Groping hands should go back in pockets



Campus Times
September 22, 2000


by Stacey Mleczko
Features Editor

It is one thing to walk by someone you see on a regular basis at school and never acknowledge their existence, but it's quite another to walk by that same 'nobody' at a party and decide you know them well enough to grab their extremities. (Basically, that qualifies as their butt, but can be extended to mean other private property, too.)

It is a rare occasion I decide to be a social butterfly and join some friends at a party or hot spot. But it never fails. Every time I do make that choice, I am reminded why it is a rarity.

After surrendering the $5 or $10 at the door, I force my way through a crowded entrance and into an even more crowded room. At this point, it seems that guys tend to assume all manners and rights fall to the floor. They take it upon themselves to grab as many butts that enter within an arm's length.

Maybe intoxication is an influencing factor in the informality around other people. I have certainly noticed the difference in self- esteem that guys present themselves with in the Student Center vs. the confidence they tend to grow in the presence of a pitcher of beer.

As the anti-social partygoer, I have plenty of observational experience. I have decided that males have an unconscious strategy. They seem to believe that because another male is standing next to him, he will not be identified in a line-up. The male bond is not an excuse to accept bad behavior.

Considering the bitter look on my face, I realize I just made a big mistake. I wonder why I come to these things, and suddenly remember that I usually do not and for good reason.

Being groped is in no way a compliment. It is intrusive and demeaning and I see it happening all the time to all types of women.

It happens to me frequently but more often than not, I see it happen to other women. Even the most lackadaisical women should still possess some type of self-respect. The pinch, caress, squeeze or slap should at the very least, trigger the "look," which is an immediate response silently communicating, "Don't touch that, it's not yours!"

Now, I am no longer wondering why guys feel the need to do this, but why most women shrug it off to the reasoning of, "guys will be guys and it happens to the best of us." That is not a justifiable reason to lose respect for oneself. And women should not ignore this juvenile behavior, especially from supposed "college men."

Nor is the consumption of alcohol a reason for guys to suddenly seem they have newfound power. But we know that after a few drinks, guys will do things in a bar that they would never do sober or in other public places.

When we laugh and play around, acting like it was a slick move, we encourage it. If they can get away with it, don't you think they will do it again? I do not want to be their next target.

My first and most immediate response may be a little over the top but if I am feeling considerate, the least I will do is shoot him a look telling him, "If there were not so many people immobilizing my arm, my hand would have met your face before my eyes did."

I admit I have been told that I have a big butt. But, no matter how much I impale myself on your space as I pass through the crowded hallway, does my butt ever become prime pickings or public property? No!

I hate always having to leave a party wondering how many hands have trespassed on to my butt. Guys should not be allowed to chicken out and introduce themselves like that.

I would be much more inclined to start a friendship or relationship with someone who thought first of starting a conversation with me and second about where to put his hands.

Stacey Mleczko, a junior journalism major, is features editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at mleczkos@ulv.edu.