I thought about whining about my finals schedule, which is by far the most hectic one I’ve ever had, but I realized it would be much more interesting to you all if I whined about sexual assault in Greece instead.
By my count, I have experienced “unwanted inappropriate physical contact” four times while in Greece. Only once was the situation actually unsafe, and luckily some boys stepped up and offered to deck him for me. But this is not that story. This is the story of what happened yesterday when I was out to lunch with a Greek friend. We were chatting away merrily when an older man in a nice, three piece gray suit came up to me and asked what time it was. I proudly answered in Greek, but before I could enjoy my accomplishment, his arm was around my shoulders and he was kissing my cheek and neck. I was prepared to push him away politely and tack this one up to the Greek lack of personal space, but the lady I was with immediately started yelling for the waiter, asking him to throw this man out of the cafe. Apparently the things the old man was saying in Greek were not so benign- stuff about my boobs and skin and how much he wanted to have sex with me right now. Awkward. Good thing Stavroula was there to stick up for me. When she started yelling, the man backed off without a fuss and left the cafe.
Sexual abuse here is different than the kind I experienced living in an American inner city. There, the mentality was, “You are a female, I will make vulgar and lurid comments about you loudly, and if I am feeling really brave, I will grab your butt.” Here, the attitude is “You are an American female. You are therefore easy to get. I am displaying my manly charms, why are we not already having sex? Maybe I should kiss you to convince you that you should come home with me. ” This is especially true in bars, which is why I have pretty much stopped going out. Too many times, I have been having a nice conversation with a guy when he suddenly starts kissing my cheek or neck. Ewww. I tried switching my ring over to my wedding ring finger, but even then guys still assumed they could score easily with me.
Sexual abuse can be found all over the world, but I will certainly not miss the Greek variety.