When I was 15 I used to go out running in the early mornings before school. I remember feeling very vulnerable and exposed as jogged/stumbled along, my glasses fogging up. i remember vaguely being shouted at and windows being rolled down and cars slowing down. And in my hugely naive childish 15 year old gawky clumsy spectacled teenage innocence not thinking that grown individuals would ever notice me. That was the first tine I remember being exposed to unwanted male attention.
I remember being in San Fransisco when I was 19 trying to get away from a man whose house I went back to to have a drink after smoking a really strong joint, and waking up (after trying repeatedly to get a taxi home then reluctantly staying in his house on the floor, to find him in the bed beside me putting his hards down my trousers) and running out onto the road outside his apartment trying to get a cab on a busy road. I had no idea where I was and was caught between self disgust at myself for my unbelievable stupidity and desperation to get away from the man. I remember being jumped on the way home from a friends house, I’d decided to walk the few blocks as the cabs were always dodgy then and you never knew what sort of driver you’d get.. a man came up behind me as I walked, grabbed me and pushed something cold and sharp against my throat. I remember screaming and being dragged down someones sloping garage drive as he tried to pull my bag off me. I was able to lurchingly keep hold of my bag, and try to get away, and got pulled down again. I remember screaming and then 2 men rushing towards us, my attacker ran away, one man gave chase and the other stayed with me. I remember them in court ,saying they ‘worked for the city’ which I found out meant they were likely sanitation workers. What I didn’t know at the time was that my face and neck and hands were covered in blood and so I looked a lot worse than I was. I remember the screeching of police cars and fire engines and ambulances (yes) and the guy walking me around the corner to see his brother (it turned out) pulling my attacker out from under a car, and literally kicking him and bashing his head against the kerb repeatedly while the police casually watched, before saying thats enough and pulling them apart. Off he went in the police car and I too was escorted home in a car, after giving a statement in the police station. When my flatmate Paula answered the door she got a shock and only when i went into the bathroom did I see that I indeed looked worse off. A few superficial cuts and scrapes on my face and neck had bled a lot. My attacker had not managed anything more. Mind you I still have a scar on my chin from my attackers weapon, which turned out to be a bit of broken glass. I had to testify in a closed court over Christmas, I remember my jewish attorney joking that she had little else to be doing at that busy Christmas time period. My attacker turned out to be a skinny shaven headed hispanic looking young guy from Texas, on bail, and was promptly sentenced to 2 years in Rikers Island jail. I was never once asked to justify my presence in NY, I suppose my 90 day visa stamp on my Irish passport which officially allowed me to be there was why. Predominantly white male irish/italian police. Irish white woman in 20’s covered in blood. It took me years to realise the privilege I’d experienced in how the incident was dealt with.