One of the risks of exposing yourself and telling a story about a personal attack is this: assholes.
There are always assholes who know your life better than do you. There are assholes who think their garbage opinions amount to facts. They think that their ability to ascertain your truth, while simultaneously unable to refrain from awfulness, is their privilege and duty.
Well, Dear Assholes,
My column in the Oct. 26 issue about being grabbed in a bar is a true one. It happened. The details I remember are both significant and insignificant. Whether or not I was wearing a jacket, not significant. The vivid recollection of having my arm twisted and thinking, I can’t fight this guy — significant and traumatic. Am I looking for pity or validation? Absolutely not.
Here’s another truth. When people rush in to destroy the truth with their personal observations, or their bullshit theories, there are a couple of actual certainties. One, some of these people are the same ones who would blame their own child for being molested by a creepy family member. Two, these people either are perpetrators of violence, or they have experienced violence, that has yet to be dealt with, and someone else exposing those nerves sets them off.
Fine. I hope that I rubbed them the wrong way. Fuck ‘em.
What I know is that regardless of these few assholes, the messages that I received from women tell me that my story is just one of thousands. For the women I know personally, and the women who found the courage to email me with thanks, I am positive that telling this story was the right thing to do. I’m glad that it inspired others to share and to feel supported. To those women, know that you are supported, and when these slugs crawl out to discount you, go harder. Don’t stop telling. Don’t stop sharing. Do not tolerate this violence any more than your survival requires.
Here is an invitation to the keyboard jockeys with as many opinions as their lack of brain cells and facts. I invite you to kindly stop being disgusting and evaluate yourself and the motivations that keep you emailing LEO with veiled threats, or doling out your off-brand hot-fries version of ad hominem attacks. Please just do better. Stop being lame.
In addition to the women who told me very personal, very moving things about their own assaults, many asked about self-defense.
In recent years, the conversation about women’s self-defense has turned to the real need to change male behaviors and issues of male entitlement. These are absolutely at the root of the continued and prevalent assaults against women. Part of the reason that we hear so many sick and violent responses is, in part, because many of these people believe that women should bear the responsibility for their assaults. Either she should have done something different, or she should have worn something different. It is such a rare treat when we meet a man who sees that the responsibility isn’t the woman’s. We raise and feed our young boys a steady diet of conquest fantasies. They need to know that fantasy is not reality. As a man, you are not entitled to a woman’s attention, nor is she responsible to make sure you behave like a human, instead of a cretin.
Men should know boundaries. Everyone should.
I still think women need to know how to defend themselves in the event one of these assholes forgets this. So because I was asked, and have never taken a self-defense class, I asked a friend who teaches to help me out.
To that end, for women who are interested, my good friend Sensei Matt Loomis of Mu Do Ryu Judo Dojo has agreed to host a class. The focus of the class, according to Loomis, will be on “empty hand self-defense techniques designed to escape attackers as rapidly as possible with the goal of fleeing to safety.” More than anything, safety is what we’re seeking, and I care that women are safe. Loomis has 20 years of experience in martial arts and many others in keeping people safe.