C

At work a group of 3 male senior managers developed an internal training course for our department. Somehow they thought it was perfectly appropriate to include disparaging jokes about women’s breasts, women’s genitals and references to porn. A number of people attending the course were shocked, and I was waiting for the head of the department to call them out for it. However the head of department said nothing, and the senior managers didn’t even notice they’d said anything offensive. A female colleague and I considered making a complaint, but we knew we would get picked on later by the senior managers for doing so, so we didn’t. This sort of thing happens so often; I wonder how men would like it if we women made disparaging jokes about their genitals when making professional presentations.

Joelle Buntschu

I’m thirteen and I just started high school at the beginning of the year. So, there’s this new app that everyone is using, it’s called Sarahah. It’s an app that allows you to leave anonymous messages. I’ve gotten messages saying that “you’ve got a big ass” or “I want to have sex with you”. It’s stupid! I’m thirteen. I know that people are just writing it as a joke because it’s anonymous but it’s not acceptable

anonymous

I am 15 and this happened to me at school recently. A friend of mine were joking around then suddenly he got out $2 and said “Is this enough for an hour”. I shouted at him saying he shouldn’t have done that. I ran up to my friend ( they didn’t hear what he said and I told them), they all laughed and told me cool down and it was only a joke. It made me feel as if I shouldn’t have done anything about it.

Anonymous

A year and a bit ago I was at a charity run with one of my girlfriends. There was a guy there that I had known from years ago, and I smiled at him. I was simply being nice. Later on, I stopped to tie my shoe, and he came up from behind me with one of his friends, and slapped my ass. He gave a ‘whoop’ to express his achievement and his friend laughed. No one around me questioned what had just happened, and carried on. I never really talked about it, or mentioned it to anyone. I was 16 at the time and I just thought that everyone experienced this from time to time. I felt belittled and embarrassed, but at the same time felt that it was such a small thing, and therefore didn’t choose to follow him up on it. I wish I had.

Rachael

Since finding this space I have so many stories to share. They extend from *groan* to “ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?!”. Let’s do things chronologically… In Year 10 everyone was taken for a tour around a university as we were expect to “know what we wanted to do in life” by the end of that year. At the time I was extremely interested in Biology. Given the opportunity to see the areas we wanted to study I joined the group for science. The man leading that group felt it necessary to reiterate that the group for nursing was elsewhere and made this comment looking directly at me (the only woman in the group). -_- *grooooaaannn*

Lucy

I was roughly about 8 or 9 and I started playing soccer. I loved every second of it. I was on goals and I missed the ball. Everyone ran back to their original positions and I remember a boy in my class said “Girls can’t play soccer. You should sit out”. I did. I played cricket with school. My teacher (mid 40’s woman) said after I threw the ball to the wrong person “What the hell was that? Can we keep the ball with the guys this time?” I ‘felt sick’ and sat out. I was 13 and playing Rugby and was told by another boy in my class “You play rough for a girl” then winks at me. I liked sport as a child and even wanted to be a famous soccer player for most of my childhood. Today I despise any form of sport and hate playing. I wonder why

Marie

So the other day I was outside my Chemistry class and one of my friends was looking in her bag for a tampon and asked me if I had one she could use. Just as I pulled out my little ‘period bag’ with my supplies in it one of the boys from the class next door walked past, saw what was inside and said “GROSS!” really loudly. I then asked him what was wrong with a natural bodily function before the teacher called me inside saying I was “wasting class time.” This really peeved me because I wanted to see what the guy would’ve said back! I don’t get why so many men call periods gross and disgusting when women (or anyone with a vagina basically) have zero choice on getting a period.

Ali

My work supervisor developed a crush on me during a university internship. He asked me to please send an email to his wife explaining that she was irrationally jealous and that “nothing had happened between us”. It hadn’t, and from a 65 year old man to a 25 year old university student such a request was completely inappropriate. I decided to keep my distance and was later rated poorly for the work I had done during the internship. In a conversation with my supervisor many months later he confided in me that he had given me the bad write-up because he was hurt that I didn’t reciprocate his feelings for me.

Anonymous

I’m an auditor. My company hired a new director last year – a guy who is well regarded for his work in the industry. When we were introduced his immediate response was “you don’t look scary enough to be an auditor”. I know he was trying to be friendly but he judged me on my appearance and implied that my appearance compromised my work. This was disheartening when I was looking to earn his professional respect. I doubt he would ever make the same remark about a male auditor.

Katy

My husband and I went to meet some friends to play indoor golf in the Sydney CBD on a Saturday afternoon. When we walked in and said the name of our booking, the manager looked embarrassed and said ‘Ummm….we actually have a buck’s party in here this afternoon with topless waitresses’. When we reiterated that we had a booking, he said ‘Yes I know, I just assumed that you would be all males and wouldn’t have a problem with it’. Notwithstanding the assumption that our group would be all male (??!), he also made the assumptions that a. none of the males in our group would ‘have a problem with it’ and b. he assumed that I would have a problem. He also put it on to me as my problem to fix, presumably by cancelling our booking and going away. I had to reassure him that I was fine. Perhaps a private function room is in order, as well as a change of sexist/patronizing attitude?