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Not sure if this is the right place to post - my apologies in advance!

 

I currently work in the same university from which I graduated a few years ago. I also received my graduate degree there. There was a professor I had once in undergraduate and once in graduate school. He is beloved and a great teacher - confident, empowering, tough but teaches great lessons. He is currently 72 years old (married with children and grandchildren) and still teaches occasionally in the graduate program. He occasionally made comments to me and other girls about our appearance. Nothing crazy - "you look beautiful" type of things. We always got along well and would talk after class or on campus once I became an employee. I was a very good student and he would talk to me about papers I had written and we would share educational conversations.

 

Fast forward to present day and he is in town (he now lives in another state) for a class he is teaching. He calls my office and asks if I would like to catch up after his night class over coffee or a drink. I see nothing wrong with it and agree. He then suggests the restaurant at his hotel. Something about that made me uncomfortable so I suggest somewhere closer to campus, he rebukes my suggestions and instead picks a loud popular bar at a midway point between the campus and his hotel. His class ends at 8pm, we agree to meet at 8:30. Once there we sit and order drinks and appetizers. Conversation proceeds normally for about 25 mins - work, school, life (I am in the middle of a divorce), etc. He starts suggesting we go somewhere more quiet to which I respond that we should just stay there because I have to be at a campus function early the next morning. He then recommends getting a bottle of champagne and going back to his room. This is where things go downhill.

 

I decline and tell him that is not going to happen for xyz reasons - most of all that he is married and my morals would never allow it. I should have left at that point but I was caught off guard, not sure how to handle the situation, and I really am avoiding making a scene - all stupid reasons, I know. He then says he respects my decision and at that point our food arrives. Conversation proceeds normally again and I start to feel fine with the situation - he asked, I said no, everything was ok - I was wrong again. Shortly thereafter he tells me he has been infatuated with me since I was in his first class. He recalled things I wore, a coat I owned, specific sentences I wrote in papers. He asks if we could do anything at all that night. I decline again. He claims to never have done this before (I find that hard to believe), claims that students have come on to him and he has refused them (I again do not believe him but that is besides the point) Admittedly, I was flattered. I am coming out of a 15 years relationship where I was never once made to feel smart, beautiful, or wanted. And, although he is not who I wanted to be hearing it from, it was jarring to hear it said all the same. After a little while more i tell him we are leaving to our respective homes and that whatever he thought was going to happen is not going to happen. He remarks that now he is even more intrigued by me.

 

We leave to the parking lot and he proceeds to walk after me to my car. I walk so quickly my shoe breaks. He spins me around to face him and holds both of my arms to my sides as he attempts to kiss me. I pull away and he asks if he can get in my car. I say no, I get in my car and drive away.

 

This happened two weeks ago. Although nothing technically happened I am still shaken by it. I am upset with myself for not leaving at his first request. I am upset with myself for being flattered at his comments towards me. I feel my behavior towards him could be interpreted as flirtatious. It was a bad combination of being with someone I always looked up to professionally, wine, a lack of self confidence, and never experiencing a feeling of being desired by my husband all wrapped into one. I think I am more upset with my behavior than I am with his. I am sad that perhaps he saw my lack of self confidence and thought I would be an easy target and that's why he chose me.

 

My question is this: am I victim-shaming myself? how do I get passed this? I feel silly sometimes because nothing technically happened. I can handle a dirty conversation - but being grabbed like that was scary, and my arm still hurts. I have learned from the situation, but I still blame myself for so much and am not sure how to reconcile all of it.

 

Thank you for reading.

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Although nothing technically happened I am still shaken by it.

 

No, something most assuredly did happen, especially if you are shaken by the situation. I feel disappointed in our society that women in a situation like this still have the automatic response that somehow they are at fault. No, you are not in any way to blame for this. This is all on this guy and him taking advantage of your prior friendship. Kudos to you for seeing red flags early on.

Again, you are not to blame. Doesn't matter if you have a lack of self confidence, if it's an old friend, if you were in a previous relationship that was sh**ty and now you're flattered by the attention...you said no, should have ended right there.

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Well, I think this was attempted sexual assault although I don't think it rises to the level of criminality. However, it doesn't diminish what happened to you and what you're feeling is common and natural. You shouldn't blame yourself. You were vulnerable and this dirty old man took advantage of that. He might have even known you were going through a divorce and was even more vulnerable. And we all like to be flattered and even desired. I would even guess that he has pulled this move before with other students of his.

 

These kinds of guys take advantage of the fact that most women try to be helpful and nurturing and don't like to say no to someone or to lose a friend. I think the worse thing about this whole experience is that you've lost respect from someone who was a mentor and a father-figure. That really is the crime here.

 

If you can't clear it from your mind, you might want to speak to a professional. But you shouldn't blame yourself. You had no reason to know what he had in mind and no reason to expect that. And you certainly weren't looking for it. This is all on him, not on you.

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If someone grabs hold of you and tries to kiss you without your consent, that's assault. Sure, it's more in the realms of 'inappropriate' than 'criminal' than this case, and you had the good sense to get the hell out so it didn't get any further.

 

He's a creepy old man, no matter how wonderful his other attributes are. One of the problems with being approached by dirty old men is that we, as victims, can take on the sense of shame which rightly belongs to them, and he should have backed off altogether when you made it clear you would not be going to his room with him. You gave him the benefit of the doubt, that's all, and you should not for a moment blame yourself, or put his slimy behaviour down to your own vulnerability or anything else about you.

 

If this had happened when you were working in the same institution you should have reported him to the authorities, and I bet you're right that he has tried this on with other students in the past.

 

If you really can't get past this, go and talk to someone - there are confidential helplines around to support you in this - but above all, let yourself feel angry with the dirty old goat and stop blaming yourself.

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Let's say he was a married man close to your age.

 

I think you didn't think a man in their 70's likes to get busy.

 

I think the grossness factor is because of his age. Let's say he's was your age, and asked you to meet you at a bar for food and drinks, and no partners invited. And you wouldn't think this was a date? I'm sure you would have just said, "no."

 

I'm far from conservative, but he asked your permission if you wanted to do this or that, and you said no even with his persistence, and accepted each "no". You fell into his arms, and he took a chance, but didn't get to kiss you. I'm just think he's a old man looking to score on a young lady, but I don't see assault here.

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Although nothing technically happened I am still shaken by it. I am upset with myself for not leaving at his first request. I am upset with myself for being flattered at his comments towards me. I feel my behavior towards him could be interpreted as flirtatious. It was a bad combination of being with someone I always looked up to professionally, wine, a lack of self confidence, and never experiencing a feeling of being desired by my husband all wrapped into one. I think I am more upset with my behavior than I am with his. I am sad that perhaps he saw my lack of self confidence and thought I would be an easy target and that's why he chose me.

 

My question is this: am I victim-shaming myself? how do I get passed this? I feel silly sometimes because nothing technically happened. I can handle a dirty conversation - but being grabbed like that was scary, and my arm still hurts. I have learned from the situation, but I still blame myself for so much and am not sure how to reconcile all of it.

 

Something did technically happen: he crossed your boundaries. I am not sure if what he did can be considered a crime, but it's close. It's complete disrespect. He absolutely did try prey on your lack of self confidence. But you got away, so be glad!

 

There's nothing to blame yourself for. You behaved fine. I don't know how much more clear you can get than saying no three times (at least)! Just because you accepted his dinner/drinks invitation doesn't mean he gets to paw you. You dealt with his advances gracefully. That's called manners. Do you think you are to blame because you didn't throw your drink in his face and stomp off after the first proposition? Do you think you are to blame because you enjoyed some flattery?

 

Well, you're not to blame. It's his fault, not yours.

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Please don't be so hard on yourself.

 

Creeps like him, and there are plenty of them out there, do not have any special superpower to tell them when some woman is vulnerable. It's much more simple than that. They see pretty, they want to touch. They force themselves. Sometimes they get lucky, most of the time they don't. It doesn't really matter to them that much either way. They'll just keep on trying until one agrees, or until someone files a sexual assault charge and brings their arrogant callous despicable azz down and teaches them a lesson instead. So what I'm saying is that no, he didn't pick you or carry on the way he did because he thought you are an easy target. In fact, you weren't at all and were firm about your boundaries.

 

Other than that, real life is not like a tv drama where you throw your drink in his face and storm out as servers leap out of your way and everyone else is sitting in stunned but respectful silence. In real life, what actually happened happens - it's confusing. You say no and you expect that the other person will respect that. When he is old enough to be grandpa, perhaps you take the whole thing as a bit of a joke really, he couldn't possibly be serious. It takes awhile to take in the fact that he is actually dead serious and capable of harming you.

 

In fact, if there is any lesson at all to be learned from this for your own personal safety for the future, it's never let a guy follow you out to your car. Parking lots are invariably poorly lit and isolated and where you are most vulnerable. Learn how to dismiss the man at the door. If he is being persistent, go back inside, go to the restroom if you need to collect yourself. Grab a manager and ask to be escorted to your car. Whatever you do, take care of yourself and don't just flee with the creep hard at your heels.

 

What happened with you is what I call a light tap on your shoulder from the universe to put up your guard, be more cautious, toughen up.

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In real life, what actually happened happens - it's confusing. You say no and you expect that the other person will respect that.....It takes awhile to take in the fact that he is actually dead serious and capable of harming you.

 

This confusion and uncertainty is no joke. In fact, the woman in this clip explains over and over again how she rationalized serial killer Ted Bundy's actions as he kidnapped her and took her to a secluded area to kill her. She hitched a ride with him when her bus was late, but he didn't take her where she wanted to go. She noticed right away that the inside passenger door latch was missing--she still remembers it to this day, 44 years later. This was the first thing that she rationalized and made non-threatening. Even as he was strangling her, her fleeting thought was, "This must be a joke." Obviously this is an extreme case, but it shows how people simply aren't prepared when they are hunted like this.

 

 

 

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Just to clarify because I see now I didn’t word it correctly, I didn’t fall into his arms. He grabbed me as I was walking and spun me around to face him.

 

That is exactly what you said ;)

 

We leave to the parking lot and he proceeds to walk after me to my car. I walk so quickly my shoe breaks. He spins me around to face him and holds both of my arms to my sides as he attempts to kiss me. I pull away and he asks if he can get in my car. I say no, I get in my car and drive away.

 

I don't understand how anyone could interpret that as you "falling into his arms."

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