The lastest headlines about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Chris Lee (former NY Republican representative) and others have brought up memories from my past.
Most women have stories like mine, stories of older men trying to take advantage of younger women. Here's my story:
I worked at a Chinese restaurant that my parents had a partnership in, as the weekend hostess. A fairly easy job of escorting people to their tables and handing out menus. The maître d was from Hong Kong and old school. Most of our clients I knew by name; there was one gentleman who gave me the creeps from the moment he walked in the door. One day he pulled aside the maître d and told him that he had just bought a new Cadillac. I watched them approach my station and the gentleman leaned over and whispered in my ear
"Would you like a ride in my new car?" Of course I cringed at the notion. The maître d said, "you have to go with him, he's a good customer." Being the good girl, I acquiesced to an authority figure; I went outside and got in the car. As the door closed on me, I moved as far away as possible and pressed against the door. He started the car and with a click locked the doors. He drove for a few miles and stopped in front of some buildings, all the while making small talk about how pretty I was. He looked over at me and asked right out "Do you want to have sex? I will give you a present." As I watched in horror as his meaty paw came towards me, I looked at him and words formed at the bottom of my throat and I said "NO. AND if you don't drive me back right now, I will start screaming." He looked shocked, I was more shocked because I did not know where that force came from. By the time I got back to the restaurant I was fuming. I looked at the maître d and he asked how the ride was, I looked at him and glared; I had finally saw through him; he was more worried about his client than how I fared with the creepy beast. I was nothing more that the special of the day.
No means never having to say you're sorry
Only recently have I realized that by voicing what I want and don't want is important, and that people will listen. If I don't, I will get swept up in scenarios that only create anger within me at allowing myself to say "yes" when I really wanted to say is "no".
Asian, White, Black, Brown: It's a Universal Story
My story is not on the scale as the the hotel maid that was assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn. If I could tell her one thing, it would be this "I am proud of you." The hotel maid fought back Dominique Strauss-Kahn with a power that she found within her, and she was not going to let this man take her. If you strip him of his name, clothing, status, take him down to nothing; he is nothing more than a rampaging naked man who regards women as nothing more than a piece of meat. If we learn anything from this, it is to use your voice as a weapon, just as they say that the pen is mightier than the gun, I know that a woman's voice can break a man's grip.
Image: Lust /Ophelia Chong