speaking up 3

Here are speaking up and speaking up 2.

More events in my life:

I am on the metro in Washington, DC. It is not rush hour. I am reading my book.

I suddenly realize  as the metro stops, my car is empty. I am the only one in the car. One man gets on. I am hyperalert. He walks down the car and sits next to me.

The car starts up. I stare at my book.

“Hi.” he says, “What’s your name?”

I don’t answer.

“C’mon. What’s your name?”

“I am reading my book. I don’t want to talk.”

“C’mon, baby, be nice.”

I stand up, purse and book. “Excuse me.” I step by him and stand at the metro car door. I get off that car at the next stop and move to the next one with people on it. Shaking with both the threat and anger, that I have to deal with this.

2. I take a dance class in Washington, DC. I work at the National Institute of Health. I leave my car at NIH and ride the metro.

One night I get off the metro at NIH and I am riding up the escalator, with my backpack.

A man, clearly drunk, steps up on the escalator beside me, and says “Hi, baby, what’s your name?”

“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I snarl and stomp up the escalator. It is dark and there are very few people at the stop and in the lot. I am in danger from this drunk.

I am walking fast at the top, away from the escalator, when I hear running steps behind me. WHACK! He takes a swing at me and runs off. He hits my backpack and not me. I am screaming at him.

He is gone. I run to my car, get in, and sit there, hands on the wheel. Shaking. There is a part of me that wonders what I would do if he crossed the road in front of my car.

My next class is not dance. I take tae kwon do.

3. I have used my tae kwon do once so far. Where? In first year medical school.

No way, you say.

Yes, way.

We have lecture after lecture in the same hall. We usually sit in the same places. I am newly married. The guy behind me starts tickling my neck during a lecture, with a pen. I twitch a couple times and then hear muffled giggles and realize that it’s the person behind me.

I stiffen and wait until I am really ready. Breathe. The tickle comes. I snap a basic block back and forward: and have his pen.


The whole class turns towards us. The lecturer stops, staring. I am facing forward, holding the pen down low, not moving. He has the entire room staring at him, everyone but me. He doesn’t say a word. You could hear a …. pen…. drop.

The lecturer shakes his head and continues.

I keep the pen.

Just think, he’s a doctor.

I took the photograph when we were in Wisconsin. I went to UW Madison. I like being a badger.

10 thoughts on “speaking up 3

  1. […] Regardless of how the vote goes, I will keep speaking up. […]

  2. Barbara Lindsey says:

    Yep, happened to me on late (after rush hour) commutes from London to home many times. It’s a frightening feeling. I wish I had thought to do Tae Kwon do. Part of me felt responsible for the assaults, what did I think I was doing, alone at that time of evening!

    • drkottaway says:

      That’s our brainwashing, that we have to be careful when we walk outside: and I am having men say, “I never even think of any of this!” And one saying, “What kind of world do we live in?”

    • drkottaway says:

      I am so sorry you were attacked.

      • Barbara Lindsey says:

        Thank you, that’s the first time anyone has ever apologized to me for those times, I really appreciate it. We were certainly brainwashed, very heavily in the 50’s and 60’s, almost as though we owed our existence to the men in our lives and would need to serve them to make up for it.

        • drkottaway says:

          It makes me so sad and tired….and that women are silenced and if they speak up they are shamed.

  3. V.J. Knutson says:

    How is ever okay that women have to put up with this sh*t? These are three incidents. I am sure they are not the whole of your story. I hear you.

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