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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly : Coming of Age as a Sex Object -- Part I : The Ugly

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When I was eleven years old, a classmate of mine came up behind me, grabbed me by the hair, violently slammed the heavy metal locker door I was kneeling in front of on my head and walked away. I nearly blacked out. When I managed to stand up again, I went to my school counselor and reported the incident. She answered that I dressed provocatively and that my clothing elicited sexual feelings in boys my age. She explained that the only way those boys could express those feelings was through violence. So I wanted the violence to end, I needed to change the way I dressed. While she was right that I did dress provocatively, I’d be damned if let someone beat me into submission. So I kept doing my thing. I refused to accept that male violence was a natural comeuppance for my decision to feel good about myself.
At fourteen I was standing outside my friend’s house, waiting for her to finish lunch. It was summer in the Italian mountains. I was no more than six feet from her front door. A man wal…