I was on a train. There was only one seat left on the carriage and a man took it I was 16 at the time, he was maybe 20. He offered the seat to me and I declined, saying that I was fine with standing, he got there first. Then he jokingly asked me to sit on his lap. I laughed nervously and said no again. For the next 15 minutes, until he got off at his stop, he kept going, kept asking me to sit on his lap, joking about how he couldn’t let a poor woman stand. I think it became obvious that I was deeply uncomfortable after he first minute. After he left, I felt ashamed and deeply embarrassed. Another woman had watched the whole thing and stayed silent which made be feel more mortified, not because I blamed her, but felt embarrassed that someone else had even seen it. I initially didn’t tell anyone, and thought that it was somehow my fault, but as I got older, I look back and like to think that if that were to happen to me today, I’d have enough confidence to shut him down.
I rented an apartment at a great price from an elderly man. In front of his real estate agent he informed me there were no issues with utilities and he liked people that kept to themselves and he left people alone. Once I moved in, he began stopping me for random conversations that would eventually lead to comments about my body and statements involving sex or porn. I would repeatedly tell him I was uncomfortable with those conversations and it was inappropriate. He also started cutting off the water for random construction projects before I left for work or church and said he had the right to maintain the property whenever he wanted and it NEEDED to be done. Once inside my apartment, he would continue describing my “enticing” body and come back to topics of sex and porn. He repeatedly asked me if he had a chance with me/ if I would give him a chance/ and if I would be interested in him / what I thought about him/his appearance etc and I turned him down each time. No matter how many times I expressed not having any interest in anything with him, he would tell me I can’t blame him because he is a man and it’s because of the way I look and he sees my body and I have to expect that because he is just being a man. I continued telling him I was uncomfortable and eventually started asking one of my friends to come over any time the landlord had some random project to do in my apartment. The landlord then began approaching me when I was alone and scolding and lecturing me for bringing someone over as if he needed to be watched. I told him it was a matter of my safety and comfort as men I did not know were randomly going through my living space for these construction projects. He insisted that I should be alone when he comes over and that his right as landlord includes coming in whenever he wants to see what is going on in his place. He told me everyone he ever met loves him and thinks he’s the greatest landlord and man ever and I’m the only person he’s ever met that doesn’t love him. He has stopped me from going to work, church, and meetings. I’ve had to stay home for random “fixes” he claimed to have to urgently address which he used to sexually harrass me and claimed he never told me to stay home, I just chose to keep him company. He has also yelled at me for calling him out on it. He insisted to me that my friend coming over to witness what was going on was really just using me for sex and insisted that we were having sex and he KNEW (there was nothing of the sort). However, he would also soften his tone and speak very politely when my friend came over or if he saw that I had my phone on speaker. Due to the COVID situation, my job was affected and I asked the landlord if he would accept the government grant. He said yes but delayed in giving me my last receipt for half a month, which in turn delayed my application. By the end of the first month of missed rent, he gave me an eviction notice. After he sent passive aggressive notes by my door, I sent a lawyer’s letter informing him that he agreed to wait on the COVID grant, and I had offered to stop the grant and borrow cash to pay him and he refused, but that I would oblige and move out. Today he replied via email denying everything and claiming I brought men into the property, distinguished by their skin color. I am still moving out before the time limit given on the eviction notice. A lawyer told me that his denials and claims have nothing to do with eviction and he has no grounds. He is lying about everything and I think it’s because of the rejection to his sexual interest. There is a new tenant that looks like a fearful young woman and I wonder if she is his next target. I am literally afraid of turning on any lights or making a sound to give any indication that I am home to avoid anything more from him until I move out. I have been assaulted before and I am just trying to avoid being on the receiving end of another man’s anger.
Out of no where someone that I work in the same industry with made a inappropriate comment “Sleeping your way to the top”. The context here is I work as an assistant and he is a very well known figure in the industry. I have never had any sexual interaction with anyone within my industry. I am 21 and he is in his 30s When I replied “I don’t think sleeping with anyone will ever benefit me” he said “yeah not even that will help you..” I feel trapped that its not worth telling anyone due to the hierarchy of where he stands and where I sit. Calling him out could really effect my future career.
I’ve recently been dabbling in alternative fashion. A few weeks ago, while I was out shopping in the city, a homeless man on a street corner felt the need to comment on the choker I was wearing and tell me it was ‘sexy’. Women’s bodies are not public property. We do not exist solely for men’s personal gratification- we’re living beings with independent thoughts and emotions and we should have the right to express ourselves.
I consider myself an active ‘feminist’, an activist and advocate for my wonderful fellow women-kind. I often speak about my past experiences with everyday sexism, sexual assault and general misogyny and pride myself on my ‘fending off drunk guys’ for me (and friends) on nights out. (Tips include: tell a bartender and/or bouncer if someone makes you feel uncomfortable…thats their job and they are more than happy to help…don’t resort to my favourite tactic of taking out your earrings and yelling in a drunk rage to get your point across!) This weekend I was in London visiting a friend, she told me we were just going for dinner and popping into a bar to say hi to a friend then going home..this bar turned out to be full of Made in Chelsea stars and the general sort revolving this (not my scene at all, I’m happier in a Spoons). I was told by my friend as we walked in to ‘go along with this guy, he’s harmless but will buy us Champagne and he is important to my career’. I quickly realised who this guy was: he clearly took a shine to me and I was forced to sit next to him. I was overwhelmed by the situation I was in anyway and this guy was increasingly touchy with me. I talked about my lovely boyfriend frequently and was told ‘he isn’t a real boyfriend because he isn’t here with you tonight’. I tried to politely edge away and before I knew it this guy was slapping my arse telling me how firm it is and all the things he could offer me financially. Usually this would have ended up with a face full of drink and a very public yell-fest, but I was just too concerned about embarrassing my friend so I made bathroom-excuses. She came with me and apologised for his behaviour but insisted we went back to sit with him for the free drinks. It took another person who had witnessed everything to tell my friend we should move on to another bar. It has only really sunk in a few days late; I am angry at myself for not using my usually well-used voice and I actually ended up apologising to my partner as I felt like I owed him an explanation as if I had cheated on him. If that isn’t ingrained-partiacal-systems I don’t know what is! Anyway; I hope people can learn from my mistakes. Dont EVER put your friends in situations like that, your career is NOT worth your friends body. But also, don’t feel guilty for feeling so awful in a situation that your usual Fiesty Feminist shrinks back into the background out of fear….you are still a wonderful human being and a Feminist.
Got catcalled today. Left my car and was walking to a friend’s place. 3 construction guys in their van honked at me, which was startling and made me jump. Laughed at me as i turned around to look and went “oi” etc. Kept walking with my heart racing. Told 2 friends about this. First was very unsympathetic as this is just normal (why should it be and it’s still awful it happens?) And other just ignored my message and responded to every other part of it. Why am i invisible. Why is sexual harassment so normalised. Why must we suffer. I am tired.
Im a pretty smart girl. I get A’s in all my classes, especially math. So, I became a tutor at my high school. I love helping people. But, some things have happened during my time there are unacceptable. I will list them now. 1) I was helping this senior with calculus (I was a sophomore at the time) and he kept claiming that I was doing it wrong, and took over and so helpfully “explained” calculus to me. It’s important to mention that everything he said was completely wrong, and when I pointed this out to him, he claimed that I was just pissed cause someone proved that I was just like all the other dumb blondes. I never tutored him again and am smug to report that he didn’t graduate. He was one credit away. Calc. 2) This junior kept making sexual innuendoes throughout the lesson, even though I made it clear that I was lesbian. When the session was over, he grabbed my ass as I was leaving. I slapped him across the face and I almost got suspended for unprovoked assault. Unprovoked my Ass. 3) A sophomore attempted to rape me after a tutoring session 4) This douchey junior kept mansplaining the trigonometry to me, even though he was the one flunking trig. I know that a lot of these are just minor offenses, but still thought I’d share. Women, just so you know, high school tutoring involves a LOT of douchebag stoners who think they’re better than you because they have a dick and you don’t.
I was walking home from a night out with my best friends. It was about 3 am and raining heavily so I had draped my jacket over my head. I heard a whistle behind me but shrugged it off, I thought it either wasn’t directed at me or that if it was, I would not want to give that human being any attention. After a couple of seconds I decided to cross the street and let anyone walking behind me pass before continuing, just to be safe. There was a guy walking behind me and he walked past where I was standing. After about 20 meters he turned around and started to talk to me. When I didn’t answer (obviously frightened and not in the mood) he asked if I had a weak character. At this point I lost it. I told him that most importantly, I had a pepper spray and that he should leave me alone. He walked away mumbling and I screamed if it were funny to frighten women. Unfortunately, my story doesn’t end there. I was still standing in the same spot, kind of huddled over in order to keep my jacket on my head whilst simultaneously trying to call a friend (I wanted somebody to talk to for the rest of my way home). This is when a group consisting of 2 girls and 1 guy passed. All that guy had to say was “Stand upright” as if I wasn’t on the verge of crying and obviously having some kind of problem. I did not expect him or them to help me, but is it too much to ask to shut your mouth?
I have only experienced a couple instances of being cat-called, and sometimes I catch myself thinking “why don’t men find me attractive?” because of it. Even though I know that cat-calling is gross and unacceptable, I still wonder why I seem to be missing out on this “universal experience” for women. It makes me feel like I’m not “woman” enough, and I feel horrible for judging my worth based on the number of men who shout something at me.
I was on my way to my best friends house one night and I had JUST left my apartment. As I was walking down the street, a car pulled up beside me, slammed on the breaks and one of the men inside yelled at me “hey bitch, down for a threesome?” I was so scared that I dropped my phone and it broke.