I was going to write about the Packers steamrolling the Bears this past weekend, but what else is there to say? Garbage time officially started at the beginning of the second half, and it would have been a mercy move had the players given kids from De Pere, Bayport and Ashwaubenon a turn at taking on the Bears at that point.
Instead, I’m going to use this forum to share a personal experience from that night and point out that it is the first time that I did not feel at ease at Lambeau Field. At halftime, while the Packers were likely laughing it up in the locker room, I was sexually harassed by a fellow Packers fan I had never met.
This topic has been in the media quite a lot lately. Most people are familiar with the woman who videoed herself walking around New York while receiving 108 lewd catcalls while, well, just walking around New York. And my own local paper just ran Los Angeles Times’ Meghan Daum’s outstanding editorial just this past weekend about how we as a society have become so desensitized to such behavior that we just silently accept it, often blaming the woman for “asking for it.”
But let me get one thing straight–I wasn’t asking for it, and no one could conceivably blame the way I was dressed. Winter coat with an extra layers underneath and a pair of jeans, I wasn’t exactly dressed in a come hither manner.
Yet that didn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter whether or not I was there with my husband. But the fact that he was not in the room at the time someone how signaled to this creep that I “didn’t belong” to anyone else and was a target.
I have been regularly going to home games since 2008. Our seats are in the club level, and there is a public box just above our section. It’s where people go to warm up during the half, eat a snack or charge their cell phone.
I went in there to charge my phone. Like many moms, I don’t want to be without it when my kids are elsewhere. So I plugged into the wall while my husband headed to the bathroom and concessions. He was bored and needed to stretch his legs. No big, we do that all the time.
I must have been in there minute or two, leaning against the wall flipping through Twitter before he approached. He was a Packers fan. His buddies wore blue and orange. He looked like he was in his late fifties at best, perhaps his early sixties.
“Hey, are you sleeping?” he asked me.
“No, I’m charging my phone,” I answered as I went back to what I was doing. I could smell the alcohol on him, and really didn’t want to talk to him.
And that’s when he started. He closed in on my personal space and tried to ramp up what he thought was, no doubt, his love-sexy charm.
“Hey, just think of me as Bill Clinton.”
I ignored him and turned away. Go away, little drunk man. I really wasn’t up for it.
The innuendo continued. He kept getting closer. Had he touched me, I would’ve either decked him or found security.
Oh yes, you’re moves are so persuasive. Let me drop everything so I can make out with you in the bathroom. Seriously, who would ever fall for that crap?
He wouldn’t stop, and was irritated I ignored him. My phone was charged to 44%. That would get me through the game if I didn’t use it, right?
Meanwhile, the world just kept spinning in that warming skybox. No one else in the room seemed to notice what this creep was doing proving that this behavior can, in fact, happen just about anywhere and people either chose to ignore it or are so desensitized they don’t even see it.
“Back off!” I warned him, just loud enough for some around me to hear. My posture changed. Imagine one of those really brassed off cobras that just reared its head giving you the option to go away or die. That was me at that moment.
That’s when someone stepped in. A gentleman who sits one row ahead of us leaned in and told him, “Why don’t you leave her alone. She’s sitting with us.” After all, that’s what the No More campaign is promoting. No more sitting on the sidelines while this nonsense continues.
But he leaned in again, and that urge to hit someone really hard resurfaced for the first time since I was eight-years-old. (That’s the only time in my life I’ve ever punched someone.) At that point, I had little faith in security. They’re nice guys in red vests and all, but security and the GBPD did little to nothing last year at the playoff game when the slobbering drunk behind me kept puking and puking and puking all because he said, “I didn’t do it.”
So instead, I walked away and told him in no uncertain terms to, well, let’s just say it involved an expletive that would horrify my mother and my dad would give me a high-five for using. At the end of the day, I loved my season tickets more than I hated that creep.
I’m still angry about it three days later. It’s the first time I did not feel at home in my stadium. It’s the first time I felt like a thing and not a person there. How dare this jackass make me feel this way.
But it raises a bigger question–how often does it happen at Lambeau? Clearly I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. After all, women are just objects, things. What business do we have going to a football game? After all it’s a man’s sport. Shouldn’t we be at home ironing clothes or whatever those Stepford Wives are supposed to be doing?
I resent the fact that he believed that I was alone (ie, not there under the supervision of a man) and therefore I was free for the taking, that I was a possession to be had.
But it shouldn’t matter. It really shouldn’t. Whether or not I was there with my husband, dad, brother or my college friend should not be the only deterrent form this type of behavior. After all, this isn’t Saudi Arabia.
I am a fan too. I am part of the Packers Family. I am not, nor will I ever be a piece of meat.
Newsflash creepers: we don’t want your advances. We are not pieces of meat. We are human beings. How dare you think it is okay to act that way?
No more she obviously wanted it. No more boys will be boys. No more “I was only joking.” No more “You should take it as a compliment.” No more “It’s not my problem.”