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that woman

Sky engineer came to put our satellite dish up. OH and his brother were busy in the garage, and I was dealing with the Sky guy. He was extremely odd and behaving inappropriately. The final straw came when he started to sing a song about him and me being in the bathroom together. I went down to the garage ‘to ask my husband something’ (I needed to be sure that Sky guy knew that there was someone else in the house), and told my OH and BIL about the situation. They said ‘Let us know if you need us’. I was turning to head back up to the house when I thought better of it, and pointed out that I had, indeed, just let them know that I needed them.

Canada Woman

I just finished Grade 11 in high school and I went on a date with the typical popular guy from a nearby town. He was smart, the quarterback, his family regularly attended church, and other girls also wanted to be with him. During our date he took me to his farm and things started to advance. He wanted to have sex and I told him that I was not ready, and that I wanted to wait. His response was “I have waited long enough”. I remember feeling froze and confused at this time and then he became frustrated and told me to just relax as he was now on top of me. I said no and stop, and tried to push him away, but it had no effect. I gave up and felt powerless. It took me over a year before I stopped blaming myself for what happened, as I thought I could have ran when I had the chance or spoke louder. The problem is not always with the stereotypical man. The problems are within our own communities with people that would be the most unexpected.

Clara

1) since being 12 years old men have called out in the street, made inappropriate comments, told me and friends that they want to do sexual things to us etc…. 2) at work as a young teacher being told to walk up and down a classroom so that the students could “admire me ” (by another teacher!) 3) with a long-term partner. I asked him to stop during sex because it had started to hurt. He carried on. This happened a number of times and even when I was crying and pushing him away he didn’t stop. When I was crying afterwards he would say that he didn’t realise. That I hadn’t been saying no loud enough. he didn’t believe he was doing something so wrong, and he will probably never understand the impact it had on me. However this doesn’t excuse his damaging, and violating actions. Angry with myself for letting it happen multiple times, and getting caught in an abusive situation but I understand (years later) that this is not my fault. far too many friends and relatives have told me similar stories, and far too many men have not believed me.

Tiptoes

Years ago, my housemate had a friend stay over after a party. After I went to bed the friend came into my room twice and tried to get into bed with me. He didn’t leave the second time I tried to kick him out so I went to sleep downstairs and woke to find his hand inside my pyjama bottoms. I shared my experience in what’s usually an accepting and welcoming place. Most replies were supportive. But three people called me stupid for not locking my door (there was no lock) or barricading it with furniture (I had no furniture I would have been able to move without help). Another four people said I was lying, it never happened. Some said it was my fault because if I’d told my housemate, he would have beaten his friend up (no, he wouldn’t – I did tell him and said I didn’t want that guy in our house again but he still invited him back) or if I’d thrown him out of the house the first time there wouldn’t have been a second or third incident. Why didn’t I wake my friends? Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I leave the building? Why didn’t I make him leave? Why didn’t I kick the crap out of him? Why did I “let” him do it again after the first time? None of those people seemed to think the man was at fault for sexually assaulting me. They seemed to think it was all my fault for not doing what they thought I ought to do.

Johannah

I know it was a Thursday It is hard to be a teenage schoolgirl – to be – in navy pleated skirt and blazer, white knee socks, white shirt, red-house stripy tie – racing colours on a concrete estate You negotiate the safest route home. Risk the lift? Or take the several flights of hard stairs to the fifth floor – to your flat? You have to make decisions like that daily with your racing heart betting on safety first. The lobby is empty. You gamble on the lift; it shudders – a creaking silver metal cage; you sound-check behind you – all still clear- the thump of its landing – await the slow-sliding opening – impatient as a filly under starters orders at the gate – bolt inside and check outside. He is hard. You realise. You see that he speaks with a glassy eye. You take in the words but hope the lift door will keep on closing. You calculate he will not have time to step inside, holding his hard penis outside his unzipped trousers. He is not old but he’s older. You are glad you did not politely press the ‘Door Hold’ button to answer the query that issued from his mouth as sociable inanity. It was an eternity until you willed – you urged the lift door to shut out – to shoot off (not cut off his penis) while you answered ‘No. Sorry. I don’t know what floor Susie lives on.’ And stood still shuddering alone in Benny Hill territory: the world of chubby, bespectacled men squinting and lolling their protruding tongues. We should be laughing. The lift bears you up and away. What if the door had slammed and sliced it in half? And you would now be in this metal box with something bigger, thicker than a dismembered white finger bloodied on the silver floor. A buckle on your black school shoe gleams up as you figure the number of inches and feet to cover the flit from lift to front door; he can’t beat you and the lift to the fifth floor, can he? The lift judders. You’re easy meat. It opens on two flat doors. No spying eye except on number eight- a drilled hole in the door to invigilate against strangers’ claims to entrance. Feet float in trance on concrete ground; your house key blinks about the lock. You dwell in silence. Enter your front door. You tell no-one. You and your sister go to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop – stock up on cans and meat near Stockwell tube. (That’s how you know it happened on a Thursday.) We giggle, swopping prices on pork chops to get the cheapest deal; and later, laden with weighty jars in plastic carrier bags, thin, red bands strip raw our small, white fingers. Back to Clapham from the shop, it’s a trudge: we are not flying steeds but burdened beasts under a winter-navy, silver sky. ‘Let’s hope,’ says Mary, ‘the lift is working.’

kristina

i was having my first job interview ever in my life. I had a boyfriend at that time and our relationships were getting more and more complicated. Just before the interview he called me and said that I should suck the interviewers dick if I want to get the place. I had to go and represent myself after these words. I got the job and I became really good in my profession. Im sure the guy doesnt even remember saying this to me back then three years ago.

His career matters more

Talking to husband about starting a family – I’ve always said I want to go back to work, I love my job and have worked hard for my career. So I wanted to talk about what types of childcare we would look at. Husband says there is no point in having a child if “we” aren’t going to look after it, and wouldn’t I prefer to stay at home. We do the same job but I am more senior and get paid more… so I suggest a third option he could take a career break instead – apparently I “don’t appreciate the magnitude” of what I’m asking!

Maria

During a conversation with a group of friends, I made some sarcastic remarks which were intended for everyone to laugh. Days later, one of the participants said to my boyfriend, “I didn’t know Maria was so funny, I though she would just be a regular Hispanic woman.”

anonymous

My friend told me the events of her past week. There is an abusive man living next door to her and her flatmate. He has a restraining order placed against him going near the woman who also lives next door- they have had a relationship. Last week he committed two acts of violence against her by entering the property. Once with a baseball bat, the other time was an attack sustained over an hour long. My friend said she and her flatmate (who is male) could hear it and she says it was the worst thing she has ever heard. Then she tells me that while the hour attack was going on- her and her flatmate did not call the police and that they chose not to because they were worried that this man would end up in prison if anyone found out about his attack- he’s not only committed a violent assault- but he’s broken a restraining order to do it. They spent the whole attack- listening to the whole thing and protecting the abuser by not calling the police and listening to acts of terrible violence because ‘he’d end up in prison’…. then she tells me that her flat mate- (lets call him Dave although this isn’t his real name) “Dave says” she goes (and i’m paraphrasing here)— “Dave says that she was in bed with another man in his house and so the attacks were justified…” and then she tells me that Dave went over to the police today to give a good character witness for this violent and abusive man because they are ‘soulmates’. Then she tells me what a ‘good person’ Dave is- how he’s “one of the good guys”…. Then she tells me that she’s thinking about going over to see this woman- a woman she has never met and has no relationship with to ask her if she wants my friend to call the police the next time he attacks her. I’m so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so fucking angry right now. And I can’t believe I heard this. I told her she was supporting violence against women, protecting the abuser, colluding in violent crime and that her friend Dave is clearly not one of the “good guys” if he’s prepared to support the actions of violence against another- as well along with everything else that’s wrong with this picture. And as for going round to see the woman. I was speechless…. speechless. She told me that another woman who’d been in a abusive relationship had told her to go and do this—– I said I’ve been in an abusive relationship and I’m telling you NOT to do this. I also asked her what about trusting her own sense of right and wrong?????? It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else says- What about her own moral compass???? This in itself is an act of abuse.. How fucking DARE she collude with the abuser and then think she can just go round to this woman’s home and expect to take her trust and “ask” her what shes “wants” the next time her partner is violently attacking her. People have been asking- “how do abusers get away with it” and “why doesn’t anyone do anything”… well here we have an event which is live and which describes exactly how this process takes place in our society. I’m utterly utterly utterly horrified.