Times Up Hands Off
68.5 x 44.5
How many stories of unwanted touching do women and girls have to share before they are believed and this behavior is no longer acceptable? Any unwanted touching, groping, fondling or grabbing of a sexual nature is sexual assault. Two Supreme Court Justices and a President were accused of sexual assault. Their accusers were deemed not credible.
Writing On Quilt
At 15, my breasts were felt up by Dr. Neil McNeil, our family doctor, a short, stocky stubby man with a large head and salt and pepper hair. He asked if I knew what he was doing. When I didn’t answer, he said he was giving me a breast exam. I wondered how he could ever feel a lump under my lightly padded yellow 32B bra and favorite voluminous pink zodiac patterned dress I was wearing that I made from a cotton Indian bedspread. He was the first person to touch my breasts. That was over 50 years ago and I have not forgotten. I never told my parents.
At 16, the 26 year old drunk owner and chef at the Little Spaghetti Factory where I worked as a salad maker pressed his index finger directly into my nipple while the tall dishwasher uncomfortably witnessed. I poured a bottle of beer over his head to break the tension. The next time he touched me, he ran his finger through my sweaty armpit while I was reaching for a can of black olives. I quit and never told my mother what happened.
At 25, on a sunny afternoon, a teenage boy reached into my v-neck royal blue sleeveless leotard and into my bra grabbing my breast while I was walking down Motor Avenue on the east side of the street. A man sitting in his truck laughed as I furiously ran after the teenage boy hoping to grab him and beat the crap out of him. He outran me. I’m still angry.
At 42, during a visit to an endocrinologist at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, whose name I don’t remember, offered to give me a breast exam. It was just the two of us in the exam room. I declined and didn’t bother to report him as I knew he would deny it. I starting seeing female doctors.
Thank you to all the girls and women who have spoken out and especially to Christine Blassie Ford, and Connie Chung for helping me find my voice and giving me the courage to tell my story. Although my story is not so egregious, the details are also seared in my memory. I believe you.
For every girl and woman who has been touched without their permission. We will not be silenced.
Times Up Hands Off, a quilt by Kathryn Alison Pellman 2020 Times Up Hands Off