I need feminism because when I was 4, we learned the colours. After class, a group of boys came up to me and asked what my favourite colour was. I said “blue” and and one of them replied, “you can’t like blue, it’s a boy colour”. Upon telling him that my dad’s favourite colour was purple, I was told, “your dad must be a girl then”. I didn’t tell my dad because I thought that being compared to a girl would upset him too much. My dad is a feminist. I need feminism because when I was 13, my class worked on a project with NATS AIS. In the final stage of the competition, I was transferred into a group with 6 boys ‘for representation’. As project manager of my last team, I assumed that I’d have some creative input and delegation opportunities. I was put on research with a guy who played 2048 the whole time but still took full credit for the work I did. One lesson, the project manager was away so I took it upon myself to show some initiative and start the PowerPoint presentation. The next day, it had been deleted without a thought and a new one was being made; it was exactly the same but grammatically incorrect. When I tried to argue, I was called bossy and told to ‘get back in the kitchen or wherever [I was] supposed to be’. I need feminism because I saw the bewildered look on Harvey’s face when I did better than him on a physics test., despite the fact that I had beaten him on every science test beforehand. He used to call me dumb every lesson, still does. He just can’t believe that a somewhat attractive girl has the capacity to be good at science. Or maybe his ego’s just big. I need feminism because a girl I go to school with got raped by a boy in our year. For three weeks leading up to the event, she had reported him to the school 6 times for touching her inappropriately in class, she even had witnesses. He got a ‘serious talking to’ and nothing more. He wasn’t even moved away from her in class. She came into school crying and she stopped talking for a few days. One of our mutual friends got really mad at her for ‘being over-dramatic and complaining too much’. When I got angry at this, she said “well if it had been me, I would’ve just told him to stop and kicked him in the balls’. I had no words.
told a close friend about my experience being harassed (actually jeered at and almost followed home for ignoring sexual advances) which made me very wary of interacting with men/male-aligned people for a period of time. select responses: “i knew there was another reason you weren’t chatting with me,” and, “yes i do benefit from male privilege but i never in my life have harassed women,” with the implication that my wariness/withdrawal was unfair to them. as opposed to being MY decision after facing a threatening situation.
I want to share my story without my last name so I’m not identifiable (or at least easily identifiable). When I was 17 y/o, three days before my birthday, I was in a pool party with my high school classmates. I was taking pills and irresponsibly mixed them with alcohol. I was aware of everything, but my body didn’t respond; I couldn’t move nor talk correctly, but I was aware of everything. My (then) best friend thought it was a perfect opportunity to rape me, so he did. People began talking about me being a slut and such, because they didn’t know I was raped, they just “saw me leaving with the dude” (he was carrying my indefensible body, I was not leaving willingly, anyway…). For two weeks aproximately (the time a gossip usually lasts in school), when people asked me what happened I’d say that it was all consensual with him, ’cause I was embarrassed and felt guilty for my rape; I felt it was my fault, so I’d say that it was consensual to avoid victim-blaming and maybe to trick my own brain into believing it didn’t happen. For years I lived with guilt (since I thought what happened was my fault), until recently (two years, a year and a half, maybe) when it really hit me. Feminism helped me realize it’s not my fault at all. And I began talking about it without that much shame. Now, the only thing I regret was not reporting my rapist with the authorities (or at least with the school) and telling everyone who he really was. Now, I conciously know that my rape was nobody’s fault but his. BUT, unconciously, I still blame myself. I hate it. I hate that I can’t change my unconsciousness. It harms my physical wellbeing, my sexual life with my loving, feminist boyfriend. It harms my interpersonal relationships in general. I don’t know what to say. I just feel a little bit better when I talk about it because I feel a physical relief from my shoulders. Thanks for the space. – María
I was followed twice in the same day, two different locations, by the same man. I don’t know if, to this day, meeting him the second time was a coincidence or if he had followed me all day. When I phoned my boyfriend, very upset and in shock, the first time, he shouted at me for phoning him instead of going straight to find a police officer. When I told my boyfriend about the second following, he shouted at me and told me it was my own fault for walking down a street with no CCTV to get to work.
A couple of things: My cousin’s just had a baby girl, so I was in the post office this morning looking for a card to send to congratulate them. The cards were, yep, you’ve guessed it, segregated by gender, with the ‘girl’ section being pink & the ‘boy’ section being blue. I ended up getting a gender-neutral one. I was in another shop after this, that sells magazines. I happened to glance at a copy of That’s Life magazine, & there was a story on the front cover about how someone’s 12-year-old child was raped by a family ‘friend’, & it said something to the effect of ‘was it my fault?’ underneath. It saddened me that this child’s parent could think that they were to blame for their child getting raped- at the end of the day, the ONLY person responsible for rape is a rapist, & this scumbag who called himself a family friend (with friends like that, who needs enemies?!) abused the parent’s trust when he raped their child. The ridiculous notion that everyone but rapists are to blame for rape needs to be challenged- there is no place in modern society for attitudes like that.