On my way home, the light began to dim and fade away. There was noone on the small street alongside the water, when I heard quick steps behind me. Another jogger, I thought and looked back. He didn’t really look like a jogger. He wore jeans and a white shirt and his big belly jiggled as he ran.
– Where can one meet you? – he asked, giving me a weird smile.
– Excuse me? – I asked puzzled and stopped running.
Then I saw him unbutton his pants, as he approached me with a maniacal expression on his face. I ran again, as fast as I could. I could hear him breathing and cursing behind me. My heart was racing, my whole energy flowing to my legs. Was I fast enough? I reached the door, opened it quickly and ran upstairs. Did I close the door?, I asked myself in panic, when I reached the second floor and my terror rose even more.
I woke up sweaty and trembling. It was just a dream, I told myself quickly. Suddenly I realized, it wasn’t. It had really happened long ago, but I had somehow forgotten it, until the memory came back two nights ago. How could I forget?, I asked myself, while tears were flowing down my cheekbones. My body however hadn’t forgotten and the emotion that had been trapped in me for more than ten years now felt just as real. Well, maybe even more real, because now I wasn’t even trying to mask or dismiss it. Back then, at the age of 19 I was mostly annoyed at feelings. I had decided to avoid them, because they mostly brought mischief.
How much more have I forgotten?, I wondered. What other soap bubbles full of hell are floating inside of me? The more I think about it, the more I remember and the more I wonder, why I forgot. It is, as if I hadn’t even registered anything abnormal, because “nothing happened”.
So, what do I do now? I don’t know. There is no way to magically undo the assault. There is also no fast and easy way to stop sexual harassment overnight. But I can begin by remembering it. If we talk about it without denying our feelings and framing it as normal, over time the shift will happen.