Child

Charlotte

When I was about 10 years old, I would go to an after-school club everyday and wait for my mum to finish work. One day I was sitting down in the crowded play room, and two boys came up behind me. They were around my age. The younger of the two held my arms behind the chair, and the other felt my small breasts over my top. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was forceful and I was speechless. They immediately ran off, and I felt violated. I knew what they had done was wrong, so I told one of the adults who was watching the room. She confronted the boys, and I was asked some questions. I don’t know if they ever told my parents, and I can’t remember if I told them either. I am now 28, and remember it vividly. It strikes me as so unnerving that boys so young picked up that behaviour, and worked together to “feel me up”. I’m glad I reported it then, but when you’re an adult, it’s not so easy to tell on people. I’ve been wolf-whistled at in the streets, had my arse slapped, had the back of my belt tugged when I bent over…but I brushed them all off and called them all perverts in my head. Short of wearing a body camera, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel that reporting this behaviour will result in anything, but I’ll certainly teach my kids, when I have them, that it isn’t ok. Maybe, after reading some of these stories, I’ll find the words to say to the next creep who thinks it’s normal to treat me like that.

H

I was walking home from the supermarket on Sunday afternoon. I was almost at my flat when an estate-type car drove past slowly. I looked up when I heard a child’s voice shout “sexy” at me to see a boy of no more than 7 holding my eye contact and “suggestively” kissing the air in my direction. The driver and the only other passenger in the car, I presume his father, carried on driving. I watched them drive away, jaw hanging open.

Hermione

Once in school when I was 11 I began to tell some boys off because they said they wouldn’t hit me because I was a girl. I told the they were being sexist and that they should be just as willing to hit me as any boy. I told them the reason they shouldn’t have hit me is because it was the wrong thing to do. Not because I was a girl, but because I was a person. They laughed at me for being a feminist and said I thought girls were better than boys. I told them I thought everyone should have equal rights. That’s what a feminist is someone who wants equality for ALL, regardless of any stupid stereotype or class. They continued to laugh and I remember wondering if it was wrong to be a feminist because the word female is in the name. A few years later a similar situation occurred. I came back with the same reply. Yet again I was laughed at and asked if I was a feminist. I simply hung my head in shame. The worst bit, I didn’t even think of it as wrong until now reading other posts. Right now the only thing I am ashamed of is that II didn’t give those idiots a piece of my mind. It is horrifying that something like this would happen to a child and even more awful that I believed it was acceptable.

Angry Mom

I was at my local co-op on a Saturday with my 3 year old daughter. We get muffins and sit in the dining area to eat them together. Once a man in his 70’s says hi to my daughter and that muffins will make her fat. I was pissed, but didn’t yell at him. I just coldly gave him monosyllabic responses to his follow up chatting, which was racist. When he went away I told my daughter that she was not fat and she could eat whatever she liked. Another mom chimed in with the same. If I could go back… I would clap with every word, “YOU DON’T GET TO TALK TO MY DAUGHTER ABOUT HER BODY!” Later that day, I sat my baby girl down and told her I was sorry for not yelling at the man. That no one gets to tell her what her body should look like. I had tears in my eyes.

Nadika

It was my 12th birthday, my mom gave me a silk sleeves shirt that I wanted as a present. For a young girl the silk feeling was amazing. We went to have a lunch with my family and when we were at the restaurant my father asked me if I could go back to the car to get to get his wallet (I was supposed to find another present there) so I went outside and a man approximately in his 30s told me stared at me and told me “do you know that your titties are the most delicious candy?, I’d love to lick them” apparently my new blouse accentuated my tiny child boobs. I was horrified!!!! I was a child and I never heard any sexual comments at home, no need to say I never imagined my body was considered as something to be looking at. I cried the entire way back to the restaurant, and I could never told my parents what happened. This is the first time I share this story. :’(

Rey

This is the first time I remember experiencing sexism. I would have been four or maybe five – I was at school and we were drawing our favourite soft toy with coloured chalk. I was sitting next to a boy who looked over at my work, and saw what colours I was using (red and yellow). He turned to me (and as I said I was four or five so I can’t remember the exact words) and tells me that I should only be using “girl colours”, meaning pink and purple. Of course, because I was so young I didn’t contemplate it much, but I remember thinking: “Why are there only two girl colours, while the boy colours are the whole of the rest of the box? And why can’t I use them?”.

Marion

So this happened when i was about 6 or 7 years old. Now i am 22 an i only recogniced it as sexual assault a few years ago… I was in a swimming bath and this perhaps 12 year old boy dived by and rubbed his hand between my legs… This must have been the first time i ever encountered sexual harassment and it took me really that long to realise it.

14

When I was 13 (Grade 8) our school had a movie night in which I decided to sit with one of my older friends (a boy in grade 11). I only liked him because he was kind and funny to me. I had brought a blanket to this movie and at the start he said he was cold, and tried to get under the blanket with me. I gave him the entire blanket even though it was cold, because I didn’t want to share with him. A few minuets later (when the movie had started) I felt his hand brush up against my breast. I ignored it because I thought it was an accident. But it kept happening until he was fully groping my breast. Although I didn’t verbalise saying no, I continuously brushed him off or turn away from him. Half way through the movie the school had a break and I got up to go outside (because I needed to call my mum) and he followed me. I knew then that I couldn’t call my mum to pick me up because it would take her 10 mins to get to the school and this boy had my blanket. The groping continued throughout the 3hr movie and tried many times to completely cover me in the blanket but I pinned it down with my leg. at the end when I was packing up to leave he winked at me. I was saddened that we were laying right in front of all the teachers and none of them noticed or did anything. It took me a year to tell anyone about this because I felt guilty for not ‘saying’no. But I never said yes and I was giving him physical indications that I was uncomfortable. He is still at the school even though the teachers now know about the incident. And some days when I run into him I feel completely defeted.

Tabitha

I felt alone. Very alone. There were three boys home I had to pass by every time I went for tuitions. It was horrible. They would cat call me and tease me from their balcony. I couldn’t do anything about it. There was no way I could change my route because a mad dog haunted the other one. I couldn’t tell my teacher because I was afraid of being called a narc. So I went on through it. I wish I had told her, though. It wasn’t okay for those guys to tease and make me feel like crap. I should have got help.

Madison T

I imagine I was around 7 or 8 years old. 1st or 2nd grade perhaps. Probably second for some reason I can’t remember much (any) of grade 2 even though I remember all of grade 1 and grade 3 so it would make sense if it happened then and I just blocked out the entire year. I liked to play make believe in the yard (front or back it was all forest). I would be a warrior of some sort fighting forest creatures (much like those in the Spiderwick Chronicles). The yard had always been a magical fairy land that lurked with monsters needing to be defeated. I imagined the fairies lived in the soft green bushes that grew tiny yellow flowers. I haven’t a clue what kind of plant it was but the stems were also soft and green and pliable so I could walk through them and find tiny little empty spaces as my fort. On day two older neighborhood boys wanted to “play” with me. They were much taller than I and five or six years older. I thought they wanted to play make believe and visit the fairies with me. The next thing I remember is them telling me to take my clothes off. I was a small child and they were much bigger and they outnumbered me. I thought it was just a game, at first. I did what they asked then they asked me to spin around real slow. So I did. I can’t remember if they touched me or just looked at me but I remember not telling a soul. When they told me I could, I put my clothes back on and went inside like nothing happened. The back yard was no longer a magical place with fairies. I didn’t tell anyone, I knew what they did was wrong but my parents were never there for me, they never protected me. Even as a child I understood that girls who were molested were broken and somewhere in me I knew that was what had happened and I didn’t want to be seen as broken. Out of shame and hopelessness I burried it. For the next 11-12 years I walked by those bushes everyday when I left the house. Fast Forward. A little after this event (perhaps a year or two) I was had fallen asleep on the armchair in the living room. It was the wee hours of the morning still dark but just enough light to see. Something woke me up. It was footsteps so quiet as if they were trying to be sneaky. I peaked through my eyes to see who it was and saw my two older step brothers (one four years older, the other 7 years older) So I did what I always did: pretended to be asleep. That was how I got away from my stepdad and stepbrothers mood swings at night, I would fake sleeping. The two pairs of footsteps got closer and stopped by the armchair. I was terrified I couldn’t move, I couldnt open my eyes. They always tormented me like brothers do but parents always intervened when it got rowdy, but there were no parents in the room now. I felt then reach into my bottoms and touch me. They took turns and all I could do was pretend to be asleep, paralyzed by fear. Eventually they left. I never told anyone. My parents always sided with my stepbrothers I thought if I told then somehow I would get in trouble like always. If they did get in trouble, I knew they would be even meaner to me when parents weren’t around to get back at me. I thought if I told they would hurt me, bad. I did what I always did I suked it up and I burried it. That’s what my mother taught me suck it up, be complacent, cater to those who are more powerful than you to protect yourself.