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I have a very faint recollection because I was a really small kid but I’m pretty sure it happened because I felt it, my younger brother used to touch my breasts while I was sleeping. And a couple of times he used to shout sexual harassment in front me me, I think he had heard of it as a buzzword and a couple of times he has even gone to the extent of showing his dick to me. This was when I was around 10 maybe.

Emmy

Sorry this is long. I am in year 12 and had been doing some self reflecting when I remembered some things that had happened to me when I was younger. I don’t remember how old I was, maybe grade 1, 2 or 3. My cousin, who is 3 years older than me and much stronger than me physically, did 4 things that I didn’t tell people about unless they witnessed it, and had tried to forget. 1. My cousin, older sister and I were on the chat room on our DSs when my sister turned to me and said that my cousin said that he thinks I look “hot”. I wasn’t sure how to react to this. I was a child! I didn’t know whether I should be flattered or disturbed. Reflecting on it now disturbs me, especially since he may have done this to test the waters of what he could get away with. 2. My cousin, older sister, younger brother and I were playing truth or dare when he dared me to French kiss him. My siblings didn’t object and I think they thought it was fun, and since it was a dare, the rules were that you can’t say no (which is why it’s a stupid game), so I reluctantly agreed. The idea that I had gained from movies and stories that a kiss was supposed to be special and enjoyable was striped away from me and even at age 17 I am still grossed out by the idea of kissing. It was disgusting. 3. When he had gotten me into a bedroom at my Nan’s house alone and had closed the door, he told me to pull my pants and underwear down so he could see my genitals. I had told him that I didn’t want to and said “no” repeatedly was he continued to insist me to, to which he replied that if I don’t, he would lie and tell my Nan that I had done something wrong that I didn’t even do. I was always scared of being told off and I didn’t think that my Nan would believe me if I said that I didn’t do it, nor did I think she would believe me if I told her what my cousin had told me to do. I was at the door at this point and had begun to turn the handle when he shouted “Naannn!”, threatening to tell her, so I let go of the handle and pleaded with him not to tell her anything. He pressured me, “then do it”. So I did. I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed and exposed and weak that I didn’t do anything to protect my body. I was always aware that he was bigger and stronger than me, so if I did not passively go along with things, then if he wanted to physically make me or harm me then I would have been defenceless against it. I have still never told anyone about this because I was ashamed that I let it happen to me, and I still feel like it is too insignificant to tell other people because it’s not as bad as other things. I also don’t want people to question me like why didn’t I just not do what he said or why didn’t I just defend myself. He is still my family, and even if I did manage to hit him, he would have had complete control over me because he is older and stronger. 4. Another time, we were in a room alone together and he was laying on the couch on his phone when he said he was cold and asked me to come lay next to him so I could warm him up. Even though I didn’t want to because I was uncomfortable, I reasoned with myself in my head that I have no reason to say no because he is family so I should “help” him, and that I was just being silly. So I agreed and did so. He spooned me and then, without asking, slid his hand under my tshirt and rested his hand on my stomach, saying I was warm so it would help him warm up. My body tensed up because I was uncomfortable and I stayed dead still and silent. I hate that I just went along with everything. I am not sure if these events influenced my behaviours from then on, but to this day I feel uncomfortable when people hug me (I only feel comfortable hugging my mum, nobody else) especially without asking. Since it is considered a harmless social expectation, I don’t push people off me or back away and tell them “no” when they hug me even when it makes me uncomfortable. I have had people, like family friends ask me to hug them and I go along with it even though I don’t want to. I especially feel uncomfortable when people hug my from behind because I feel trapped and know that if they wanted to, they are in an easy position to touch me or restrict me, and my body tenses. Even when I experienced attraction to someone for the first time in high school, who was a friend that I felt comfortable and close to, I still was uncomfortable with the idea of kissing them (which is typically expected of people my age to want to do with their crush). I am also scared that if I got into a relationship, I would be expected to be physically intimate with them, but I do not want to touch or be touched by anyone at all. I still don’t think I will ever want to have sex, even if I married because I’m not comfortable with someone touching my body. I also never change in the change rooms whenever we have PE at school, I always go in the showers or toilets to change where nobody can see me getting changed. I also feel uncomfortable with the word “hot” especially if someone used it to describe me because I would feel like they are looking at my body rather than liking me for who I am. Maybe I don’t like these things because I might be on the asexual spectrum, I don’t know, but either way, I hate that these little things still bother me and make me uncomfortable years later.

Kay

It seems as though my brothers can treat me as they want (ie. hitting, shoving, cussing) but if I tell this information to my dad then i’m lying. If I say how it makes me feel, I’m being “too sensitive.”

Victoria

I’m 16, Every time I cook anything, my family try it and based on how “well” it turned out, they tell me either “ya te puedes casar” (you can get married) or “todavía no te puedes casar” (you still can’t get married) and that frustrates me, the worst of it is that they are women too! Whether I cook or not, it should have nothing to do with getting married or not.

Jeannette

Just some small things, like my dad telling jokingly telling me to let my brother sit in front because “we’re in Saudi Arabia” even though we live in Delaware, saying that cleaning and cooking is a women’s job. My brother is autistic and doesn’t realize that this is wrong, so he copies the behaviors, but I understand that he doesn’t know anything different. I have been brought up with the idea that my appearance is more important than my achievements, and my parents always focus on my looks but then focus on my brothers achievements, I’ve never understood that because I’m the top in my class, skipped a grade, and was offered to skip two more when I was younger ( I declined because I was scared of getting bullied). I’m going into 9th grade I’m 13 years old and taking all honors classes,11th grade math and 10th grade Spanish

Simran

I didn’t know what impact does sexual assault does on your mind and body till I was a adult. I was about 5 years old when my parents hired a man to tutor me and my brother. He used to finger me and when later my breasts had grown, groping my breasts and all of that in front of my brother who was 3 years at the time. This went on for about 6 years and I thought it was quite normal. So, basically I am making a mistake in my homework, and as a punishment that person will finger me or grope me. One day, I finally got the courage and told my mom that this was happening. My mom immediately the next day, told that tutor that are you punishing me and his reaction was ‘Oh, she made a mistake in her homework and thus I punished her.’ That teacher/tutor was immediately fired by my mom. Then, that incident was never discussed. My mom tried to remind me that if someone is touching you in a way and you don’t like it, and you don’t have to worry or think that this is your relative or friend or some random person, you need to speak aloud and tell that person to stop. You need to tell me and I will see that. After many years, navigating through school and college, I became terrified at unknown touch. Everytime even when someone I know and trusted touched me and I was not familiar with their touch, I shuddered with fear. This incident affected me very badly. I thought everytime in my life I have done something wrong, even as fighting over my best friend over a stupid thing, I need to be punished. I always thought to punish myself by attempting suicide. Due to this mentality of mine, I tried to attempt suicide 4 times and was in a really bad state at the last time, hospitalized and everything. Police coming and asking me questions. People not understanding and giving me stares. I have just avoided that place(my graduate school, last year) I attempted suicide. It took me months of therapy and like trying this really hard and telling to my friends and they understanding, that this mentality was grown in me due to my assaultor. This feeling of distrust that no man apart from my family should be trusted. I will allow no one to be that close to me cause I don’t know when that person will assault me. The worst thing is I saw that tutor about 2 years, I knew that was him, and he was trying to talk to me like nothing happened. I just ignored him and was trying to talk to my cousin about some other things. Then, I had to go somewhere and I saw that that tutor is also going the same way. I just grabbed hand of my cousin and was shaking and was trying to slow while this person goes his own way. I just wanted that this person who ruined my life, gave me this much fear, don’t even have a ounce of guilt. I hate the fact that I can’t tell anyone in my family this story, especially my cousins so they learn that this is not ok and they have someone to talk to. I just hate the fact that some people can affect you so negatively and still can live a normal life. While I am dealing with such emotional trauma. Just feel bad for the children for they are growing into such world.

Hey

Hello everyone. Today I was making noodles for the first time. It was fun, and they turned out okay. When my dad saw me he said that he was proud of me and I was skilled. He then proceeded to say it’s goo d that you can cook, it will be easier to get married. This is very minor, but it makes me frustrated that my life up until I’m married seems like steps toward that big event. Marrige sounds cool, but, I wanna do other things in my life, and it’s not my end goal.

CV

Not sure if I am just being over analytical (I always get told this by my father), but I am getting really tired and aggravated by all the power play and condensation that comes along with it at work and at home. I am young and will admit I have I lot to learn, but that does not mean my father has to basically “man-xplain” (?) to me what a smart tv is (fyi: I already knew what a smart tv was and how to operate it because we have them at my workplace.) I will also admit that I am not a huge tech person, but I have the skills to learn and am willing to listen to instruction; however, I am getting really pissed when I have a question to just clarify what I am doing is correct and the response from both our tech guys is “It is really logical, but I forget not everyone has the same skill set as me.” Whenever our team (which is all women) ask these tech guys to look into an issue that we are having, there is always this stupid power play that is going on with them just because they can fix a few bugs in the system. It is so normalized that I want to speak up and call them out, but at the same time I don’t wish to be “that” person.

Margo

I’m 58, single woman, and my new neighbour has twice made sleazy comments ‘’ I bet you’re a groaner aren’t you Margo.? …yeah bet you are’’ me- did he really just say that? … in front of his wife (and several other neighbors who appear all to be deaf to him) I didn’t respond. second time ‘’ is that your bike (he knew it wasn’t) Thought we might be getting to see you in cycling shorts…yeah, know what I mean?’’ I’m in my garden at this point, enjoying a sunny after work GnT and relax, I offer (jokingly) to tip my glass over his head. Next thing wife- ‘’oh, drunken, violence, a side of you we haven’t seen before..’’ summary- he’s vile, misogynist and delivering double whammy to me and his wife simultaneously, he need be proud. I’ll be keeping a record, if anyone’s interested..

x

i’m a man in my mid 30s. about 13 years ago, i went to a coworker’s apartment to drink with him. i had never spent time with him before so i didn’t know what kind of a person he was. i don’t drink often and so after i was inebriated, as a “joke” he suggested that i go in to his roommate’s bedroom, and implied in so many words that she would be receptive to any advances. i was incredulous but had very, very poor judgement. i knocked on her door several times, went in while asking “hello?” several times but she said nothing (probably terrified), until finally i was up to her bed and she violently and righteously kicked at me. i then left her room and we continued drinking. i have thought on this dozens of times over years and feel disgusted with myself each time i think of it. i hate myself for it. i could have been shot and she would have been right to do it. i could have ruined my life if she called the police and she would have been completely justified in doing so. her space was invaded and i don’t know what trauma i may have caused her. i hope she’s okay. please please whoever reads this, know that you are right to defend yourself with violence. your life has value, you don’t deserve to be treated badly. i don’t remember if her kick made contact with me, but regardless the fact that she was willing to fight back and convey the message that i did not belong where i was, her actions were one of the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. i hate myself but i am so grateful that she didn’t just let me get closer. even if she was unresponsive i would have left, but you must understand that’s not the point. you are not weak. you are strong.