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.
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.
I found out that the boys on my team got together and ranked all of the girls on the team based on our looks.
I’ve had so many sexist things happen to me in the past and just thinking about them makes me so upset. A couple months ago I was dancing at a party. JUST dancing. I was literally not doing anything else, I was just on the dance floor having fun when a guy I sort of know and sort of consider a friend called me a “fucking slut.” This is not okay to say to anyone, in any circumstance, but I was just dancing. It ruined so many parties to come for me. Last year, I moved schools and it was a really small school. I felt really uncomfortable when I first came. I was sitting on a couch, reading, and two guys sat really close to me on either side. Like they were both touching my thighs. It made me so uncomfortable and when I asked them to move they just grinned at each other. At the same school, they would constantly make blowjob jokes at me, and a couple times I called them assholes and they said I was over-reacting. They would also dare each other to unzip the skirt I was wearing, and when we had gym they would all slow down to run behind me and stare at my butt, they were obvious about it too! A couple weeks ago in Theology class a guy in the class literally said that we didn’t need girls, and that a man could do everything. A girl shouted back at him; “That’s not true! Who would do your laundry, cooking, take care of the children, and clean for you!” Last year I ran into a gas station real quick to get a drink and two creepy fifty year olds approached me and started saying things like “hey baby” I was scared out of my mind and ran out of the gas station! These are just couple examples and I could probably type for hours about all the sexist things that have happened.
When I was 14, I was assigned a seat in a couple of lessons next to the same boy. He was a ‘class clown’ but generally seemed like a nice enough person; I didn’t mind sitting next to him. Afew lessons in, he apparently thought it appropriate to rest his hand on my upper thigh. I told him to move and he acted like he couldn’t hear me, so I moved his hand myself. I thought this would be a one off incident, like maybe he was unsure how to express interest. I was wrong. He continued to rest his hand on my thigh anytime we sat next to each other, and I actually stopped caring because we got on in every other way. I guess I thought it was just flirting. He also made a lot of ‘jokes’ or asked me inappropriate questions, which I wasn’t used to and brushed off because he was a ‘class clown’ and he was just trying to be funny. A lot of these questions revolved around my Christianity and virginity, and he would ask me the same questions over and over and I would find myself practicing responses late at night. Eventually, I stopped feeling ashamed and embarrassed by him and thought it was just his way of trying to flirt, despite my countless rejections. This was a couple of years ago and at the time I thought it was just silly and that I needed to learn how to behave when a guy likes you, but now I feel ashamed that I wasn’t firmer with him. I now like to consider myself to be far stronger willed when it comes to standing up for myself. I just wanted to share this because I was never told what was ‘normal or ‘acceptable’ behaviour in such trivial situations and I’ve learnt that if you don’t feel comfortable then you shouldn’t just tolerate it the way i did.
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.
When I was in first grade, I was in a class of about 15-20 children. I was shy, most of my friends were in other classes and I kept to myself for the most part. I also had a crush on one of the boys in my class. Actually, he and I were pretty close friends too, or at least as close as you can be with someone at age six. I don’t think I ever considered it a crush in a real sense of the word, I just knew that I liked this boy and that based on what I’d been taught in the way the world: first love then marriage then the baby carriage, I considered him a good candidate to fill the occupation. Of course, at age six, the world is still relatively safe, you know you can trust adults to help you, you can trust your friends to be nice to you and you can trust your parents to protect you. So you can imagine the horror my little six-year-old brain felt when the trust I placed in these people was betrayed. For the sake of explanation, I’ll call my crush ‘X’ and his best friend will be called ‘Y’. I found out one day, I think via X’s best friend, Y, that X had said to Y and to some other kids in class that he had seen me, or dreamt that he had seen me in the shower, naked and kissed me all over. As I have said, I was only six at the time, and I can’t recall exactly, but some details really stuck with me. I remember feeling uncomfortable, feeling that I had been singled out amongst my classmates, and not really understanding why anyone would say something like that. I also didn’t understand why I felt so icky. I can’t explain exactly what I felt but I know it didn’t feel good. You don’t have to understand anything about modern society or rape culture or what sexism is to know when you feel violated and unsafe. I must have gone to my mother about it because I can’t imagine that six-year-old me would have felt comfortable reporting it to my male teacher, anyway, somehow it got to my mother and from there it got to X’s mother. She of course was mortified. When I discuss the incident with my mother nowadays, almost fifteen years later, she will tell me that the boy ‘X’ actually lived in the same general neighborhood as us, just a few blocks down. I remember being on the couch with just my mother, during our nightly time spent reading or watching TV together, my baby sister was already asleep for the night, and my father was at work still (he worked nights at a news station and was never home till later). She got a phone call, and then told me that X’s mother had just called, she would like to come by briefly, in the next few minutes because X had something to say. I don’t remember getting much of a choice here, but I do remember immediately asking my mother if she could call back and say no. Tell them not to come. I didn’t want to see him. I think I made the excuse that it was cold out and I didn’t want to open the door. I couldn’t even express to my own mother why I didn’t want to see him. I hadn’t talked to him since days before I had heard of the nasty thing he had said and had been avoiding him like the plague at school. I wanted the entire thing behind me. Even so, I was told to prepare myself to receive his apology, my mom said I didn’t have to forgive him or say ok, all I had to do was hear him and say thank you. But I didn’t want to. Again, at six years old, with limited experience in dealing with the ugly side of the world, I couldn’t express to myself or to my mother, properly, what I was feeling. I now understand that I didn’t want him on my driveway, near my front yard, in my doorway, or anywhere near where I felt safest and most secure with the people whom I loved most in the world. I didn’t want to accept his apology, I didn’t want to thank him for it. I did not accept it. I did not consider myself thankful for his apology. I did not want this person in my home. But I was made to stand at the front door next to my mother and listen to this boy read a written apology letter out loud, while his mother scowled at him from behind, shooting an apologetic glance at me every now and then. He couldn’t have written more than 50-60 words but it felt like a lifetime that I was standing at that door. When they left, he presented me with the letter he had written, like some kind of receipt of his debt paid for my humiliation. Our moms exchanged some words and they drove home. I remember nothing surrounding the issue after that. It was never discussed. I asked my father about it a few months ago and he didn’t remember it ever happening. My own father. Maybe he was never told by my mother, maybe it just seemed so normal to him that he forgot. Maybe he repressed it. Either way, this embarrassing and frightening experience had left me feeling exposed and small, and it was never, ever discussed. I saved the apology letter for some time, but now I can’t find it. This has popped up in my head a few times in recent years as I have become more aware of sexism and tried to work against it and inspire people to work along with me, starting with people I know and love. I understand now why this has stayed with me and continues to haunt me whenever I think about my multiple experiences with sexism in day to day life. I felt betrayed by my teacher, my friend, and my mother. My teacher hadn’t created an environment in which I felt comfortable going to him and telling him that I felt unsafe. My former friend, X had betrayed my trust, my friendship, and stripped me down into a small and vulnerable creature in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, and I couldn’t even understand why because no one had said that I could feel that way, to begin with. My mother, though I’m sure she had the best intentions at heart and wanted to protect her child as much as any parent, subjected me to further interaction with someone who I didn’t want to see because they wanted to apologize for having spread a foul, and offensive rumor about my body in a classroom of my own peers that I would have to sit next to every day for the remainder of the school year. She made me thank this person for their apology on the threshold of my own home in the middle of a nightly ritual that was a sacred part of my time with her. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was not ok with that. The entire experience should have been aimed at my justice and my ability to feel safe again in the classroom where I had been discussed in a vulgar and intimate way, behind my back, rather the apology (which was quite clearly forced, by the way, this boy only did this because his mother made him do it, not because he felt any real remorse) was more for the sake of X’s cleared guilt and his mother’s cleared conscious. This stays with me today, it’s a lingering thought that never ceases to pop up out of the blue when I least expect it and is a reminder of how early this way of thinking can begin. I try to use this to my advantage, by always bringing up this story anytime someone claims that boys will be boys, or that it’s just ‘locker room talk’. Thank you for this incredible opportunity to share my story and to read other stories, this is a wonderful step in the right direction toward awareness and changing our society.
A male pupil telling me with convinction and sincerity that girls liking pink and choosing to be cleaners(example job) is caused by genetics and has nothing to do with societal expectations. Even though we had just been through a whole lesson about the opposite.
From a very young age, women are sexualised: ‘You shouldn’t dress so grown up’ or ‘Cover those shoulders’ are phrases I think every girl hears. Especially in school. We get confined to our body, that’s all that matters. As long as it doesn’t influence the education of boys. Because guys need education, women just need to be sexy. This was particularly weird when it came from a female teacher, I was always thinking she shouldn’t be fine with this. It’s just my shoulders, it’s hot so why should I put on a jacket? There are a million stories of girls being send home from school because they’re clothes were apparently too revealing. This is not helping the issue, the women and girls are (in this case) not the problem. The people reducing them to objects are.
My friend accidentally touched a guy’s butt today-he didn’t notice. I think the reason that guys don’t notice stuff like that is because they aren’t afraid of being touched like that on purpose.