The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.

If you prefer to e-mail me at laura@everydaysexism.com I can upload your story for you instead. Follow us on Twitter (and submit entries by tweet) at @EverydaySexism.

Add your story:

Ellie

So I am a 16 year old teenager in Irvine California. If you have never heard of Irvine, let me summarize it for you in a single world; bubble. Irvine is a bubble, seemingly separated from the outside world. It was declared the safest city in California. You will also call all of the people living in this bubble privileged. I, however, was not born in this privileged, disconnected society. I was born in Israel. I am Jewish. I experienced some tough shit in my life. I am also extremely educated and involved in politics and science. I am a debater, a public speaker, one of the top students at my school. With this background, no one would expect me to be discriminated against, people would expect my opinion to be heard and respected, and at school, it largely is. It is respected because of my education, even as a woman. However, the moment I step off of this safe platform, I am encountered with things I wouldn’t have imagined a person like me would ever have to see. When I go online, I shed this highly educated identity and I become a normal teenage girl, and the amount of disrespect I receive for my gender is unimaginable. I engage in an online argument regarding my home country, Israel, and a man suddenly wrote “you should know your place you scumbag female parasite.” I grew up is a very feministic household, and the most adamant of all of us is actually my dad, so I talked this man down, and responded “If you are not intelligent enough to make a clear and coherent response to what you call “a female parasite” what does that make you? A bacteria?” However what annoyed me even more is the fact that he never even bothered to make a response. This is not new to me by now. Online, I am often disregarded due to my age and gender. Because I protect other females and other people in general I am often looked down upon and laughed at and it baffles me that when I am at school, no one dares ever speak to me in that way, why? Because they need MY help, and they would never dare talk to me in a way that would cause me to never help them again. In our school, yes, in the bubble of Irvine, a teacher made a remark “girls cannot keep secrets at all, it is in the female genes, they are the reasons many men lost wars and their lives.” he had said this in front of an entire class, ad no one dared to complain. The guys even laughed and made jokes about it, and the girls simply took it. When I do anything that does not please the guys around me, they would go behind my back and talk about it, talk really bad about me. They would disregard my achievements and my talents, and even though they would never say those things to my face, I have been told by many others who hear them constantly. At my debate rounds, judges, people who are supposed to be unbiased, often tell me I speak “Too aggressively for a girl” however say nothing to my male opponent who would literally scream at me his opinions. My gender does not determine my abilities or my talents, and it is time the males of our world learned to respect that fact, and just LIVE WITH IT.

Meri

I work as an interviewer, and the other day I had just finished an interview with an older man (60-70). He asked me if I could follow him out of the building, and I agreed. I walked out to get the door for him. He proceeded to say: “Its (asking if i can follow him out) because you are so nice to look at from behind”. I felt uncomfortable the rest of the day.

Karen Hanlon

I am an angry feminist – today I booked a holiday break through BA holidays for myself and my partner. I put my name down as the first passenger, used my credit card to pay for it and my email address. When the confirmation email came through his name was automatically given top billing on the itinerary. Seriously how is that even possible?!

Student

There is a dance club at our school where a lot of the students like to go on Saturday nights, very normal, very college. Inside it’s just a lot of sweaty people dancing too close together with probably too much alcohol in the mix. What makes me uncomfortable is that heterosexual couples can dance together and kiss on the dance floor and on one looks twice. But when I do the same with my girlfriend we have crowd a guys staring and catcalling. Multiple guys grabbed my butt and tried to dance with us without our permission. But I’m even more upset with myself because my first reaction was to think “well of course, this is the natural male response to two girls being together.” NO, the ‘natural response’ is not supposed to make me feel insecure and exposed. I don’t want to feel responsible for a guy’s rude behavior.

Izzy

I was in Burger King, with two friends. One Male, and one Female. We are all 16, and it was after school so we stopped by to get some food and just talk about things. Halfway through, we noticed a Middle Aged man sitting across from us, winking, gesturing, and smiling menancingly at my friend and I. My female friend was immeadiately intimidated and upset and wanted to leave as quickly as possible, while my male friend was more embarrassed than anything and wanted to leave. I, however, was infuriated. As a 16 year old girl, this treatment is fairly common when in public, but I had decided I’d had enough. I told my friends that I was going to do something about it, and I was told not to, that it was a “bad idea” and that I could be “judged”. But I wasn’t having any of that. As I walked up to the man, he continued to wink and gesture. I immeadiately questioned him “Is there something wrong?” (The whole of Burger King went quiet) He slowly looked up at me and said “No I just find you very beautiful”. At this point I could see people giving each other looks and raising their eyebrows at the girl who was just “making a fuss” I looked him square in the face and said “Oh so you’re attracted to children? I’m a 16 year old girl and this not only counts as perverse, but paedophilic as well. Leave me and girls like me alone and don’t you dare even look at me again, pervert”. To my surprise this was greeted by a slow applause, coming from various women in the joint. This not only made me feel happy but also thankful that the movement on social media has helped me to believe that I can stand up for myself, and others can too, and instead of being greeted by shame at the end of this experience, I was backed by other women who go through the same thing daily.

Izzy

Hi, I’m izzy. I’m 16, and for a while I’ve been in a bad mental place surrounding the multiple sexual assualts and rape I’ve undergone since the age of 13. Whoever’s reading this must be thinking “Oh gross she must live in some poor council estate with no parents”, or you may have been tempted to stop reading at the mention of the word rape. Rape. It’s not a word that I’m supposed to be using, is it? I’m a 16 year old girl, and it’s not ladylike. Well for whoever’s wondering, I live in Switzerland, I have a wonderful family, and great friends. But none of this changes the problems that all girls and women go through today. Despite all of this I was still a victim of rape multiple times, and despite what my brain has been telling me ever since my first encounter, it is not my fault. It’s not. I’ll even shout it from the rooftops! It’s not my fault!! Sexual assulay happens due to the social grooming that happens from a young age. School dress codes for example. Girls are literally blamed for actions they take due to what clothing they are wearing, and boys conform to this idealism. In my most recent sexual assualt case, two classmates raped me, after I had been prescribed anxiety medication not knowing that when mixed with alchohol, I would pass out. They proceeded to carry me to a bathroom and do what they wanted to me for about an hour before I started vomiting while unconscious and they decided they’d had enough, so they ran and left me. Eventually a bar tender found me and called the police and the ambulance. I was rushed to the hospital, and I kid you not when I say this was the worst I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Well aware of this, a gynocologist was brought in to perform rape tests, despite the fact that I did not consent to this. My body was covered in injuries as well as on my neck and after sticking a number of things up me (which was extremely painful due to sexual trauma injuries) they then proceeded to photograph my entire body, including my genitals (which was for court evidence). As a 15 year old at the time, this was the most humiliating and degrading experience of my life. I had no recollection of the rape due to the fact that I had been unconscious, the only reason they had was that I had been found next to two used condoms. I was forced to stay in hospital for a night, wasn’t allowed to shower, all my clothes were taken away, and I was all alone. My mum had dropped by and was in tears but had left me for the night, covered in vomit, bruised and bleeding, with no one to talk to. The next day my head was still spinning and it felt like there was a fire in my gut. I had to do a filmed interview for the police that went on longer than two hours, where they grilled me and grilled me as to whether I had consented to anything. At this point part of me believed that the boys hadn’t done anything to me. I mean, they were my friends… right? In the interviews I did everything I could to protect my friends, and had the belief in my mind that I hadn’t actually had sex. They carried on questioning despite the fact that I told them I couldn’t remember anything. I was finally told a day later that yes I had had sex, and I remember completely breaking down, that something like this had been taken from me. In further police interviews, it was then that I really began to despise the entire justice system. After being put through hell already with the authorities, as well as the fact that I didn’t even want to pursue the case, but by law I had to, I was asked questions such as “what was I wearing”, “do my friends consider me promiscuous”, “had I had sex before”, “do I have a boyfriend”, “how many times have I had sex” and was asked more and more. It was honestly humiliating. And I had to do everything to hold back the tears. The justice system needs to change, as does victim blaming, because I’ve had enough. It’s not like they slipped and fell into my vagina??? There was literally physical proof that I was unconscious considering they ran blood tests, and there was no way I could have been conscious. Anyway the case got annulled due to “question of consent” because I said I didn’t remember anything. I want to share this and talk about it, but I can’t. In our society it’s looked down on to talk about such things, let alone relate to them. Even my own mother told me never to tell any boy that I’m involved with, because “no one will want me if they hear that”. Well I can tell you that my boyfriend at the time broke up with me because he didn’t want an emotionally complicated girl who got raped, but I can happily tell you that my current boyfriend is a feminists himself and knows about everything I’ve been through and is always there to support me. All in all, I don’t think just the rapists are at fault here, it’s our society and the way we view women, as well as victim blaming and fault in the justice system.

Anon

I was on my way home from a job interview with a friend when the metro train i was in got pretty crowded. Everyone in the compartment was essentially squashed together by the incoming crowd. After a couple of minutes i felt something rubbing up against me. I turned around to see a short man who was turning and swivelling so he could continue to rub up against me. In spite of making eye contact with him and showing my displeasure at what was going on he kept trying to get closer. I couldn’t move because we were jammed together. A couple of stops later i moved away when the crowd thinned and saw him standing near the doors. A few minutes later he was standing near a young girl probably less than ten years old and probably rubbing up against her back. The girl’s mom was right in front of her and could see the man clearly but she was on her phone and didnt do anything. The compartment was clear enough that anyone could see what was going on but full enough that it was impossible that mo one besides me had noticed this. I tried to motion to the mom and stare down the man. But the fact that no one was speaking up emboldened him and when the girl kept trying to get her mom’s attention he actually had the gall to shush her by putting his fingers on his lips and nodding that it wasnt a big deal. I was still in shock that somebody was blatantly abusing a minor in front of me and that nobody apart from me was even acknowledging what was going on and afraid that no one would believe me if i kicked up a scene, especially the mother who was standing less than a foot from him and had gim in full view. Finally i turned around so i was facing the man, kept staring at him with all the anger i could muster and made to walk towards him to create a scene. He saw that finally broke eye contact and backed off. He got off a couple of stops later.
This isn’t the first time that i have seen sexual harassment or been harassed or eve teased. But the fact that no one around me even realised what was going on really unnerved me and I still feel very guilty about not having made a huge scene and letting this probable child molester escape the shame and humiliation of that situation.
In all cases where I’ve been harassed it has been in public and by men in a group and I’ve always had to remove myself from the situation without making a fuss just so that i dont make things worse for myself. Even though you want to fight back or do something or make a huge scene you stop yourself because that would put you in harm’s way.

After this scene in the train however, i am determined to make as huge a scene as possible. The inner feminist in me wants to subject all harassers to a major thrashing and beat down but you hold back fearing for your own safety.

I hope i never do that again. I think I’d rather get into a a fight or a scrape defending something i believe in, than shy away from standing up for it because of fear or the apathy/ignorance of those around me.

small town girl

i come from a small town in england but am now studying at university in a large city. It’s only in the past year or so that I have come to understand how wrong mine, and all of my friends, introduction to sex and relationships was. I remember being pressured repeatedly by my first boyfriend (aged 13) to ‘do stuff’ and giving in to some things. I remember doing something else with a boy aged 15 and it being plastered all over social media, being called a slut and a whore by anyone who felt they were entitled to an opinion, being embarrassed by my own friends and not seeing the huge wrong in it. one of my very underage friends sent a nude photo to a much older guy, who then proceeded to post it online – she was slut shamed, ridiculed, the whole town knew. the school knew and NOTHING happened to this guy. friends have been routinely blamed and shamed for exploring their sexuality, myself and my friends have all woken up after a night out with no recollection of the sex we have had. i fell asleep at an party once aged 14 and was told that a guy (aged 16) had felt up my boobs whilst I was sleeping. other than thinking ‘what an idiot’ and semi-jokingly being angry at him for a while, I didn’t have the sex education to understand that it was sexual assault. another friend had a photo uploaded to social media of her in a very compromising position by a jealous ex – they’re now happily back together. I want to scream at her to turn away and never look back. I can’t keep these events from playing on my mind – sex education needs to be improved massively to try and stop these (unbelievably common) things from happening to young girls.

Kylie

Hi, I am here so everyone can hear my story. I don’t talk about it much due to the fact that I am embarrassed by it, even though I did nothing. I was hanging out with 4 of my friends at a hotel/ casino, in total there were 5 girls. My friend Maggie and I have boyfriends, the other girls wanted to have some fun and have guys join us. They trusted me to find some because I have a bunch of friends in the are we were that night. I had this one friend named Jordan and he usually has a group of guys that always follow him, I knew him for a good two years and he was a trust-worthy guy. I had given him a call and he had two guys with him… perfect! Mind you I am 17 and the other girls are 17/18ish. We had brought alcohol and so did the guys, they came up to the room and hung out for a while. We drank a little bit then went down to the casino floor. The other 17-year-old and I didn’t gamble just watched at talked to everyone while they gambled, the guys were all 19/20ish. We all decided on going up to take a shot or two then were gonna go back down to the floor. That ended up not happening because we were all getting pretty tipsy. The guys didn’t drink a drop. It was about two in the morning playing would you rather and other stupid games, we had to be up at 9am. So, the others were getting tired and of course we had 8 people in the room and only had two beds. Maggie and I took the floor, the shy friend ended up getting two guys in her bed and the other two girls took a bed. Who was left? Jordan. Girls cuddle, so Maggie and I were cuddling to stay warm, no big deal. Until Jordan laid in between us, we were so uncomfortable we didn’t say anything, plus he was warm so we didn’t care too much, he knew we were taken so he wouldn’t try anything. HA, we thought wrong. Throughout the night I got felt up, spooned, got his penis rubbed up on me( through clothes) and lots of butt grabs. I thought I was the only one and wasn’t going to make a scene because I didn’t know what would happen if I said or did anything. In the morning I got up at 6 and got up, just sat in the bathroom. I was disgusted. I waited for some of the other girls to get up then I came out. I talked to Maggie and she said that he only grabbed her butt twice. I felt like I was the one cheating because I let him lay next to us. I felt like I let it happen. I went into a spiraling depression. I didn’t talk to anyone for days. I still don’t know how to feel about it.