Ask any group of women if they've ever been touched inappropriately by a stranger, and most will have a story to tell. While there is some gray area when it comes to occasional bumps or grazes in public, there are some situations that are so blatantly gropey, there can be no question as to what's happening.
Some men (and yes, some women) simply cannot seem to keep their hands to themselves, and some will go out of their way to get their creepy fingers on someone else's body. Gross, but true.
A thread on Reddit highlighted this fact when a woman who goes by the handle "thestashattacked" described what happened to her when she was swimming laps at the pool.
"So I'm lap swimming, and we have 7 swim lanes. 7. That is a ridiculous number of lanes. And, as per usual at this time in the morning, they're all occupied. Now, usually, you share lanes under these circumstances. Not a problem.
Except this time I'm somehow the only woman swimming, in the crappy shallow lane.
Man comes in, and wants to swim. That's fine. He has to share a lane (which is risky due to COVID anyway), but he won't share with any of the men in the good lanes.
No, he absolutely has to share with the only woman in the pool. And of course, every time we pass he has to graze his hand across my ass.
Eventually, I told him if he couldn't keep his hands to himself, I'd either start hitting, or he could move to another lane. I was here first, and the only reason he came into this lane is that there's a woman here. Seriously, this is the worst lane.
(Yes, the lifeguard told him to get out after I yelled at him. Apparently he's way more obvious about the groping when you can see it from outside the water.)"
Choosing the crappiest lane because it's the only one with a woman in it is no accident. When you're swimming in the same lane as someone, it's natural that you may accidentally bump or graze them, but groping someone's butt every time you pass is also no accident. It's sexual assault. It doesn't matter how quick it was, whether he "grabbed" or "grazed," or whether it was one second or three. Repeatedly putting your hands on a woman's behind as she swims by is sexual assault. Full stop.
This woman's story inspired others to share their own experiences with similar Gropy McGropertons, and they're all just as infuriating.
"I had this shit happen to me when I was just 14 years old. I was hanging around at a local mall by myself (I'd done this plenty of times before without incident). I was looking at clothing on a rack and some older guy walked past me and grazed my ass.
I'm a young kid, so I thought it was accidental at first, but every time I went somewhere else this creep would follow me around the mall. It was about equal parts infuriating and scary.
Finally I found a group of girls around my age and quickly explained what was happening. They were so great -- they immediately grasped the situation and formed a wall around me for the rest of the day. They'd ask where I wanted to go next and then we all went there in a group. Several of them pulled out small items that could be used as weapons in case the creep tried to get too close to us -- keys held between the fingers, metal nail files, things like that. Creepy guy didn't dare to approach after that, and he finally left us alone.
I'll always be grateful to those girls. They were amazing."
Creepy stalker dudes are familiar to most women at some point in their lives. Good for that group of girls for sticking together and protecting her. But seriously, that should not have to happen.
"When I was about eleven/twelve I was at a swimming pool party in a indoor place you could rent out. Bunch of kids there and we were all having fun. Myself and my cousin went to the super deep end to play that game where you toss items to the bottom and pick them up.
Anyways, this older dude decided he wanted to play with us and my cousin and I thought that was cool that an adult wanted to play a game.
We dive once, old dude rubs up on top of me at the bottom. His crotch was aggressively shoved against my butt, his full weight pushed me to the bottom of the pool. I think that's weird, but that he was just really into the game and was trying to grab the ring. We dive a second time. Same thing. Third and fourth time this dude keeps rubbing on me. Full body rub too, he got better about it as we dove more.
Finally I decide to test it to see if he is just into the game or if he is actually molesting me. So when we count down for the dive I wait and give my cousin a head start then dive again. Dude waited and rubbed on me again. I finally just had enough and got out of the pool and refused to play again. Stopped swimming the whole day and never went back to that place again.
Place was FULL of parents and other adults and lifeguards. Not a single person noticed this guy feeling me up because it was the pool. Because I was young and didn't know better I didn't tell anyone.
I wish I had screamed at that guy and called the cops. Good on you.
Edit: I was in fifth grade"
Fifth grade. That's around age 10. Disgusting.
"Yup it's weird. When I was on my club team one boy grazed my crotch during backstroke not one or two but THREE TIMES and when I called him out for it the guys just shrugged it off giving some bs excuse. Got fully credit carded once and another time a boy actually somehow stuck his hand in my suit (touched my belly) from the next lane. Like touching someone's feet is an accident, flip turning and head butting someone is an accident, but I've never groped anyone especially by "accident" during a practice."
Three crotch grazes? No. Not an accident.
kendall_black, another swimmer, shared her story:
"OH MY GOD.
THIS SO MUCH.
I" was a competitive swimmer throughout school, and this was always so bad. Well, ok it was worst on my high school swim team, not so much on my year-round team. But anyways, fuck those guys, and fuck that guy. I had this one guy on my high school team who was the worst perpetrator. He would be standing at the wall while everyone else was swimming and when I'd do my flip-turn, he'd always touch me somehow trying to grope me. I finally yelled loud enough for the ENTIRE POOL to hear, 'If you touch me again, or if you are still standing on the wall in the way of everyone swimming, I WILL flip-turn ON TOP OF YOU and kick you as hard as I can.' The next swimmeet, that same guy stuck his hand INSIDE MY SWIMSUIT FROM THE BACK AND CARESSED MY STOMACH. WHILE I WAS TALKING TO MY PARENTS ON THE BALCONY."
What the heck. What did this guy go on to do after high school?
"Keep your hands to yourself" is basic kindergarten etiquette that anyone should be able to follow. We should not have to have awareness campaigns to keep women's bodies from being fondled without their permission. Yes, men's bodies too. It's not that hard to not be a creep, regardless of your sex or gender.
Hands. To. Yourself. Everyone.
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