My grandma was a force to be reckoned with. She was born in Mason County, Washington in 1894. She married early and raised a family. Between the 20s and 40s she ran a neighborhood grocery store and Shell gas station.
This set of grandparents were my baby sitters for most of my young life and we were all close. One thing she never talked to me about was the story I am going to share with you. It is a legend my mother told me when I was a pre-teen. Later it would give me courage to save myself when I encountered a similar attack.
The story goes that she was at the counter in the store. A man came to the counter and placed his penis on the counter. This was in the 1930s. What she did is classic for her. She whipped out the meat cleaver she kept next to the cash register for protection. She said… “Put that away or you will not have it any more”.
Dang – as a young woman I admired and kind of laughed about this. I had shared it with my girlfriends as I grew up. What a spunky lady she was!! She has inspired me, that I could do anything. It gave me courage to break down barriers for women in a man’s world like drive over the road trucks in 1980.
In the mid 80s I started working for a Tradeshow Contractor. It was a privately held company then that was eventually sold to the large corporation I still work for today (35 years in total). I was alone in the upper office doing book work and answering the phone for the exhibitor services department that I managed.
An electrician named Danny came up to get some orders, so he could prepare for the next show. It was just the two of us. That was when he pulled his penis out and laid it on my desk.
WTF!! What was he thinking? I think he thought he could get a date with me or maybe I would give him oral sex right there and then.
I was having nothing to do with this. That memory of grandma flashed at me and I knew instinctively what I had to do.
I opened my desk drawer and pulled out the scissors. I said to Danny – “Put that away or you will not have it any more”
That was the end of that & he laughed, put it in his pants and left. Bet he thought that would be the end of it. Hell no!!
I told some of my co-workers and I talked to Bud, our Manager of Electrical. Within a couple of weeks Danny was gone and never seen at our business again.
Grandma gave me courage! She set the tone of how to deal with sexual assault of this kind. Her “Me Too” moment was a legend in our family and now it is a legend for you too. We ladies do have to stick up for ourselves. The time has come where we don’t have to be silent. We are breaking down the grip of power men have had over women every day we speak these truths!
We have come a long way from the 1930s when this was “something” that just happened. A woman defended herself with a meat cleaver but never called the police or expected any punishment for this behavior.
Women are more than half of the population and our sheer numbers when we band together will bring change to this once acceptable abuse of us. Times they are a changing!