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.
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!
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.
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.
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
The story I’m about to tell happened several months ago, and this is going to be the first time I am truly going to express my feelings about it. I was walking on the street, at daytime, to go to the metro and to eventually go home. A few meters in front of me was a groupe of 4 or 5 boys, who weren’t older than 17 (I’m around that age as well). The moment they saw me, they started laughing and I heard them saying ”look at that woman!”. But then one of the guys told him, ”no she’s not a woman, she’s a girl. Look at those legs!” And they kept on laughing. At first, I didn’t know what to do. Should I have yelled at them? Ran away? No. Instead, I did as if I hadn’t heard anything. And the worse part is, that’s the choice most women would’ve taken. So I kept on walking, faster and faster, until they were no longer there. When I decided to talk about it to my friends (girls) they felt bad for me, and we never really discussed about it, even though I needed to. But I didn’t want to push it. Because I thought my story didn’t matter. I thought I was just one of these many girls who experienced things like this one. So, again, I shushed. I then explained it to my boyfriend, whom I love very much, and when I told him about it, I was expecting him to feel sorry for me, hug me, or try to make me feel better and remind me that he was there for me in case such thing ever happened again. What happened was the contrary. He directly asked, ”But… What were you even wearing?” I froze at that question. I asked him if I was wearing a skirt, a low neckline, would it have made these boys’ actions normal and acceptable? He immediatly defended himself by saying no, but that ”I couldn’t have expected anything else if I wore provocative clothes”. And the truth is, I was actually wearing baggy pants and a coat. Eventually, he closed the subject and we never reopened it. I felt terrible. I was shocked by the thoughts my very own boyfriend had about this subject. And this is just one of my many experiences. Everyday I feel suffocated. Everyday I can feel the presence and the pressure of sexism. Everyday I feel as if I was seen as a sexual object that shouldn’t even be in this school, by boys. Everyday I hear boys insulting, using expressions that sexualise in a negative and nasty way women. This issue affects me a lot more than my entourage thinks; and I thank this Project for allowing me to finally speak up and me feel better.
I was coming back from school, I was dressed as a school girl which means l wasn’t exposing parte of my body and of War daylight. A man in a car stopped right in front of me and asked me how much I wanted to do stuff with him. I didn’t answer thinking he would leave me in peace but he didn’t. After walking pass his car he surpassed and stopped in front me again, this time showing me his penis and asking once again how much I wanted.
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.
Im a support worker working in residential care and a male colleague recently told me that I’d make a wonderful house wife. I was making a pot of soup at the time and cleaning the kitchen. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I generally get on with this colleague and have got used to his passing comments praising me for being ‘lovely’ or ‘sweet’ but suddenly I realised that I felt so angry and upset that he is constantly undermining me. I now feel that I need to prove myself and remind this man that I’m an ambitious person and while I would like to get married one day this is not my goal in life! I’m also upset that in this line of work women, such as myself support men with personal care while the male staff can only support men. Strikes me as sexist because I feel uncomfortable assisting men who might enjoy the attention from a woman like myself.
When I first started to become really interested in programming and robotics and when I told adults this one of the most common responses I got was that it’s a really good career for me because I’d be able to work from home and raise a family… I was 11.