23 responses

  1. Kathleen
    May 13, 2019

    Exactly. She nailed it.

    Reply

  2. Suzanne Farrell Smith
    May 13, 2019

    Incredible piece. Powerful insight into an experience way too many of us know way too well.

    Reply

  3. Cheryl Marita
    May 13, 2019

    Great painful piece. Slow enough to let the reader squirm with pain.

    Reply

  4. Molly Howes
    May 14, 2019

    Terrible, wonderful unraveling of the realisation of everyday horror. Thank you.

    Reply

  5. Kathleen Quintano
    May 14, 2019

    Truth, like a knife in the gut.

    Reply

  6. norman belanger
    May 15, 2019

    brutal. true. i am forwarding this to every guy i know.

    Reply

  7. Marie Bailey
    May 15, 2019

    Perfectly written. My heart rate, my blood pressure rose with each word. I’m thinking, wouldn’t it have been perfect if you had “accidentally” scalded that finger with your coffee. I imagine myself thinking such a thing long after the opportunity has passed.

    Reply

  8. Kristine Jepsen
    May 16, 2019

    Wowza.

    Reply

  9. Jess
    May 23, 2019

    I keep thinking what if you had shouted “get your fucking hands off me.” I was assaulted on a crowded metro surrounded by men on their morning commute and I shouted “who the fuck is touching me” and the men around me laughed. I’ll never forget that. But I wasn’t terrified and the man with his fingers between my legs stopped. And the police never found him but I wasn’t terrified and the man with his fingers between my legs stopped. Every situation is different and scary but my wish for women is a little bit more of “get your fucking hands off of me” in a crowded elevator instead of writing essays about how terrified we are. We have a right to space and it’s time we owned it. We aren’t deer.

    Reply

    • Erosen
      June 3, 2019

      Hey. Just so you know, women have gotten killed for doing literally just that, and freezing is a really common reaction especially for people who have had repeated trauma in their lives. A little less blaming victims for being afraid to stand up for themselves in a world where women are killed for rejecting men and a little more holding men responsible. Recognize that a good deal of that man stopping on the train was luck and that it easily could have gone another way. I know that’s a terrible and disempowering thought but it’s reality. How nice it would be if we lived in a world where assertively saying ‘stop’ was enough . . .

      To the author: bravo.

      Reply

  10. Mary Hughes
    June 18, 2019

    You’re so honest here, I love it. What we would like to have done in these situations is never what we actually do. You’ve put it succinctly and with raw emotion. The beginning catches up with the ending nicely and the deer is just right

    Reply

  11. Peter Cloud
    July 17, 2019

    I hope the next time someone touches you like that in an elevator you slap the prick with all your might. Slap him and scream at him. Make a scene. Let him clearly know that you or any woman will not tolerate this.

    Reply

    • jen
      July 29, 2019

      You are telling someone who is suffering from a PTSD episode you hope they ‘just get over it’, and telling a woman in a very low power situation to escalate an abusive situation – unfair & dangerous. Escalation can be the excuse to become violent; abusive men are waiting for it, hoping for it, so they can ‘teach that bitch a lesson’. It’s amazing that someone can read this, so well described, and still not understand just how vulnerable and powerless a position she is in.

      Reply

  12. Nels P. Highberg
    July 19, 2019

    In addition to the craft of this piece, it is a piece of documentation sorely needed in our culture right now.

    Reply

  13. Bonnie Parks
    July 21, 2019

    In my fantasy, you threw your hot coffee in his face. In reality you made the decision to survive. Kudos to you for walking away relatively unscathed.

    Reply

  14. Kristin
    July 29, 2019

    A powerful piece detailing a moment of seeming powerlessness. We all do what we can in the moment. I’ve been that silent, faking ignorance person — and I’ve been the laugh it off, play along person. And less often, I’ve been the go fuck your self person. All responses were valid choices in an impossibly teeth grinding situation.

    Wonderful essay.

    Reply

  15. Jennifer
    August 5, 2019

    Thank you for bringing this to the page, and thank you Brevity for helping her bring it to the world. Beautiful, brave, and haunting. So well done. ~ JG

    Reply

  16. Amanda
    August 16, 2019

    Beautifully rendered piece that captures emotions to which I can relate. The writing is divine.

    Reply

  17. Cynthia Pittmann
    August 23, 2019

    Shaken. Disturbed. Yes, you captured the core truth.

    Reply

  18. Leslie Martin
    September 10, 2019

    Chilling, and reminiscent of so many such episodes in my own life. When the man’s finger first touched your arm, I was reminded of my favorite cartoon, by Jackie Urbanovic of Minneapolis, MN, circa 1978. It’s a woman on a bus or subway holding a man’s arm. She yells, “Whose hand is on my ass?” As others have mentioned, it’s not always the safest thing to do but it’s always been my fantasy. And it captures so much.

    Reply

  19. Suzanne LaFetra Collier
    September 15, 2019

    Brava

    Reply

  20. Josef Lemoine
    December 23, 2019

    I’m in awe of your writing and ability to reveal the world through your eyes. Connecting your experience to the deer is truly inspired. I will be returning to this piece often. Congratulations.

    Reply

  21. Barry L. Casey
    March 28, 2020

    Such a powerfully compressed and intense piece. Thank you for your courage in writing it. The link to the deer was disturbing and illuminating. Powerful images and metaphors. So worth multiple readings.

    Reply

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