Congrats to all those who spoke up on social media, in reaction to the most recent Hollywood sex scandal.

 

Now, I’m chiming in. I’ve never been raped, but like all women I do have stories to tell. I learned about what I call “the power of me…” from experience.

Early on, I learned to protect myself.

I lived in Brooklyn New York. My parents had rules for my safety and because of city traffic, I wasn’t allowed to cross a street by myself, until I was 11.

“Ask a friendly adult walking nearby to help you,” I was instructed.

No one would ever tell a child to do that today. It was a simpler, safer time, even in Brooklyn.

Then, one Saturday, when I was about ten years old, I went off to a movie theater that was four cross streets away from my apartment building. I went with an older friend, who decided to stay longer and watch the movie for a second time.

I walked home by myself.

At the first street crossing, I looked around for help. A man, who looked ordinary enough… I had no memory of what he looked like when questioned by the police later that day… offered to help.

I smiled and accepted. He was right there at the next three crossings. I do remember, even today, the feeling of something not being quite right. My antenna was up.

He followed me into my apartment building and into the elevator.

We lived on the fourth floor of a six-story building. I reached up to press “4”. He brushed away my hand and pressed “6”.

I was scared, but I remember trying to look brave.

He started singing nursery rhymes and assured me that everything was fine… I knew it wasn’t.

We sat on a staircase, which rose from the 6th floor to the roof. He didn’t touch me… he tried to get me to talk and kept on singing what I later called his “dumb songs.”

I was seated on a step. Under the banister were slats that I could see through. I hadn’t said a word.

Then, somehow, I found the courage to make believe I heard someone coming down the hallway. I stood up quickly, pointed down the hall and at the top of my voice, shouted. “Mommy, there’s my Mommy.”

My Mommy was nowhere in sight.

The man took off up the stairs to the roof. I ran down the stairs and knocked on the door of one always-kind neighbor.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t much help to the police. I didn’t remember anything about that man. What I remembered… what I remember… were/are my feelings and the need to protect myself.

My parents and the police sung my praises for being such a smart and brave girl.

The experience empowered me and prepared me for the inevitable harassment encounters which occurred as I grew up.

There are surely things about being a man that I can’t know… but being a woman has challenges that most men haven’t even a clue about.

I smiled when, many years later, I witnessed my two-year-old grand daughter as she told off a very nice vendor who called her “Sweetheart,” as he handed her a hotdog.

“I’m NOT your sweetheart,” she said.

Here’s to gentler, safer and more respectful times.


Thanks For Visiting,

Email Dr. Linda

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