My elderly, obese, invalid racist mother needs intense care taking. My brothers do none of it, don’t hire or pay for care taking. My mother insists that this is what daughters are for. This is the same lecture I got from my father when I was 16 and needed his signature to apply to college. “Your job is taking care of us in our old age and your siblings. I’ll pay if you go to nursing school, but only if you sign an agreement to come stay home.” I left home, went to state schools while my brothers all went to expensive private universities. Still, it took 50 years for me to fully recognize the hatefulness of both parents and the degree to which I was disadvantaged by having to work and go into debt for an education.
In my freshman year of high school, I had moved to an entirely new district and knew absolutely nobody. I already had depression from my crap middle school, and a precarious social situation made it a million times worse. This one guy who was pretty well liked universally would keep suggestively looking at me and saying my name in a way that was creepy and would give me chills. I said nothing obviously because saying someone’s name is hardly basis for being ticked off and I didn’t want to hurt my social life. I ignored it till it got bad. He was in my math class, and one day during rotations he looked at me and asked if I was warming his seat for him. I was completely repulsed, because even though I had some mild sexual harassment in middle school (guy wrote fake love letters between me and a guy I knew talking about my “plump lips” and going into more detail I frankly don’t feel like talking about) this felt different and more personal somehow. The worst part is there were at least 7 people around us, including my friends and the teacher who I loved having, who just said nothing. For a while I thought I might have just been hearing voices because it was so out there and nobody said anything. A part of me hopes someone reached out and confronted him because he stopped being so bad soon after. It’s been a while but I still unconsciously flinch away from him and he hasn’t stopped the bone chilling flirting.
Once when I was working overtime, a women came up to me, trying to force her self on me. I tried to tell her to stop but she was a strong independent woman and she knew what she wanted. So I forced her away and she fell. The next day however my boss fired me for physically abusing my coworker. I told her what happened but she only got madder at me. I lost my job and all my work friends and no one believes my story.
When I was 14 a family member got me really drunk and when his wife went to bed he found me passed out on the couch and put his penus in my face and forced me to have oral sex with him. I told my moms but she didn’t want a big scandal so she never pressed charges. 3 months later I tried to commit suicide. I felt like it was somehow my fault.
A couple of weeks ago, my roommate and I were preparing for a presentation on Alexandra Kollontai (1900’s Russian feminist) at a coffee shop when I read aloud that her older sister, 19 at the time, had married a 70 year old man. To which the elderly man next to us laughed and said, “Well I wouldn’t mind if that was still a thing.” The younger man with him laughed along. My roommate and I left promptly to go to another coffee shop.
Starting high school I thought that maybe, just maybe I’d get to just be normal. Ever since my middle school years I guess you could say I’ve been harassed. In 7th grade I was getting on a bus for a school trip when a guy, I thought was my friend, decided to reach around the huge instrument I had in my hand at the time to grab my butt. My hand were full so I couldn’t really just drop everything and run but I wanted to. I tried to bring it up to him and ask him why but he denied everything I said. I even had like 2 eye witnesses and they only denied it too. I never felt more played in my life. In 8th grade I thought that a boyfriend was suppose to love and care for you. I was told almost everyday how ugly I was by him but that since I had “huge boobs” that it shouldn’t matter and I should “learn to take a compliment.” I was only 14 years old, being told by my teachers when I would say something about they way I was treated that “boys with be boys.” I had one on my male teachers come up to me and sit on my desk just to tell me that he saw me walking home earlier that morning. He wouldn’t leave me alone so I asked to leave the room. He wouldn’t let me leave the room. I thanked god that I only had to see him once a week. Cause every Friday it would just get creepier. Only a year later at the age of 15 I love to run. So I’ll go around my block to just release some energy. I live by a busy street and I have GROWN MEN catcalling me. I’m only 15 years old wtf are they thinking. No matter where I’m walking I’ll have stupid college kids or full grown men yelling outside their windows at me. I know it’s at me cause I walk or run alone all the time. Just recently I was walking with two of my friends when some guy yelled out of his car. It really got to me when they said “every time we walk together over here we never get yelled at. (They are both female) I guess it’s just cause you’re here we did.” It’s really bothering me that since I have a bigger bust or a bigger butt that boys think it’s okay to harass me. It’s honestly sad that I refuse to walk or leave the house by myself because I’m scared walking down the street.
I have experienced so much sexism my entire life its hard to know where to begin. I will start with the most damaging. I was about 15/16 years old, a self-proclaimed feminist and wrote a feminist zine. It was the early 90’s and wearing vintage t-shirts was the fashion. I had a pretty amazing collection that I wore with pride to school. I had rather large breasts at the time (this was before they got a job) and had never felt self-conscious about my body. Our brief homeroom time was in the middle of the day instead of the morning and I usually just told the teacher I was here and then carried on to my next class early. On this day, wearing my new vintage T with pride I had to stay in homeroom for some kind of announcement. I sat down and waited. All of a sudden, during the announcement, this young man walks into the room and start yelling “oh shit! Look at her nipples! You can see her nipples, oh shit look at them!” He is pointing to me and now the entire class is staring and he is still yelling and starts yelling at kids in the hall to come in and see. The teacher says nothing. I stand up and tell him to shut the fuck up. The teacher tells me not to use that language and I tell him that I am leaving and it wasn’t my job to police my own sexual harassment. I felt ashamed of my body for the first time ever. I immediately found a sweatshirt to put over me (it was hot out) and suffered in the heat in an effort to cover up. Later that day I get called into a meeting with the vice principal. I told him what happened and he replied with “Well, the teacher said you were wearing a very tight shirt which you now seemed to have covered up, so you can see why the boy said those things to you. Maybe next time don’t wear such a tight shirt.” It took everything I had not to punch him. Instead I just said, “give me note so I can get back into class.” He got all flustered and said “well you can see my point right?” I just repeated myself about the note until he gave it to me. I went into the bathroom and cried, not because I was sad but because I was angry, and disappointed that the people who were in the school to protect me were also my harassers and had no interested in my welfare. I went home and told my parents (also both feminists) and they asked me what I thought the best thing to do would be. They offered to call the principal for me etc but I said I wanted to do this on my own. I wrote a letter to the principal and the vice explaining the event and my shock and disappointment over how it was handled. The principal met with me, apologised on behalf of the vice and told me she had talked to him about how he handled the situation. I told her I wanted a written and public apology from him and that he should be required to have sexual harassment training and a review by the school board and that the boy who did the harassing needed to be healed accountable for his actions. She said that none of that was possible and that I would have to settle for a school wide assembly about sexual harassment. The assembly did happen, but as you can imagine, it was met with giggle and laughter and not taken seriously at all by the teenage students. From that day on I lost all faith in the adults and people in positions of authority at my school, not to mention the students. I feel lucky that instead of this experience making me feel small and helpless, it reafirmed my feminist views and prompted me to speak out more. Sadly, it did make me feel self conscious of my breasts during my teenage years.
I was in a packed metro train close to the door and had opened the door a few stops already to let people off. At on point I start to feel the person behind me rubbing themselves on my backside. At first I thought it was due to the amount of people on the metro, so I move forward only to feel he does too, continuing to rub against me. At that point I realized what was going on, turned around and asked him, “what are you doing?”. He answered saying, “I just want to get off at the next stop”. Then I said, “you can’t open the door when the train is still in motion, and it doesn’t give you the right to touch me”. He kept denying it and people on the metro just looked like they wanted to avoid any conflict. So I yelled “DO NOT TOUCH ME.” And then he got off the train, and I was left there shaking from the encounter. Thanks for listening <3
I am about to turn 18, and I was at the gas station recently filling up my car when I noticed an old man probably in his 60’s at the other side of the pump. He said “hi there sweetheart” and then proceeded to look me up and down with a creepy smile on his face and say, “heh heh, I wish I was 20 years younger…hell, I wish I was THIRTY years younger!” I laughed uncomfortably and quickly finished and got back into my car. I felt so disgusting after that I wanted to take about five showers.
The security guard at my school that opens the side door at the morning bell for students with IDs tells me to smile every morning to brighten his day. It’s early, it’s cold and he’s an asshole there’s no way I’ll smile for him to make him feel more liked by students that are likely half his age. One morning I was reading a book on my phone and he loudly shouted at me to stop texting all the “ugly boys” because I’m “way to pretty for them”. Not only did this make me uncomfortable but everyone around us just looked in a different direction. Ignoring his comment I told him I was reading to which he said, “oh yeah you gotta go to college so you can meet more ugly boys”. Sorry to burst your bubble security guard but most (pretty much all) girls don’t go to college so that we can meet men. Weird right?