I remember being objectified as a woman as long as the boys noticed I didn’t just add ‘pointless’ tidbits to classes but I also had breasts. I remember in primary school the confusion when I argued with boys, even if I didn’t get it. I remember hitting puberty at school and being openly groped by a boy in my year at 14+ everyday at lunch with both hands and as a reflex laughing it off and feeling as if it was a compliment. I remember being harassed throughout chemistry about whether I ‘shaved’ or not. I wish now I had learned to make a fuss, not to just be complacent. I always believed myself to be a strong woman as I was always raised but as long as I just didn’t stand out too much. When I got my first boyfriend at 17 I remember being picked apart ’til I I felt there was nothing left, being called ‘unattractive’ in the shower and asked to lose weight. When I once plucked up the courage to tell him I thought he should get more muscle-y his response was simply ‘no’. I also remember the two times he raped me and how he apologised but did it again. I remember how it took over a year to come to the conclusion it was rape, because we were in a relationship and I guess these things just happened. I remember at 20 when my boss continually harassed me by text and after many rejections told me I ‘deserved to be in (his) pants’. I also remember how he stood in the way of another guy I liked, how he wouldn’t come near me because even though he appeared to be disgusted by his behaviour explained to me quite plainly it was kinda like a guy code. And I still don’t know by which of these two men I was offended more by. But I can say this. As a 21 year old woman I am loud, I speak out, I tell men and woman who are sexist exactly why their behaviour is wrong, I am sarcastic and I am confident. Because of projects like this I know I am not alone, that I do not deserve this and this behaviour is not normal. I now openly tell people my boss is a sexist prat that doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together and have managed discuss with friends the verbal abuse I suffered under my ex boyfriend and utter to even a few the categorical rape I have suffered. Because no this is not normal and no this is not okay.
I am 30 and I had been sexually assaulted twice by the time I was 15. I was molested on several occasions by an uncle in my own home at 9 and as a teenager in the park a boy lifted my top up and showed my breasts to everyone and they all laughed. Both events traumatised me and yet I felt I couldn’t really say anything for years because I am considered lucky – lucky that it wasn’t more serious and lucky that I wasn’t raped. It’s only now as an adult I realise how sick that logic is and how not taking Sexual Assault seriously no matter how ‘minor’ is part of what makes rape culture so pervasive.
My friend was raped at university very, very recently. The uni have been supportive but the man is by all means getting away with it. I am more than furious as I am sure most of you will understand. He is about to graduate as a lawyer and make a successful career for himself, yet he is not being held accountable for his actions. Why?
When I was 20 I was raped by a guy who had been going out with my friend. I was drunk and I thought no one would believe me so I never reported it. 2 years later I was raped again by someone I thought was my friend. I didn’t report that either. it’s 20 years on from then and now every time I see rape statistics I feel mad that my rapes (like so many) aren’t included in the number of reported rapes. I wish there was some way for all the times I’ve been sexually assaulted by men to be officially counted and included.
In about 1988 when I was in my mid-20s, I was walking along a street in Norwich one morning on my way to work. Another pedestrian, a man in his 30s looking very respectable and wearing a suit, was walking towards me when we seemed to do the thing where you try to both get out of the way but keep blocking each other. The next thing I know, he is right in front of me grabbing my breasts, then he is past me and walking away. I was shocked for a moment and then I turned around and screamed after him something along the lines of “You fucker! You grabbed my breasts!” but he just kept walking away.
Today I found out about a so called spanish youtuber, by the name of Alvaro Reyes who teaches men to sexually assault women in his channel. He calls it flirting, but he also has the opinion that a woman saying no to his unwanted advances, is just a pre-stage of her saying yes, so he teaches to keep on pushing women until they open to him. Gross. I found a change petition to YouTube to dasactivate his channel. I hope they do.
I was sexually assaulted on Halloween at a party i was attending with many of my friends by someone who goes to a different university to me and that none of my friends know (i didn’t know him either, i wish it had stayed that way). Our friendship group is very large and I consider myself very lucky to have found an amazing group of people who all take care of one another and value each other very much; as a consequence i was unguarded, buffeted as i was by the idea that i was surrounded by all my great friends. We had been drinking since quite early on in the evening and didn’t get to the party until very late- by the time we got there i was wasted, so drunk i fell down a steep flight of stairs and actually felt no pain. I realise that no matter what state someone is in no one has the right to take advantage of them but i still can’t help blaming myself for not being more aware. I started talking to the boy who attacked me and after we kissed he led me upstairs to an abandoned room away from the main party and my friends. He proceeded to orally rape me, even though i was clearly uncomfortable and forced me for give him a blowjob, he was in the process of taking it further when two other people walked in and i was able to get away. I was so shaken by the incident that i became very emotionally distressed and ran from the house to get home while crying. i’m a virgin and i don’t have much sexual experience and apart from the emotional trauma this has triggered it’s furthered my already triggering trust issues concerning men and sex. i had a hard time trying not to blame myself for what had happened and was only able to tell a handful of people, whilst listening the next week to my friends talking about what a great time they’d had at the party unaware of what had happened to me in the next room. i also convinced myself that it wasn’t assault or oral rape and even now consistently have to look up definitions, even though logically i know what happened to me. A few weeks later i was drinking with boy at my university whom I quite liked and whom had made friends with one of my good friends from whom i’d heard that this boy had been saying things like ‘ive never felt more akin to another human being’ to (about me). I still hadn’t really recovered from what had happened on Halloween but i trusted this boy because he’d been kind and generous with me, and befriended my good friend. I went back to his house and he went down on me but my body went into a kind of physical trauma state and during this i started having flashbacks to what had happened. i asked him to stop and explained what had happened to me and that i was a virgin and that i wasn’t able to have sex with him just yet. he immediately responded with ‘wanna fuck?’. After that night he has since stopped talking and even looking at me whilst still remaining friends with my friend who has said he ‘feels bad about what happened’ to without ever coming to talk to me or apologise for openly ignoring me after i trusted him with information i haven’t even shared with some of my closest friends. I’m beginning to think the second incident is also some form of very real abuse, if more of an emotional kind, but i’m not even entirely sure how i even begin to deal with this. I still have to see him regularly on campus and it really upsets me every time it happens. A couple of months after this our university rolled out consent courses which i was incredibly pleased about until i attended one of them. While giving information on sexual assault the workshop facilitator kept pointing out that ‘not all men are attackers’ and that sexual violence occurs to ‘men too’. I was beyond angry and upset that even a step in the right direction still clearly had to be so gendered and backtrack. Telling me that ‘not all men are attackers’ doesn’t make me feel any safer, it doesn’t make me trust men, especially after two isolated incidents happened consecutively to me in such a short space of time.
When I was 18, I was at a club with my flatmates and I guy bought me a drink at the bar. We were talking, and then he reached up my skirt to grab my ass quickly. I looked him dead in the eyes and said “if you touch me again, I’ll break your nose”. He thought I was joking and grabbed my wrist. Feeling threatened, my instinct was to punch him as hard as I could in the nose. The bouncer immediately threw me out of the club, even when I tried to tell him my side of the story, and subsequently banned me from the club. A few months later the club was shut down for violating alcohol licensing laws and condoning rape as a promotional tool.
I had gone to a house party and a man who I had not even said two words too or even knew his name. Decided to grab between my legs. I tried to hit him and was held back by someone, I cried and then was called a drama queen by a female friend. Shes now dead to me.