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.

Christina

One of the men I worked for (he was my boss) he told me that “if I wasn’t married, I’d have a lot of fun with you-but that would be it.” I am still not sure of why he thought to say this to me. I wore mascara and make up that day, and usually I would not wear any make up at all, and wore ragged ugly clothes too. He then took me out to eat, and attempted to talk to me about his wife not being supportive of him. I felt sorry for him, but he was the most confusing, scary person. I was wrong for working for him for so long, but I felt sorry for him. He also called me nurse ratchet. Prior to him calling me this, I tried to enforce reasonable boundaries. After a while I would loose my temper at times, while at the same time I would always minimize or rationalize his behavior. I thought I was just making a big deal out of nothing! I guess I didn’t realize that you don’t have to be 10 to be sexually abused or harassed. A law firm I worked at had a similar type of person. A certain lawyer would occasionally walk into the room where I had to use the postal machine to weigh out going mail. He wore nice clothes, gold jewelry. I don’t get why I remember that, but anyway he would actually sit on top of a table right across from me, grind his bum on the table, while making small talk with me, and simultaneously pulling at his crotch…..like pulling up his pants, but just near where his bulge was! I think he probably grabbed his balls one time, but it’s not like I was paying attention. True story. I hope this isn’t too graphic. These are just a couple of examples. The list is too long to write out completely.

Anonymous

My boyfriend and I went on a Wal-Matt run last night to buy ingredients for ice cream sundaes. I’d had a few glasses of wine (he drove) and I was in a good mood, making a lot of silly jokes. We were standing at the end of an aisle debating what kind of candy to buy, and I went into a little bit of a rant about how white chocolate isn’t really chocolate. I was exaggerating to make my bf laugh, but at the same time I made sure to keep my voice down and not be obnoxious. Well, this guy about a third of the way down the aisle apparently heard because he turned, looked at me, then looked at my bf, and said, “Man, women are crazy, right?” It was just such a gross moment, like he was expecting them to bond over their mutual disdain for me and my *gasp* NERVE in voicing my opinions.

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.

blisters

It was early in the summer and I had only just broken out my flip flops, and the pair I was wearing that day was giving me horrible blisters. I was walking with a friend on a bike path and decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped on the side of the path and fished out some bandages from my bag (I came prepared!) and bent over to put them on. Next thing I know, my butt is being slapped. I stand up, and see a male biker–who must have been in his 40s or 50s (I am 23) from the glimpse I caught of him–whizzing away down the path, looking normal as can be, as if he didn’t just violate my space. I yell after him: “FUCKING SERIOUSLY?!” An older couple walking toward me stop, shocked by my outburst. I angrily say “That guy just slapped my butt!” and they shake their heads in disbelief. The woman let’s out an “Ooh!” under her breath, almost in solidarity. They didn’t see, my friend who was standing next to me didn’t even realize what happened–it happened so fast. I regret being so frozen by shock that I didn’t kick off my flip flops and chase his ass down. After all, I was wearing running shorts and a sweatshirt (over a sports bra), which, I’ll add, definitely means I was asking for it. *EYE ROLLLLL*

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.

kelly

at a family reunion when I was a child, my father had met a distant relative on my mother’s side for the first time. as he walked through the door, the very first thing this woman said to him was, “oh! let me take a picture! fathers like you never last long and I want kelly to see what her daddy looked like.” this is a comment that has stuck with me for a long time. she didn’t even know him. she just assumed that because he was a man he did not care enough about his family to stay. this is ironic bc not only did he stay, my mother is the one who left, making him a single father doing this all on his own and he has never once complained or been negligent in any way.

Amanda

I was at a baseball game, walking up to the stadium and about to enter. There was a band playing outside, so I was sort of dancing as I was walking. I stopped once the crowd got thicker and I had less room, and someone behind me yelled, “Don’t stop! I was watching that!” I turned around, and made immediate eye contact with a man in his 50’s, who winked at me in the grossest way. I was 18.

Nicole

Last night at the gym, a man around my age (27) came up to me and asked if I could tell him where the restrooms were. I obliged, assuming that was the end of our conversation. When he returned, he jumped onto the machine next to me, and proceeded to ask me question after question, with a very flirtatious tone. I tried ignoring him; he didn’t stop. I reiterated repeatedly that I had a boyfriend; he didn’t stop. His comments began to change: he kept telling me how great I looked and how sexy I was. When time ran out on my machine, I hopped off and walked to the dispenser of antibacterial wipes, grabbed a couple, then walked back over to clean the machine I’d used. When I got back, the man proceeded to say, “damn that ass looks great in those yogas”. I grabbed my stuff and headed for the door (I wasn’t finished with my workout, but I felt quite unsafe and wanted to get out of there). He stopped me, jumping off his machine before I made it outside and grabbing me in a long, tight, one-sided hug. I was terrified. This was a gym at my apartment complex; no staff to report this incident to. Now I feel like I can’t go back there because it isn’t safe. Just like I can’t walk down a specific street in my neighborhood because another strange man has openly admitted he enjoyed “watching me” as I ran by, or go to the local park trail, where I’ve been repeatedly catcalled by men in their cars, making more unsolicited comments about my ass. I feel like I can’t workout anywhere, and it shouldn’t be that way for me, or any other woman minding her own business and just trying to get/stay fit.