Sexual Assault and Abuse

sexual harassment

Sexual assault and abuse have happened to me seven times. The incidents all took place when I was younger. They occurred when I was eighteen years old and in my twenties.

One: I was on a rush hour subway in Manhattan. I felt a gooey sticky wad of something hit the backs of my legs. It was sperm from a man ejaculating on me from behind me. I was going to a friend’s home. I was in a state of shock from the incident and walked to my friend’s apartment, rang the doorbell and said “Do not touch me.” I requested a bathrobe and a towel.

I got in the shower with my clothes on and washed. Then I washed again and again.

Then I asked my friend to put my clothes, which I had rung out, in the dryer while I wore his bathrobe after drying off with his towel.

Two: This guy was stalking me at the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art and talked incessantly about his life, his mother, his joblessness and other matters. He went on and on in a wild manic way.

I took relief from him in a ladies’ room while he waited like a hungry vulture outside of the door for me. Finally I said to him that I had to go home and would meet him at another time (something that would never voluntarily happen, but I had to shake him since he acted crazy to me and I had to get free.)

A few weeks later, I was walking with a friend of mine, who was doing his resident studies as a psychiatrist in NYC, and the mentally disturbed fellow crossed paths in front of the museum. He hit me so hard in the stomach that my knees crumpled and I passed out for a few seconds while seeing stars. … My abdomen hurt for days.

Three: A fellow pulled down his pants and drawers and exposed himself to me while fondling his erect penis He whistled to draw my attention to him. I was aged eighteen at the time.

Four: This guy, who was much stronger than I was, pulled me down on the edge of Morningside Park that abuts Columbia University, Clever and buying time, I engaged him in a talk about religion — specifically his.

He let me up when two other males approached us. He said, “Let me brush the leaves off of your back.” … I knew that they would either join him in a probable gang rape or beat him.

So I simply fled the scene since I didn’t want to see the outcome of meeting with three strangers who were men. And I can tell you that you fly like the wind when adrenaline hits you in your twenties. I was gone in a flash,

Five: One day on a crowded NYC subway,two men were assaulting me from behind. They were caressing my buttocks and inner thighs. I don’t know whether they knew each other or not, but I thought really fast to ask a man in a suit standing in front of me to switch places with me in terms of where we were both standing. Thank goodness that he was glad to comply.

Six and Seven: Two professors harassed me. The first got my phone number from the registrar’s office and called me every day. Every few days, he sent me love messages by postal mail.and even suggested that we start living together.

My grades in his class were consistent. I would strike close to 100 percent for coursework and tests. I was the most outspoken student in dialog in the class, but when I rejected his pursuit of me, he gave me a failure grade for his class. So crying, I went to student services and told them of the situation. I was then sent to head dean of the school, who gave me a pass to to get a pass grade for his course. She wrote a note to the director of the registrar’s office to change my grade from a failure. … The comment from her that stands out most in my mind was that she always wondered whether this professor liked men or woman and his reaction to me certainly cleared that up.

The other one, I was told, was targeting women who reminded him of his wife, who had started an affair and was divorcing him. I was not the first female student to lodge a complaint and we were all similar in physical features and intellect. So I ended up taking a pass for his course, too, despite that my test results and course work were exemplary — straight A quality as marked up on tests and course work submissions.

Fast forward: Don’t for a moment think that these assorted traumas don’t take a toll. So when my daughter was five and starting public school while taking bus rides to and from school that I didn’t teach her to handled predators. I read her parts of a book for young children about the topic and she cried to learn about kicking in the groin, gouging eyes, biting and so on. … How awful to have to convey such information to a child!

Hey, such information does sometimes come in to be useful. A classmate of hers was forced into a car when my daughter was ten. He was forced by a big burly man. At a red light when the man had stopped, the boy jumped out of the vehicle and turned his head back to catch the license plate number of the car while running away. Then the man was caught by police.

Others are not so fortunate. Another girl was stolen and tatters of her clothes and bones were found in a town near ours. Animals had eaten the rest of her. She was eleven at the time of her abduction.

So I do justify my choice to teach my daughter of such matters even though it was very painful for us both. What other course of action works under the circumstances and conditions in our world today?

When my child was a teenager,and a long distance runner who practiced sometimes on her own as part of her long distance running team, we went to the police station in town and applied for a pink card so that she could carry a weapon for running. After a background check, the application went through for approval. How sad is that?’ I mean this statement in terms of the ways that we have to live and address possible predation … I mean having to train your children to attack back.

Then we went to a gun shop and got mace for her to carry while running. She was trained to spray eyes and nostrils at the gun shop.  And she carried the mace can with her every time that she ran without her school team with her. (The gun shop was a disturbing place — guns and machine guns everywhere were displayed. These were lethal weapons and while I don’t mind hunters getting free and wild meat for their families, I realized that most of these weapons for sale would be used in human shootings in all likelihood.  Besides we have, due to overpopulation, too many human hunters in the USA and a dwindling supply of prey in relation to biodiversity losses for a variety of reasons, which are mostly human-made.)

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

It is hard’: Crisis hotline calls increase 201 percent after sexual assault ……/kavanaugh-hearing-prompts-spike-calls-about-sexual-assaul…

16 hours ago – After Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about alleged sexual assault at Brett … Committee meeting, calls to RAINN’s hotline increased 201%. … Many victims of sexual assault and harassment feel embarrassed or guilty and …

At least after Dr. Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, people are coming out in droves to report sexual assault in this country. Maybe their having been inspired by her so as to take action will have a positive effect on our culture.

Yet now my fear isn’t about mace and running so much as it was in the past. It is about school violence. The reason is that we in the USA have so many school shootings.

In MA, USA — we are addressing this problem by allocating around a half of a billion dollars to school security and mental health services in schools. The fact is, though, that my daughter is no longer a guidance counselor in MA after many years of service here and she fits this profile, but now is a school counselor in another state.

School psychologist died trying to protect others – USA Today

Definitely the world is both wonderful and terrifying. It is both delightful and brutal  Perfect examples involve one’s watching bumblebees tumbling in and out of flowers that one planted in  one’s yard or one getting a hug from a child. The other direction, of course is horrific. One never gets completely over the trauma. One simply learns to live with it and move onward.

This in mind: If anyone assaults my daughter, my granddaughter, other family members or friends, they will have to face off with me. Like Dr Ford, I will NOT take extreme travesties any more. I will come back with all, and I mean all, that I have inside of myself to address the matter just as Dr. Ford has done.



You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Songwriters: Graham Nash

Teach Your Children lyrics © Spirit Music Group

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA


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