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.

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Anonymous

Today on a great day for me, having confirmed a great job and started looking at apartments in a new city, I get a bus back from an apartment viewing. The bus is busy, and most people are standing. I realise a man’s crotch is pressed against the side of my thigh, and rubbing it as the bus moves. Not being sure if this is just his attempt to balance in a very full bus, I angle my waist away, giving him space to move. A few stops go by with me being wary but without too much contact. The bus clears a bit and I move back to lean against a railing. The same man still beside me moves towards me again, his crotch touching, rubbing on, my thigh. Still unsure if this is deliberate, and being in a new country where I don’t know the language well enough to question him, I back off gradually again, also looking for a better place to stand. Eventually I am in a corner (better balance) and the same man is still facing me, his crotch begins rubbing against my thigh and i can hear his breathing increase, as well as feeling his boner against my thigh. He has a hand on the handrails either side of where i am standing. I STILL question myself, and whether I am imagining it. When the rubbing becomes more consistent, I decide I am not imagining things, but being aware of my hesitancy in the language, I merely jab him with my hip, forcing him away and showing my displeasure. He stops and descends two stops later. I feel guilty for not having called him out, and am sadly sure he will do this again.

VK

At lunch today – the boys were giggling and laughing to get in the lift in time – then I got in the lift – silence

Sarah

A guy at work calls our support team the ‘admin girls’. The team is women aged 35-60. When I told him they weren’t girls he complained saying ‘oh come on, I’m not allowed to say anything’. He doesn’t realise how patronising and undermining that is.

May

I am a lawyer and I used to work at an international justice organisation, where I had to prepare all my advice in French. My head of department, an old French man, would check the contributions from the non-francophone lawyers. On this occasion, after checking my 10 page complex legal document and finding approximately 5 errors, he told me that I could not speak French at all, but luckily I had nice legs.

T

While visiting home, and stopping at my father’s house, my neighbor came over. He had always seemed interested in what I had to say about school, and he had always been a very helpful person to my father (who is physically disabled). During the time he was over there talking with us, with my back to my father, and facing me, he pulled out his penis, and left it out for several minutes, attempting to get my attention, and gauge my reaction by constantly looking at me – all the while when my father was in the room, and he was talking to him.

I left, unsure of what to say or what to do. I googled ten different ways about “what to do if a man flashses you”, or “what to do when a man shows you his penis”, various things of this nature. Everything I got back was anything from “men getting hot-flashes”, or “it’s not men’s faults they want to show off their penis”, and not a single result to help me with what I was experiencing. I called my best friend who said I should talk to the police. When I did, the police office asked “were you wearing anything revealing?”. He said we could follow through with this, but I should talk to my dad first, to see what he thinks. My father had believed me when I told him my story, and even more so when my mom told me about her friend having experienced the same thing as I had. However, my father had insisted we not say or do anything, because if he “rocked the boat”, he wouldn’t have the nice neighbor man helping him with his roofing, outside work, and etc. that he is unable to do on his own.

RP

Apparently, me being invited to give advice to Government was considered less important than an internal news story about the correct way to dispose of agar (not down the sink apparently) by our news team. When a male colleague was then subsequently invited to also join (on my recommendation to the parliamentary team) it made it to the front page of our external website. I am now measuring my worth alongside powdered seaweed, as apparently I don’t even make it on to the same scale as my male colleagues!

Amandeep

A few days ago, I was on public transport and an old man sat right beside me and stared at me. He then progressed onto telling me that he lives local and that he has just recently come back from Kenya.. he then began to ask me where I live and if I was born in India. He was then continuously gazing at me when I replied with ‘no I was born here.’ This led onto him taking it upon himself to take his hand and try and stroke my arm, I instantly flinched and said for him to not touch me. He then tried to do it again and I said firmly ‘do not touch me.’ This disgusting man kept trying to stroke my arms and then I persistently told him to stop. I then got up to get off the bus as, it was my stop and then he didn’t move his legs so, to get off the bus I had to brush my legs past his which made me cringe because he didn’t move. He then gave me the most perverted smile when I got off the bus.

Adrienne

I am feeling battered. Today I had the experience of being “depersonalized” by a man who I work with in a way that I haven’t experienced before. We are peers – equal roles on opposite sides of the client / provider fence and we’ve had some frustrations in the recent past. These are largely due to the enormous stress we both face on our respective sides of the work we’re engaged with : big teams, politics, shifting demands, challenged decision-making and so on…

I feel frustrated because he operates from a single base and doesn’t seem to appreciate that it is extremely hard for me to “just pop in” to his office for a chat whenever there’s an issue – Getting there takes an hour from where I engage with my team to get the work done.

He is also oblivious to style he uses to engage with me, which is very directive ; his tone implies – most of the time – that he is actually not interested in hearing my point of view. This means that his expressed desire for me to “just come and chat” is undermined by his manner; what comes across implicitly is “come here so I can shut you down”, and needless to say I am reluctant to do that more often than necessary.

He is frustrated by me because being bossed around tends to rub me up the wrong way and at times I respond quite vehemently (surprise!) – particularly when I believe there may be a better way of doing things, or that there are things he’s failing to consider. He is a man who is used to being the Head Honcho, and he doesn’t like being challenged.

Up to now I have managed to absorb what I believe to be increasingly personal levels of criticism, but yesterday – at our client’s request – I posed a question by email to another team who are themselves facing pressure. It was a very simple question – I just needed information… and as I say, I was asking on behalf of our client, but the person who responded was obviously anxious about the context in which it was asked.

They copied in their superior, and the man in question above, expressing a concern that I might be about to push work in their direction. I quickly explained this was not the case, providing a short but direct explanation, and assumed the matter was settled.

On turning on my laptop today, however, I found an email that disturbed me profoundly –– and I am at a bit of a loss as to how to how to deal with it.

He has emailed the person to whom I posed my original question, saying “we are having some difficulties with this person and her method of comms. Apologies.”

I’m not sure quite which part of this has me more enraged or upset…..
• The fact that he has the audacity to interfere in this exchange in the first place, completely ignoring the context I had subsequently provided, which I believe had resolved the concern….
• The fact that he has copied in a still wider audience….
• Or the fact that he has referred to me as “this person.”

On the whole I think it is the last item that has me the most freaked out. I am copied in on the damn email after all!!

WTF is up with referring to someone in the third person like that? The way it feels is that it is a way of trying to depersonalize me – the woman who he is finding hard to control. It feels like an attempt to “put me in my place” in exactly the same way that a drunk in a pub might refer to a woman who’d rejected his advances as “that slut.”

My emotional response to being both publically undermined and depersonalized in a two line email is the same gut-wrenching feeling that I have experienced when being sexually harassed (which happens a lot more often to ALL women than most men might think.)

If I had a partner to discuss this with I would, but in the absence of that I am putting this out there as a way of taking the burn out of it.

Murray

Im clueless to why I can’t get a tatoo aged 16 with With content given I have to be 18 yet I can learn to drive at 17 and i can gamble and have sex at 16 my mind has been set in this tatoo design for two years and I haven’t thought of changing my mind I wanted it as a symbol of something I have struggled through 16 years epilepsy I want a purple ribbon to show others an to look at an be proud

Anne

First time I experienced sexual assault was when I was 14. We had history lesson and the guy sitting next to me put his hand on my thight. I was in shock so I didn’t say anything. At first I thought that it was nothing but When he kept it there and just looked at me it maid me really uncomfortable. After the lesson I told my friends about it and they said how cute it is that he likes me, and that I should’t make such a big deal about it.