I was on the bus to work a few months back when an argument erupted between the (female) bus driver and a (female) passenger due to the driver asking the passenger to move her mini-suitcase which was blocking the aisle. The passenger refused and started shouting abuse at the driver, using disgusting language. It got to the point where the driver stopped the bus and asked her to get off but she refused and continued to give a torrent of abuse so the driver called the police. We were waiting for the police to arrive and several passengers started talking to the passenger, asking her to apologise to the driver and saying that they were “just as bad as each other”. Eventually another bus pulled up behind us and as we got onto it the (male) bus driver said “oh she should have just ignored her and got on with her job”. Now I was annoyed as everybody else about the interruption to my journey but I completely supported the actions that the driver took. At the end of the day the driver shouldn’t have to put up with that level of abuse from a passenger while she is simply doing her job. Her colleague should have supported her, not told her to “get on with it”, likewise the other passengers should have been more sympathetic instead of getting annoyed that their journey was delayed. It shocks me how this abuse of a woman simply doing her job was normalised, the other passengers and the male bus driver seemed to think that she should just put up with the abuse and get on with it. I have worked in customer service before, and I would not have put up with that level of abuse. I’m now a criminal prosecutor and know that she had every right to call the police. It makes me wonder what would have happened had the passenger and driver been of different genders? If the abusive passenger had been a man would the same approach have been taken? Similarly if the driver had been a man I reckon the second driver would probably have backed him up, not said he should just “get on with it”.
My ex husband was gay and of course in denial about his sexuality. He expected me to provide financially and pleasure him sexually. He would call me fat and ugly. I was forced into an arranged marriage. I dumped him. Ran for it. If this is too dramatic to be ‘everyday’ sexism…it is every day of some women’s lives. Ladies never ever do anything you really dont want to do. Not for anyone. Not to keep the peace. Do not set yourself up to be a doormat.
I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years on and off during high school (from ages 11-16). I only realised afterwards, when I met my fiance, that it was abuse and that’s not how a relationship should be. Obviously at the beginning of the relationship, it wasn’t anything much, but even at age 12 I was being told who I could be friends with etc. When I was 15 we eventually decided to have sex. The first time was fine, but then afterwards for the next year, all he wanted was sex and even decided he would be having it with me when I didn’t want it. He’d take photos of my naked, sleeping body and then show them to his friends. One day we were having a bit to drink and he ended up hitting me across the face. From there it got progressively worse, with belt buckles being used and cigarettes being put out on my skin. All of this time, I did have a few friends, and recently I got back in contact with some of them again. We were discussing these years and they just came out and said ‘oh we knew he was doing that stuff, but we thought you liked it. You never said anything to us so.’ I was so shocked and hurt that my own friends thought that because I hadn’t said to them ‘oh I don’t like being burned with cigarettes or forced into sex’, it obviously meant I wanted it. I’ve been left scared physically and emotionally from that relationship, and it hurts even more knowing my friends did nothing and thought it was okay that I was being abused.
I am 30 and I had been sexually assaulted twice by the time I was 15. I was molested on several occasions by an uncle in my own home at 9 and as a teenager in the park a boy lifted my top up and showed my breasts to everyone and they all laughed. Both events traumatised me and yet I felt I couldn’t really say anything for years because I am considered lucky – lucky that it wasn’t more serious and lucky that I wasn’t raped. It’s only now as an adult I realise how sick that logic is and how not taking Sexual Assault seriously no matter how ‘minor’ is part of what makes rape culture so pervasive.
My stepdad sexually abused me when I was 12 – 13 years old. I tried to tell my mum a couple of years later and she thought I was lying and told me not to repeat it to anyone incase social services took my little brother away, all because of my lie. I’m 32 now and she finally realised the truth after I repeatedly refused to let my daughter have contact with him. Turns out she was sexually abused by her father for years and is now struggling to live with the fact that she didn’t help me when I needed it. My reaction to my abuse was so different from hers she thought it wasn’t real. Because people didn’t talk about stuff like that. It took her until her 50’s before she began to speak about her experiences to anyone. Thankyou for helping to bring these subjects out into the open and show women across the world how they might begin to come to terms with their experiences, understand eachother’s and, I hope, change the culture in which they can go unnoticed and unchallenged. We stand together.
I’m one of seven kids in ireland. 5 girls and 2 boys. My father and mother told us that the boys would be sent to university and the girls to secretarial school if anything. If we didn’t want that, we got nothing. Because we were in waiting to get married and not work again. We were to marry well. That was our career. My brothers got a free flat owned by dad until they could afford to buy their own. The girls got nothing. The boys have managed my parents’ money since their late 20’s and the girls are not allowed to know about finances. My brothers are totally on board with that. And are both married to very successful women who make as much money or more than them. But when it comes to their sisters we are patronised, lied to and excluded – with their pleasure. My dad was violent. Now my eldest brother abuses his wife and 2 daughters. He speaks to them in a horrible demeaning way and uses his belt on his least favourite girl. No one will stand up to him. I’m not allowed to see his girls any more. He avoids me as much as possible because I call him on his behaviour. But I get no support from my sisters or family as this level of misogyny is so ingrained in our family that I’m the trouble maker for speaking out. I’m in my 40’s. And so the abuse has been passed to the next generation and we as a family have done nothing meaningful to stop it. I feel ashamed and so sad and angry