My grandmother was a pharmacist in Romania. Day after day in her floor length skirts she would climb a scaffold on a rolling ladder to fetch medicines. Day after day customers positioned themselves to look up her skirts. She told me this story over and over again, blushing every time.
When my mother’s cousin returned from Auschwitz, unrecognizable and mute, he was a guest in my mother’s childhood home, behind the family’s Jew Store in South Bend Indiana. Until he grabbed her and forced his tongue into her mouth.
In the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Presidential Library and Museum, just before Passover in 1960, a man in the dark rotunda called me to him, grabbed my chest and wouldn’t let go. I was wearing a new dress that Mom had sewed me for the Seder.
I won’t tell my older daughter’s story. It is hers to tell, but the setting was a middle school locker room and she was changing out of her swim suit.
I see hundreds of Facebook postings. Me, too, they say.
I don’t see Congress proposing consent based education that would begin in elementary school. All students should be taught about when and how to offer touch and how to refuse it. All students should be taught that any indication of refusal must immediately be accepted.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Lilith Magazine.