When I was thirteen, there was a big careers convention being held for all the near by high schools. I was walking with a couple of friends through the centre when I felt someone slap my ass. I spun around and there was a group of five boys, all at least 15-17, from another high school standing there. They didn’t even try to hide what they had done, they all just looked down at me and laughed. My friends and all the other students around us pretended that it hadn’t happened and there were no teachers around. I was tiny back then and extremely shy, so of course I just put my head down in submission and kept walking. It seemed the right option as I was out numbered and they were double my size and clearly didn’t care that they’d been caught out. In my thirteen year old mind there was nothing I could do. Of course nowadays if a man laid a hand on me like that without my permission I’d be on him so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him. But as a kid I didn’t know that men had to ask permission before they touched me like that. I grew up believing that men were entitled to my body just because I was a girl. I learned the hard way that that wasn’t true.
After spending a day in the city with my parents and taking the train home with them, I was asked by a middle aged man if I had ever experienced problems with my shoulders or lower back. I’d had earphones in and my parents were walking a little farther behind me at the station, giving the appearance of my being alone. He soon backed off when he realised that I had company, and my dad gave me a lecture on strangers. Two weeks later I was out with two of my girl friends near the shopping centre, just a stop on the way to a friend’s going away party. I was meant to grab some chocolates from inside the shops and meet my two friends at a fast food place. Having bought the chocolates, I walked out of the shops with the knowledge that I was being followed. With a glance behind me, I realised that it was the same man from the other weekend. He followed a distance behind me and I shrugged it off as a coincedence, until I reached the meeting place. The man walked inside and stood very close to me. He asked again if I had ever experienced shoulder or lower back problems, and I was out of there. My friends had finally come and were outside. I was freaked out, and one of them decided to go inside and see what all of the fuss was about. She came out telling us how the man had asked her strange questions. We all then walked over to another fast food place with the intention to test our stalker theory, and the man followed us. We found out later, after a call to my dad and an encounter with the police (who did nothing) that the stalker had been roaming aorund the shopping centre area harrassing random women. I personally felt disgusted and ashamed of myself, like I had done something wrong. I am only 15 and already have to feel wary when I leave my house, even if it’s to go to the park up the road. My brothers don’t have to worry about that. If I were male, I would not have been in that situation. I am not saying that males do not experience harrassment, just that females are more susceptible to it given the way we are viewed by a large part of society.
Today at school my friend was groped around the higher waist and was pressed against a male like she was some kind of machine. She pushed him off carelessly and I interfered and said to not touch her, everyone around made oooohing and aghhhhing noises like it was “out of place” to stand up for a female. Even my friend gave me a look. Later on I was told that I was overreacting and it was just a ‘jk’. Even my friend agreed.
When I was 10 my then boyfriend tried to rape me
I feel like abuse on plane rides must be a common experience for a lot of women. People know that you can’t leave, and that you will feel bad if you make a ‘fuss’ because of the other passengers on the plane- especially at night. Once, I had to fly alone and my seat was between two men. The one on the right was old and kept staring at my chest, but he fell asleep early. I watched a show on my laptop for a while, and the guy on the left decided it was ok to nuzzle into my neck with his head. I moved as far away as I could and said “please don’t touch me” in a firm way. I settled bac into my seat, and the rest of the flight was filled with him “accidentally” brushing against me. I was too scared to leave my seat in case he grabbed me as I went past him, and I was scared to call over a flight attendant, but now I really wish I had, because I definitely had every right to.
I just turned 20 and moved in to a new place because I broke up with my boyfriend and living with my abusive family wasn’t an option. One night I got drunk with my housemates and one of them, a 30yo man, started touching me. I moved his arm away and told him he was too old for me and we lived together. He stopped for a bit, but then he pulled me into him and we kissed. It ended up with me in his bed, naked and unsure of what to do-and very drunk. He began to choke me and slap me and spit on me, and I had no air to protest. I managed to grab my clothes and go back to my room when he took his pants off, but a minute later he was trying to open my door. I told him to go to bed and he did. The next day he apologised, said he didn’t remember much and passed the whole thing off as a whiskey mistake. I still shudder when I hear footsteps go past my door at night.
‘All the boys doing Physics, please enter for your exam.’ Said by a head of house directly in front of all the girls and boys doing physics. Shocking, I say, to be said by a male holding a position of leadership at a Catholic high school, in a laughing manner. Sexism is not a joke.
I am a business owner and a woman. I often receive letters addressed to DEAR SIR. I think this is lazy and a clear case of everyday sexism – its so normal
I am a huge feminist and I always talk about equality of the sexes and I have been told multiple times by my dad, brother, friends that are guys and even some of my friends that are girls, to “drop it” or to “stop overdramatising things”. They also don’t believe me when I say that women and men should have equal rights because I’ve “had so many boyfriends”. That I “obviously enjoy the pleasures of men”. When I see a good-looking guy and I point them out to my guy friends they say “haha you’re so thirsty” or even “stop being such a slut”. My nickname in most of my guys friend’s phones is “the hormone-driven one”, even though they are constantly talking about other girl’s tits and asses and when I say “you shouldn’t talk about girls in that way”, they call me a crazy bitch. They joke about rape even though a lot of them know that I was sexually assaulted by my ex, two days after I broke up with him for hitting me. They catcall girls, even when I’m near them and tell them to stop, but they say “stop being such a feminist. It’s just a joke”. GIRLS AND GUYS- WE NEED TO STAND UP FOR OURSELVES! I’ve become immune to being called a “Slut” and a “Bitch”. I shouldn’t have to, but I have because I stand up for what is right!
I once had a ball thrown into my face during a netball game and I had a black eye. A few nights later, I went to the movies with my boyfriend, he went to the toilet and a man comes up to me and asks “what did you do to make him hit you?”