I worked at a supermarket (Waitrose) in London. there were two girls i worked with there who would continuously grope me. I was a shy 18 year old and was scared to say anything. went on for a few years.constantly feeling my ass when walking past, stroke my leg from behind while putting something into the bin in front of me (through my legs)
Tonight I went out with some friends on a light-hearted and fun night out. We drank, we laughed, we played music and we danced. It was overall very fun and carefree. However I managed to leave the club furious and frustrated… In the space of 2 hours I was groped 5 times. That’s an average of being touched without my consent every 24 minutes. Every 6 song I had a man either tighten his crotch against my butt, squeeze my arm uncomfortably tight to my breast or stick his index finger in the hollow of my cleavage. Fucking ENOUGH. Would you ever imagine a woman doing that to a man? What kind of world do you live in where you think people will reciprocate to such ridiculous and offensive advances? But the problem is that there are so many women that do. I even saw one of the men who had fondled me getting with a girl an hour after having inserted his hand in the two creases under my butt cheeks and lifting the weight of them whilst he pressed his semi hard genitals against them. How is this OK and how are women perpetrating and even rewarding this disrespectful behaviour is just beyond me. I was not even wearing anything provocative and this should not be, in any case, the issue. No matter how I dress or look like am NOT ASKING FOR IT and you are not entitled to treat me with a sense of undignified superiority, lending yourself to touch my body whatever way you see fit. I could be rubbing my genitals all over a pole stark bollock naked and that would still not be any excuse for you to touch me without my own consent. I mean can you imagine if a woman grabbed a man’s genitals in a club, feeling the weight and girth of a man’s balls and penis? Can you imagine the man getting, very obviously, upset at that completely ridiculous and intrusive advance and the girl, instead of asking for forgiveness, shrug it off, pat the guys head and turn around on to the next unsuspecting man? Ofcourse not, because that behaviour is absolutely nonsensical, hurtful and outright disgusting. The frustration and outrage you feel when a guy does that and when you confront him he smiles or winks at you and walks away is very disempowering. Like your reaction is invalid and you have to just “deal with it, that’s how men are, they can’t control themselves”. Yes they fucking can. Men are not animals. Men have brains and rationale and thinking with their dicks is not enough of an excuse to not think and disrespect others. Even if you are drunk! I mean, for the love of god, when they have daughters, would they ever be ok with such behaviours directed at their own children? At their mothers or at their sisters? Thankfully, I know that most if not all men that surround me would not even think of behaving in such way, and I know most would rise up to the occasion and confront them. But how disenheartening it is that when out dancing with friends, when you walk down the street, when you go on a run or when you even hold business meetings, you have to witness and be subject to these sexist behaviours.
I was walking through central London (because I lived there) and heading home. A 4X4 car drove past and a man shouted ‘I’M GOING TO RAPE YOU’ out of it. It drove off. Horrible, horrendous and scary.
I was groped on the tube (Northern Line) on my way to work. I didn’t do anything, I froze and went into auto pilot. I should have shouted and screamed, but I didn’t. When I told my male and female coworkers about it most of them were shocked that it had happened when I was sober.
This is the first time I’ve posted on this forum, and I wasn’t sure which story I should include. But, seeing as already today, before 9am, horns were tooted at me and I was ogled at on the tube, 4 times, I feel it appropriate to share this. It’s the last day of August. I live and work in London. I have a 45 minute commute on the tube and it gets very hot and very uncomfortable quickly. So, naturally, one would prepare to wear clothing to keep cool, without getting to work looking like a frizzy-haired, sweaty bear who’s just failed at running a marathon. So, today I have on a dress. Not my normal every-day wear, but seeing as it’s summer and beautiful weather, why not. It’s sleeveless, red and black, has a bateau neckline (no I didn’t just Google that) and sits just slightly above my knees. God Forbid. Cramming onto a tube in rush hour is bad at the best of times, but when it’s sunny and warm outside, so many people are in the worst moods ever. Me included: it’s early, I’ve not had my coffee fix, and I’m crushed into a little tin can that’s hurtling below London’s hot and busy streets. So sure, if you bump into me, I’ll more often than not give a wry smile and a nod of the head – it’s ok. But not this morning. I managed to get a seat about halfway through my journey, once I’d changed from the Northern Line to Piccadilly. And immediately a man who had been sat across from me came and sat right beside me. A little weird, sure, but hopefully harmless. It was as his man-spreading increased and his leg was pressed against mine that I wanted nothing more than to actually get to work and type up my Finance meeting notes. When I jumped off the tube and walked out the station, a builder standing smoking immediately wolf-whistled. On my 5 minute walk to work, 2 white vans honked their horns and the men inside laughing who legit looked about 14 drove away on their merry way, leaving me to feel conscious and walk that little bit quicker and warier of any men around me. All for wearing a dress. The most frustrating thing about this is that I feel there is no way to change this behaviour, because it’s all just a joke and lads are being complimentary, innit. Don’t get so worked up about men paying you attention. Well the thing is, I don’t WANT or NEED this attention. I was on my way to work, as I do every day, and I expect to feel safe and normal like any other person. How can this actually change and what needs to happen before men stop. Just stop.
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.
I have many examples that I experienced over the last month… – A friendship request on facebook: “No gorgeous you don’t know me. I don’t know you. But I like what I see. Add me as a friend, let’s stay in touch”. After my answer, that was a very clear “No thanks”, he replied back with this: “You must be pretty ugly, if you were a pretty girl you’d be flattered”. – While running and sweating all over the pub on a busy day at work and short of staff, a customer grabs my arm and says: “Easy darling, eaaasy”. – Carrying heavy beer boxes at work, again a customer: “Hey honey, you should smile more, you’d look prettier”. – I don’t usually wear makeup, and at a party at work I wore some eye mask and blush: “Heeey, wow! you see how you can look lovely just with some extra make-up”. – After firmly asking my flatmate, to fix something he did: “Ok, ok, calm down, I’ll go check, and, if there’s a situation, I’ll deal with it”. First, can’t a firm woman be calm? I’m tired of that, second, you’re assuming my judgement was poor and so, you have to re-check, I’m telling you, there IS a pretty gross situation, go and clean the bloody toilet. – The tipical “grgggrrrrrhhh….” at your ear when you walk alone. – I work on a pub, I am the bartender and manager at the bar, you know, the boss there and the one making cocktails and stuff. We have a new guy at the pub and I have him with me carrying heavy boxes and preparing the ice, well, male costumers ask me for beer and “easy drinks” and they all ask him for cocktails. When I say “I’ll make it for you” they would say something like this: “Sorry honey I was talking to the bartender, do you want to drink something with me and talk?”, when I say that I am the bartender, they just laugh. – The flirting situation that ends with me leaving the place without the guy and he shouts: “F*** lesbian!”. Since when the word “lesbian” is an insult?, why a woman not interested on them “must be” lesbian? I don’t get it. – A guy licked my neck at the metro, I turned back and there were three guys, they weren’t together, but still, none of them said a word when I asked. And I could keep writing.
I was at a club a couple of weeks ago, and this guy came up to me and told me to smile. I gave him the worst look I had ever made, but he still continued to make the ‘smile’ gesture, until I glared at him and mouthed ‘why’ and he backed off, but didn’t look like he understood in the slightest. Later that night, me and my friend were walking to the bus stop and we were continually harassed, and especially her who was wearing a low-cut top, of which one guy decided that it was okay for him to yell out ‘nice boobs … both of you!!!’ in the middle of Old Street Roundabout. I later said to my friend to cover up just because the harassment was becoming consistent and I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable, and then she asked me a question that is continuously on my mind ‘they’re the ones being inappropriate, I should not have to cover myself up to stop their idiotic and vulgar behaviour’. So true.
I am currently doing a project on Catcalling for the final year of my BA degree that is greatly inspired by the work of Everyday Feminism, Hollaback and similar sites. As I walked out of my university building after a productive meeting with lecturers and tutors on the direction of my work, a man smoking outside of the doors startled me by shouting “Hey Sexy” then proceeded to follow me around the corner to where my bike was parked in a gated lot. I stood at the gate with two choices, either open and risk him following me into the dark corner where no one would be able to help if he followed me in, or to turn around and confront him. I chose the latter and asked him why he felt inclined to follow me and if he studied at the university, to which he replied – ‘not really’ as he relentlessly asked for my number and for me to go out with him. I gave him my number and said that I’d love to get in touch with him and have an interview on why he thought it was acceptable to refer to me as sexy and follow me into a dark alley. He took my number and said ‘I’m going to call you and make sure you didn’t give me a fake number’, (this part of our conversation has really stuck with me as I always wonder what he would have done had I changed the number) so he called and insisted on small talk until I said I had to leave. Disgruntled, he wandered off to finish his cigarette so I was finally able to retrieve my bike, as I walked out back into the alley to join the road he had hid behind a pillar and jumped out in an effort to startle me once again as I walked past. This time I took no chances and jumped straight on my bike and have never cycled so fast in my life. In reflection the situation seems ironic considering my efforts to tackle Catcalling, however the most striking observation I have made both in my personal and academic experiences is that their are no two situations that are the same and it is so hard to produce a response when you genuinely fear for your safety. So the idea that women either enjoy being catcalled or are unaffected by it is reinforced once again in this vicious cycle. There was a point while we were speaking that I almost felt guilty for being so standoffish with him however I know that is because this world has taught me to constantly stroke the masculine ego and be the subject of their dominating gaze, this was another physical reminder that the world is built by men, for men.