The world is a dangerous place for women. This has been brought home recently by Donald Trump's incitement of violence against Hillary Clinton. Overt, mind you, but with enough ambiguity to allow him to say that it "was only a joke."
For me, it started early. My parents, for a short while, rented out the front bedroom of the house we lived in when I was little, in Coventry, England. The tenant gave me a toy spider. I don't remember much about it, except that it was big...probably about 8" in diameter, and it had red boots. Wound up, it would walk across the floor in a wonderful spidery gait. Something in my parents' reaction to the gift made me think there was a problem with it, and I was made to return it and the tenant vanished.
In catholic school, there was something in the look on the janitor's face as he looked up at all of us coming down the fire escape that made me wish for an extra hand to hold my tunic tight around my legs...because both hands were clinging in terror to the railings. Fire drills were scary. This was the same man who felt me up a year or so later. I wrote about it here.
In high school, I was the only girl in the physics class. Well, I was the only one stubborn enough to stay in the physics class when the boys would say horrible things to us before the teacher got there. Tales of sexual exploits straight from the pages of men's magazines, I suppose. Embarrassing, nonetheless. I tried very hard not to let them see I cried. It was also in high school that I spent a summer selling Watkins products door-to-door. All was well, except for that one old man, whose threshold I learned not to cross. And there was that one teacher who offered me a ride home after school once when I missed the bus. In a later consultation with other girls, a consensus was reached that no one wanted to ride with him. Nothing overt...just a bit of a creepy feeling, but still.
I landed a job as a waitress at a truck stop. My dad dropped me off and picked me up. A customer grabbed my ass as I was serving him. The bowl of hot soup that landed in his lap was not entirely an accident, and I was fired.
In college, there were several pimply-faced boys who took me to see explicit movies, I guess expecting me to leap into their arms, after, screaming, "Let's do it!" I was just embarrassed. Then there was that one guy who had a little cardboard shack in the woods on campus and tried to herd me in there. Not happening...
As a young "hippie chick," I was accosted on a regular basis, because some men had an entirely different concept of "free love" from mine. The first time I abandoned my 28AA bra and went to the store, a man followed me in and out of three stores before yelling at me, "Do you know what you look like with your boobies bouncing around inside your shirt?" I yelled back for him to fuck off...not my finest response, but my first one.
I was invited to a party while living in Vancouver, that turned out to be a recruitment for some pimps. I was told all I would have to do was wear pretty pajamas and be nice to men. I grabbed my friend and got out of there, pronto. We were offered drugs and alcohol at the party.
Well, that's enough for now. All these things happened before I was 20. I could write a book about the next 47 years...