I found a post and shared it on my timeline on facebook, about women witnessing and protecting other women (strangers) in vulnerable situations. Just a basic, look out for your sisters post. It was quite heartfelt and reminded me of several times I have been accosted whilst vulnerable. A male friend of mine, who has previously denounced feminism as a way to divide the sexes and that we should care for all vulnerable people. GRAND. except, feminism is not about dividing, it is about existing, in fairness and the sad fact that we as women still have a long way to go to achieve this. And anyway my post was about vulnerable women, so why try and take the importance of that away,it’s just another way to undermine women and their struggles. This hurt, upset and angered me. But aside from his rude and harmful comments I had been thinking in regard to the post I had shared of all the times i had been placed in a vulnerable position by men, and myself and a friend sat down And actually listed them all out. And what I wrote down shocked and devastated me. These are all the examples and ages that I have been assaulted or accosted in my life (this post does have a point to end with!) 12. Legs felt up, trying to look under my bedsheets at me in my underwear 14. Sexually assaulted 14. Attempted sexual assault 15. Raped 15. Flashed in my school uniform 18. Woken up to being groped while asleep 18/19. Pressured for sex by my boyfriend 1+ year 22. Public sexual assault, reported to police, in the newspaper. Nothing came of it 24. Consistently ogled while getting changed, (walked in ‘by accident’ several times, by close male friend) 30. Followed home down a dark street, by a male on a tram who noticed me three stops before mine, had to hide behind a truck as he searched for me. Stayed awake in my house alone all night terrified. Ages 12-32 verbal sexual harrassment, leers, sexual comments My point is this. I MYSELF had not realised how utterly fucked up this is is. It’s only sitting down and looking at it in black and white that I begin to understand how bad it is when it comes to sexism and what is accepted by society or #everydaysexism, when someone I consider a friend of ten plus years who I thought was a decent person, can come on my post and belittle my experiences and my simple wish that women need to look out for other women in vulnerable or even everyday situations then how far have we still got to go? The answer is VERY FAR. But it starts with or continues with women, feminists and our allies speaking out about this, confronting bad attitudes and outright abuse, sharing our experiences and saying NO I will not stand for this. By educating our children and teaching consent, by calling out the media who use us as sex objects. We must continue the fight. I have blocked and deleted this person and told them in no uncertain terms what they did was wrong and I have no place for it in my life however long our history
A few days ago, there was a protest in my city against rape culture. It had been organized by two high school girls, after an incident involving several high school boys (from an all-boys school), in which they had made frankly terrifying and degrading remarks about certain female teachers at the school along with women in general. I attended this protest, which was held in front of our country’s parliament, as so many are. As you can imagine, there were plenty of members of the press there, along with what I imagine were freelance photographers. It appeared on the news that night, as a main story. Here I am, two days later, seeing online articles being published. And the backlash is just horrifying. The newest headline, and I quote, is “Consent education isn’t an attack on boys”. Which is correct, of course. But even this statement is apparently too harsh, even in light of the events that sparked this protest in the first place. I used to think my country was at least a little more progressive than some, but my faith in my own people is seriously dwindling. I’ve seen grown men whining about how they’re “always going to be the rapist”, when it comes to a drunken encounter with an equally-drunken girl. I’ve seen people claiming that we need to tighten our alcohol laws, bear down more on parents when it comes to responsibility, and every excuse in between. Of course, being sober and having responsible parents didn’t help when I was pinned to that bed, silently weeping and sincerely praying for the first time in my life, that I might get out of that room unhurt. Fuck this world. I can’t deal with it anymore.
Around 5 years ago a colleague asked me out on a date and I accepted. We had a nice night but I quickly realised that I wasn’t interested in him romantically. I had come out of a relationship around a year earlier and if I’m honest I was still in love with this other guy and not ready for a seriously relationship, which was what my date clearly wanted. I tried to communicate this to him after he had very kindly driven me home but he wouldn’t take no for an answer so I ended up agreeing to trying things out with him, although I explained that we would have to take things emotionally and physically slowly. We then end up kissing in the front seat of his car and he proceeds to place his hand under my dress and insert his finger into my vagina. I had literally just told him that I wanted to take things slowly and he proceeds to touch me sexually! I stopped kissing him and told him that this was “too soon” and he removes his hand and we start kissing again and literally 30 seconds later he proceeds to do the same thing again. I didn’t say anything to him and I just thought you had your chance, I asked you not to and you’ve gone and done it again so I know now that I don’t want anything more to do with you. The next day he sent me a load of text messages and offered to drive me home from work. I told him not to because I was perfectly happy to get public transport plus he wasn’t working that day and we lived in completely opposite parts of the city but he still wouldn’t take no for an answer. I had a text message when I got out of work telling me he was waiting for me so I got into the car and ended things as he drove off and asked him to drop me off so that I could get home by public transport. He said no, that he would drop me home and that it was ok, he just wasn’t my type and then told me that he had had a terrible day because his mum tried to commit suicide and then got angrier and more upset as the half hour journey went on, eventually telling me that he was a “nice guy” who deserved a chance and would I like him any more if he was a bastard? Why is it that men who perceive themselves to be “nice guys” feel that they are more deserving of female attention simply for behaving in a normal way? Simply for not being a “bastard”. Why can’t they just accept that a girl is not interested instead of thinking that we owe them a chance simply because they are “nice”. It took me a while to realise that I was sexually assaulted, I think I even laughed about it with my friends the next day. It took me a long time to realise that I was actually violated, I actually felt bad for ending things with him. It shows just how deep-routed sexism is in this world that I actually felt bad for ending things with a man who had sexually assaulted me the day before.
I was in the sixth grade. My friend, her brother, his friend and I went to a water park for the day, an the four of us came back to the friends house to spend the night. Her brother was sixteen, and his friend was almost eighteen, junior and senior. My friend and her mother had fallen asleep relatively early due to the long day of sun and water that came to an end. It was just me, Jon and Jimmy (Fake names). John was the brother who I had met a couple times and devolved a crush on. As the night became dark, the three of us remained in the living room and I watched them play Halo. They both had exclaimed to me that I was “Not a bitch” and “really cool to hangout with”, an “way more developed” then girls my age. I was gleaming due to (what I thought) were nice compliments. I kept thinking, maybe I am cool if they want to hangout with me, they’re so much older, and cool. At one point, Jon had got up to use the bathroom and sat down next to me after. He hung his arm around me, and pulled me close. My face flushed, what was happening? He started to rub my knee, making his way up in a matter of minutes. Jimmy broke his gaze from the game and said “Jon what are you doing? She’s so young.” Jon said, “Nah Jimmy, she’s cool. You wouldn’t rat on me, would you babe?” By instinct I shook my head. Later on, Jimmy sat on the other side of me. He started rubbing my leg also. I was confused, and getting scared. What was happening? Jimmy started grabbing my boobs, with Jon put his hands in my pants. Later they swapped. Let me remind you, I was twelve. I grew up in church my entire life, as I forgot to mention. I started thinking, women are submissive to men, right? And I did LIKE this guy, so I thought, so I let it continue you. I kept squirming, it hurt, I was nervous. I had never as much kissed a boy before. Hours with out exaggeration later Jimmy went to bed. And It was just Jon and I. He asked me if i wanted to watch a movie in his room. I followed him. His walls were a deep red, with a poster of girls in bikinis above his bed were we laid. I felt self conscious, I didn’t took like them. We laid there for a while as he returned his hand back into my pink flower printed underwear. Me legs shook, and lip quivered. We were going to sleep after the movie, because “I wasn’t giving it up” and he exclaimed to me what a “tease” I was. I laid in this bed, with this boy. Frozen in the position I laid. Scared to move, speak of breath, he grabbed my hand and placed it on his penis, rock hard and ready to go. I jumped, I never felt one before and didn’t know what to expect. He asked me, If I wanted to have sex. I said no. He asked again, and I said no. He got on top of me and I said “No” again. He laughed and said “Baby relax, I just want to taste those lips.” and kissed me. I was twelve and he almost hit all the bases in a matter of hours. After he got off of me, I rolled over, and told him I was tired and going to bed, again. After turning away from him, he turned his body facing me, he pulled down my shorts and pants, pushed down the opposite shoulder to the bed and got on top of me again. I started crying into the pillow, I didn’t know what was happening or how sex worked, but I knew I didn’t want to. I’m sure you connect the dots here… To make a long story short, I woke up the next morning and was silent. I never told her, my mother or hers anything. I asked my friends mom to bring me home. The next Sunday at church I was in tears at my seat. I had lost my virginity that I was supposed to be saving for my husband at twelve years old. I hadn’t hung out with that friend since. I saw Jon at the supermarket a few months ago after all these years. He was with a girl. I was standing in line when we made eye contact, then he grabbed the girls hand and ran off in the opposite direction. I hear rumors these days he’s in the Military. Apparently we need to do more thorough psych eval’s. Coincidentally, my current boyfriend went to school with Jon, always said he was one of the weird ones. Though one day he brought his name up, and we had a three hour discussion about this Jon. Apparently, Jon had talked to the guys at school about a girl significantly younger who he “fucked” and was into it.
The other morning I was walking to work at 7:45am. I was tired. I didn’t have any make up on. I was wearing a baggy black t shirt, flared trousers and runners. I almost want to stop myself here because obviously, it doesn’t matter what I was wearing. what I’m trying to convey is that it was a day where i didn’t care what I wore or what I looked like. I wanted to be comfortable. A man made a sexual comment about me. Obviously this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Because I’m a woman. But I’ve noticed a trend. These men, (and every instance it is a man) say these comments just as there are past you. By the time you have registered what just happened they are metres away. Leaving you petty unequipped to confront them. They are taking so much power from women this way in one foul swoop. I turned to confront him but he was very far away. He had turned back to look at me, waiting for a response. I gave him the finger. Sometimes I’m not sure how to approach these situations. I feel like barking back an insult somehow only spurs on the idea to these bastards that the whole thing is just a fun game of wits and who can quickly think of a better put down. I almost cry with anger at the thought of how entitled these people seem to think they are to make comments about women who are simply being in public spaces. To me, it exposes a complete lack of respect and disdain some men have for the opposite sex. It’s infuriating, upsetting and wrong. A few weeks ago my friend and I were walking down the street and a bus driver in uniform made sexual comments about us. A bus driver. In uniform. Does this mean that if ever I’m on a bus alone late at night, I should be scared because a bus driver might rape me? Some might accuse me of over reacting here. But if this bus driver who obviously had no regard for my consent about being commented on, surely logically, he has no problem in disregarding my sexual consent. The rage.