Nothing like tracing back some old things that happened and then unexpectedly remembering that time you were assaulted-but-not-really-assaulted. I’d almost forgotten about that.
tw for, uh….. physical boundary violation.
This is how it happened.
This one summer, I was at — let’s just call it a summer camp, for simplification — and I was walking somewhere when this girl runs up behind me, shouts “It’s Tuesday!” and grabs hold of my butt.
I spun around and confronted her, and she tried to give me some explanation about how it was intended as a joke (with the day of the week being apparently relevant here), and I completely drowned her out. Can’t remember exactly what I was yelling, but I do remember her backpedaling for each step I took toward her, which was quite a few steps, I assure you.
I’m still ticked off about it.
It’s also a far cry from your standard sexual assault narrative, which is why I’m hesitant to call it that. The perpetrator was a teenage girl, much smaller than me, and this was a shared joke among some of the people there, apparently, which she made the mistake of including me in. The power dynamics weren’t as skewed in her favor as I would expect them to be with such things. But it was still touching someone without consent, and in any other context, it would look like sexual assault.
So, if there’s still going to be mapping of gray areas, I’d like to find or craft some subcategory that acknowledges all of that while marking it as distinct from more traumatic experiences, because it doesn’t feel right to call that sexual assault. On the other hand, my concern is that if we devise such a category, people might start from there as a “default” as a way of downplaying the severity of their experiences, re: the pervasive doubt that comes with classing nonconsensual experiences as violent.
So, I don’t know. I’m just not in the right state to sort this out for myself right now. This post is just to put the idea on the table, as an example for consideration. Feel free to link to this, talk about it in another post, etc. I’m just too conflicted at the moment as to where best this fits in the conversation.