Public space

Ruth

I was walking to a friends house with 2 other friends. I was walking closest to the road and 2 younger boys, maybe 15, were walking towards us and they stepped into the road to avoid us, the one closest to me put his arm out so as he passed me his arm ran along the front of my chest. I was so shocked I didn’t realise what had happened and by the time I thought I should report it I couldn’t remember what they looked like and decided it wasn’t work reporting.

Josie

I was out with a group of friends having a few drinks after work. One of my male friends had driven there, and lived nearby me. I asked if I could have a lift home, as I didn’t want to walk home alone in the dark. He said, “You’re not cute enough to be raped.” and insisted I take the bus home.

F

Comicsgate. They affect my day to day life online. As a massive comic fan I feel I can’t share my opinions without inviting a barrage of hate and abuse online. My favourite characters are under utilised because they are women, mt favourite storylines are often cut short, my favourite movies and TV shows receive review bombing and unfair criticism and the actors who portray these heroes are unfairly hounded and judged online. It sours my love of comics and inhibits my ability to interact with other fans on public forums without attracting abuse.

Anon

My list of male abuses is very Long As a child I was sexually assaulted many times. By a school teacher, a neighbour, a lawyer, my uncle, my brother and a sales man. I saw flashers, had my backside groped, horrid sexual jokes and language, sexist jokes and so on. I thought for years it must be something about me. BUT I absolutely now know it was the pervasive systemic culture of our country that allows boys and men to think this is all ok. I continue to be shocked by how common this still is. Woman continue to be blamed and often I hear people say it is so different today. It is not. We continue to say of rape victim “she was in the wrong place at the wrong time’ . NO SHE WAS NOT! Stop blaming the women. She had a right to be where she was and only when we start holding men and the system accountable will this change We need to think deeply about our unconscious bias, what we say and how we challenge. How we support each other to challenge and be brave

Cal

Told by a friend to gain weight so my breasts and butt would be bigger

Lucy

When I was 11 in my first week of secondary school, I was walking to school when a group of boys who were 4 or 5 years older than me approached me and my friend and started walking next to us. We told them to go away and all but 1 did. He started making moaning noises while his friends called after him “Don’t worry he’s jut a pedophile”. When reported to school a male teacher dealt with the complaint and said that it was “probably just a joke” and that horrible old phrase “boys will be boys”. It made me so angry and I still see them walking around my town years after.

Sam

At 16 at Leeds festival a man got his cock out and pissed down my leg into my wellies, I cried and ran all they way back to my tent because I was on my own. For years after I told it as a funny festival story and it always got a good laugh. Only recently I saw it for was. Other girls my age told the same story.

My List

– When someone online threatened to rape me (12) – When i was groped at a festival (13) – When i was wolf whistled by men as i walked home at night (13) – When i got sent my first unsolicited dick pic (13) – When a man honked and cat called me from his car, when i was with my family, and my mum was proud of me (14) – When my older cousin made jokes about me being ‘on my knees’ because i wore ripped jeans (14) – When i woke up to see my older cousin watching me as i was sleeping (14) – When an old man asked me (15) and my younger sister (13) to touch his penis, as we were trying to have a picnic in the park – When a boy in gym class grabbed my backside and then laughed with his friends at me (15) – When i was cat called by a car of boys at night (16) – When a group of boys surrounded me on the bus and rated my looks and body out loud (16) – When an older man came up to me at the library, and started complimenting my looks and body “you look European” (16) – When i was waiting tables and people would stare down my shirt (16-17) – When i was groped at work while waiting tables, and when my dad picked me up from work he said “All women find themselves being groped at some point in their lives, just like men find themselves in a strip club at some point in their lives” (17) – When my co-worker followed me to my bus stop, to see which bus route i took (17) – When my manager asked me if i was a virgin (17) – When my older manager would give female employees shoulder rubs/ back massages when they ‘looked tired’ (17) – When an older man stared at me for the entire bus ride home. An elderly lady behind me pointed his staring out to me (as if i should be flattered) and he agreed with her, that he thought i was attractive (17) – When, just after i had sex for the first time, the boy asked me if i wanted to give him a blowjob. I repeatedly said no, but he kept asking. Eventually he took his penis out, and held it up to my lips until i did (18) – When i was groped the first time i went clubbing (18) – When a man knocked on my door when i was home alone to ask for a massage (18) – When my close male friend from high school texted me, after months of not talking, to ask for nude pictures (19)

anon

A few months ago, I went to a motive with my friends. For anyone who is not British a motive is basically a party where lots of people get drunk/high whatever. I was not very drunk, and I felt unsafe with the number of people I did not know – and my friends were ignoring me but that’s beside the point. I made a rather foolish choice to ‘go on a walk’ to avoid the embarrassment and shame of being the ‘uncool’ friend who was sober and rather unattractive – so no one made the effort to speak to me. It was around 11-12pm. So, it was very dark outside. Also, it must be mentioned that this motive was occurring at a big park in town. I sat on some grass for a while, with multiple people walking past me and not doing anything. After a while, I began to hear familiar voices screaming my name. After 30-40 minutes, my friends decided to look for me. Perhaps I should’ve known better and not venture off into the darkness by myself, but someone really should’ve looked for me sooner. However, I only heard the voices of my friends as I was making my way back to them. As I got up and left the wall I was sitting on, I noticed this man on a bike. He was lingering and loitering around the area, staring at me. I noticed him several yards ahead of me, circling on his bike, staring at me. There was grass and bushes and trees to my right (where the park was), and to my left was the road. I stood unsure and staring at him. Then a couple walks past me in the direction of the guy, and I felt pleased that in the couple was a woman. I stayed behind the couple closely (they probably thought I was creepy), but really, I was trying to stay safe. Because imagine, IMAGINE if that couple wasn’t there. Imagine if it was just me and the bike guy, and I had to make it back through the grass to my friends. After I walked past him, I realized that he wasn’t going to go after me since the couple was there. So, I turned around and saw that he turned around and was facing me as I walked away. He looked angry; he looked like he lost. Angry that I managed to be less vulnerable, less alone. Now imagine, if my friends weren’t trying to look for me, and imagine if that couple wasn’t there. He would’ve got me. And the fact I have to clarify that I know it was foolish to leave my friends late at night shows that women are really vulnerable. He was waiting, for a moment where I was most vulnerable. Waiting to possibly grab me, assault me, or more. Of course, some might say “perhaps he wasn’t going to do anything.” But my gut instinct was to return to my friends and to trail behind the couple – one of which was a woman. He watched me the entire time, a young girl, late at night, and he was an older man, circling on his bike, watching me – late at night. The worst part is, I am only 16 years old. I had only 1 missed call from my friends.

Anna Tethrake

I have been working at a grocery store for about five years and I love my job. However, until recently I didn’t realize some of the things male and female coworkers have done that are simply not okay. When I was a cashier one of the male grocery baggers saw a woman in leggings walk by and told me “now that’s an ass” I was 16 and it made me uncomfortable but I didn’t know how to handle it. Around the same time, one of my female coworkers included me in an inside joke between her and our manager. The joke was about the color of his wife’s public hair. She had dyed purple hair and my female coworker would ask all the other cashiers(almost all 16 and under) if they thought her carpets matched her drapes. Our manager would chime in with comments such as that’s why his beard had a little bit of purple in it that day. I was 16 or 17 when this happened and it made me uncomfortable but I pushed that feeling down because I wanted to be included and if they were talking like that then I thought it must be okay. That same female coworker also pressured three 14-year-old girls to hit on a 19-year-old male just to see how he would react. I was 17 and refused to do it because the age difference made even the thought uncomfortable. Since I wouldn’t do it she started a rumor that I liked him. Eventually, that female coworker became the part-time night manager but was quickly demoted and the store owner asked me to step into the role. Me replacing her pissed her off so she started a rumor that the only reason I got the job was that I was fucking our boss. He was around 70 and married. Some people around town still believe that rumor. That night manager I mentioned earlier, we became pretty good friends. He’s about 30 years older than me and I see him as a father figure. So does he and his wife. But a rumor started that I was fucking him too. I am very much not. More recently I was the temporary frozen/dairy manager and we finally found a replacement for the role so I could go back to the job I wanted. The replacement is a male I assume in his late 30s. He started making passes at me while I was training him. Commenting on how pretty my hair was if I let it down to fix my ponytail. Sometimes he just stares at me. One time I was leaning at a desk talking to someone else when he reached behind me to grab something. I immediately moved when I saw him reaching and when I looked where his hand was I realized he would have been touching my ass if I had taken a second longer to move. I had already told him his behavior was inappropriate by this point. Then one day I was training ghim on something on the computer in our store’s back office. It was just us back there and out of the blue, he told me he had a weird dream the previous night. I didn’t know where he was going with it but I got a bad feeling and tried to change the subject with a joke. It didn’t work. He told me about this dream where there was this girl he was talking to and then all of a sudden her boyfriend showed up and my coworker flew away. I don’t know how much of that was true but I don’t believe that was the whole dream because of how he told it. I got uncomfortable and decided to pretend to be busy and work outside the office while he continued working so I don’t have to be alone with him. A few minutes after I left the office he poked his head out and told me I was the one in his dream. I did tell our store manager about everything after that incident. I am not the only woman at my job who is uncomfortable around him. The store manager talked to him and he did stop. My manager did not try to downplay what had been going on and I appreciate the way things were handled. For a while after that incident, I got so anxious about going to work. It’s better now but I still feel uncomfortable around him. Sometimes ill still catch him staring at me which I have told my manager. I’ve also had a few non-work incidents. The one I remember the most is when I was just about to start high school the guy who was fixing our air conditioner looked me up and down and did that weird chin rub thing guys do when checking someone out. My mom noticed and informed him I was underage. One doctor I went to when I was about 16 was just chatting with me and my mom while his computer loaded and I mentioned that I was thinking of going to school for psychology. he said that he said that I should be more realistic, that I would be a good cashier or manager but he couldn’t see me as a psychologist. Which by the way is the complete opposite of what one of the female advisors in a significant school I looked into said. I love that lady she gave me back so much confidence in myself in just a few minutes of conversation. Shortly after starting college, I was a cat called by two guys in a car, and by complete chance, they ended up being stopped right beside me at a red light. I looked over at them and they both just stared at their feet. Most recently, today a man was following me around Walmart while I was on the phone with my mom. after just a minute of this, I went over to a group of employees to get help and the man immediately walked out of the store. I didn’t tell the employees though. I know I should have but I felt so embarrassed and almost ashamed that I just didn’t. The situation today has me so scared and frustrated that I went online and found this website and the ted talk about it. I haven’t ever laid out all of my experiences like this and I never realized how many other women go through the same things.