October 4, 2019 by Melanie L.
He bit my ass in public. Like a fucking vampire.
It doesn’t matter what I was wearing, even if I had been wearing short-shorts with big bold lettering across my derriere that read, “BITE ME.” He had no right to sink his teeth into my flesh.
Bowling shoes. I was wearing bowling shoes. The stinky, ugly, rented kind. That’s the only article of clothing I remember for sure. The rest of my outfit would be a guess. I usually wore black pants to go out on Saturday nights, with a boot cut, even though it was summer. I don’t remember what top I wore. But, I didn’t own anything see-through or particularly skimpy.
Although it was a Saturday night, it was not a date. I did not know this man. I had met him only an hour or so before he bit me. In fact, I was out with a female friend, a co-worker at a children’s day camp whom I had only met that same summer and haven’t seen since. We decided to bowl at Jillian’s, a night-life and entertainment chain. She invited a male friend. Maybe she was into him, maybe she wasn’t, but they were not an item. That friend invited his own friend, also a guy. I had no interest in either man and spoke very little with them.
I did nothing to invite this battery other than occupy space. That’s what I did. I had the audacity to exist. When it was getting very late, after several frames, I got tired and laid down across the empty benches, on my stomach, to rest until my next turn. Without a word, he got up from the bench on the opposite side of the electronic score keeper, kneeled, and bit my ass, hard.
I shrieked, “Did you just bite my ass?”
He returned to his bench and sat silently. He never answered. He had no reaction that I could read. I looked around. Neither my girlfriend nor her guy friend seemed to have heard me.
I went to the bathroom and pulled down my pants and sure enough, I saw little teeth indentations in a full oval on my right buttock. The skin was already turning a fire red. In later days, my skin bloomed a deep purple and then ebbed to blue, green, and yellow before vanishing from my body and scarring my spirit.
I returned to the lane. It hurt to sit. So, I stood. Tired. And Pained. I felt angry. How could he do that to me? What gave him the right to hurt me that way? I also felt ashamed and embarrassed. As if it was my fault. He should have felt those things. It was his behavior that was shameful and embarrassing. I did nothing. I said nothing. I didn’t want to seem disagreeable. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I didn’t want to be bitten in the first place and I certainly did not want to be hassled by any fallout. My friend was a nice girl and I didn’t want to cause her any trouble. I didn’t know her that well. I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. And then there were the other patrons. I didn’t want to interrupt their evening or cause a spectacle.
We left shortly thereafter. I have not kept in touch with that female friend. And over the years, this got buried deep. Until #metoo.
#metoo has re-opened my scar. I’m haunted by this. I still feel shame and embarrassment, but for different reasons. Why didn’t I do anything? Why didn’t I seek justice? Who has this man hurt in the intervening twenty years? And how has my silence abetted his behavior? If I had spoken up, could I have saved his future victims? Did he do worse to them?
I blame rape culture. I had no idea what that was; and I certainly didn’t know I was a trained disciple. To him, I was not a person deserving of respect and space and bodily integrity. As for me, I perpetuated that notion by squashing my truth and taking pains to make everyone else around me feel comfortable. We need to change the culture in which he felt entitled to hurt me and in which I felt powerless to complain. We made some progress with #metoo, but we have work to do.
I asked my husband to read this and told him I intend to publish this anonymously somewhere. “Why?” he asked, “is it your lingering shame?” And then he said, “I’m proud of you for telling your story.” So, to hell with the shame. Here’s my story:
A strange man bit my ass in public 20 years ago and nothing else happened.