I was flashed twice by older men when I was a kid. The first time, a friend and I were leaving the deli and a wealthy looking guy in a red corvette pulled along side us to ask for directions – distracted by his arm gesturing below as he spoke, we looked down at his lap and saw what he wanted us to see. I think we screamed and then laughed in his face but I’m not sure -memory is funny like that.
The other time was a bit more surreal- my friend and I were listening to Eddie Murphy’s famous hit, Boogie in Your Butt, while riding bikes around our neighborhood. I had my tape player strapped onto my handle bar and we were riding by the Capuchin Friary when it happened. He rode up on his ten speed, whipped it out and was gone.
We had to go to the police station and pick the guy out of a photo lineup – oddly my friend and I picked different people but they happened to be brothers and both had records for doing it.
My mother asks herself today why she didn’t get more upset and involved when this happened; my friend’s mom was the one that made us go to the police.
When my mom was a kid she had been flashed multiple times; while on a bus, while lying alone in a field as she was coming out of a Walt Whitman nature moment (she opened her eyes and…). Particularly disturbing was when a boy came up to her and urinated on her leg as she was walking home from school.
It was a part of her reality as a little girl and maybe she didn’t think it should be a significant part of mine. It was and it wasn’t. These are conversations that need to happen regardless of your personal interpretation. We can’t normalize this for our daughters. Did a stranger ever expose themselves to you as a child? How did you react? Did you tell anyone? How would you advise your child to handle a similar situation?