Are you really going to act surprised?
In a time when topics like rape culture, sexual assault, and sexually inappropriate behavior is so prevalent in the media — when men like Presidential Nominee Donald Trump have verbally confirmed that they like to sexually assault women, are not just supported, but celebrated — it is no surprise that I was just sexually assaulted.
A man called my company over the weekend while our business was closed. He kept calling our office number over and over, so I decided to answer his call as I happened to be working in the office this weekend. After all, it is not uncommon for me to work seven days a week as a woman who owns her own business.
I am someone who is quite educated in the areas of rape, sexual abuse, and assault through my training as a mental health therapist.
I used to be a Rape Crisis Counselor who not only counseled and helped rape victims, but also lectured about rape, sexual abuse and assault. I have also counseled sexually abused adolescent girls in a group home and helped them as they dealt with the violation, anger and grief they experienced. I also have vast experience in self-defense training through martial arts, shooting guns and basic preventative techniques.
So you might think of me as someone unlikely to become a victim.
Sadly, it doesn't matter how educated you are, how many resources you have at your disposal or how capable you are of defending yourself.
All women are subject to becoming a victim at any time — including me today.
The person on the other side of that phone call was an old man from Illinois who owns a music shop, one which is promoted as a great place for children to learn music. I know this from tracing his number (because apparently he didn't realize or perhaps care that we have caller ID and I could see both his name and number).
This man had called our offices many times a few years ago and we had to block his phone number to keep his calls from coming through because he wouldn't stop, even after we confronted him about what he was doing. Apparently, he got a new number and decided to do it all over again.
This particular sexual predator’s "game" is to ask lots of vague questions while he masturbates. Once he is near climax, he uses vulgar language and describes sex acts and asks sexually perverse questions.
When he called, my gut told me that something was off, but I ignored those feelings and doubted myself because I love helping people. He was quite skilled in creating just enough doubt to keep me on the phone despite my growing suspicions. I wanted to believe what most of us want to believe — that people are not this sick and horrible.
I imagine the idea of me innocently speaking with him while unaware of what he was doing for most of the phone call was thrilling to him, as it is for most sexual predators who enjoy the control they have over their victims. The idea of violating a woman is sexually arousing for these sociopathic perverts, and the mere sound of my innocent voice, full of helpful information while he stroked himself, must have been terribly exciting, knowing all the while that he was controlling me as he narcissistically, sexually pleased himself.
Just words … That's what Donald Trump and his supporters say about things like this.
They say that women who can’t handle sexually inappropriate words are weak. Obscene phone calls, cat calls, sexual harassment at the office, sexually offensive comments made by a passerby at the grocery store, the gas station, and many other scenarios are all things we women are told we should just ignore and not get upset about.
The message women are sent is this: "Don’t stand up to this type of abuse. Lay down and take it b*tch."
As we spoke, he sounded like someone who is on their cell phone and getting a bit out of breath as the are walking, which is pretty common these days. I heard him urinating and thought that was rude, but figured like many people who eat on the phone or use the bathroom, perhaps he thought I simply did not hear him. I grew more and more uncomfortable as he kept repeating the same questions, and I started to question him regarding exactly he wanted.
In horror, I finally realized he was masturbating when I clearly heard him stroking himself, then moaning as he orgasmed and finally told me what he had been doing as all along with sheer, smug satisfaction.
In the past, when I have dealt with things like this I have been angry with myself, thinking things like, "I should have seen it coming. I should have known better than to trust this person or to have been at that place in that time." Thinking things like this is such a common tendency of victims, and even though I logically know better than to do that to myself, it is still often part of the process a victim goes through.
It took many years for me to be able to say out loud that I was assaulted — to myself or to anyone else.
It takes a lot of courage to not only face what happened and deal with the difficult emotions of it all. Making yourself even more vulnerable by acknowledging that it happened opens you up to being re-victimized by those who shame people for being assaulted — calling them weak, whores, attention seekers, gold diggers, and worse.
This may be the most powerful time ever to say these things out loud. When we remain quiet we give sexual predators and victim blamers all the power.
I say f*ck being quiet, blaming ourselves, and waiting for this to stop.
So here I am, shaking, my face flush with anger from having been verbally and sexually assaulted YET AGAIN in my life.
Unfortunately, things like this have happened to me verbally many times. I have endured inappropriate comments made on the street, in school, at work, and even by men I thought were my friends.
And it doesn't stop there. I have also been physically sexually assaulted on a few occasions by different men throughout different stages of my life.
The one thing that comforts me, which is not terribly comforting at all, is that I am far from alone. Women all over the world become victims of sexual abuse every minute of every hour of every day.
So this is what I have to say as someone who was just sexually assaulted — again — to those who want me to just shut up and take it.
I am not ashamed of my outrage. I will not shut up. I will not just take it.
I, along with millions of women and good men, will fight — and we won’t stop fighting until the women of this world are treated with the respect they deserve. And so, we must rise up, speak out and support women who are victims to truly be the change we wish to see for ourselves and for future generations to come.
Oh, and to Mr. Wanker who called me to verbally and sexually assault me today ...
You have been blocked and reported you arrogant, perverted, piece of sh*t.
Lisa S. Lawless. Ph.D. is a mental health therapist and the founder and C.E.O. of Holistic Wisdom, Inc. which provides empowering sexual health and wellness education, resources and products. She is also the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS) which is an educational organization for sexual health professionals.