I used to have sex with my boyfriend(now ex-boyfriend) even when I didn’t want to and when it hurt. I felt that that was the way it was supposed to be, they feel pleasure and we don’t have to be touched or have an orgasm. That’s not okay. People have to be educated about it


I’m 15 years old. I was recently discussing my college(UK) applications with my mum and older sister(25yrs old). I want to go to a top college so I can get the support needed for me to get into a top university. This particular college gets up to a hundred oxbridge offers a year, on average. However logistically, it’s a pain in the arse for me to get there. My mum kept saying that it wasn’t essential for me to go to a top university, and she’s right. But it’s my dream. Then she says this: ‘that eventually, most girls go off to work, then get pregnant, and have to give up their careers. And that you should give up work if your husband wants you to.’ Now my mum is a housewife. But she isn’t happy. She’s an academic at heart. if my brother wanted to go to Oxford or Cambridge, she wouldn’t say to him that it isn’t worth it because he’ll be a father one day. My sister said nothing to agree or disagree with my mother on this. I’m still going to aim for Oxford or Cambridge.


As a 31 year old woman, I just tried to tell my Dad about some of the reproductive problems I have been experiencing over the last year. After finally seeing a specialist I thought it was time to share the problem, as after months of pain and years of issues it is looking like Endometriosis. He didn’t even turn down the TV to hear it or look at me, let alone offer sympathy. He simply asked, and have you been diagnosed? And was immediately dismissive when I explained the risk of making the condition worse that comes with keyhole surgery required to do this. And when I explained that the only offer of treatment is the birth control pill he again dismissively said ‘lots of women take that and they are fine.’ Women need to start speaking out about issues and side effects of the pill, as we desperately need to find other ways of treating Endometriosis. I would argue that we are still discouraged from openly discussing our reproductive health and subjects periods are still so stigmatised to the point that Fathers can’t even comfort their daughters. If we don’t speak about how unfair it still is that birth control is seen as a female responsibility or how awful the symptoms of the pill really are then society will not change. There will continue to be Dad’s who mansplain the pill to their 31 year old daughters, opinions based on no evidence in particular. It brought back a really vivid memory of a Saturday when I was about fourteen when he decided to have a go at me for staying home all day, I was having my period and I didn’t feel like leaving the house because it was so painful and heavy. He really became aggressive so I just told him that I had my period and to lay off, he went silent, no sympathy, no apology, because that would be him admitting he had done something wrong. I have been repairing the damage caused by his sexist attitude my entire life and can only really now recognise it defend myself when it occurs. Men with daughters need to try harder, no matter what age they are. Medicine needs to recognise that the pill is not a suitable long term treatment for a chronic illness. Endometriosis is as common as diabetes and because it actually makes women infertile, this is an issue society is facing as a whole, not just a ‘women’s problem’.


After I did my short teacher training course I stayed in touch with several people. One guy I met up with on an irregular basis, purely as a friend. He was pretty geeky, but then so am I, so that was all fine. Then I found out from a mutual friend that he takes regular trips to the far East for sex tourism. The guy is in a wheelchair, so at first, even though the whole idea of exploiting impoverished women who have gone into prostitution in developing countries was obviously upsetting, I found myself making excuses for him to some extent. I know that this is not an excuse, however, plenty of people in wheelchairs have relationships, it is this man’s odious attitude to women that was the problem. Perhaps even worse, I found out that he upskirts women, and has probably done this in my presence when we went out, or has even done it to me. I cut off contact with him eventually, but it makes me sick to think that this man is teaching young women. I hope he has stopped paying to rape women and illegally violating their privacy with upskirting, which is thankfully now an offence in the UK.


As a teacher I have been: MASTURBATED OVER in class by a special needs kid every time I went in his class- weekly for a year (teachers told me to ignore it my job was in the balance, there was a language barrier and I wasn’t really in a position where I could address it. I was also made to high five every kid in the class at the end of lessons, yes, including *that* kid), spanked by a 12 year old, trapped and encircled by a group of 14 year old boys making comments about how they were going to use my body (during teacher training), groped and touched more times than I can remember, had sex simulated on me by the friends of a student who asked for help just to position me so his friend could fake-fuck me, FOLLOWED HOME ON THE TRAIN WHILST STUDENTS SHOUTED ‘TITS TITS TITS’ at me, I’ve been subject to daily jokes about my body, had photos taken of me without consent, asked what colour my pubes were and other sexual questions, and a whole load of other shit that has become so commonplace I can’t even see it any more. STAFF have told to ‘take it as a complement (by a head of year), told me I’d risk losing my job if I reported being followed home (my boss), moved out of boys’ classes as the solution (rather than them being addressed). Asked for a snog from a married male colleague. Had my arse patted by male colleagues in Japan (not recently but I’ve seen this and other inappropriate behaviour at office parties every time I’ve gone and attendance isn’t always optional) The worst thing about it is that nobody ever deals with it and I am in a position where I will be let go if I rock the boat. Damn right I’m angry about it all to this day.

Jen Spence

I finished night shift and I’m having breakfast at camp. I’m sitting at a table with 4 guys from the crew. I’ve been sharing meals with them for days. 1 guy says when he was 18 yrs old, he slept with a 16 yr old. (Found out later they’ve been married now for 30 yrs or so). Another guy says, “Ooo a 16 yr old, that’d be nice but I’d do 20.” (Meaning he’d spend 20yrs in jail) A couple of the guys laughed, so that guy continues to talk shit. I can’t recall what else he said, because my ptsd is triggered. I refocus and I say, “hey do you know 1 in 3 girls will get harassed and go thru stuff like that?” He just awkwardly laughed and said something like, “ya well.” So I looked him in the eye and said, “do you have any daughters?” He said, “yes I have 3.” I said, “well there ya go. According to statistics one of your daughters will probably get sexually harassed, maybe to the point of rape.” He shakes his head no. I continue and say, “I hate to break the news to you but you better prepare yourself for that happening to one of your daughters”. He looked at me in shock and he got up and left the dining room. Wow, was he upset with me. I know by the look on his face that I got him thinking. I sure hope my education will change his behaviour for the better, so next time when he wants to talk like a pig that he will change his thoughts for the better. Change one’s thoughts, change one’s behaviour. I feel proud for sticking up for myself and all women. Who knows what’s going on in his mind; maybe 1 of his daughters have already been assaulted; maybe he’s assaulted woman or a child before; who knows. I sure hope he grows from this experience into being more mindful when he next speaks about women. A guy at the next table over heard the conversation, who by the way is a good guy, & he looked at me and smiled with pride for what I said. I wish THAT guy that got up and left had stayed because I wanted him to also know that the statistic for guys is 1 in 6. I work with a crew of about 45 guys and I am the only girl. I am 1 in 3. There must be at least 7 guys on his crew that have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives too. May the creator send this guy love and light for hopefully he will become a better man from this point on. I am not going to let him bring me down, because I feel damn proud for my mindful speech and I will continue to have a happy Sunday. ??


My friend group consists of almost entirely girls, apart from one guy. He’s super nice, and we share common interests, but his male classmates and friends often ask him why the hell he hangs out with girls all the time. As if it’s unthinkable that a boy can hang out with girls. And as if there’s no point hanging out with girls when you can hang out with boys? Me and a couple people in my English class (All boys) were talking, and we got onto the topic of gender. Someone said that there were only two genders: Male and female. I disagreed. he started to argue back, when another person said: There are only two genders: Male and attack helicopter. Women are objects. It was a joke, but not a very funny one. I didn’t say anything. Kids need to be taught from a younger age that everyone, regardless of gender, can do what they wish to. Maybe there’d be less of this in my school.


During the production of an amateur panto, some lifting needed to be done by the children in the cast. The person in charge specifically asked for boy volunteers, even though the kinds were all under 12, and, therefore, there were no differences in strength between the girls and the boys. My own way to counteract this is to get my 4-year old daughter to push the trolley when we’re at the supermarket! She’s not as strong as I would be, obviously, but that it still saves time to have her do something she enjoys, rather than be bored…


I am the youngest member of a senior leadership for a large inner city comprehensive school. The head brought in a consultant to work with the senior team. After my meeting I saw him and the head in the corridor and he said to my head “Ah I met this charming young lady earlier. I never forget a lovely face. What a bright spark – but she is fiery!”. I cannot conceive of a male colleague being described like that.


The Topsy and Tim children stories CD has an episode on firefighters. At one point, they discuss whether women can do it. The answer given is, in substance “yes, but they must be as physically fit as the men”. Credit where it’s due: this makes the point that firefighting is a potential career for women. But there is an insidiously (albeit probably unintentionally) sexist message: that men are the point of reference. A woman applying to be a firefighter will have to prove something more than a man would, namely that she is as good as a man. Furthermore, a male firefighter is completely normal; a female firefighter not somuch. So a woman applying to be a firefighter would be trying to go out of the comfort zone of social norms. Not everyone is a born rebel, so this can deter women. A much better way of presenting this would have been to say that there are physical fitness requirements, which all applicants, regardless of gender (or indeed anything else), have to meet. The difference may sound subtle, but it matters. None of this affects me directly: I am unlikely to ever become a firefighter (or indeed a woman). But my 4 year old daughter has been listening to that story…