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Vanessa

I am an avid reader and as such, have a vast collection of books. Last year, a friend and her boyfriend came to help me move and they remarked on the fact that I had a lot of books and would it be difficult to move them all so far. The boyfriend later told my friend that I only had so many books because I didn’t have a man to curb my behaviour. This is, sadly, not the first time I’ve heard that women need a man to keep them in check.

Anonymous

When I was 13, a young man (about 20 years old) regularly followed me in his car as I was walking home from school. My step dad told me I should be flattered, and the best way to solve it was to start going out with him. I did well at school, but wasn’t allowed to go to uni as step dad felt it was more important for me to learn to help my mother. I did get a job after a-levels, and my employers paid for my training. I eventually became a qualified accountant. I was a bit stressed leading up to my final exams (who wouldn’t be?). Dad’s solution: stop studying, don’t take the exams, after all, I was engaged to be married. I’m now a chief finance officer, still married, and a proud mum. And the sexist parent still asks me how much more a man would get paid to do my job. (I work in the public sector, so jobs are evaluated, not the gender of the employee. ) Don’t let old fashioned attitudes hold you back.

Anonymous

Nearly died at home and abroad from violence, phone messed about by men & women. Women can be just as if not more sexist/misogynistic. Recently have been harassed at home, text etc. if go out hugged, grabbed etc. Past sexual abuse & violence here and abroad. Have to be strong in this life. Workplace lots of mobbing, bullying. Police, social services, unis, NHS, you name it. Hate crimes, disability, misogyny, religion, racism. Brexit and Trump obj inflamed the situation.

ANON

Hello, I’ve recently read your book, Everyday Sexism and I have to tell you I am so thankful for it. I have always blamed myself for what has happened to me and I now feel like I can accept that I was not at all to blame. I am 26 now. When I was 19, I started at university and lived in university accommodation. I was SO excited to move in with people my own age and be independent. The first night there, we were greeted by ‘Fresher reps’ who were older students, there to take us out drinking. There were heavy drinking games, chants, ‘icebreakers’ etc. And the atmosphere was very geared towards those who are into partying. Everyone joined in, because we were all so eager to be involved and make friends. One of my flatmates was a very attractive guy and my friend noticed this straight away. He wasn’t really my type. He instantly took a liking to me and whilst were out he tried numerous times to rub up against me and get close. I made it clear that nothing was going to happen between us. At the end of the first night, he tried to invite himself into my room and I declined. The second night of freshers’ week, I went out with my flatmates again. I got separated from the girls and ended up with the same guy from the previous night (call him J) and another guy from my flat. We shared a taxi back and sat in the common room drinking. I remember being sure in my mind that NOTHING would happen between me and J. I was quite drunk and we were playing a drinking game. They handed me a glass of alcohol to drink and dared me to down it- so I did. That’s the last thing I remember from that night. The next morning, I woke up completely naked in J’s bed. I remember feeling extremely embarrassed, sore down below and he wasn’t there. I gathered my things and ran to my own room. I felt so ashamed because I had sex with him, even though I hadn’t wanted to. I blamed myself because I downed the drink and impaired myself. I felt humiliated as I couldn’t remember anything that happened after that drink. I couldn’t even remember when (or if!) the second guy had left. A few days later, I saw J in the kitchen and he came onto me. This time I had sex with him consensually. To this day I don’t fully know why I did that…because I didn’t feel attracted to him and I was still utterly humiliated and confused. I think I wanted to take control of the situation. I thought ‘what the hell, I’ve had sex with him once.’ I didn’t tell anyone about what had happened for years because I figured that if I did, I would be asked why I had sex with J if he had raped me a few days before. I thought of these encounters as one night stands, but remained confused and disgusted at myself. After this experience, I became withdrawn, depressed and my grades suffered. I have since opened up about it to a couple of female friends. One of whom told me that something similar has happened to her, the other one seemed to disbelieve it. I have recently told my current boyfriend and he dismissed it- saying that I chose to have sex with him the second time. Confirming my fears- if that’s his response, I’m glad I never bothered to go to the police.

Miss too smart for her own good

After my boyfriend and me had an argument, he told his parents about it. Has nothing to do with this, was a petty dispute. But they say that I’m too smart for my own good. I don’t think there is any such thing as a woman being too smart for her own good. If I’m lucky enough to have a daughter I vow to teach her that. I’m proud of it.

Irritated sad angry

About to bring a baby girl into the world, getting a preview of what kind of ‘kids shows’ are out there from other moms with young children. How is it that the number one show ‘Paw Patrol’ has only 1 female character, how hard is it to have an equal number of male and female characters in a modern children’s cartoon. Also – friends I love, appreciate and respect recently made a joke about how their son (who is the only boy among many girls in their group of friends with young children) would be getting blowjobs from all of these girls once they were in high school. I was sad, hurt and frustrated at the implication (even in jest) that my daughter would INEVITABLY sexually service their son one day. I felt hollow because the joke took away any idea of empowerment and choice over sexual identity and actions from my daughter and gave all that power to their son. Ultimately I was just sad because for everyone else in the room it was just a harmless joke but I keenly felt that this wonderful baby who has not even entered the world yet is already being held back, limited and judged based on her gender.

Anonymous

We had work done to our house a few years ago during which my husband made his own, and changed joint, decisions without communicating with me. I believe decisions that effect both of us should be made together. We are about to have further work carried out. At the initial consultation with the builder (at which my husband was not present) he said he would ask my husband to make the decision about an aspect. I didn’t react verbally but he might have seen me reacting non verbally! I am now anxious that decisions will again be made by my husband without me. It’s bad enough as it is but I am also the one paying for all the work (as I earn quite a bit more) and I paid for the majority of the house too! When I spoke to my husband about my desire to be involved in making decisions he swore at me and is sleeping in the spare room tonight! The only small saving grace is that I don’t have to suffer his snoring tonight.

Anonymous

Aged 17, living in London, I was exposed to in a lift in Holland Park tube station. It was only me and this guy. He took his penis out and played with it saying “it’s nice isn’t it”. I felt very scared. I did not think it was significant enough to report to the police and I would not have been able to identify him on a line up. Aged 14 ish, at a ball in Glasgow, I was kissing a boy outside, who then pushed me against a car and rammed his fist inside me. I felt violated. I did not report as at the time I thought this was as much my fault. I have also been rubbed up against on crowed buses and asked to “get my tits out for the lads”. More recently my father in law advised that I should not have any more children as it had affected my looks. I was told that I lacked a sense of humour and when I went bright red in rage, was laughed at. This same man passed judgement on my two children (who he called ‘it’ or ‘creature’) – saying one was pretty and a success, the other was not so good. All the while me husband and mother in law sit saying nothing. I am then told off by my mother in law’s brother to try to get along with my father in law.

Katrina

I complained to the police about a male who was stalking me and the response I got was he has a right to drive around in a place at the same time as you. He had just been released from jail and was on bail for robbing a bank. I gave all the peoples names that he sexually assaulted to the police and not one of them or another person said they believe me. The sexual assault centre discharged me numerous times on the basis that I was apparently doing well. I have reason to believed that I am being stalked at least on occasion and it has been more than ten years since the first incident.

Katie

When i was about 15 and had just grown boobs i was washing the car in what i thought was a ‘cool’ shirt. Black and lowcut with a band name on it. Some older boys (about 18) lived across the road and watched me wash the car, making me feel acutely uncomfortable. They lined up against the fence and just stared. Afterwards my Grandma said she’d seen and complemented me on getting their attention.