Hannah

There was a technical problem with the film my boyfriend and I saw at the cinema. After the film, I went to a male staff member to ask where I can make a complaint. A few moments later my boyfriend appears next to me, and the member of staff turns immediately to him and asks my boyfriend to explain the problem (again). Apparently my word isn’t enough.

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!

Alice

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had this class called Ap statistics and probability. This is classically a senior or junior class, but I was in it. During class, I had to sit next to an 18-year old who was almost 19. During the first half of the year , he didn’t bother me. However, the second quarter he started to place his hand on my leg and started to move it up. After awhile I asked the teacher to move me and I thought that was the end of it. That was till he started dating my friend. When I told her what happened she told me that he was just friendly and that was just how he was. Then, once she left he came and told me that he didn’t know it made me uncomfortable.

Kai

I’m currently in high school and I’m Asian, female, and bisexual. I here a lot being spoken about me behind my back. A lot of sexual things. This one time I got asked-to my face-by an older boy if “I was sexier and better at sex. Because I’m Asian and bisexual”. When I told someone they brushed me off saying “you should take it as a compliment, they’re noticing you!” . Honestly, it feels very degrading when I’m trying to be myself in the American education system, and constantly I’m sexualized for who I am. And another time was this kid said I was “less than a person, because I was born in another country”. I am a legal citizen, and even though English is my second language, it’s still my primary language. Ugh! It’s just really frustrating.

Ana

At the age of 8 I was sexually assaulted by my best friend. She was enduring abuse at home and expressed her pain by doing the same onto me. At 10 again, I was sexually assaulted by a girl on the bus. My teacher saw her doing it and kept walking. At age 13 I was being sexually harassed online by a boy, which lasted for years. 15 I had my first abusive boyfriend who sexually assaulted me. At 16 my manager raped me and continued to do so for almost 2 years. When cops were called, he was in the middle of the act, he was only given a minimum of a few years and I was sent to a mental facility. I had Stockholm Syndrome. Along with anorexia and self harm issues. I was punished for what he did. The victim blaming still goes on till this day. Now, a few months ago, I had to quit my job because I was being sexually harassed by coworkers. I’m bisexual, I’m mixed race (latina and italian), and I’m a woman. All these things that happened were ignored but somehow I manage to remind myself that I’m a victor, a survivor. Not a victim. For those who commented before me and will comment after. You are beautiful. No matter your race, age, body type, sexual orientation, religion. It doesn’t matter. We are one.

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.

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.

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.

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.