I was 15. I was rebellious and ran away from home. While gone I partied at a nightclub. Me and a guy I knew went out back to smoke. Next thing I know 3 guys are forcing themselves upon me in a dark parking lot. I tried to fight and scream so they shoved gravel in my mouth. Thank god I was drunk so I can’t remember details. For 10 years I told no one because I thought it was my fault for being somewhere I shouldn’t or for being drunk. I was so ashamed and filled with self hatred. Then in college I took a class in Women’s Studies and the professor taught me that violence is never ok and it is NEVER the victims fault. I got it and everything changed. Especially inside me. I started volunteering at a Women’s shelter and soon after I was hired as a crisis worker. I was good at my job because I really understood where these women were coming from I can’t tell you how many times I told a client that it’s not her fault no matter what it’s not her fault I worked my way all the way to being executive director of that program.
My ex boyfriend kicked my door in because I didn’t want to talk to him and I feel guilty for calling the police because ‘now he’ll have a criminal record and his life is ruined’.
I posted a comment on a website and I was bombarded by some man, telling me how all women should be raped and murdered.
I was abused by my last gf she used to hit my across my face and was overly controlling, cutting me off from all my female friends in case I was “cheating” I broke up with her and sought help, many told me I was a pussy and to grow up, I am considering jumping from a bridge right now, in this sexist society, only women can be abused, men can’t cry or show their emotions in fear of being called un-manly or feminine, because apparently women can’t abuse or rape, everytime I’m on the metro, mothers ask their children to move away from me as if I am a pedophile or rapist, this is only a fringe of the real everyday sexism that men go through..
Shana Grice, 19 years old, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She had reported his abusive stalking of her repeatedly to police. The police fined her for wasting their time and treated her reports with skepticism. Thankfully, the ex-boyfriend was found guilty and is now serving a life sentence. But this case just goes to show how little women can reply on the police to take them seriously. The judge criticised the police for their attitude towards her and for stereotyping her. How many more women need to die before we are taken seriously and afforded the rights and protection that we deserve?
It was the Friday before Christmas Eve and the pub was bustling with familes and friends all celebrating the approach to the Christmas weekend. I had gone out with my friends, of which im the only female. They are all great, really respectful guys which meant that what followed was a shock to the system. It was about two hours into our little Christmas meet-up when I decided to go and play pool with a good friend of mine. It was all very funny as neither of us could play to save our lives. However the atmosphere changed for the worst when a group of six, bulky men starting shouting comments at me. I was shocked. It consisted of comments about by body, especially about my arse. They proceeded to call me over repetively. Ordering me to walk over to them. I tried to ignore them but the comments got worse and worse, louder and louder. I felt very uncomfortable but attempted to ignore them, not wanting them to think I was afraid. When the game ended they were bellowing at me to come over to them. I didn’t know what they were going to do, I was afraid and felt so inferior. So powerless. I briskly walked to my friend who went and got my boyfriend. Once he got there they stopped but I was quite shaken. A few minutes later I found out they had hurt my other friend who i had asked to go and get my boyfriend. They had hurt him becuase he had helped me. I was angry and wasnt going to tolerate it. Quickly i walked back to the area they were sitting and checked they were still there. They were. I approached the desk and told the manager everything. She was shocked too. She said she was going to talk to them but I left the pub with my friends before any more trouble was caused. I am still shaken up and shocked to discover how happily people will be so sexually derogatory, demeaning and violent. If it happens, report it. Its the only way we can all make a difference.
Old men have always loved me, in more than one way. I’m a 20 year old college student and was formerly in the resturaunt and hotel business and have gotten many comments. “Bring my food bitch” from an old drunk at the bar “where’s the skirt?” As a housekeeper. I have literally gotten marriage proposals from customers as a server by a man older than my father. All of this fed in my confidence issues which made it unfathomably easy for me to get sodamized in an abusive relationship and put up with it for almost 3 years. Which is now in my past and I am currently in therapy but we need to teach our sons to be respectful so we don’t get as many harmful men.
After two years living with a violent abusive housemate I decided to voice my concerns to the landlord. His response? “If the atmosphere is so threatening, why haven’t you just moved out?” I just sat in my bedroom and cried. Basically either calling me a hysterical woman, or a liar or both. It just mirrors the situation of domestic violence victims where people ask “why didn’t she just leave?” instead of condemning the abuser. More to the point I shouldn’t have to leave my home because a man is threatening and intimidating me, it’s my home too. Anyway, fast forward six months to an incident after being woken up again at 4am by our housemate and two male strangers returning home drunk to our house, my female housemate gets up to find vomit all over her towels. She’s understandably angry and confronts him over this. She’s angry with him but not threatening. He leaves and doesn’t return for two days (on a day which he knows I always stay over at my partner’s so the house will be empty apart from him and my female housemate) and he runs into the kitchen launching a sustained verbal and very nearly physical attack on her. She repeatedly tries to speak to him in a logical reasoned manner but he simply screams at her “I do not want to listen to you, I just want to yell at you”. It was so bad that she handed in her notice to the landlord the next day and reported him to the police. The landlords response? “Well there are no witnesses, the police can’t prove anything and you are moving out anyway”. Now I work in criminal prosecution and I know that there was more than enough evidence for her to press charges if she had wanted to, however she was too frightened of repercussions to do so. Both the landlord and my housemate clearly have problems with women. They treat us like liars or hysterical fantasists when all we were was scared of being in the house with somebody who was clearly violent and clearly had a problem with women. He had a problem with me because we worked in the sector however I was more qualified than him (I’m a trainee Solicitor, he is a paralegal but tells everybody he’s a lawyer). The saddest thing about this is that we informed the landlord of our concerns six months previously and he did nothing. I have saved all of this correspondence to show the police should I ever need to. This man is dangerous and I have no doubt in my mind he is a future domestic violence perpetrator but nobody will listen to us.
So I experienced assault at the hands of a man who did not agree with my views – I called him out on some sexist comments he’d made, and a few of our mutual friends had berated him for it, and he became convinced that I was spreading lies against him and trying to turn people against him. He got very drunk and his paranoia escalated to the point where he pushed me up against a bar, trapped me with his arms either side of me, and repeatedly threatened my life. I have had this experience, and my feelings about it, invalidated my so many of my peers (females included), who have said things such as ‘you overreacted’, ‘he was just drunk’, ‘he wouldn’t have actually hurt you’ etc. As part of reclaiming this experience I have written a poem, which I wanted to post here. For any woman who has ever been scared of a man. For any woman who has felt helpless and weak at the hands of a man. I stand with you against violence towards women. ‘between a rock and a hard place’ my spine hits wood, blocking any movement. his strong arms slam down on either side of me, cover my other avenues of escape. he spits bile in my direction, stewed for weeks, unexpressed until now. i am conscious of my own smallness. i wish i could be smaller, shrinking into insignificance, shrinking to a thumbsized girl who could run away on little legs, below his line of vision. but i cannot shrink. he is unyielding aggression, i am small, yielding, too small to protect myself but not small enough to escape. he says he’ll take my life – he could. my fragile heart panics, starts beating faster, beats adrenaline through my veins. neither fight nor flight are an option. i am helpless. i am nothing. he is everything. and suddenly he is gone. ‘you’re lucky’ they say ‘it could’ve been worse’ ‘he was out of control, he was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing.’ i am lucky. he could have torn me limb from limb, with no apparent awareness of his actions. he could’ve really lost control, followed through with his threat. i am lucky. it could have been worse. and there is not a thing that i could have done about it.