I’ll never forget that time when I was twelve when my mom decided to test my reaction to being grabbed in public. We were standing in line at our local sandwich shop when she said she had to use the bathroom and asked me to wait for our food. Moments later, a hand grasped roughly around my upper arm, fingers digging into my skin. My heart leapt into my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I froze.
Turns out, it wasn’t a predator or even a stranger. It was my mother. She never went to the bathroom, instead sneaking behind me to test my fight or flight response. It turns out, I had neither fight nor flight in me, instead terrified into total passivity. My mother was mortified by my reaction. The ride home was an endless lecture: Why didn’t I fight? Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I even…
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