Everyday Sexism

Grace

We are just going back to school after Coronavirus lockdown and it’s the first PE lesson of second year. S2, so everyone is 12 or 13. I myself am thirteen. We’re playing rounders and the boys keep on cutting in front of girls to bat next saying that we ‘wouldn’t be able to hit the ball anyway’. Me and my friend( female) start calling them out on this and they say “oh my god, are you feminists?” Like it was a bad thing. We tell them that we are because it’s a necessary part of society these days and they( very condescendingly) tell us that it’s dumb and we should just “ take a joke”. So I just turn around and try to go on with my lesson, but then they say to me “ ohhhhh someone’s on her period” ( for the record I am currently pre-menstrual) but just to try to get the upper hand on them I say ‘yeah, you wanna see?’ It works and they don’t speak to me again but continue talking amongst themselves about how I’m going to “kill all men” and I’m stupid if I think that ( I don’t). Then they begin chanting “ REAL MEN DON’T RAPE, OH SHIT, MUST HAVE BEEN A GHOST. WE ALL KNOW BITCHES BE CRAZY ANYWAYS”. By this time the lesson was ending and we were going home but my attitude to “kill all men” had changed slightly. I wanted to show them( in physical terms) the emotional pain that caused most of the girls in my class, who all heard them. On my way home I was talking to my friend who had originally stood up with me and was one of the few girls who had managed to get a shot. We had both noticed that whenever we had been running these boys who thought we were dumb and stupid could not take their eyes off of our boobs, it had been uncomfortable seeing as we had also both been told that they had crushes on us. We didn’t understand why they could be so mean but also still apparently “like” us. They just saw us as objects and I don’t know if PE class will ever be the same knowing that they might just be watching us. I used to really enjoy it.

Judit

I’m sorry if it’s hard to understand what I’m writting but I’m hungarian and I have no english language degree so I’m just try to translate everyting correctly. When I was 8 years old in 3rd grade we got a new E.T. teacher. I skipped the first week of school becaouse of my family vacation. I was a sporty girl. On my first school this teacher looked at me and told me that “If he would be in my age he would date with me” after that I became his favourite he Always took me to the sport compatitions, and had a lot of private chat with me in his office, he huged me a lot and in the class he was inapropriately touching me and My classmates and even kids from other classes. None of really recognized it he was always so nice to us and always gave us candy. Of course in the dressing room me and my classmates (when no other students where in) were talking about what a pedofile he is and wich one of us got touched this time but whe were really careful that no one could hear us talking about it becaouse we were scared if we will start to spread this sort of gossips we would get into trauble. So we kept our mouth shut. When I went to 5th grade I got a new teacher who was a lady and I really liked her. But one year later some kids from the class above us started to gossip their stories and experienses with him and it got into the teachers ear and the kids got an admonitory for telling their truth. If it’s not enuogh my head teacher who was my favourite teacher told us that he is such a great man and these kids ruining his career and that we never ever alowed to say something like that becaouse it’s calumny. I’m 14 years old now and have been sexualy assulted several other times. I have just left the school where he is theaching but throughout the years i’ve got other abusive lines from him for example I have a scar on my upper thigh and he told me that “That scar is going to be your sexepile later with the boys” or something like that. Every single one of his lines and hugs and touches are in my mind right now as these would happen yesterday. I know my story is not the most tragic and that other ladies have to deal with worse than that day by day but it felt great write it out of myself. Noone really knows what a big scar is this for me.

Patricia

I have a creepy uncle who every time that greets me with a hug, slides his hand right on my bum. He started doing that when I was a teenager (as far as I remember), and he continues that now that I am 28 years old, privately and publicly. I have never said anything to him, to avoid confrontation and embarrassment; and I have only told my sister, as I have never felt that I would be taken seriously by my family members. Few weeks ago I found out he does the same to my 20 years old cousin… I have decided last time he did that to me was going to be the last time he would ever do that to any of us. After more than 15 years of silence, shame and disgust, I am taking control for me, for my cousin and for the rest of the young females in my family.

Anna

I work in male dominated professions and you learn very quickly don’t challenge a male ego and don’t be the bitch in the office or your life will be so much harder. One of the most recent interactions that I found particularly messed up was with two of my male work colleagues. They stopped by my desk, asked how my weekend was (it was fine) and then I asked how their weekend went. They spent it with their kids and they were tired. I said I was happy I didn’t have kids. Sighhhh. Here we go. One asked how old I was (37). He said I looked good for my age and I could still have kids (great he knows about my reproductive capabilities by looking at me). For the record my husband can’t have kids and I have failing health and it would literally kill me to have a child. I don’t mention this for obvious reasons. I simple said I wasn’t having kids. He returned with the only way I wouldn’t have children is if my husband got ‘fixed’. At this point he is so insistent that I should have kids I just agree. Yes my husband got the operation and can’t have kids. You’d think he’d leave me alone after I just agreed with him. Nope. He then said, well – you should divorce your husband to find someone to have have kids with. I just stared at him. Did he just tell me to divorce my husband so I could have children? Children I don’t want and can’t have? Because he thought I should. Yes. Yes he just did. You would think he’d be embarrassed by prying into my personal life so much but nope. If anything he really wanted to ‘win’ this idea of me having kids… anyway possible. I just smiled and said OK. I stared at him with my fake smile until he left.

Navjot Kaur

Hey I am from India and I’ve been harassed in Public transport. As much as I love my education, I believe that applies in my life and that has given me a perspective and freedom to stand for myself. As I was traveling alone from I felt a man is trying to touching breast while sitting on my behind seat on the bus. The moment I felt it I shouted but no one stood for me. There were elderly people, old couples but everyone ignored. I remember how much I cried that night but nevr told anyone.

S

When I was around 12/13 years old, my cousin’s boyfriend, who was around 20, put his hand inside my jeans and held me between my legs. Eventually, I wrote a letter to my Nan and she told my mum who asked me about it. My mum and auntie took me to the police after calling my cousin to tell her what happened. The police told us that it would be stressful and upsetting to press charges and that he would only get community service if he was prosecuted. They told us not to bother. None of my family asked me about it again.

jonathan

I’m a 27 yo guy. I’ve been in numerous relationships where disputes escalate to a point where my girlfriends will start hitting me and trying to beat me up. It’s not just with girlfriends though, various women I’ve known over the years have slapped me, hit me, kicked my crotch, or scratched me. Sometimes I feel like women don’t think it’s a big deal to be violent with men. They’ve never seriously hurt me as I’m bigger than they are but what bothers me is that no one shows any alarm, they all seem indifferent.

This has to stop

Me and my sister were at this indoor food market place with lots of different shops and small bars, we chose this particular food market because it had good food. So we walk up to the place we want to order chips and this guy who had been standing in the entrance to the very small shop had instantly begun gawking at my sister and staring her up and down. Bear in my mind my sister had a small stain on her white top because she dropped ice cream from earlier on whilst we were out. So this guy continues staring with no shame at all and at this point is in a very small vicinity to us. There are lots of people sitting on benches around us and it’s busy in the market. This guy’s friend realises what this guy is doing and just laughs, and continues to laugh whilst this other guy is blatantly staring at my sister looking particularly at her top and licking his lips. He stares as if he’s been deprived of food for 5 years and finally encounters some. This continues for another minute or so whilst we try to get in the shop to order, which btw he is blocking the entrance to. And then as we attempt to move past him he reaches out to touch my sisters arm saying excuse me miss whilst staring and smiling at her. Bear in mind my sister is under 20 and giving no response at all and i even gave the dirtiest look to the guy and said have you got a problem and he still continues to look. Eventually he realises he better leave before i start to raise my voice and embarrass him. I’ve experienced so many incidents like this where strange men feel entitled to own women’s bodies with their eyes and have no shame in not lowering their gaze

Vi

It took me several months to write this and post it here. I had to overcome myself to take out my pain. However, I know for sure, this resource www.everydaysexism.com is of paramount importance since it helps to destroy sexism. Everyone who writes here is a hero. Women and men who share what is inappropriate to speak openly are heroines and heroes of our time. I’m especially grateful to those men who found the courage to admit their mistakes and apologize, it deserves respect. I was six. My fourteen-year-old cousin has seduced me twice. I remembered that nightmare forever. A little helpless girl struck with horror. I’m half a meter from his lowered pants. He repeats in an unctuous voice: “Come here, touch, kiss…” I came closer and realized that he wanted me to do something bad, but I didn’t understand how bad it was. It’s very scary for a child to refuse an adult. I remember the state of numbness when you want to scream, to run, but you can’t move. I had the strength to overcome my stupor and escape. He waited for a while and tricked me into his room again but I ran away immediately. I was a six-year-old child! He calculated the situation to create an alibi for himself. My father had just left the family, and there was no one to protect me. Hardly anyone would have believed me. Of course, my mom would defend me, but this would be perceived as baseless accusations against my father’s relatives. Since then, this bastard kept his distance from me, and I kept my distance from him. He was even afraid of me; perhaps he subconsciously recognized my strength. Who else became his victim? He’s a general now. Sometimes psychological abuse is more powerful trauma than a physical one. The child’s psyche hides traumatic events, represses them. Decades later, I remembered EVERYTHING. The memory began to extract events and experiences from childhood, youth, and all my life from archives. My memory is very powerful, I remember all the details and feelings, emotions, and sensations. My thirteenth birthday. Me, my sixteen-year-old friend, a fourteen-year-old cousin (the younger brother of the pedophile), and a neighbor boy of my age went for a walk on the beach. It was in May, almost summer, at 4 p.m., a huge public beach of a large industrial Ukrainian city with a high crime rate. However, what ‘A’ grade girl thinks about crimes? There were no sunbathers, but there were enough people to wait for trouble. It all happened quickly. More than a dozen teenagers sent our boys away, I could see them turning their backs. They just left. I saw how a friend of mine, surrounded by ten guys, went to the bed of rushes, and two more took me to other bushes. I didn’t immediately understand what they wanted from me. I haven’t yet had my menarche. They began to explain what I should do, vaguely and confusingly, but I understood it quickly. My first expected reaction was a cry for help. Several warning strong slaps in my face, ringing in my ears – I calmed down. They didn’t know, neither did I that unjust physical pain triggers specific psychological and physical mechanisms in me. I distinctly remember how my mind began to perpend the situation; using the search method, I analyzed the chain of possible events. At the same time, I was thinking about my friend: where is she, what’s going on with her? The worst scenario was that they’d beat me, and I’d bite with my teeth into their stinking flesh until I gnaw through the main vessels of these bastards. I didn’t like this option, I hate the forcible touching, and even more so physical violence against my body in any form. I already knew that. I nodded, pretending to be listening to their instructions, subconsciously trying to stall for time and looking for an option with minimal losses for myself. To run away was perfect, as I already had a junior category in track and field athletics, so they wouldn’t catch up with me. I understood that they didn’t need any fuss. They thought they could handle me quickly and easily. With my peripheral vision, I found an opening in the bushes leading to the path, but I didn’t turn my head so as not to give myself away. A God of the universe, chance, or fate favored me. I noticed the silhouette of a woman with a dog. They noticed her too. When the woman came up with this heck of a place, they became silent for a moment. And I took this chance. I ran faster than any sprinters in the world and yelled louder than Krakatoa. I never turned around. I saw people turning and heading to me. I ran and continued to study the surroundings, looking for help for my friend. Several truck drivers rested on the shore, I headed to them, explained the situation as I could, and pointed my hand in the direction of the second hellish place. The men grabbed big tire levers and ran there. Everything worked out well. Was it a HAPPY-END? My friend, “our” boys and I never discussed what had happened. They probably still think we were raped. I didn’t tell anything to my mother – I knew that she’d find them. Did those bastards stop at least for a week or two? My child’s psyche took this situation for granted, as a norm of life. Is this the NORM of life on planet Earth?

Carolina

Men in suits. I lived in Sydney for two years when I was 25 and mostly worked as a waitress. The last few weeks in Australia I worked in a cafe to save up some money for my flight home. That cafe was located inside a bank building, which is quite a common business model in Sydney. The orders are 90% takeouts and we had a number system in place. There was a small group of men in suits who were waiting and it just so happened that the order number “6” was ready to be picked up, so I called “six” “number six” a few times because no one reacted and then finally a man reacted and said “oh I thought you offered me something else” … of course no one said anything and of course no apology.