I’m only writing about this now as it took me some time to get over the initial shock of what transpired.
A few Saturdays ago we were doing the park run. My husband and youngest daughter did the run and my eldest daughter and I brisked walked.
Not thinking of much, my daughter and I were conversing in general and admiring the dogs on the trail. By this time my husband and youngest daughter were long gone with the runners.
Three-and-a-half kilometers into our walk a guy slapped me on my butt and ran off. Shocked out of my core and so was my daughter.
I let rip and blurted out a couple of swear words.
“What the f$%%”
“You damn b%$%^”
But he blatantly ignored me and was so fast that I couldn’t catch up with him. The whole incident happened in a flash and I didn’t even get a glimpse of his face. All I remember is that he wore a gray top and blue running shorts, was fair of complexion and medium built. My daughter who witnessed the act, also did not see his face as he came from behind us.
No one else saw what happened. Perhaps someone did but didn’t want to get involved.
Of course stared at by fellow runners and walkers. Probably thinking to themselves – who is this lunatic that is ranting and raving.
Disturbed, mortified and shaken by the incident. I felt dirty, invaded and powerless. Did this really just happen to me?
Walking as fast as we could, we looked around to see if we could recognize him. At that moment we just wanted to finish this walk and get to my husband and youngest daughter.
Eventually meeting up with them, I told my husband what happened. Immediately he wanted to know what the guy looked like and told me to report the incident to the park run organisers as well as the ADT security guard who was on duty.
Which I did.
There was nothing much they could do about the incident. And there was no way this creep was still around. Even if he was, we couldn’t identify him as we didn’t see his face. There were like hundreds of male park runners that Saturday, with a few fitting the body built description and dressed in the exact colours like the creep.
So I let it go.
After redeeming myself and being in a calm state, I apologized to my daughter for using harsh words and acting out. Telling both of them that if something like this ever happened to them or any form of harassment, they should report it immediately.
However in South Africa although the Harassment Act allows the victim to get a protection order from the court in an event of sexual harassment, the sad thing is that this does not protect you from once off incidences, wolf whistling, sexual remarks by strangers who you will probably never see again.
This incident has sparked a red flag for my daughter. These days when we do the park run or just go for a walk, she is much more aware of her surroundings. I want my daughters to be cautious and safe yet fearless.
This was not an accident. It was a deliberate slap on the butt that was uninvited and unwanted.
So, to the creep who slapped me on the butt that Saturday – you might have gotten away with it this time, or even a couple of times for that matter but there will be a day when you will not be so lucky.
Did this ever happen to you? Please share your experience in the comment box.