The other day I saw a scene that could have been out of a cartoon. A man came to a dead screeching stop in a parking lot in front of my car. He leaned out the window of his car and his eyes bulged out. A beautiful woman in a white sundress had just walked into the lot.
19 years ago this month, I moved to Kibbutz Tzora
, just outside of Beit Shemesh
, in Israel. While I lived there, I got involved in a group called Women at the Wall
At the time we were 5 to 40 women who gathered at the Kotel to pray on Rosh Chodesh. I was the youngest woman there at 17 years old. As is customary, I wore a long skirt, long sleeves, usually a headscarf - although I don't remember if I wore a scarf that particular day. I am sure that, though I was as tznua [modest] as a 17 year old Reform
American chick in Jerusalem would be, it still doesn't matter what I'm wearing.
On the way home from the Kotel
, I had taken to stopping in the market to buy some groceries on my way back to Kibbutz. On one occasion, my friend and I decided to go into a little stall that was selling dresses. She tried one on behind a purple curtain. I sat waiting for her on the little cement steps leading down into the shop. The owner of the shop, an older man, came to sit next to me and since I was young and very eager to practice/show off my conversational Hebrew, I was not at all concerned when he touched my arm. After all, he was an alter kakher
, what could he do?
What he did was reach over and grab my left breast. Plain and simple, like it was his to take. It shocked the hell out of me and because I was afraid and in shock, I stood up, told my friend we had to go and got the hell out of there, the old fart smiling the whole time like he had found the fucking afikomen
It wasn't the first or the last time I was touched inappropriately in Israel, Egypt or back at home. For a while, I felt like a magnet for men with no boundaries.
I don't understand this concept and perhaps someone can explain it to me. Why do men think they can reach out and grab a woman and/or say something vulgar?
A couple of months ago, half a lifetime later, I was at Trader Joe's. Again with the alter kakher. Again with the grabbing. He reached out and grabbed my face. He told me I was beautiful. I'm sure the old man thought he was paying me a compliment. But what happened to paying a compliment without the touching part? For those of you who think mental illness...he was not impaired, physically or mentally, he just felt he had the right to touch me.
When I wear a burka of fat on my body to protect me from the world, it doesn't work.
I get thin, it gets worse. The night I was raped, a good friend, home from boot camp didn't recognize me because I had become so thin. For my high school graduation, as a gift to myself, I gained 50 pounds.
I arrived in Israel, lost all of that weight and on Thanksgiving afternoon I was taken to an empty lot in Bet Shemesh by a cab driver I had hired to take me home from the market. I left the cab unharmed but I had to walk a long way back home with my groceries and my Thanksgiving, despite the all-American effort, was not quite the same.
It sucks to be afraid of people.
It sucks to even have the thought, "Did that man in front of me at the ATM rape some girl?" "Is the guy in the truck next to me in traffic who is air bouncing his breasts at me going to go home to a daughter?"
I don't want to have those thoughts but I do, and so do these people.
And I want to thank them for this! Holla back people
The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can't do the little things
I hold so dear
'Cause it's all those little things
That I fear
'Cause I'm just a girl
I'd rather not be
'Cause they won't let me drive
Late at night
I'm just a girl
Guess I'm some kind of freak
'Cause they all sit and stare
With their eyesAnd P!NK
At the door we don't wait cause we know them
At the bar six shots just beginning
That's when dickhead put his hands on me
But you see
I'm not here for your entertainment
You don't really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it's over
Before it begins
Keep your drink just give me the money
just you and your hand tonight
And I think that is enough for this morning.
Labels: Body Electric, Jewcy, Tzora