I had a huge crush on a “class clown” character in my class from the beginning of secondary school. It soon became obvious to him that this was the case and he began manipulating me, making me think he liked me, making me feel stupid and fat and ugly but wanting more and more attention from him. Eventually, I became involved with one of his friends, who began emotionally abusing me (another story – he’d say he was going to kill himself every day). But the original boy kept coming to my house, began sexually assaulting me, telling me I was disgusting and going to hell because it was cheating because I didn’t tell anyone. He did this until I agreed to break up with my boyfriend and date him. He then continued to abuse me, but me over and over again to “do stuff”, telling me that if I didn’t that he’d tell everyone about my mental health issues. I reported him to the police a year later from a psychiatric unit I was sectioned into after starving myself and self harming. Nothing was done. I was still put back in the same school and classes as him. He tormented me daily, saying I’d ruin his reputation and I was a liar and that if I said anything else he would tell everyone I was crazy and on antidepressants. His friends all bullied me also, one of them spiking my drink and assaulting me at a party. They are all still living in the same town as me, walking the streets, laughing when they see me, passing me at college and work making jokes. Feeding lies into the ears of anyone I get close to. Rape culture and gang culture led these boys to stuck together in a toxic group, ruining my life. I have come out of this looking like the lesser person and he has never been happier or more popular. These boys led me to eating disorders, suicidal ideation, self harm and more. Yet to them, it is all a joke because, to them, women are lesser beings, there only for pleasure and to be used and manipulated to their will.
I was conducting exactly the same role as my male colleague, I was called an Assistant Civil Engineer and he was called a Civil Engineer. I assisted nobody and worked in the absence of a Team Leader and Head of Department for over 6 months. When a position for Civil Engineer came up, the Engineering Manager came to me and suggested if I knew anyone who might be interested, I should encourage them to apply. I considered this and decided to apply myself. Between the application and the interviews, I had my annual appraisal with the same Engineering Manager, who praised all my work, rated me as “exceeds expectations” and said how pleased he was that I had applied for the position of Civil Engineer. He also stated “your interview day will be a very good day”. I went to the interview just a week or two later and it appeared to go well. Almost a month after the interview I got called into his office and told I had been unsuccessful in my application. I was a little confused and asked if there was a better candidate, they said no, they had not filled the position and were readvertising. I asked why I hadn’t been successful and was told “you are not a chartered engineer”, I queried this at the time as this had not been a requirement in the job advert and none of my male colleagues were chartered in the Civil Engineer role. The Engineering Manager changed his response and said, “oh I meant you haven’t got good enough qualifications”. Again, I was confused and pointed out that couldn’t possibly be the reason because again, I had a 1st Class Masters Degree and all my male colleagues merely had Bachelors Degrees. The Engineering Manager then responded by saying “what I actually meant was you don’t have enough experience”. At this point I was really questioning the whole exchange and left his office. I continued to question this rationale with colleagues (including those male Civik Engineers) and none could understand this as I had collectively a decade of experience and was undertaking the same number and value and complexity of projects that they were and was mentoring an Apprentice through her qualification. I then got invited by HR to a meeting “to discuss your job description”. I prepared for the meeting by printing copies of the job descriptions for Assistant Civil Engineer, Civik Engineer and Senior Civil Engineer. I collated evidence of my work for each of the points of the Civil Engineer job description and tried to map out a progression path through the positions. At this point it became apparent that the job description for the Assistant Civil Engineer was far more onerous than that of the Civil Engineer and that the only difference between the Civil Engineer and Senior Civil Engineer was being Chartered. I took all this to the meeting and presented my case to the lady from HR. She listened and then said “I’m afraid I can’t discuss your job description because I didn’t write it”. Instantly I was very confused as she had invited me to the meeting with the heading “to discuss your job description”, so I said as much. She responded by saying “I wanted to discuss another matter, you smell excessively of body odour.” At this point I was flabbergasted. I have never had such a complaint raised in my life before, no mention of this was raised in my annual appraisal mere weeks before and nobody had said a word to me. She continued, saying “Don’t you have anything to say? The least you could do is thank me for telling you in private” at this point I asked to leave and returned back to my office in tears. I felt embarrassed and confused and couldn’t carry on with the day. I thought about it all weekend and booked a doctors appointment immediately to get tested to see if there was an issue I was unaware of. All results came back negative and the Doctor suggested anti-depressants instead. I decided to speak to the Engineering Manager as I felt if it were this big an issue it ought to have been raised in my annual appraisal. He responded by telling me he had noticed it and that my team had complained as well. My faith in my team plummeted and I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Eventually they began asking what was wrong and I trusted one enough to explain. He said he hadn’t said anything of the sort and he was certain nobody else had either. I decided at this point I had no choice but to leave my employment. My trust in both my management, my team and my HR department had been obliterated and it was obvious I was not going to be treated fairly by the organisation. I raised a formal grievance with my notice and the organisation responded by writing a four page letter saying they had done absolutely nothing wrong and they dismissed my grievance entirely.
A boy in my math class last year said to me “You look like the kind of person that would freeze their own shit and masturbate with it.” I told my administrators and had witnesses come forward. The boy got of Scott free and my two witnesses testified against me. They were both girls…
I started being bullied because of my body hair when I was 8, mainly by the boys in my class. I remember a summer camp where a boy would hit me “just playing” for being tomboyish and hairy at 11. Thanks to that, I spent many years not daring to wear shorts, tank tops and always tied my hair tight. I first started to feel comfortable-ish in a bikini when I was 20. Now that I’m 26 I am starting to feel ok-ish to go out with a mini skirt and my legs not perfectly shaved. There are different ways of harassment, this was one that I experienced for years and years.
I was sexually assaulted by two people on separate occasions in year 8. I had my breasts groped publicly during lunch break as I was walking towards the library. I felt shame and humiliation, and I was confused why no one noticed; what made it awkward was that after the incident we walked in same direction and he would turn around with a big grin with his mate. On another occassion,a guy put his hand on my thigh in class and asked if i was wet; i had no idea what that meant but I was petrified as he used to casually physically and verbally attack me. It was not my fault; i accept that, but i still cant seem to forget. When i experience harassment in my adult life or reading about it on social media it still triggers memories. That is my main regret was not speaking up from primary school to when I finished sixth form; i was an easy target for gossip even from people younger than me. I am still fearful of putting my name out there in case they read it somehow.
I was sometimes been teased and bullied at school for my love of dinosaurs and palaeontology, because it was not considered ‘girly’ or a ‘teenage’ hobby. This infuriates me, because everyone has the right to like what they are interested in. Similarly, a friend of a friend was questioned on her interest in engineering and robotics, and was going to work on a project when someone told her to ‘get back to the kitchen’. They were trying to be funny, but it wasn’t remotely amusing.
I was recently at a dance club with my friends and left to use the bathroom. In the back of the club is a VIP table which is next to the gender-free bathroom. I had to pee so I stepped into the line with two men. A man from the VIP table approached me. I have a partner, so I was not interested in flirting with anyone. He asked for my name and number. I politely refused to give it. He then accused me harshly of thinking I am too good to give him my name and number. I’d since forgotten about this incident – as so many others have happened since that, but at the time I was scared and furious. By the time he yelled at me, I was alone in the line and he was a big guy with a table full of friends behind him. Why is he entitled to my name and number and I am a bitch for not giving it. Do I not have a right to pee in peace because I am a woman he found attractive? Like I should feel guilty? Please. About 3 weeks ago I was walking with my dog and a teenage boy whipped his dong out at us and started going to town on himself. I already don’t feel safe in my neighborhood, as I am routinely leered at by old men on corners, but this was the last straw. It’s caused me to break my lease and decide to move to a safer but more expensive neighborhood. Luckily my landlord is a nice person, but it really is terrible that women not only have to suffer psychologically but also financially. I now have to pay moving costs, put down a deposit, pay more rent, etc. if I want to get harassed LESS OFTEN while these pervs can live wherever they wants and do as they wish. I called the cops on the flasher, by the way – they never showed up. SInce I couldn’t move immediately, I bought pepper spray so that I could burn his dong if he ever whipped it out at me again, since the cops weren’t going to do anything.
Working Asa human resources manager in a male dominated engineering consulting firm. I was the only female manager the firm had every had in their 35 year history. I was purposely excluded from meetings, was provided with incomplete information, was marganilized regularly, talked down to, told I was stupid, it was regularly implied that my human resources based skill set was less valuable the the predominantly male technical skill set. I was regularly subjected to bullying, sexual harassment, sexually jokes and innuindo. I watched the firm go from 27% female technical staff to 2% female technical staff at the hands of a single executive who appeared to want to wipe women out from the company – every time he laid off staff the “hit list” was predominantly female designers or engineers. These same women were paid less, recieved less promotion, and were kept on mundane entry level tasks far longer than any male counter part was. In the end, I was also fired and replaced by a man. Engineering has to be one of the worst industries for women to work in. I now work in a female dominated environment and I’m loving it.
This happened when I was 13 and in 7th grade. I was eating lunch alone (I can’t remember why, I usually ate with the same people everyday) and about 6 or so boys came up to me, sat down on the other side of the table and started saying rude, inappropriate, and vulgar things to me. I didn’t even know what the words they were saying meant, I don’t even know if I knew what sex was but I was scared. Another boy, who was friends with the others tried to get them to stop and even told one of the lunch monitors. But she was absolutely zero help and said “Oh they probably just like her.” I will never forget it. Finally, the school social worker who was on lunch duty say the situation and put the boys in lunch detention. That bullying had happened on and off throughout 7th grade but that was worst. Looking back all that bullying was really sexual harassment. Another related incident happened around the same time, I think after the first one, when one of the boys who was in my health class leaned over and told me that he was going to kiss me on the last day of school and I was very freaked out by this. I ended up telling the health teacher and she moved him and gave him detention.
When I was at secondary school, around 13-14, there was a group of boys who used to tease me in class by telling me that I was beautiful, making kissing gestures and noises, and even went so far as to write a song about me and get it played on local radio (thanks, DJ). I understood that this was because I was so disgusting to them as to be funny. One time, they waited for me after school, grabbed me, and took it in terms to rub themselves against me, while singing the song they had written. I told nobody, because, as I say, I’d internalised the blame (but I did land some punches). Something reminded me of this the other day, and I Googled the one name that I remember. Turns out he’s been put on the UK sex offenders register. So much for “just a bit of fun”.