San Francisco

After October

Before long we'll never be in that room again. We'll never fill its space with our sighs. We'll never fog up its windows with our heat. We'll never lie on its floor, limbs and fingers and mouths and even our eyelashes folded into one another, gripping softly but for dear life.

Before long we'll never splash that room's walls with our laughter. You'll never prop yourself up on the arm of that couch against that wall and say, "Come sit on me." You'll never play for me from exactly that spot. Our silly songs and sillier jokes won't exist in that place.

Before long that room won't hear my wails as you hold me tight enough to press into my bones your promises. We'll never cup each others chins there, eyes little trembling pools, heads shaking no, no, I couldn't without you. We'll never cross off ideas for future children's names up those two flights of stairs and down the hall.

Pretty soon I won't place my hand on that closet door for support. Pretty soon any moans within that room will belong to someone else. Before long we won't slow dance to the sunrise breaking into its panes.

In no time our mornings will come much earlier.

(for Dominique)


You Are Making Me Cry

He was screaming into her jeans. Every inhalation was ragged, his entire body stuttering as he tried to take in air. Every exhalation was a desparate declaration: "You are making me cry."

He looked to be four, no more. His face was dirty, but his clothes were clean. The woman he was with held her hand to his back, but said nothing. He cried with his whole, tiny body, and he repeated his accusation into her pants: "You are making me cry."

The bus would be there in four minutes, but his wailing could be heard over the mariachi music blaring over loud speakers at 24th Street and Mission. The happy brass fist fought his constant throaty sobs, and my heart was breaking. He said it over and over and over: "You are making me cry."

His face was a slick mess of pain. His refrain, steeped in tears, became a song, sad and long: "You are making me cry."


I Feel Like I Know Him

Sometimes in a city the size of San Francisco--not too big, not too small, some might say just right--you get close to people who are total strangers. Closer, at least, than you were before you never saw them at all.

This big city is such a small town that you can see the same people every day on your way to and from work. You are neighbors, apparently, who work in places along the same route. You know his red and black plaid lumberjack shirt that smells like fresh cigarette smoke and his sock hat pulled over wet hair and how he plays solitaire on his phone every morning as if there are no other games.

9423747105_ea91755a42

There is the morning when you are still sleepy and the music in your ears is lulling and the hum of the bus comforts you, and for an instant you let your neck go slack and your body falls slightly to the left, before you realize you nearly laid your head to rest on the shoulder of a man whose name you do not know.


Dolores Park, Sunday, July 7th, 2013, 1:39 p.m.

A man in tie-dyed pants has come to the park with amps and turntables and records and is spinning house music that can be heard over the chatter and barking dogs and the occassional clack of the train at the top of the hill. He appears to be alone and no one is dancing.

A girl twirls a parasol embroidered with gold with gold fringe on her shoulder, and it twinkles. She appears to have stepped out of a Delia's catalogue, her mini-dress and spiderweb tights and platform boots (complete with hippy headband across her brow, puffing up young hair) completely out of place on the perfect, cloudless Mission District day when you can see a bank of fog over Twin Peaks and wave at it from the distance.

The park is filling up now and young women are drinking rosé straight from the bottle. This park is a bit of a miracle as park-goers openly drink and smoke pot and even buy edible marijuana treats from a man with a Yelp listing and 63 reviews. Even as I write this the man directly in front of me is telling his out-of-town guest about the guy with the copper kettles and the potent truffles you should "eat only half" of. 

Two men on a too-small blanket to my right are sharing a glass pipe stuffed full of medical-grade marijuana. They are discussing the strain and whether it was worth the amount they paid. They agree it is.

People are starting to dance now.

Park

It's getting closer to 2, and the park is filling up. A guy wearing a red sweatband is rolling a blunt, licking the paper with his fat, flat tongue. His small dog is wearing a pink flower with streamers that trip it up when it tries to get away.

The house music is bad. A baby wearing noise-blocking headphones (always cute) is tossed gently into the air. A new group of three is smoking a hookah. 

A square-looking couple has brought along a table, a small wooden table, on which they have placed average beer and middle-of-the-road potato chips. They dance awkwardly from a seated position, both with heads down scrolling through their phones.

I suddenly find myself envious of a girl now dancing to the bad house music. She's the only one, really. She's wearing a long flowing dress and a devil-may-care grin, young limbs flailing effortlessly. Even as the DJ crashes and burns she makes it look easy and delightful, as though no one is watching. It's as if she has no neuroses at all.

Much like the girls, the 2 or 3 among hundreds, wearing bikinis. Even as beautiful, how do they?

A woman lowers sticks tied with string into a bucket and pulls out an enormous bubble, a giant floating orb refracting light. A toddler claps in delight even as the bubble disappears before her with a soundless snap.

A woman of likely meager means carries a bag on a heavy stick that rests on her shoulders. She approaches blankets and waits as people down the rest of their chardonnay so that she can take the bottle, which fetches 5 or 10 cents.

An earnest face in sensible glasses is collecting signatures, and I hope he does not come over here.

"Support AIDS walk? Buy a Jell-O shot?" is overheard coming from a man rolling a blue cooler.

A guy in Vibrams offers two girls in tank tops a palm reading. They wince at his offer, and I feel bad for everyone involved, but he is gone just as quickly as he arrived.

The air smells of grass. It is light, faint, barely touching any of us.

[photo: potential past; creative commons license]


Is the Marina as Bad as Everyone Says It Is? I Will Tell You.

To say I had a shitty weekend last weekend is really underselling it. And Friday is always the toughest day for me at the office job in terms of workload. Add to those things a little dash of payday, and I knew it had to be done: I talked my girlfriends out of yoga and into the wine bar. 

It was not a hard sell.

What happened next is something that never happens: I went to the Marina. On purpose.

For those unfamiliar with the San Francisco neighborhood, here's a brief primer: The Marina is a gorgeous part of town that is clean and smells nice and not at all like pee like so much of the rest of the City, but it is also filled with very rich young people who migrated north after graduating from Stanford. Collars do get popped. Here, I'll just tell you the story my friend Sarah told me as we were making our way to our Marina wine bar destination:

Once Sarah and her boyfriend went to a store called Shoes and Feet in the Marina so Sarah could get shoes appropriate for waiting tables. Her boyfriend was wearing a brown zip up fleece shirt. Out of no where a man accosted him. "Is that the new Patagonia shirt? In chocolate brown? Because I was going to order it online but they changed the name of the brown, and I wanted to make sure it was the right brown."

So, yeah. That's the Marina. I never go there because it is far away from where I live or work, and so I always assumed the shade thrown at those who live in the Marina was overdone and unnecessary. Are Marina guys really awful bros and are their female counterparts really that skinny? (Here's another tell: There is a restaurant in the hipster-drenched Mission District that sells tacos. They also have a "Marina Girl Salad." I'm surprised it has cheese.) All things told, could the Marina really be that bad?

Marina Girl Salad in the Mission.

It's that bad!

We went to the Marina because a friend of Sarah's works at a wine bar there. It was a brilliant move, because he greeted us with sparkling rose and truffle popcorn. Did this man get some kind of cheat sheet prior to my arrival? Those are all the things I love! I also loved the outdoor area with the fire pit and the lovely weather, but then there were the people.

These people looked like they were kidding. A woman was wearing a seersucker short suit. Let me say that again: A woman was wearing a seersucker short suit. Not one, but TWO unironically popped collars were spotted. It was such a sight to behold.

My friend Leo joined us after we'd staked out a little corner by the fire. I could see his wide eyes as he entered the place. "Where are we?," he whispered upon arriving, and we nodded knowingly. 

Bin

During the course of our wine consumption the topic of the Power Shower came up: the cold beer in the hot shower thing. Everyone's done it--after a sweaty run or a long bike ride or when miserably hungover. At least I thought! But Leo has never drank a beer in the shower. Not only that, but he'd never even heard of such a thing. My mind was blown.

I was two glasses in when I leaned over to the butter blonde with immaculate highlights and said, "Have you ever drank a beer in the shower?"

This woman had no idea what to do with that question. She looked at me as if I'd slapped her.

"I'm gluten sensitive." That is what she said.

Leo recoiled in horror. "Don't try to make friends," he mouthed. And so I wisely went back to my white wine and cheese plate and stopped pestering the locals with low-class questions.

Got my passport stamped. Not sure when I'll travel back to the Marina, but if I do I may try to rustle up a seersucker short suit.


Rollercoaster City

SF Nob hillThe other morning, like many mornings, the 12-Folsom just decided not to show up. 12s only come every 20 minutes, so I took a different bus that would get me 3/4s of the way to work, deciding to jump out and grab a cab at that point.

Which is what I did. I was lucky to snag a taxi at that time of morning, and with a nice driver, too. I told him where I was going, and he sent the car into motion, deftly moving it through rush hour traffic.

Soon we were in Nob Hill. The roads cleared there, as though they were waiting for us. The asphalt was glowing with morning sunlight, and all the buildings, too. It wasn't foggy, but hazy. Sunshine fighting hard for dominance lit everything on fire. 

The steely mass of the Bay Bridge popped into view, all splendor and strength, and we were flying. The taxi moved like a rollercoaster over the crests of the hills. Steep inclines and dramatic plummets sent my bladder into my gut and my gut into my throat. The speed and gravity and up and down so fast sent edorphins running all over my brain, and I fought the urge to squeal.

This is my city. This taxi ride is my commute. This thrill, this joy, this rollercoaster ride to work with postcard views spilling out from all sides is why I live here.

San Francisco remains a fairy tale city for me. A fairy tale city full of danger and crime and homelessness and human shit. 

But any place where a ride to work feels like a ride at an amusement park is okay by me. 


I Like Mornings In The City

I like mornings in the city, the rush and choreographed chaos of the urban commute.

I like to see people with wet hair, an intimate look often only seen by families or your lover. Wet hair makes people look more vulnerable, more alive. 

I like to smell the fresh soaps and aftershaves recently applied. 

Pause.

I like to watch the women transform bald eyes into feathery, smokey things at each bus stop. 

I like to watch the scurrying with cups of coffee held close to cold faces. I like to image what they packed for lunch in those cooler packs. 

Hours and hours lie ahead to spoil everything, but in the morning there is a sense of tenacity and commitment that makes it all seem okay, since there is all of us.


Goodbye Apron, Hello (Again) HootSuite

You either make time to write or you don't. It's a priority or it's not. Having an excess of time one one's hands does not compel one to write. I still don't have it narrowed down exactly what compels people to write, but I'm highly suspect that an excess of free time is a motivator to sit down and put words down.

Several months ago I gave up my media job in San Jose and began waiting tables. The goal was to spend a couple of years carving out a career as a freelance writer. I was going to go back to my roots to put that magazine journalism degree to good use. I was taking a leap of faith in my own abilities, discipline and drive. I was prepared to be poor. I was asked what I wanted to do, decided, then threw myself into it whole-hog. I was going to write.

I've published nothing since. In 7 months I've earned not a single byline. It's not for lack of writing. There has been lots and lots of writing. But when I began to explore what I wanted out of this endeavor, what I was best at, where my strengths were, I discovered I didn't want to write articles for newspapers, websites and magazines. I didn't want to be a freelance journalist.

I want to tell my own stories.

Whether in raw essay form or barely hidden behind the veil of fabricated characters, the power of my voice exists within the stories I have accumulated. Telling you what happened, secrets and all, is what I'm best at. Telling my tales is where all the impetus lies, the real reason I sit down to write most days. Everything else distracts from this best goal.

Of course, coming to terms with what I am supposed to be writing meant coming to terms with the knowledge that people will be hurt. Telling one's stories means being brave and taking huge interpersonal risks. It means pushing down the voice inside you that demands, "This is off-limits. Stop your story." And that voice is very loud.

Deciding to tell my stories also means finding myself in tears on a regular basis. Or as angry as hot lava as writing a passage reveals more about that incident than I had previously recalled. Or dripping in self-doubt. Telling one's stories is a constant therapy session. It's exhausting.

Much like waiting tables is exhausting. I had forgotten how much it takes out of you.

Waitress

 

I just remembered that I waited tables and tended bar while going to college. Surely, I could do that again and write on the side. Waiting tables would free me up to carve out that freelancer writer life I thought I wanted. Waiting tables would pay the bills while I created a sustainable income for myself doing what I love.

But waiting tables is fucking hard! Even working part-time, the work leaves me both mentally and physically worn out. It's stressful, high-impact and it leaves this nearly 35-year-old beat and with a backache. And it's certainly not as lucrative as I had imagined. You don't get to come back to the restaurant industry after a decade away, now living in one of the most acclaimed dining cities in the world, and get primo shifts at Michelin-star rated restaurants. I have friends who pull 80 grand a year waiting tables, but they have been working their way into these choice positions all along, and they are absolutely phenomenal at their trade.

Truth be told, I'm just a mediocre server. I was told by my dear friend Leo, a friend I made at the restaurant where I work now, "you're not a restaurant person." At the time I was offended. He refused to go into detail; that's how Leos do. But I thought about it for days: "How am I not a restaurant person?"

One beer-soaked evening (for those in the industry there are many), Leo indulged me and expounded further: "You care too much. You let people get to you. I can see you standing at your tables with Pissed Off written all over your face. If you let your tables get under your skin, you are not a great server."

He was right. And putting it that way made me feel less like a failure at serving. I'm decent at it. But I'm never going to get a gig at The French Laundry. Not happening.

And so, because freelance articles were not where I was focusing my writing efforts and because it became apparent that, for me, waitressing was a dead-end enterprise, I began to panic. OH MY GOD, I thought, I'm going to be a 40-year-old waitress barely scraping rent money together. The idea kept me up at night. How was I going to retire someday? Ever take a vacation? Have adequate health insurance, for fuck's sake?

Lucky for me--I am often lucky for reasons beyond my comprehension--a career angel came knocking at my door. A position for CBS Local Digital Media became available: Social Media Coordinator. And the guy who recruited me to come out from Tennessee in 2007 asked if I wanted to come back to the world of Twittering and Facebooking for the media.

It was an offer too good to refuse. It includes a 401K, sick days (!), vacation time and the most precious thing of all: subsidized health insurance. Mr. Dentist, it's been too long, here I come.

I start next Monday. I'll be back at Broadway and Battery where my tenure in San Francisco began. I'm thrilled. It's the smart, responsible path to take, and I'm so much more secure in my well-being knowing something more financially stable is around the corner. At present I fear a bone break or sudden illness like children fear closet monsters. A hospital visit would put me back so far I'd never recover.

And I'll make time for writing. If I want to get it done, I will. I don't need a part-time job to tell my stories, just the wherewithal to get my ass in the chair and put the words down. John Grisham managed to pump out best-sellers while working 100 hours a week as a practicing attorney. I can tell my tale and also work 40. A media career path does not preclude literary accomplishment. I'm going to prove this theory.

October 1st I'm back to an office job. My desk is huge, my co-workers awesome and my bank account is breathing a sigh of relief. I'm excited. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity.

For now, that's all the life news that is fit to self-publish.


The SFPD & Me: A Follow Up To My Story About Sexual Assault on Muni

When my post about my sexual assault on Muni and my subsequent experience with SFPD gained traction (starting with lots of RTs to the link and ending with posts on SFist and SFGate), I was glad. Some of the comments were hard to stomach, but by and large I recieved and outpouring of support and empathy that made me feel less alone. I thought it was important to see how many women replied with some horrific version of, "This happened to me, too." And if it meant one more person might report their own assault, then even better. I expected people to say that I was making ado about nothing or that I should have done X, Y and Z to avoid being groped by a stranger on the bus or that I was wasting the police force's time. What I did not expect was two suited inspectors from the Special Victims Unit at my front door one day after reporting to them my sexual assault on Muni.

Let me back up.

I was headed out the door to go bike shopping when I saw an alert from Facebook saying I had a private message. I opened the message to see that it was from a former colleague at NBC Bay Area. It said, "The SFPD called here looking for you. They said you are not in trouble but that they want to talk to you. I don't know how they know you used to work here." She did not feel comfortable giving out my contact information and instead sent that Facebook message along. It included a phone number.

I looked down at my phone to see I'd missed two calls from two blocked numbers, and that I had two unheard voice messages. One was from an inspector with the SFPD SVU, and they other one was, too. They wanted me to call them. I did, but got no reply.

I then dialed the number given to me in the Facebook message and spoke to a nice man who said he was in media relations and that they'd read the blog post and did I mind if he hung up and had SVU call me directly? I said I did not mind.

While waiting for the return call the doorbell rang. It was two inspectors from the Special Victims Unit in suits carrying briefcases. They were there to interview me about the 9-San Bruno bus groping.

I was a little taken aback to see them at the front door. Obviously, I invited them in and they began a recorded interview with me, a very thorough one, about what happened on the bus and where and what time and did I think I could remember what he looked like enough to be sketched. I said no.

These gentlemen were very respectful and professional and stayed asking me questions for 15-20 minutes. At the end they asked if I had any questions for them.

"I guess my only question is 'why are you here?' The man I spoke with yesterday made it sound like nothing would happen."

"I'm going to tell you what happens," one of the inspectors said, "but we're going to end the interview." And he turned the recorder off.

He told me more specifically about how the case would be handled and how they are going try to find video from the bus, if it's available. They also managed my expectations respectfully, telling me that the odds that he would be arrested are slim, but that now they have probable cause. 

They never addressed the blog post, though they did say, "we read your tweets." I'm not sure if every woman who reports a groping gets a house call, but I got the distinct feeling that the tweets might have had something to do with mine.

After showing the inspectors out, I returned to my laptop to find this comment on the blog post about the assault and the police report from San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr:

Brittney,
I am sorry to hear about your experience at our district station. We regret the traumatic and humiliating experience you underwent, and we agree that your encounter with the station counter officer could have and should have been handled differently. The SFPD prides itself on treating sexual assault and battery victims with concern and sympathy. The experience you have described is not to the level of service that SFPD is known for.

I was heartened by the message and felt much more at ease about how my local officers are trained to handle cases like mine. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt pretty overwhelmed by all the phone calls and voicemails and the house call.

My brain began to ask the question it had been asking since the beginning: Am I making too big a deal out of this? But all I had to do was recall the sensation of the violation and remember that I was only telling my story to know that no, I wasn't making too big a deal out of this.

I'll be honest, before I was groped on the bus I thought flashings and rubbings and grabbings on crowded subways were terrible things, but until I experienced it myself I did not know the real emotional trauma that can occur. The statistics about how many women have one time been molested or raped are ridiculously high; having some asshole grab your crotch can make a victim relive that all over again. Previously victimized or not, I now know that being assaulted in that manner by a stranger is a monsterous thing. I never expected it to feel so awful, but of course, I also never expected it. I admit I didn't go around steeling myself to an eventual groping. Though I do now, at least for the time being.

I want to say I'm impressed with the SFPD's response to my crime. They wanted to make it right, and for me they did. I do hope the same can be said for other women who experience the same thing , those who might not have what happened to them re-tweeted.


The Story of My Sexual Assault on Muni in San Francisco

Something happened to me yesterday that has happened to millions of women in cities all over the world. This is my story of sexual assault on public transportation, a bus in downtown San Francisco:


I was sitting in a seat by the window across from the rear doors with headphones on, listening to music, being careful to hide my loaner phone in my purse after I had my iPhone stolen out of my hand last week. A man sat down beside me in the empty seat.

I did what I usually do and quickly, discreetly sized up my seatmate. He was a disheveled middle-aged man with blonde hair that was either dusty or graying. He smelled strongly of alcohol on his breath, body and clothes. He didn't smell like piss and weeks upon weeks of not showering, like other unfortunate people who sometimes take the bus, but he looked like he was swiftly headed in that direction. This man was clearly intoxicated and behaving strangely. He swayed in his seat and repeatedly made the sign of the cross, which is highly disconcerting, let me assure you. When women would board and stand next to where he sat he would try to engage them. They would quickly move away. I should have followed them.

He tried to engage me as well. My defense was to aggressively ignore him on the very crowded bus by staring out the window and keeping my headphones on. I had just three stops to go. When he tried to talk to me (words I couldn't hear due to the music) I shook my head no and held my hand up, flattened, to signal that I wished to be left alone.

Muni Bus

The bus continued to lurch down busy Market Street. I pulled the cord to signal that I wanted off when the bus was due to stop again at 5th and Market.

I stood a few seconds before the bus came to a halt, a clear indiction that I was getting out and off the bus. When the bus stopped the man to my right swiveled his legs around rather than stand, so I took a wide step to get around him and as I did he grabbed me between my legs.

Without thinking I turned and swung my heavy purse containing a server's book, a hardback journal and loose, sharp pens at his head, but barely connected. I think the purse grazed his face. I screamed FUCK YOU, also without thinking, and fled off the bus.

I stepped down onto the concrete platform, my head swimming in a raucous tide. A young man beside me asked what happened. "He grabbed me between the legs," I told him. 

The young man shook his head. "And that man said, 'What?,' like he didn't do nothing."

My legs moved forward in spite of myself. I was floating down the sidewalk on Market Street trying to comprehend what had just happened. I was trying hard not to vomit. I felt ill; I was physically revolted. I shuddered and tears collected in the corners of my eyes. 

My lip quivered as I crossed the busy mall to the elevator that would take me to the restaurant where I work. Everything was foggy. My feelings were foggy and my vision was foggy and my mind was foggy. I couldn't believe what had just happened, and I couldn't believe how awful it made me feel. 

As I hit the button in the elevator for the 4th floor I realized for the first time I'd been sexually assaulted. I'd considered whether or not this was a big deal, checked the facts against my feelings and decided that yeah, it kind of was.

I walked into the restaurant in a daze. I walked over to put my bag away when my friend Leo put up his hand to give me a high five. I blurted out, "I was just sexually assaulted on the bus."

I told Leo and Marc more specifically what happened and the embarrassment rose in my face and the revulsion in my gut. I sat down at Table 100, put my forehead on my forearm, burying my face, and cried really hard.

Poor Leo and Marc stood there mostly silent. "This fucking city," was certainly uttered, as were several I'm sorries. They were both very comforting in their presence, but they seemed at a loss for words. And who can blame them?

"Do you want a glass of wine?," Leo offered. I looked down at my hands and they were shaking.

"YES," was my emphatic reply.

He went and poured a hefty glass of gruner veltliner, my favorite, and handed it to me. "Here. Slam this."

And I did. It helped immensely. My nerves were completely frayed and I was a mascara-y mess and I had a new two-top at Table 49. I freshened my make-up in the bathroom and by the time I took the couple's drink order the wine was kicking in and my nervous system began to unclench slightly. 

I made iced tea for the lady at 49 and waited for the bartender to pour a Trumer when I felt the first bubbles of boiling anger begin to rise within me. I was moving through the stages of grief very quickly. Suddenly I was fucking pissed.

I wanted to punch someone--specifically the asshole who grabbed me between my legs. Just typing that sends puke rising into my throat. I can recall with precise accuracy the sensation of his hand between my legs and I'm not sure I'll ever forget it. It felt like wrongness and violation and horror and evil. 

Marc, the sous chef, sensed my anger. He stood watching me fume.

"Is it too soon to make a joke?," he asked, knife in hand.

"It's been 15 minutes," I said. "I think it's probably overdue."

He grinned. "I'm going to say I was sexually assaulted, too, because I could really use a glass of wine right now."

I laughed and laughed and was grateful for the levity. And the wine.

As my shift continued I thought more about what had happened. "I was just wearing my work uniform," I thought. "It wasn't even anything..." I stopped myself before I could think it all the way. I was about to consider what I'd been wearing in trying to process what had happened to me. 

After urging from others I decided to go to the police precinct and report the crime today. I was reminded that there are cameras on Muni buses and that there might be viable video of him touching me. Even if not, these crimes are grossly underreported and even one more record of this kind of assault might mean more police presence in the future.

So, after my short lunch shift this afternoon I took a cab to 6th and Bryant to the Southern station to file a report. I took a cab because the next bus was reportedly 47 minutes away and I felt unsafe walking. That happens when you've had your crotch grabbed on public transit and the police precinct is in a sketchy-ish part of town. 

I entered and told the security guard I was there to report a crime. He told me to walk to a counter where officers were protected behind thick plastic or glass. I had to use a phone to talk to the policeman on the other side.

"I'm here to report a crime. I was groped on the bus."

"What happened?"

"I was groped on the bus. He grabbed me between my legs as I was exiting."

"Where did he grab you? Sorry, but you have to be more specific."

"He grabbed my vulva." I tried to tamp down my embarrassment.

"Okay. What do you want to do? File a report?" His tone made his words sound more like, "Are you serious? You came all the way down here for this?"

"Yes," I told him. Yes, I wanted to file a report.

He asked for more information. I gave it to him. He told me to wait. Then he came out and spoke with me face to face.

"We have two options here. We have a Muni task force. We can give them this info and they can be on the lookout for this guy. Or you can file a full report, but it won't do anything."

He made sure to tell me this guy wouldn't be caught even if I filed a report. For a moment I hedged. For a split second I considered not filing a report. He nearly convinced me. Then I remembered what I came there to do.

"I realize this guy probably won't be caught, but this crime is underreported and I want to do my due diligence and make sure this one is. And if it means more police presence later, then even better." He did not agree with me; he said nothing. The amount of sympathy he managed could fit into a thimble.

I waited more. While waiting with no where to sit for many minutes. I considered the infirm or pregnant or elderly women who would be very physically uncomfortable waiting to file a similar report. With nothing to be said of the emotional discomfort.

Finally I was given a slip of paper with my case number on it. I was told that usually sexual battery requires "skin on skin contact," but that that was how my case would be labeled. He told me I could follow the case online.

I initiated a hand shake. He finally, finally mustered that he was sorry this happened. He told me to be careful. It sounded a lot like, "don't let this happen to you again."

A less confident woman would not have filed this crime report for sexual assault. I know this, because I nearly didn't.

I have a lot more processing of emotions to do before I write more about what happened to me and how the situation was treated by SFPD. Plus, there is more to be revealed with how this case will be handled. But I wanted to write about this now for my own therapeutic reasons, but also to shine a light on a crime that happens regularly and that just might be downplayed by the people in charge of our safety. 

If this happens to you I urge you to report it to the police. Do not let them convince you to walk away without filing a report. Being groped against your will on the subway or bus or anywhere is sexual battery, and you deserve to stand up and have your assault counted.

More soon.