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My story of a sexual harassment incident when I was in my teens…
Yesterday actress Alyssa Milano asked any woman who has been sexually harassed or abused to write “Me too” as her status.
From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, I’ve seen hundreds of people (in my timeline alone) that have raised their hands to say “Yes, I was harassed, too.”
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Well, here is my story.
I wasn’t raped. I wasn’t fondled.
What happened to me didn’t change the course of my life or cause irreparable harm, like so many other women’s stories.
But what it did do was take away a certain sense of innocence to know that some random stranger thought this was an okay thing to do.
This is what happened…
I remember it was summer, because we were driving with the windows down.
We were probably listening to N*SYNC or Britney or Jay-Z, because those are the songs we liked to blare as we cruised around back in the day.
It was me and one or two of my friends. We were 17 or 18 years old.
I remember the exact stretch of highway where we were driving in New Jersey.
It was Route 22 in Springfield.
I am almost positive that I was the one driving, but I can’t be sure.
I’m not sure how the man in the teal blue car next to us got our attention, but he did.
Maybe he waved to us or maybe he honked the horn.
When I looked over at him, all I saw was his d*ck.
He was sitting in the driver’s seat, going at least 50 MPH, holding his penis in his hand.
And he wanted us, a car full of young girls, to see it.
We screamed and were horrified.
I am honestly not sure how I didn’t crash the car after seeing that.
But I didn’t. I got off at our exit and felt shocked.
Why would he think we wanted to see that?
Why was he smiling?
Why does he get to just do that and get away with it?
We told our other friends what happened and predictably, we got lots of laughs.
But it really wasn’t funny. Not to me, at least.
It was crude, it was disrespectful, and it was disgusting.
In my head, I wrote the incident off as “just some creep” who wanted to shock us.
But I never forgot about it.
When I saw Alyssa Milano’s call to action, I hesitated.
Was what happened to me “sexual harassment?”
I debated it, and then came to the realization that YES, OF COURSE IT WAS.
What does that say about our culture that after experiencing an adult male showing his penis to an unsuspecting car full of young girls that I was unsure if it was sexual harassment?
I also think about the other things that I’ve been subjected to in my life, just because I’m a woman.
The random, unsolicited “dick pics” I get in Facebook Messenger.
The guy at a party who “accidentally” touches your butt as you walk by.
The whistles and obnoxious comments when I used to go for a run downtown.
It’s time for a shift in culture and it’s time to start saying “This is not okay.”
So to the loser who exposed himself to me and my friends back in the 90s, I hope it was worth it.
Maybe you got your rocks off by doing that, but if you were trying to prove your manhood, it didn’t exactly work.
Because I just feel sorry for you.