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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Assaulted in Graceland

I'm a NYC resident, and was on a business trip in Memphis this weekend when I was assaulted. I wanted to send a post to Holla Back, because I feel like this will make me feel as if I've reclaimed some of my power. I can't take back what happened and I can't get it out of my head, I just need to tell the world what he did.

The story starts - I was at Graceland when it happend yesterday afternoon at around 1:30 pm yesterday with a friend. I was on a tour of the house with about 8 other people. If you havn't been to Graceland, it is a museum of sorts. The house is pretty small and so the tour group gets herded from one room to the next. I was stopped taking a picture and leaning over a railing . That's when I felt it. A man, about 40 years old, wearing a blue windbreaker and a buzz cut- walking past with his friend reaches UNDERNEATH ME, between my legs and grabs my ass and reaching the front of my crotch. He keeps walking. I whipped around to scream "Are you fucking kidding me?!?" and everyone in the tour was wearing those stupid tour-headsets and no one said anything. So, I walked into the next room following the guy and tapped him on the shoulder, I didn't know what I was going to say - so I just kept tapping him on the shoulder. He pretended not to feel my tapping and hear my voice - and continued to take pictures. I asked him a few times "Are you fucking kidding me?! Did you just grab my ass??!!" and he didn't respond.. I said it again and he responded "No, I was just taking pictures." He turns around and looks at his child-molester looking friend behind him and asks if it was him.. and he just shrugs his shoulders. Walking around the room, I'm in fucking Elvis's house here - mind you - and there's a security guard right there, but I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to make a scene more than I already had -it's this completely silent room with a dozen strangers, and my ass and crotch were just grabbed. The feeling of a complete loss of power and thought and coping skills was just overwhelming. I went and told my friend (loudly) what had just happened and we stood there, in shock, me shaking - not knowing how to feel better about this. The guy was denying anything happened, and I just wanted to cry, but didn't want to cry in front of him. So I thought it over and decided, it would be worse if no one believed me, or if he got angrier and made me feel worse, so I kept on going and just tried to avoid him the rest of the afternoon.. I think a security guard heard me talking loudly about what had happened, and so next thing I know, I have 2 security guards following me at a distance around the grounds. This made me feel even worse - I thought the guy had told them that I had threatened him or something, and felt so dirty and disgusting and as if somehow, I had done something wrong. I eventually, an hour later - saw him again and told a security guard what had happened. The guard approached the men, who again - denied it was them - and the guard came back to tell me - they had denied it. I'm sorry. I think they should have been kicked out, but it didn't surprise me that they didn't do it.

Ever since the moment I was grabbed, I have been replaying the situation over and over in my head, wishing I could have done or said something better than what I did. I wish I could have just kicked him in the nuts, or started screaming and cursing and telling him what a pathetic human being he was that not only does he grab stranger's crotches, he can't own up to it. Tell him that because he can grab people doesn't mean he's got any sort of power, in fact, it shows how pathetic and powerless he is. I have taken self-defense classes before, but at that moment I was defenseless, speachless. I've never been one to have a good one-liner waiting in the wings, but I really wish I had just this once. I'm proud that I at least had the good sense (thanks to some amazing women I know who don't put up with any shit) to walk up to him and confront him. Hopefully that changed the power dynamic a little bit. I'm also proud that I eventually told a security guard. I guess all I can hope is that The King, up in heaven will defend my honor, I'm almost certain Elvis doesn't allow sexual assault in his living room. I hope that he can make sure that fuckhead got run over by a go-cart from hell on the way home last night. Hopefully, the spirit of Graceland won't be ruined for me - or maybe it's time to move onto another hollywood home, something more empowering, like Dollywood. The worst thing about this, was this was not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. This was a particularly aggressive move, but it happens every day to women who were not 'asking for it.' Next time, however - if its on the subway, or in a crowd, or in a museum like this was - I will scream, and I will kick and I will punch that asshole and I don't care if I'm making a scene or not.

Thanks Hollaback for doing what you do, and for making a space for me to reclaim my power.

Submitted by J