#MeToo, Pervasive

I found myself smiling. They’ve caught him! About time. A man has been arrested at the end of the train line after spending the morning leaping on and off trains, exposing himself to schoolgirls.

Of course, it’s decades since I’d been that schoolgirl. Pretty innocent then, but realizing after a minute that something wasn’t right. My friend sitting next to me knew it was odd. Her family were more open about nudity. Perhaps it was the funny expression on her face that tipped me off. I had thought he was playing with ‘a pink peg’ in his lap behind the newspaper.

Suddenly we both jumped up and collapsed into a nearby seat, laughing hysterically with … fear? Shock?

He was at the door and gone at the next stop. I’ve no idea what makes a man think that his penis should be shown to kids, but as I think about it, I realize that flashers have been pervasive – in my life, and I guess most other females.

Let me count the other times:

The fat man in the raincoat. That’s a handy prop. It can be opened and closed in a ‘flash’. That one didn’t wear clothes below the waist. In the right circumstance he could walk past quite a few schoolgirls with his coat swinging open. At a brisk walk he could cover a lot of ground in the right circumstances. He didn’t look proud. Perhaps actually rather frightened.

The tall skinny grinning man in the railway tunnel frequented by schoolgirls: Sacred Heart kids going one way, Ladies College girls going the other. A good post I expect – busy at set times of the day. I can’t remember what he wore or carried to hide his special exhibit from passing adults.

No harm done? I guess if you’re in a small group of girls you can have a bit of giggle, feeling safe – “weirdo”. What about the little one, alone, late for class? Everything is bigger. Especially looming right over you. Your little legs too paralyzed to run.

The nifty bloke in the car. He must have been pretty clever, or lucky, to catch the five-year old daughter on her one-block trip to the shop. Somehow he was waiting, primed, ready to spray his ‘white stuff’ into the air as he called the daughter over to look. Lucky we’d talked enough. I hadn’t gone into the white stuff detail, but she knew enough to get home quick.

And a few years later, down at the park with some neighborhood kids, she knew enough to round them up and march them away, telling a passing woman about the man on the seat next to the swings. Go, girl! He’d up and was round the corner by then. His sort of bully behavior only works on innocence.

I wonder what other times I’ve forgotten? But I also wonder if I’m being tough on these pathetic men. Are they inadequate and weak, only being able to act on the young? Or perhaps mentally ill, some twist of their minds I don’t understand?

But whatever the reason, the situation is the same as for any man who touches, pinches, grabs, pokes, kisses, mauls, thrusts, rams or sprays, without regard for the impact on the other: power exploiting a situation, an innocent, a weaker being. Greed and entitlement hand in hand with animal drive and ego. All of them believing they have something special to offer.

But all of them lesser, the bottom of the ladder, the depths of the swamp, thugs.

 

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