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.

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.

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*

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.

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.