When I was 15 two older boys gave me alcohol and took it in turns to rape me then told everyone at school and college I had consented and boasted that money had changed hands, that they had pumped me out to eachother. They since tried to introduce me to other men under the same circumstances, but knowing what would follow, I fled. I was at uni a few years later when I told a guy *no* and he paid no attention. I have been in numerous night clubs where I have been groped, fondled, and shouted at by complete strangers. I have had sexual expletives yelled out of cars at me. I was sexually assaulted when working as a care worker, and currently on my welding course one man thinks it’s ok to talk about my vagina repeatedly. Being a woman is a hard job and we are viewed as the “weaker” sex. I don’t think so.
My story. I was on a night out with my friend we decided to call it a night and walked to a taxi. I had a long black dress on to my angles and no sleeves. It was tightly fitted which took confidence to wear but not too revealing. Nothing was on show. Walking down the street a group of boys walked past my friend and myself one of them hit my bum so hard my friend thought someone threw something on the floor. We both stood there in shock and no one helped me. No one stopped to see if I was okay. Me and my friend cried in the middle of the street. This is what women are up against. My heart sank. I got home and told my parents they told me to contact clubs for cctv footage but I knew the boys would get away and it’s ‘part of the drunken antics of town’ it’s not. I got undressed that night and had a huge red mark on my lower back and bum. I’ve never told anyone else about this I feel embarrassed and feel like it was my fault. All I did was walk down the street. Each time I think of this I cry. Hannah McCulloch -22 yrs
I had a friend for many years who always took a fancy to me. He seemed nice and I trusted him and he had been dating my best friend when we were 16 years old. Eventually we ended up at some parties together and he drunkenly used me to cheat on his girlfriend, my best friend 3 times. One of these times involved me being pinned, saying “no” 4 times, and telling them that if he went any further it was molestation. He did not care. He went further. And I was molested by him inserting his fingers in to multiple times, while I was too weak to fight him off of me. I tried to forgive and move on, hoping that if I pretend it never happened, continued being his friend, and never said anything to his girlfriend the incident would go away and I would quit feeling damaged. I tried to speak up, and told 2 of our close friends, but he found out and texted me, infuriated. He later went on to tell me that I was never allowed to talk about it again, and manipulated me by playing victim, and telling me that it hurt him and made him sad when I “brought up something from the past.” Years went by and I thought this boy had changed. At the end of our first year of university we ended up dating. He told me that after college i was to put my dreams aside so that I could follow his. Also during this relationship he would pretend we weren’t together at parties. He instructed his friends to never mention anything about his girlfriend (me) or even that fact that he just wasn’t single. And no, this did not change when I was at those parties with him. He would not dance with me, he would not talk to me, he would not look at me, he wouldn’t introduce me to his friends, he wouldn’t even stand next to me. I later found out he actually enjoyed watching me being flirted with by other men. It gave him some odd and concerning validation by other men that I, as a girlfriend, was attractive and acceptable. While i was being bothered by odd men and extremely saddened by the fact that my boyfriend ignored me in public, i did notice what the goal of this distamce was. He was constantly hitting on other women in front of me at these parties. He would poor drinks for them, take down their numbers, and chat them up all night. When i confronted him about this behavior he quickly made me the villain and said that it was unfair of me to ask him to stop “making friends” and went on to tell me that, even though it made me feel awful, the behavior would continue. At one party another atendee finally noticed this odd behavior and confronted him in front of multiple people about how he should be paying attention to his own girlfriend. My boyfriend at the time proceeded to get very mad at this attendee and told the attendee to stop telling him what to do. Multiple other men approached me that night to explain they had been to multiple parties where they had seen me, and never once got the impression that i had a boyfriend, much less that he was actually at the same party. Eventually I realized I was unhappy and wanted something else, but at the time I was too close to the situation to see how incredibly manipulative he had been. However I did break up with him. Later on in the year i would go on to ask his best friend if he thought that boy had cheated on me, he said he had not cheated on me, but it did seem that he had tried multiple times to do so, only that the attempts failed to be received well by the women he attempted it with. After the breakup we remained friends. However, just to be clear, I told him, about a month after the break up, that I didn’t want to have sex with him. He seemed extremely mad at me for not wanting to sexually pleasure him anymore but also, to my belief, because he had always had an extremely difficult time with women and quickly grasped the unlikelyhood of finding another woman. About 3 or 4 weeks went by and I ended up at a small party at his appartment. He stayed sober, waiting for me to get drunk. Me, being unaware of this tactic, felt I was in a small, safe space, with only close friends and proceeded to, for the first time in my life, get black out drunk. The next morning I woke up, naked, in bed next to that friend, remembering only bits and pieces of the night before. I remember shots, making out with that friend, puking twice, and some fuzzy memory of being naked, on my back, with him on top of me. I asked him what happened and he proceeded to try to initiate sex again. I told him no and moved out from his grasp. He told me we had had sex. This friend kept a security camera in his room that could see parts of his bed so I asked to see the video from the night before as proof. I could only stomach about 5 seconds of the apparently 3 hour rape. I told him that I didn’t like what he had done while I had been in such a state of inebriation. He said, and I quote “I was honestly pretty sober last night…. Yeah, I should have stopped, especially after I realized how bad(ly drunk) you were.” I was shocked. He admitted to being sober, admitted to knowing I was blacked out, admitted to having seen and heard me puke multiple times…. And had continued to sexually assault me for 3 hours. He was my best friend for 4 years and my previous boyfriend. I was beyond hurt. I struggled for a week before I finally broke and ended up telling all of my roommates and my mom about what had happened. I accused him of rape, not because I was going to go to the police, but just because I needed to hear him say it. He went on to deny it, to blame me, and to ignore me as my mental state deteeiorated. All of these things, of course only helped it to deteriorate further. We went to different universities, so I couldn’t even contact faculty to receive a restraining order. Most days I’m fine and I just feel lucky not to remember anything but the 5 seconds of video I saw. But every once in a while I still struggle with this, with being raped, with the fact it was my best friend, with the fact that I can’t put this manipulative sexual predator some place he can’t hurt anybody else. My biggest hope is that one single woman hears this story and somehow gains strength and knowledge from it. The strength and knowledge to leave a manipulative relationship, or to help someone they care about leave one. One of the biggest tellers (and problems) I see is women (and men) making so many excuse for shady/offensive/abusive behavior for their significant other and thinking that is a normal relationship. A partner should not do something to you that you are too ashamed to tell your friends. A happy relationship is not one where you constantly have to forgive and forget things that deeply bother you, or where you are even made to feel ashamed for being bothered. A healthy relationship is not one where you have to say “yes, I know deep down that this is wrong, but he said….” no. You deserve better. The people you care about deserve better. Everyone deserves better than that.
I was coming back from my classes to my hostel when a random man came out of nowhere in front of me said ‘Aap ki body toh Badi acchi hai’ Means ‘your body is very nice’ Staring intently at my boobs
Yesterday, a colleague and I (both late 20s/early 30s female) conducted an audit in our workplace, auditing a colleague in another department. We had to stop the audit part way through because he was so aggressive and hostile, claiming that we didn’t know what we were talking about and we had no right to question him. Ironically, we are the two most qualified and experienced auditors in our company. Both with advanced degrees. We’ve both conducted hundreds of audits each, including on construction sites and waste processing plants. Neither of us have ever had to stop an audit part way through for any reason, let alone being aggressively told we don’t know what we’re doing. We are both just so disappointed that a colleague would treat us this way. And angry. So very angry.
As an engineering undergraduate, we had a machines laboratory with 5 people working on each machine. One of the guys in my group kept groping me, and I couldn’t complain to the instructors, because I was sure I would be blamed somehow. In fact, I blamed myself for a while, and took to wearing really loose clothes. Of course, that didn’t stop the guy, and I had to resort to standing far away from the guy. This also meant I was standing really far from the machines we were working on, and consequently, I learnt very little. But hey, at least I got a better grade than that guy.
Three of the four people in this journalists report are female yet they are referred to as “brothers”, looks like the presence of one male trumps all the females. Because boys are more important. “But other countries are better prepared to receive their Bolivarian brothers. Mariella Erminy, 56, arrived in Peru in May with her pregnant daughter, son-in-law and his mother, looking for better medical care for the unborn child.” Reminds me of my French exam when we were told to use the masculine form of “they” if there’s even one male in the room and the other twenty are female. When I queried this I was told that’s how it is and I’d lose marks if I used the feminine form of “they.” Weird how sexism is embedded in our language.
I’m a second year uni student studying psychology. This semester I have two classes that finish at 6pm. The bus ride home takes about an hour, so I’m usually getting back to my unit at around 7pm. Since this semester goes into winter the sun is well and truly down now when I’m walking home. The bus drops me off on a busy road and all I have to do is walk down my street to my unit block and I’m safe. And yet in that short walk I managed to experience harassment to a pretty scary extent. I was walking home from the bus stop like normal, it was just after 7pm and I was tired because I’d had a particularly difficult neuroscience lecture that day. So of course that day was the one where a man followed me home from the bus stop to the front door of my unit block. He started to speak to me (asking me to play a game) and when I stepped away from him he laughed and said “don’t back away I’m not going to do anything to you”. He laughed. Like it was funny to him that I was scared out of my mind. While I was unlocking the door to the building he proceeded to ask me for sex. He asked several times in the time it took me to walk through the door and slam it in his face. I was terrified, but now I’m angry. I can’t even walk down the street to my home without having to deal with some man who thinks he’s entitled to my body. What right did he think he had to follow me home? And LAUGH like this was such a joke to him, like following someone home is just a perfectly acceptable prank to play on a person. I skipped my lectures finishing at 6pm the next week because I was afraid that he’d be there again. I hate the world we live in.
I was in a seminar at university with a male lecturer. I was sitting in the front row next to my friend (female) but the rest of the class was male. The lecturer told us to split into groups and split the class so that me and my friend were in separate groups. He then pointed at us and said “you two have to contribute you can’t just sit there giggling the whole time”. I was so insulted that he would dare pick out the two female students and assume we wouldn’t have anything to contribute. The rest of the class just chuckled along with him.
Chaupadi: What can the Nepal’s President do, who is also a woman? Recently, yet another utterly unfortunate Chaupadi related death happened in Dailekh district of Nepal where this ugly tradition continues taking lives of women and girls, despite Chaupadi was banned by the Nepal government in 2005 as a human rights violation. A lot of people argue that ‘we have the law and it’s just a matter of implementing it.’ People look at Chaupadi from physical and intellectual point of view alone, so they talk about the ‘unsanitary, outdoors and unsafe cowsheds’ where the young girls and women have to live during their menstruation, and the law that banned this practice. But Chaupadi is not just a physical and intellectual problem which one addresses with sanitary, indoors and safe aspects of physicality and having law against it, the intellectual aspect of this ugly tradition. As Chaupadi is a tradition, a part of culture, it is deeply an emotional aspect, more than just the physical and intellectual ones. Many part of the world, including Nepal, have had such traditions since thousands of years, that repeatedly disempowers women and girls and successfully establishes male dominations, the patriarchy. We used to have Sati-Pratha(women were forced to bourn themselves alive along with the husband’s dead body at the cremation), we still have Kannya-dan (giving a virgin away to the groom during the marriage ceremony), Dauri(it is not just a donation of cash and expensive assets during the marriage, rather thanking the groom’s family for letting-off and taking away their burden of having a girl in a family) and Chaupadi in is another similar tradition that reinforces the patriarchy. Many traditional practices of discriminating ‘others’, whether its cast-based or gender-based or sexual-orientation based, have been established through, not just ‘brain-washing’ but more through ‘emotional-washing’, which leads to a deep rooted belief about oneself, the traditions and the established hierarchy. Such ‘Emotional-washing’ allowes such ugly superstitions as Chaupadi. Let’s look at the three aspect of Chaupadi problem: 1) Physical aspect: Girls and women are forced to spend time during the menstruation at unsanitary, outdoor, unsafe cowsheds. 2) Intellectual aspect: Girls and women are taught, from their childhood, that they become polluted during this menstruation period, hence they better-off retreating-away from daily normal life. 3) Emotional aspect: It is not just the families and communities but the girls and women themselves too believe that they actually become polluted during this menstruation period and they believe that it is good for themselves and to their families to live like that: unsanitary, outdoor, unsafe cowsheds during menstruation. So without tackling the emotional aspect, the belief, of this Chaupadi-tradition problem, only addressing physical and intellectual aspect won’t make much different. Nepal government, the UN, the NGOs can try and provide sanitary pads, asks the men and families to let them stay indoors; the law , which is already in place since 2005, can outlaw the practice legally; but the practices still continuing and girls and women still getting ‘murdered’ by this tradition. This is because the belief has not changed. It is far too ambitious to believe that law, awareness and distribution of sanitary pad can change such a long old tradition. To change the belief you need to do something radical, crazy and just opposite of the tradition, along with legal change, awareness and distribution of sanitary pad etc. Hon President, (and all the women leaders of Nepal) you may think the proposition I am making is crazy, radical and against the norm, but I want to you to consider exactly to do that so that you can contribute to demystify the belief around Chaupadi. 1) As you are not just a president (the head of state), you are also a women president; similarly you are not just president for the atheists and communists you are president of believers. Next time you have menstruation, please make it public and visit all the holy temples, shrines, etc. and I ask other women leaders to do the same. Because this will not only help people to believe that the menstruation is not a pollution but it is the integral part and the core source of human creation, which is holy and must to be celebrated. 2) Cook a fest during you next menstruation and feed others and feed yourself, to establish it as a celebratory event for every women and girls life. 3) Ask the government to include “not just why Chaupadi practice is bad but why menstruation is good and natural process” into the school curricula’s across Nepal. 4) You are not just president of Kathmandu; you are president of the whole country. Please visit districts like Achham and talk to the girls, women, children, men about the importance of menstruation, establish a tradition of celebrating menstruation. Celebrate menstruation with them. Establish this culture of celebration there in such districts. 5) Many women and girls may still be not connected by internet and social media, but its use is increasing far and wide day- by-day. I ask all the women and girls, who are in social media, do a campaign, announce your menstruation and celebrate it. I believe menstruation is a very intimate and private affair of women and girls, but when the same ‘very intimate and private affairs’ become the most disempowering cultural repeated events every month of your life, it’s worth to change this ‘private and intimate yet disempowering event’ into ‘public, celebratory and empowering event’ for all women and girls. To really change the belief, culture and tradition you need to do something revolutionary, radical and against the norm. Most importantly, revolution can also happen with the flowers, worship and celebration; it does not need guns, fight and violence. All the women and girls in the world, particularly from Achham, Dailekh, Bajura, Humal Jumla districts of Nepal, you are blessed with the natural cycle of menstruation. Don’t feel low about it, rather celebrate this natural phenomenon. Thank you and Namaste!