Getting Groped . . .and Busted

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When I saw the footage of President Bush coming up behind German Chancellor Merkel and squeezing her shoulders, I have to say I was pretty horrified. Was it the most offensive thing I’ve seen Bush do? Not by a long shot. But the notion that he thought this was acceptable behavior was still disturbing. For many of us women, it also brought back a memory of having our space invaded by some jerky guy, being too surprised to do anything, and then regretting we hadn’t.

For me, it was the guy on the No. 6 subway train in Manhattan, who grabbed my cheeks (not the ones on my face) from behind. When I turned around to yell at him, he just stood there smiling, as if it was a joke. I was so shocked that I just shot him a dirty look and moved away, without saying anything.

When I got to my office, I told my co-worker, and she giggled. “Oh I know that guy,” she said. Seeing my look of confusion, she explained, “I’m laughing because he did it to me too, and I grabbed his hand, lifted it in the air, and screamed, ‘Look what I found on my ass!’ Apparently everyone in the subway car thought it was hilarious, making him the butt of the joke. I only wished I’d thought of it.

I recently heard about women taking photos of men who touch them lewdly on the subway, using their cell phones to grab the quick candid. Then they post the guy’s photo on a website, so there’s a collection of these shameful jerks all in one place.

No, it’s not exactly the same as having the leader of our country be the big loser who touched a woman casually and inappropriately. But there’s something to be said for the fact that so many TV shows, blogs and newspapers noted the moment, captured it, and actually called it what it was—unacceptable behavior.

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