I want an antidote to the rampant abuse women have endured. An inoculation against the insidious forms of misogyny.
Me too: I met my worst predator in grade nine. He was thirty years my senior, my drama teacher and an artful dodger of harassment suits. I didn't know I'd been singled out as his next target until I was seventeen and began to feel extremely uncomfortable in his presence. I noticed he was always angling to get me alone, and I avoided him like the plague. I hope you'll forgive the use of a ancient cliché because it is appropriate and on purpose: epidemics are impossible to avoid.
I played dumb during his onslaught of innuendos, barrage of hugs and disgusting attempts at sympathy-seduction. An extended game of charades. The role of a life-time. A tale as old as time.
Another girl meets bad story.
Five years later, frustrated and anxious, I went to the police on the other side of the country and filed a report. The cops listened patiently, nodded knowingly, and then gave me a detailed explanation of how predators operate:
1. They chase girls with boyfriends (bonus pregnancy safety net )
2. They pick students with scholarships (silence guaranteed or slut-o-rama reputation forever)
3. They select kids from screwed up families (separate the injured from the herd)
Textbook stuff. Predators study hard. They pass their multiple choice quizzes. They ace all their exams.
According to the officers, the man had probably been grooming me for the role of his teenage consort from the time I was fourteen. Medieval, emphasis on the evil. He tried every trick in his caring authority figure arsenal. Babysit his kid? Sure. Have dinner at his house with one of my best friends? Sounds great. Go after said friend and mess with her big time? Of course he did.
His disgraceful behaviour drove a wedge in my life, destroyed several friendships, and gave me nightmares for years. YEARS. In every dream, I was looking for a safe place to hide.
Not long after I made my statement, he got the equivalent of a folded newspaper across his nose for trying to hump three more teenage girls. In other words, no punishment for decades of pursuing trusting young hearts. Happy retirement. Good pension.
A former close friend, a guy I'd once admired as super smart, said, "You wanted revenge."
Hear that? That is insidious cruelty at work.
I wanted justice, turdbrain (Oi, namaste). I wanted a safe space to learn. I wanted an education. I wanted to discuss my writing without worrying that Perv's next side-hug was going to include a breast-fondle.
He was the man my father warned me about. He was a guy in charge of my grade. He was an abuser.
End of story.