Woman's post about being groped while swimming laps prompts others to share their stories

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.

Cyssane wrote:

"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.

The_Thugmuffin wrote:

"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.

dkettlecorn added:

"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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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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