TW: Sexual Assault

I’ve been trying to move forward in my creative work for the last six months but I’ve been stalled by my inability to accept that I have to share my stories of sexual invasion.

I HAVE to – because I can’t do anything else until these are out of me and into the world. I haven’t been able to create anything else or move forward because I kept coming back to these stories.

My stories.

No one needs another story of assault or invasion or harassment or however you’d characterize the things that have happened to me… but I don’t do this for you – you hold this space for me.

I can’t move forward into a world of creative truth telling until I tell you the truth.

This is my warning for what comes over the next month.

And my heartfelt thanks for holding the space.
~ <3 Lezley

Walking home with friends through the ravine, I spotted a man under a tree exposing himself to us. He had dark hair and a dark moustache and wore a dark baseball hat. I pointed it out, we all squealed and ran and told an adult in the park walking her dog. She said she’d call the cops. I don’t know if she did.

Lindsay asked the group if it was real. I scoffed and rolled my eyes… but I wasn’t sure either. Would someone flash a group of middle school girls a fake penis?? Surely, a fake penis wouldn’t scare me that badly?

The previous summer I was coming home from the pool with my next door neighbour. Jenny was 9, I was 12 and that was the last time I walked to or from the pool in just my one piece bathing suit and a towel.

At the corner of Tansley and Seminole avenues was a stopped car. The drivers door was open and from 50 yards away I didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing. As we got closer the car stayed stopped and the driver door stayed open. In the back of my head I was waiting for him to dump out his ashtray or brush crumbs or tobacco from his pants or pour out the rest of his slushie into the street. I was waiting for him to do something that would explain why he was sitting at the stop sign with his door open.

It wasn’t until we were almost 20 feet from him did I recognize that the driver had his belt unbuckled and his pants unzipped and he was stroking his cock as he watched us walk right towards his car.

“Oh shit, turn around. Let’s go back.” I said to Jenny kind of laughing but also startled and scared and very aware that in this particular situation I was the elder and had to keep her safe, or at least sheltered from seeing the public penis.

“What?” She said looking at me with worry. “Did you forget something at the pool?”

“No,” I said staring straight ahead, “we have to walk away from that guy in the car.”

“What guy? What car? Why? What’s happening?” Jenny kept trying to turn back to get a look at him and the situation and I kept saying no, no… keep going, don’t look. When I heard the door slam and the car squeal away I stopped and turned to her.

“That guy was touching himself and wanted us to see him. It made me feel creepy so I wanted to get away.” Jenny bless her heart was a total innocent.

“Why was it creepy? Was he touching his chest or his face? Why did he want us to see him touch himself? People are weird.” Jenny threw her hands in the air and readjusted her towel around her neck and we walked home.

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