At the first time of actual assault I was 11. In the neighborhood garden where I played after school. Other girls had encountered the man. Just one tried to tell her parents, but nothing was done, she herself was just scolded for wandering too far on her own and not taking good care. I didn’t even try to tell..
During my later teens and twenties, groping, catcalling and inappropriate proposals, harassment, stalking, inappropriate remarks and behavior by males not just on street or in bars, but also by university teachers, older family friends and other men of closer or further acquaintance, where I was oftentimes so completely subordinate by social standing, influence, power, wealth, strength, everything - the occasions were such a daily occurrence that you stopped questioning it, just as you don’t question the sun setting in the west.
In my thirties, it’s been less by number, but SO much worse by impact, due to the fact that now I calmly weigh my risks, take good care, have lost a lot of silly naiveness and blind trust, and take no notice at all of strangers who I haven’t invited into my life, and still encounter this bigtime. In my daily environment and work. By a male gallery owner. By a male fellow artist of much higher standing. And more, and more.. Some of it I still struggle to come to terms with. Some has broken my heart.
It is no accident that a lot of the themes of my work evolve around finding your own self power, self acceptance, power over your own body and own sexuality, with no “other” to define your worth or validate your existence.. Building some piece of a world where you can own and express your own sexuality, and not physically (and emotionally) endanger yourself for daring to do so..