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.

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.

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!

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.

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.