Sexual Assault Isn’t Breaking News

By Caitlin Smith

Want Editor

It’s that time of year again–families come together to make cookies and drive through the neighborhoods decorated with lights. Shopping during the holiday season, especially at the last minute, is generally an anger-inducing experience.

It was the third day of Christmas, and I was making the rounds at the mall, shopping for all whom I hold dear.  Mom would bring me to stop in stores every so often, and tell me to try on clothes so she could wrap them up and stick them under the tree, for me to act surprised about on Christmas.  Moms are another one of life’s greatest mysteries.  

There I was, in a Nordstrom dressing room, admiring how much nicer it was than a Macy’s dressing room, with twelve shirts to try on and enough mustered energy for three of them.

“Come out and show me them once you’ve tried them on!” Mom called in the dressing room full of people.

My arms went through the arms holes of the first shirt, and out of the dressing room I stepped.

Mom had that face–the “oh sweetie.” face, the ever renowned “are you sure?” face.  

“I like it,” I said.  Oh, how sweet and innocent I was then.

“Oh, honey.  No.” Is what Mom said.

“What don’t you like about it?” Oh, how blissful and ignorant I was then.

“I don’t like the off-the-shoulder thing.  I think it looks tacky.” Mom still had the face.

“Okay. Can we get bubble tea after this?”

“Yep. I wouldn’t try on any more of the shirts that show your bra, okay?” Mom smiled.

I waved it off, said okay, and started back into my changing stall. I’ve tried reasoning with Mom before, and it’s pointless.  I wondered why it was such a big surprise that I’m wearing a bra, being a teenager and all.  Mom stopped me.

“Especially with all of this sexual assault happening now.” Mom said, in a dressing room full of people.

I felt my face getting hot, and all I could think of was how I wished she would read something different than Yahoo News.

“What?” I made the face.

“Well, I think it’s partly women’s responsibility to cover themselves up.” Mom said.

“Do you mean, my shoulders?”

“No,” Mom trailed off.

Did my mother think that sexual assault is a new issue?

And that was that, I didn’t question it. To onlookers, it would probably look like I was disrespecting my mother.

Leave a Reply