I was around 9 when my cousin groped and cornered me in my grandparents closet space during a game of ‘hide-and-seek’. My cousin was a year older and at the time I didn’t know that this was not normal. My cousin’s father found us and didn’t say anything about what he saw. I buried this right down inside me to a point where I forgot about it until I was 15 and groped on the street in a public place. This older man was running down the street and groped me first and another lady further down. My mother asked what was wrong (I had made a noise) and I started crying and pointing at the man, just before he groped the other woman, people around me stared and I instantly felt awkward and out of place. My mother travelled overseas that day and I was left at home with my dad and brother. I made a report with the police 2 weeks later because I didn’t want to go with my dad to the police station. Before my mum left at the airport my dad made a comment about “how I should be grateful that someone had an interest in me.” From there I was cornered again at a party by an older guy who started to touch me. I continued to be around him until it was time to leave with my family. It was 2 days later that I told my mum and we didn’t do anything. My boyfriend then dumped me because I was too afraid to be touched and was instantly triggered by these incidents. I received therapy that helped by I still tend to go on a downwards spiral. I put on weight thinking that no one would want to touch me then and constantly wore daggy clothes. I get nervous in crowds and hold my hands behind me (over my butt) when i walk in them. I’m 18 now and one small trigger could make me spiral into taking 2 weeks off school where I would spend it in bed. My mum told me that I had to stop calling these incidents ‘sexual assault’ because it’s not like I was raped or anything.
I’m 14 and I live in the uk. Every day I walk home from school, one day I took a quick shortcut down a narrow street, which I often took. These two men were heading towards me from the direction I was walking in. I went to pass them but they stepped into my way and moved me aside brutishly by pushing me on my side (one my ribcage like where your bra side would be). Its wasn’t really that much of a big deal I guess but once I’d gotten past them my heart was racing and now I’m too afraid to go down that street or take any shortcuts to get home, which means it takes me and extra 20 minutes to get home (on top of the 40 minute walk I already take).
I was 17 years old when I was in concert choir for my senior year of high school. It started out pretty well. I made some new friends. And one of my friends had decided that it wad okay to give me hugs and to touch my shoulders all the time. Whatever. I thought that I was just being crazy at first because I wasn’t used to people touching me. If never dated anyone before, still that way now, and so I want used to being touched by a lot of people. The only people that usually touched me, not innapropriately, were my parents, sister, my best friend, and anyone else I was comfortable with. But there was a guy in my choir class who made me uncomfortable who kept trying to touch me every time he saw me. He used to walk through my science class and I usually ended up crossing paths with him and he would try to hug me. It made me uncomfortable but I rolled with it even though I was embarrassed. The guys I satbwith in the back of the class were teasing me about it, but they didn’t mean anything by it because I knew them well enough to not really care about what they were saying. We were good friends and they never really made me uncomfortable. As time went on, the guy I mentioned before (who’s name will not be stated) had gotten worse. He made me uncomfortable and whenever I was trying to leave my choice class, he would pretty much slam his hands on my shoulders. I had really long hair then too, so it pulled on my hair and it hurt and I would tell him to stop touching me every day but he never listened. Eventually, I went to the assistant principle and told him what was going on. I told him how I thought the kid from my choir class liked me and wouldn’t stop hugging me or touching me no matter how many times I told him to stop and I didn’t want for the kid to think that I liked him more than a fried. So, the assistant principle told me that he was going to talk with him. So, a week or two goes by and the kid stopped talking to me and touching me. No big deal. I started feeling better about being in class. Well, when we went to solo ensemble (where we sang by ourselves or with a partner in front of judges), he decided that it would be a good idea to try and talk to me. He was seating three seats behind me, well diagonally if that makes sense…and he reached all the way over to place his hand on my knee to get my attention. That day, I dressed up because I was supposed to and I actually wore a dress. I never wear dresses. And wheb I do, the skirt I’m the dress is long. But this dress wasn’t as long as I normally wear so I was uncomfortable to begin with. When he touched my knee, it honestly scared me because I’m not used to that. I hate being touched unless if I’m comfortable with the person who’s touching me. He didn t seem to have a problem with it, but I shrunk away from him but he didn’t care, he kept trying to talk to me. Throughoutbthe rest of the day after that, we didn’t really talk much. I’d seen both of his performances, which were about me, because he asked our mutual friend in common to convince me to go. So, I relented just so then our mutual friend would stop hugging me about it. He sang a song called “Red Irish Rose”…i have red hair and I’m Irish… It kinds scared me a little. I forgot the other song title but it had to do with beauty and stuff and the song actually kind of described my personality a little bit. Either way, I was freaked out. After we got back onto the bus to go home, he put his letterman jacket next to me on my seat. I was sitting in the way back and our mutual friend was sitting next to me, but decided to move to talk to one of our other friends, so the kid who harassed me sat in the single seat across from me. Well, I told him to move his jacket and he said, “I just wanted to see if I could piss you off and make you throw the jacket back at me.” I listened to music the rest of the way back but wheb we were lining up to get off, I got in front of the kid who harassed me so then I could get off the bus quicker. He started trying to talk to me and was touching my shoulder. He told me that he loved me and I told him to stop before I got off the bus and didn t stop walking until I got to the bus that took me home. I was walking in heels and it was a bit hard for me to walk in two inch heels and walk fast at the same time because I didn’t wear heels often. I told my mom about what happened and then she talked to my dad who went into the school to talk to the cop who patrolled the schools. So, I wrote a report like I was told to and explained everything to the cop and to the assistant principle and they said that they’d have another talk with him. It worked for a couple of weeks before it all started up again. So, I told the assistant principle and he told me that I shouldn’t be worrying about it because it was almost the end of the fucking year. That pissed me off because that pretty much said that he didn t care. And I was honestly scared to go to school. But the kid who harassed me had lied to the cop and assistant principle so it was my word against his and it seemed that the assistant principle didn’t care. And I’m sure that the assistant principle took the kid’s word over mine which is absolute bullshit because not only I wouldn’t lie about that, but also I’ve never gotten into trouble in school so he should know that I wasn’t doing it for shits and giggles.
I have been heckled several times by a large group of drunk/ high/ homeless men as I walk through Lister park in Bradford on the way to work in the mornings. They call out loudly ‘Hello darling’ in a way that’s impossible to ignore. I look straight ahead and don’t respond. I haven’t had any abuse shouted at me for not responding but I have a feeling its only a matter of time. I have anxiety and this makes me worried about walking through the park by myself. I don’t want to have to walk a different way, I love looking at all the trees and flowers in the morning before I spend all day in an office… And walking through the park is where I practice mindfulness in the morning, which is meant to help with anxiety. I feel like I shouldn’t have to change my route… I wish I had the courage to stand up to them. I just want to walk to work without having to be anxious that I’m going to be harassed!