It wasn’t traumatizing, it was funny. Hilarious, in fact.
The instant he touched my breast, out of pure reflex I punched the little f–ker in the nose. And guess who taught me how to do it. Men.
It was a simple, well executed reverse punch. I’d practiced it hundreds of thousands of times. This probably wasn’t the assailant’s first attack. He’d probably done it before and would do it again if something didn’t convince him to take up a hobby other than picking on women.
The jerk’s nose was on the side of his face and streaming blood. And ya know what? He acted mad–as if somehow it was my responsibility to play the role of helpless female so he could play out his dumbass fantasy.
So I told him to get out of there immediately or face something a lot worse. (Since he was still on his dirt bike, and completely vulnerable, the only considerations were just how badly to hurt him and whether maiming should be part of the punishment.)
What happened was that, sometime after I’d gotten a couple of black belts, I was at a boring function out West with my boyfriend and went for a walk alone in nearby desert foothills. Out of the blue some little jerk putt putts up close to me on a dirt bike and asks “Do you wanna f–k?” But while I was processing the information, the a–hole grabbed my breast.
So I punched him hard in the nose which, thereafter, was kinda squashed over on the side of his face. The funny part was how he was going to explain to people how come his nose was no longer where it used to be. Somehow it didn’t seem likely that he would say some girl he was planning on raping smacked him.
Yeah. No kidding. Here’s this idiot, on a motorbike, with one leg on either side of it, and one hand on the handlebars no less. Otherwise the bike would have fallen over.
I wonder exactly what he was planning on assaulting me with, since he obviously couldn’t use his feet or the one hand holding onto the handlebars or else he’d be on his butt in the dirt when the dirt bike fell over.
The specific technique I used was taught to me by some very fine martial artists. Jack Swift, a pioneer of public advocacy journalism, was the one who drilled me most often in the basics–which is what I concentrated on. He was a believer in women being able to take care of themselves. He was also a 4th degree black belt in a full contact style.
Now Jack, who was a big guy, used to jump me at inconvenient times, in embarrassing places, and make me fight my way free. It was mortifying. Jeez, one time he did it right in front of the elevators in a university building where we had a class. You can imagine what all the students thought.
Jack and the other black belts taught that if a stranger passes within your critical distance and you’re uncertain of his intent, back up a step and give one warning. If someone with clear intent to harm you passes within critical distance, don’t wait. Just do him right then and there before he realizes you’re the dangerous one.
The catch is–you have to be able to “do him” and that takes a lot of preparation. I started preparing early.
When I was little Dad and I used to watch boxing together whenever it was on. My brain was laying down its foundation database. By the time I was in fourth grade I had a grown-up hunting bow and a burgeoning knife collection.
It all started because of a chance comment by an older boy when I was really young. After reading about wars I asked him if, since wars were fought by men, women and children were spared as victims.
“Are you kidding?” he asked. “The first people they kill are the women and children.”
Not not long after that I told Mom I needed a knife.
“What for?” she asked
“So when they come for me I can fight back.”
Mom was mystified. Predictably, she said no. Within a couple of months, I had a knife.
Thanks, guys, for teaching me how to protect me and for explaining to me how things work, and what to do in certain circumstances. Ya saved my butt more than once. And I appreciate it enormously.
Did guys ever try to put my hand on their dicks? Yes. Did guys say crude things to me? Yes. Did guys grab me and try kiss me against my will? Yes, occasionally. Did guys stare at my breasts? Does the sun rise in the east?
Was I traumatized? No. It never made me cry, although I did have a scary moment or two over the years. It was just, well, informative. The world’s a big bad place and, ladies, if you’re gonna venture out into it alone–as in, oh, say, the workplace–then be prepared to take care of yourself. Don’t expect the world to change just because you’ve graced it with your presence. You need to learn how to navigate the dangerous parts–preferably without whining, crying or hollering because the world doesn’t happen to meet your expectations.