Julia

I was in my advertising class on Monday and people were giving presentations on a product or company that they selected to create a campaign for. One of my peers did Mercedes Benz and said he was gearing his advertising campaign towards men because women don’t care about their cars at all. They just drive a Prius he said.

Mom of 9 year old

My 9 year old daughter regularly plays dinosaurs with one boy. Another boy came over and told the boy playing with my daughter that he needed to stop playing with her so he wouldn’t become a girl. When they kept playing the other boy told my daughter he knew two new dinosaurs “Penissaurus” and “Vaginadon”.

kate

I was five years old and walking home from school with a group of kids from my street. It was a warm day and half-way home, I took off my jacket. I was wearing a yellow tank top with red flowers. An older boy whistled at me and said that I had sexy arms. Even at that age, I felt shame. I felt embarrassed. I wondered what I could do differently next time. I never wore that shirt again.

Laura

I slept with one of my friends, which we both mutually consented to. We only did it once because well hormones. It was purely casual and we went on with our lives being friends and what not. But one day we were hanging out with friends and he brought me back to his dorm to get food. It was just me and him. I sat on his bed and he got some cereal but didn’t have any milk. So he left to get some but before he did he came back in the room and said “be naked when I get back, k.” . He left before I could say anything, but I was like no. He was drunk so I let it slide. So he came back and was like whatever and we sat on his bed while he ate his cereal. He then was like take your pants off and I said no. He was like why? And I said one I don’t want to and two I’m on my period. He said oh okay… Well suck my dick. And I was laughing at this point, I said no lol. He then took out his penis and he told me about 20 more times where I continued to say no. He then grabbed my head and forced my head down to his penis. I used my arms to cover my face. He tried to do that to me another 10 times where I kept telling him no get off of me. I can’t talk to anyone about this because I’m embarrassed. People will laugh at me. I guess I should just get over it.

Maya

I’m 14, and I was groped this summer at a water park. I was with my day camp hanging out with my friends in a crowded pool. The next thing I know I’m alone and this man has one hand on my butt and the other on my stomach pulling me closer to him. He starts groping me and then I called to my friend and he let go. I was shaken up so I went to sit down and he followed me and gave me a flirty “hello” and walked away. I went over to my counselors and stayed with them for the rest of the trip.

Chelsea

Coming out of my last class at university, I was stopped by a young man holding a stack of papers. He pulled me to the side and put one of the papers in front of me, asking me to read the title of the poem he had written (entitled “You’re Beautiful), and told me to “read this whenever you’re having a bad day”. I looked it over, feeling pretty uncomfortable at his insistence that I read it, simply by his body language. He stood in front of me, watching my reaction as I finished it. Upon reading it all, he said “so, what do you think?” What I wanted to say was: “First of all, as a woman, I don’t need ANYONE to tell me I am beautiful, nor do I NEED to be beautiful, or at least YOUR shitty standard of beautiful. If I am to be considered beautiful, it will be on my terms. Secondly, the fact that you would automatically equate what you think my bad day is with not feeling beautiful/pretty/attractive (because that’s every woman’s goal in life, right?) proves to me that you are just another sexist, entitled ass that thinks he is doing me a FAVOR by “complimenting” me. Of course, as a woman, I gave the answer I have been conditioned to give to strangers’ “compliments”. “It’s sweet. Thank you.” I immediately regretted this reaction, and as he walked away pridefully, I took out a pen and scribbled what I really wanted to say on the back of the paper. I found him in the hallway a couple minutes later, in the process of handing another unsuspecting woman a copy of his bullshit. At first chance, I handed it to him, gave him a look, and went on my way. I truly hope he got the message.

B

My “best friend” (a guy) who I had feelings for and he claimed to have feelings for me, and knew that I was saving myself for marriage, repeatedly tried to pressure me into having sex and pulled down my pants (and I quickly pulled my pants back up). I have never told anyone this. He told me he had been waiting to have sex with me for 8 months, RIGHT AFTER he told me he was proud of me for saving my virginity for marriage. Then he went on to say that whoever gets to marry me is lucky because they are going to get great sex, and he then said “maybe I’ll call you up one day and give you a ring”. Not only do I feel degraded, but I feel shame for loving this human who actually views me as a sexual object and nothing more. I feel disgusted at myself and at him. I want to forgive him because God forgives everyone. But, I will never be his friend again.

HLS

A man told me that he thought I was cool and I would be cooler if I were sleeping with him. When I told him that I was engaged, he started to make jokes about how women weren’t really entire people- he said women were worth about a quarter of what men were.

Marylou

Years ago, I worked at a shop selling vinyl records. In the 80s, many album covers were sexist & borderline lewd— nearly naked women in dog collars, overly lipsticked disembodied mouths sucking popsicles, figures in scant lacy lingerie & high heels kneeling in front of some guy with a guitar. Anyway I worked in the stockroom of this shop and was, for most of the time, the only female. When records were so beat up they were beyond re-sale even as “used” they were tossed, but the racier album jackets went up on the walls. Then more & more explicit pictures of women started to join them. When I complained, my complaints were dismissed and made fun of: “Boys will be boys,” “be a good sport,” etc. When I complained to the owner of the shop, I was told to grin and bear it, even when I renewed complaints when it got to the point where the pictures completely covered the walls and interior door of the only staff bathroom. Alas, one fateful night, I slept with one of the guys, who, within days, “confessed” to the owner (there was a non-fraternisation policy). I was fired. He was suspended for three weeks, with pay.

Renee

My Dad tells me at my sister’s wedding that I shouldn’t be wearing the dress I chose for the ceremony presumably because it’s strapless – God forbid I wear a strapless dress when I have sizable breasts, even when the are completely covered. I am the only woman in my family with an hourglass figure and this has caused countless comments about my body, clothing, judgments about my sexuality, judgments about my male friends, slut shaming (with no evidence) comments about “what boys will think/do” and what basically amounts to body policing. My parents are well educated professionals who should know better. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if they hadn’t been. It’s very clear to me that the “sexiness” (whatever that means) of my body disturbs both my parents, not to mention the problems it raises outside of the home. I didn’t chose to have this body – but I love it and am glad it’s mine. But why do I have to constantly worry about it’s effect on other people? I have better things to do with my time!