Viva logo

Content warning

This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

Him

My worst experience with sexual harassment.

By Alexandria StanwyckPublished 10 months ago 7 min read
7
Him
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

First of all, I want to say thank you to Justin @ Vocal for bringing this point to our, no, my attention.

Diversity of Topic: Vocal is a vast ecosystem of ideas, subjects, and experiences, and we aim to reflect this diversity in our Top Stories. We intentionally showcase the best stories from each community. Writing across the communities gives your stories an edge.

It was related to how Vocal chooses their Top Stories, but it made me realize something. I have written at least one piece for eleven different communities, most being in the Fiction and Poet communities. And even though I am proud of that, there are some communities I have hesitated on writing a piece on.

One of those is Viva. And I'm kind of disappointed in myself that I haven't spoken about any aspect of my life as a woman. I'm not ashamed of being a woman, so why I haven't I written anything about being one?

My mom told me once that talking about our experiences in life, crappy or great, isn't just good for us. It can be good for the person, or in this case, the women we are telling our story to. To know they aren't the only one who have had to deal with something is a sort of comfort in itself.

So today, I share one of the most terrifying stories of my life.

***

It wasn't the first time I experienced sexual harassment.

(Isn't that sad? That a sentence like that exists.)

I was 15 in the tenth grade. Up to that point, what I went through before, I didn't realize it was sexual harassment; it was considered persistent flirting. Plus, I was a very different person then. Having built up a reputation of a girl that shouldn't be messed with, I was more prone to handling things a bit more aggressively. But that was in an elementary school where you went with the same set of kids for years and any new kids were quickly made aware if they were approaching the line drawn in the sand. And anyone who tried, I or one of my friends took care of business, squashing it before it went too far.

High school was different. The new kids, my (and theirs) new and ever changing body and feelings, the increased workload, it was a lot at one time. And tenth grade was my hardest year; every time I jumped through one hurdle, there was another one waiting, taller and more difficult.

By Blocks Fletcher on Unsplash

It started when I had to change a class because of one of those hurdles. Since it was about a month into the school year, I was limited on my pick of classes that worked with the rest of my schedule. Most were online and the couple that were available in person were not ones I was interested in. But beggars can't be choosers and I decided to take an online photography course.

I was placed in a small classroom full of testosterone; the only other female in the room was the teacher. The guys liked to mess around, pulling pranks and joking around, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I actually preferred the joking around.

It was better than the alternative.

Enter...him.

Just so you know, this is not me trying to protect him, leaving out his name. What he did was wrong. But it was years ago and part of me hopes he changed. If he did, it would not do anyone any good to bring up a tale of him at his worst.

He had moved into the country recently and the girls gushed over him. He wasn't unattractive, not at all: a senior, tall with dark wavy hair, supposedly charming, and had an accent that "ripped the panties off." Very few girls seemed immune to him, one of them being me.

It helped that he had a crappy personality. Under the charm, he was narcissistic, cocky, a player; the very type of boy Mom taught me to stay away from. "You deserve better than a guy like that," she would say.

He started throwing extremely cheesy lines at first.

And for every line, I had a sarcastic response.

"My phone has a glitch, maybe if you put your number in, it'll be fixed." "Guess you'll have to deal with the glitching then." It also helped that I didn't have a cell phone.

"Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?" "No, because I clawed my way from the center of the earth." No, I did not think I was a hellion, I mainly said that hoping it would scare the crap out of him. This was before I realized that some guys really like girls that scare them a little.

Then he asked me out.

Of course, I said no.

I thought that was the end of it.

I was wrong.

By Melanie Wasser on Unsplash

***

When you have rejected guys in the past, you think you are prepared for any reaction.

I was friends with most of the guys who were brave enough to ask me out. The few that were persistent would quit once they got bored with the chase and they were never aggressive.

He sat in the corner of the classroom. The lights were always turned off, but for whatever reason the corner he sat in was the darkest. At first, I thought it was to put on some air of mystery, trying to entice me to come closer and figure it out. When he dropped his mask, I realized the darkness was another way to hide his true nature.

The shift was gradual. It started with the eyes, turning from admiring to predatory. His flirtations became tainted with innuendo. The air in the classroom became harder to breathe in every day. He started to infect my dreams, interfering with my sleep.

Then he closed the distance. One day he was in the corner, the next day he was in the seat next to me. His hands and arms felt like pythons around my body. I froze in his sight line and he pulled the trigger over and over again, whispering lewd comments in my ears. The teacher would only interfere occasionally, either when she saw me shoving him away or telling him to back off. She never asked if I was okay. Even if she did I probably would have lied.

What was worse, I couldn't escape him. Not just mentally, but physically. You see, there was a place my family and I would go to almost every Sunday for lunch. He worked there, appearing as some time of foreign Prince Charming, while I knew he was worse than the evil stepmother.

It got to the point I feared for my life in a place where I should have felt safe. I dreaded going to school, especially into the classroom that used to be a place where I could laugh, relieving some of my stress. He was bigger and stronger than I was; he could easily drag me into a room and....

I still shudder at the thought.

***

By Simran Sood on Unsplash

When you see someone you love going through a similar situation, but the school knows and is not doing anything about it, it is disheartening and aggravating.

So how could I expect them to do anything for me?

I knew the parents were stressed, coming to the school often, fighting for the school to do something to protect their child. I watched this person having to go to a place worrying more about protecting herself than her education. How could I ask my parents to take on something like this when the ones who were supposed to help us were being apathetic?

There was too many stories of women who told on those harassing them and not getting help. What's worse is that some of those women became victims of sexual assault because the men were angered by the women exposing the truth.

I did not know this boy, especially if he would physically hurt me if I told people what he was doing. He already had surpassed my expectations.

So I didn't tell. My parents, the teachers, any staff, my friends. I didn't tell anyone.

Even now as I look back, I'm not sure I would have told anyone then. Eventually, and recently, I told my mom the truth. There were a lot of tears and "I'm sorries." It felt like a weight was lifted off of me and I am glad I did tell her, even if it was years too late.

***

Thankfully, one of the guys in the classroom noticed how uncomfortable I was. (I hid the scared part of it all very deep inside.) The guy started to sit next to me every day and told him off whenever he tried to mess with me.

After a few months, the living monster disappeared. I am still not sure what happened. He was there one day and gone the next day. And the next day.

Eventually, it was clear he was never coming back.

By Kahfiara Krisna on Unsplash

Still I was tormented by nightmares of him chasing me, his evil grin over me as I screamed. Occasionally, I still have them.

It is now I realize this all happened nearly ten years ago. I wish it wasn't such a monumental part of my life, but it is. It shaped me as much as the awards, achievements, and the friendships.

And unfortunately, I have dealt with other moments of sexual harassment since then.

But they all pale in comparison to him.

***

By Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

To the women who have suffered from sexual harassment and assault, know you are not alone. And know there isn't any rush to tell your story. It is your story and no one can shame you for when you decide to tell it.

To the ones we entrust our stories to, support us. Hold us when the nightmare wakes us up screaming. Listen to us. And please, don't judge us. Because for some of us, we have dealt with judgement long enough. Prove to us we were right to tell some our worst moments to you.

CONTENT WARNING
7

About the Creator

Alexandria Stanwyck

My inner child screams joyfully as I fall back in love with writing.

I am on social media! (Discord, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.)

instead of therapy poetry and lyrics collection is available on Amazon.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (5)

Sign in to comment
  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran10 months ago

    I'm so sorry this happened to you! I cannot imagine how much you would have dreaded going to class and facing him. I'm so glad he was gone. No matter where he goes, karma will find him, regardless of whether he has changed or not. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Jay Kantor10 months ago

    Dear Ms. Alexandria - I so feel you. It can be difficult to disclose being a 'Victim' but, I so respect you that you have. It's so lovely to have our little Village stand up for you. You are a Terrific StoryTeller ~ With my Respect ~ Jay Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Author Community -

  • Ashley Lima10 months ago

    I'm sorry you've gone through this. I hope writing this piece was therapeutic in some way, shape, or form. It's an important topic of conversation that needs to continue. I understand your pain #metoo

  • Mackenzie Davis10 months ago

    It is terrifying to be harassed. In middle school, there was a boy on my school bus who lived a few blocks from me. I wonder if he would have been more aggressive than just asking for a hug if I hadn’t been walking with my friend…luckily he didn’t follow me around, just the one instance, but it sucked just the same and I’ve remembered it vividly. I think there’s some room for grace for boys figuring out male/female dynamics during puberty, especially as they figure out flirting. I mean if girls had the expectation of initiating relationships, we’d probably get into similar situations of harassing boys…but alas that is not the world we live in. Im so sorry he did that to you, and for so long. I don’t think adults at school, especially high school, thought much about how dangerous harassment can be for girls, how traumatic, and I wish they would have stepped in more than they did for you. That boy who acted as a buffer for you deserves an award! Anyway, this was so well written. Thank you for writing it, and I hope your nightmares finally cease completely. 😊💕

  • Jazzy 10 months ago

    These situations are so common it’s sickening. It’s this thinking that when a girl says no she actually means yes but you didn’t try hard enough. In “the gift of fear” the number one thing woman were scared of was rejecting a man bc it could mean death. That is so scary to think about. I’m sorry this happened to you. I hope sharing it helped alittle. It was very brave.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.