I was fortunate. I was believed. Newly married, living in Miami Beach, I was so very young. I worked at a law firm with two partners. One of the partners asked me if I could stay late one night. He called me into his office, dictated a letter, then as I was leaving, pushed me onto a couch and jumped on top of me. I was so stunned, I froze for a few brief moments. He was a little guy so I was able to get away and leave. The next morning, I told his partner what had happened. He apologized to me and immediately confronted the other partner. He ended the partnership and continued my employment for a few years though it was a financial hardship. Some men are heroes.

A young mother with a toddler and an infant, I was in the basement of my apartment building doing laundry when a man in a ski mask came in carrying what looked like a gun under his jacket. He said he wanted to feel my ass and if I made any noise, he would kill my children. The children sensed the danger and froze. He briefly put his hands on me and then ran. Shaken, I called my husband who immediately came home from work and scoured the neighborhood looking for him. He was not found. I will never forget his eyes. 

At the age of 32, I had extensive oral surgery followed by a week of Percodans for the pain. I had a lingering uneasy feeling about the surgery, the surgeon. I lived on a quiet street with no outlet. When I saw him drive past my house a few weeks later, I realized that something had happened when I was under anesthesia.

At the age of 44, divorced after a 22-year marriage and dating again, I met a man at a club. We went out a few times but I decided this wasn’t something I wanted to continue. I told him this after we had gone out and we were in my house, a mistake I will not make again. He was silent for a few minutes, then he threw me onto the couch and got on top of me. I was frozen, thinking of my daughter sleeping downstairs. He stared at me for a few agonizing minutes and then suddenly got up and left. I ran to the door and locked it behind him but I didn’t hear him leave. After 10-15 minutes I did hear him leave. The next morning I discovered all four of the tires on my car had been slashed.

These things change a woman. A barrier comes up. It remains for the rest of one’s life. It protects. It also isolates.