About Time

I hope the time has come. I too can add my story to the #MeToo chorus–a daring move for me as someone raised in mid-America in the middle class in the mid-century who learned that private matters should be kept private. I actually have two tales from many decades ago, long before there were brave women who started speaking out.

Perkins SchoolThe first incident, which I did not realize was an incident until some years later, took place when I was twelve. It was about 1952. I was in 6th grade in Glenna Gruetzmacher’s class at Perkins Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. I had just started taking flute lessons. A male music teacher, not a regular teacher, came to the school once a week to give lessons. The small room where the lessons were given had been built at the top of the staircase that went from the first to the second floor. It was up a few steps from the second floor hall in the wasted space at the top of the stairwell. It had glass windows that faced out toward the interior hall, but since it was up a few steps, it only let light in. No one in the hall could see what was happening through these windows. During these lessons the flute teacher used to run his hands up and down my upper leg. I thought it was a little odd but never mentioned it to anyone, but I have never forgotten it.

This next incident harks back to my mid-twenties, more than fifty years ago. After I graduated from college, I married someone I had been dating for at least five years. We were both employed for a year after we were married when my first husband was accepted as a graduate student at Stanford. We moved to California and I found a job teaching high school in the Bay Area. It was exciting for us as we started exploring San Francisco and the area.

One week-end we went on an excursion to the City. One of my husband’s fraternity brothers from college lived there and we planned to overnight on Saturday at his place. We went out for dinner with him and returned to his apartment. We turned on the television and started watching, but my husband decided to call it a night. He had had a couple of drinks and was ready to retire the spare bedroom we were staying in. I continued talking to our friend and suddenly he was all over me–kissing me and pulling at my clothes. I was finally able to wrest myself out from under him and fled to the bedroom. I never mentioned this to anyone. Needless to say, I found reasons to never see him again. But I can still remember his name.

I realize that sexual attraction exists. But the equations have been skewed. Your consent + my consent = 100%; but your consent – my consent = 0%. It is time to set things straight.

 

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