sarah, via email

I was at a festival with my boyfriend, walking hand in hand(!) when a man grabbed my butt. My boyfriend didn’t see it and I was so shocked that I couldn’t do anything. After he walked away I realized what had happened and stopped. I wanted to run after the man, tell him my opinion, ask his name so I could report it to the police somehow. But he was really tall, probably three times heavier than me, he was holding a beer in his fully tattoed muscular arms and most of all he didn’t seem that type who would want to talk with me. I felt ashamed, powerless and mad. I wanted to pour his beer in his face and shout with him at first but that really wouldn’t have solved the problem. Then I wanted to talk with him, tell him what he was doing but I had a strong feeling that wouldn’t have worked either.

I told my boyfriend the story and my thoughts about it and he just seemed to not get it. He is the best person I know, he is clever, correct – politically and in other ways too – he is a feminist as well but he still didn’t seem to understand me. And more, he didn’t want me to react anything. In our country, the police wouldn’t do anything, one from every five men who are staring at me on the streets are from police cars, winking or just checking my body. Talking wouldn’t use either, my boyfriend said that it would have just got me in trouble. Maybe he is right. But the feeling of my powerlessness haunted me for weeks. It still haunts me. If it happened again, I still couldn’t do anything. I would have to walk away and hope that we don’t meet again.