having saved me the work.

Oh, and then this other female co-worker of mine once squeezed my behind in the workplace and followed up with a flattering yet lewd and objectifying comment regarding its shape.

I didn’t mind it at the time. In fact, I liked it. She was the type that could have palpated me up and down my entire anatomy to her heart’s content without asking permission. But that’s beside the point. In keeping with ever-evolving standards of decency in our maturing society, I have re-ass-essed her grope.

Far be it from me to make light of a serious issue, but yes, technically, I am a three-time sexual assault survivor.

Now that I have at long last come to recognize this, how will I cope?

Should I take to social media and publicly out my assailants?

Or should I simply let go and move on?

I am weighing my options.

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  • Richard

    A Happy New Year, Peter!
    I look forwa to more of your challenging posts that sift out the truth, particularly in relation to live issues.
    Best Wishes.

    • Cyberquill

      A very happy New Year to you as well!

      By the way, are you the Croydon cat killer?

      • Richard

        I’m glad you keep up with current affairs. This has been a live issue in Croydon for some years. Cats have been mutilated and despatched round here as well as in the north of the borough. In fact first reports were a few roads away from us. Our late pets suffered injuries and had to be nursed back to health, but we put it down to urban foxes.

        The police are on the job, but I have not heard of any fox arrests, so I suppose it must be a human being who is the culprit. Or it could be our native badger. All strength to the forces of law and order!

        No, I’m not the villain. I wouldn’t hurt a fly.

        This is a philosophical question. I await your post.

      • Cyberquill

        Your apparent denial, while clever, won’t fly, pardon the pun. You could be an ailurophobic entomolophile who sees himself as the good guy ridding the world of villainous felines.

  • Richard

    fearful of cats.
    (of pollen) being transported by insects rather than carried on the air.

    My guess as to the meanings was wrong in both cases.

    In the first instance cats would be killing me, in the second I would be vegetable, not animal.

    Thus the origin of fake news.

    As I am sure you are aware, given your laudable devotion to animal welfare, this killing of cats is a serious problem. I hope the police are soon able to track the criminal or criminals down since the problem is getting worse. Not only is this unspeakable cruelty to a defenceless animal, it also causes untold misery to those who love and rely upon the companionship of these beautiful, sensiive and amusing creatures.

    The only thing I have against cats is their contribution to the depletion of the local songbird population: even that is not as bad as sometimes represented, there being more serious causes such as the loss of rural habitats owing to environmentally unsound farming practices. Let us hope that when we are out of the EU we can start to regulate and incentivise according to our own standards.

    • Cyberquill

      According to various dictionaries, entomophile also denotes “a person who loves insects.” I derived the word off the cuff from entomology, hence I added an extra syllable that doesn’t belong.

      For obvious reasons, predatory animals pose a vexing moral dilemma for animal lovers.

      • Richard

        a love of partial entomologist(s).
        1. Appertaining to, relating to, part(s) of.
        2. … to:: A liking for, a predisposition towards, a weakness for.
        Thus: “Are you partial to entomolophilia?” Do you have a weakness for parts of entomologists?

        • Richard

          see etymolophilia; bibliolophilia.

      • Cyberquill

        As a matter of fact, I happen to fancy and collect clavicles of pretty female entomologists. Not totally legal, but if you promise to keep this confidential, I won’t call Mi5 and tell them you’re the cat killer.

        • Richard

          I promise. Not out of guilt but of fear of lexicolophiliacs.

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