At A Music Venue

I was in high school. It was my first punk show, which sounds silly now, but at the time it felt nice to be able to align myself with some kind of culture or community. Especially one that I saw as "radically progressive". Especially one that seemed all inclusive. Especially one in which mosh pits existed.

It was an all female band, and I was excited to go because I had just learned about riot grrrl and was starting to read a lot of bell hooks and feminist theory. I was on the edge of the crowd. People were everywhere so it was impossible not to bump into someone, and while I was alone, I felt safe. I figured I was with my own kind, that nothing bad would happen here. That we all had the same morals and ethics and ideals and political values. These were likeminded people and we were all in support of each other. And then I felt a hand reach up my skirt in a way that could never be interpreted as accidental.

I didn't know what to do, and by the time I turned around, the person was already gone. My stomach was starting to knot up and I didn't know how to feel. I felt ashamed that I had let it happen. I was embarrassed, and helpless and terrified.

The rest of the show was a blur and I distinctly remember trying not to cry at one point. I felt so helpless. I wanted to tell a bouncer but talked myself out of it because I didn't know what the guy looked like. I didn't think the bouncer would believe me. I thought he would accuse me of making it up. Or that I should have known something like that would happen because I was a girl, alone, in a skirt, at a crowded show where things were bound to out of hand. That I had been asking for it to happen.

I didn't go to another show for years after that.