Dear Elizabeth Smart

Dear Elizabeth Smart,


I know how you feel. The same thing happened to me 40 years ago on a cross-country trip on a greyhound bus. I know the feeling of waking up with a strange man’s hands on you—the sudden, horrifying realization that things aren’t as they should be. The confusion. The nausea. The fear. And not knowing what to do, how to react. We aren’t taught what to do in this type of circumstance. I still don’t know what is the right thing to do. Do you jump up screaming? Do you strike out at him? Do you risk having a physical fight with a strange man—because I’m pretty sure I’d lose a struggle with any man, no matter how I’ve been trained in self-defense. At my strongest, I’m still not as strong as the weakest man out there.


You do not have a sign on your forehead saying “victim”. You are however, an attractive woman and you’ve encountered an opportunistic predator. How is self defense going to help you when you’re asleep? You weren’t his first fondle and you won’t be his last. Never fall asleep in public? Okay. Listen up females: never doze off in a public place next to a stranger. Because even in public, an opportunistic predator will find a way to get in your pants. He’ll move really slowly with the lightest touch. He knows how to not disturb you. He can tell how asleep you are.


After all this time, I can fantasize about all the things that I could have, would have, should have done, but at that surprise instant, I really didn’t know what the protocol was and I still don’t. What should you do? Let’s figure it out.


I should change the name of this blog. 3sas stands for three sexual assaults, but I really meant three rapes. The sexual assault I described above is something separate. It is a sexual assault, for sure, but I was counting the two random molestations separately. So it should be 5sas.



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