EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written by a Shinbone Star staff member who, given the nature of her experiences recounted here, wishes to remain anonymous.
I got up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday because I had a burning need to make a statement.
I’ve seen several women — and some men — questioning why millions of people marched in the Women’s March on Jan. 21. They say they don’t understand.
It was different for every person. For me, it wasn’t about abortion. I am not Native American. I’m not gay. I’m not a fast-food worker needing a higher wage.
If I had to name one reason I marched, it was because I was harassed as a young woman just out of college working at a newspaper far from home.
It was almost 30 years ago, but someone’s bragging about grabbing pussies brought it roaring back.
An older man who worked in the paper’s composing room would not leave me alone. He started getting too close physically, following me out to my car, asking me out to dinner. It happened on a regular basis. I always said no. A firm no. He kept doing it. I kept saying no.
I asked management for help. The managing editor said the guy was harmless. They declined to help me. No one would help me. No one could help me. I ended up leaving that paper, and that old stalker was one of the main reasons.
After the Predator-in-Chief’s pussy-grab tape was heard ‘round the world, I think a lot of women lost sleep. I did. I remember feeling helpless, unsafe, not respected, unheard. And I felt it again. Some women I know are experiencing rage and post-traumatic stress. We don’t understand how that man’s terrible behavior is acceptable, and how so many women could have voted for him.
Women have more rights in the workplace now. That old stalker would not have been allowed to harass me. But I worry for the young women growing up now, that they will not be protected, respected, allowed to live without fear of harassment.
I marched because some part of the trust women have in the goodness of society has been broken.
It doesn’t mean I don’t care about those other issues. People with differing concerns can support each other and become a force. It’s called intersectionality. And we have a new name for each other: re-sister.
If any woman still doesn’t understand why I marched, it’s OK. I marched for you.