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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

The touch

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

A warm, silky ray from the sun, gently touches my face as I sit on a bench thinking about the latest story of sexual harassment in the news. Can a human ever show affection without implications? Doesn’t even a mother want to be loved back? At least mine, wanted. How about the soft fur of a bunny, isn’t that an offer of unconditional love? Not quite. Better feed me or I’ll make noise.

In France, people greet with kisses on the cheeks. Two for friends, and four times for closer friends. But still, it’s friends, not your boss. I don’t know how many times, I have felt men touch me inappropriately at work. It’s like a cuddle for the purpose of exercising power, not affection. Can this ever be good? No. Can it be solved? Yes!

At one of my former workplaces in Sweden, a male colleague kept saying flirtatious remarks, shared how he wanted a divorce, and often touched me with jovial gestures (around my waist, on my shoulder or arm) and at the same time, I didn’t feel respected for my contributions. He didn't listen. Then I said no. And he apologized! About a year later when we both had stopped working at the same firm (I was leaving anyhow.), we dated instead for a while. It didn’t work out for various of reasons, mostly mine, but nonetheless we ended it with respect. On my first full time job, I was even groped on top of my pants in the groin. I got another job and quit. In comparison, my mentor, who I indeed loved, but as a mentor, never touched me, at all, more than a hug on occasion. He was my mentor for three years.

Later at the university where I started studying to change career, a male classmate once put his hand on my shoulder from behind. It was definitely nothing but a friendly hello, but I jumped two meters and almost slapped him in his face… out of reflex. This, because I’ve been assaulted once from behind, which I explained. It was there and then I understood that I have PTSD, due to the flashback I got. To me, it was me saving me faster. As far as I’m concerned, men most often want to see how far they can get, at least to see how far they can get. We are all driven by sex, so why not just admit it?

Or, don’t touch.

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