Public space

Yara

A few months ago I (16) was sexually assaulted while walking in a park. As a girl I was always warned for being alone in the city when it’s dark, but this wasn’t in the city, it wasn’t dark and I wasn’t even wearing tight or revealing clothes. It had just finished raining, so there were no other people when the man (40-45) approached me. First he tried to get me into his car, but i put up resistance, so he just took me to a more isolated area in the park. I didn’t try to fight or run and didn’t even try to stop him apart from pushing him away softly and turning my head when he tried to kiss me. I was scared for what would happen if he found out he already went to far. Eventually I managed to get away and immediately started crying and called my boyfriend, who I’d see later that day. When I was there I called my parents. Luckily they (and my boyfriend and his parents) were very understanding and helped me deal with it. Later I filed a report against him and the case is still going on. This wasn’t even the first time I was sexually assaulted, but it defenitely was the worst time. The other times I just dealt with it myself, not realising something had to be done.

E

Friend was out for a run and had two incidents of being wanked at – one by a man in a car, and one by a group of teenagers about two weeks later. In the same time period, I got stopped by a couple of lads in a car and asked where “Titty Lane” was – and I felt pretty unsafe because it’s the part of the walk I do without any houses around. Friends and younger sisters have also encountered gross comments outside the shop in the last couple of months. It’s weird because up until now our village has felt like a safe haven away from this much overt harassment. Not anymore.

K

My friends dad (who I had known since 4th grade) rubbed my back the way you rub a spouses back and combed his fingers through my hair the way you would with a spouse. Months later he tried to get me to go into a gas station with him alone. Whenever I went to my friends house he wanted a hug or something physically, not just with me but with all the girls that came over. He would go from yelling at his youngest to smiling and laughing when he saw me watching. Not too long ago me and my friend where in a library and we noticed a man sitting in the teen section past hours. Rather then sitting down across from him, me and my friend went two bookshelves away from him to quietly talk. 15 minutes later the man was slowly walking up to us and whispering something so we speed walked to the kid section (where my dad was) and he followed us all the way there and left us alone when he saw my dad. That is the day I realized that in few peoples eyes I am not a human, I am an item. I am nothing more than an item to them. in 6th grade I was told that because I am a female i am to stay and the kitchen and produce children. I was told that none of my dreams would happen because I am a female. Playing my favorite sport, basketball, the boys said i was good for a girl. I was called a prostitute while wearing athletic shorts from the boys section. I was told that because I was a female my jokes weren’t funny. I was 12 at the time being told these things by my peers both male and female. I am now 15 and can feel them starring at me as only an item.

Anon.

At school, boys in my year often make comments about how annoying feminists are or that women should ‘go back to the kitchen’. It’s always said as a joke (and it’s only a small minority who make comments like that) but I’m always left feeling angry that when I try to explain why I disagree they refuse to listen. I have also noticed that if someone is well liked then their actions often go unchallenged. A [particular boy in my year has slapped girls’ bottoms or simply put his arm around them, which may not sounds like much but is a complete invasion of privacy when you are minding your own business. School uniform rules are also ridiculous in my opinion – you are not allowed to show your ankles (is this the victorian era??!?) and my friend once found a section in the sixth form dress code which said that you couldn’t where tops that showed our shoulders. When we asked someone why, they said that male members of staff might be distracted. Not students. MEMBERS OF STAFF. I was furious that they said this so casually and completely missed the point of the matter – teach others not to objectify people rather than telling us to cover up!! This reminded me of conversations about rape victims being asked what they were wearing – victim blaming is horrific and completely wrong – but I digress… I have an afro, and since my hair is not as long as some of my friends’, I have been told that I look like a boy. Not great, but not heartbreaking to hear. However, through people’s looks and comments, (‘you have massive feet’ or ‘you know you have hair between your eyebrows right?’) I have often felt like the ‘ugly one’ or the one who doesn’t quite fit in in my friendship group. My friends themselves have never made me feel this way – they are all proud;y feminists, and always make me feel included – but I can’t help but feel that by not being typically feminine, I’ve ‘gone wrong’ somewhere. Being a mixed race, (closeted) bisexual teen, I often feel like I have to prove to everyone that I am worthy of their respect. I know others have it much worse, but it still makes me feel so frustrated that women are constantly having to earn a place in society. However, it’s sites like this that give me hope – one day, we won’t have to have these discussions. If you’ve made it to the end, thank you for reading (hehe) and remember that you are not alone in feeling upset, frustrated or angry – cheesy as it sounds, we’re in this together.

This has to stop

Me and my sister were at this indoor food market place with lots of different shops and small bars, we chose this particular food market because it had good food. So we walk up to the place we want to order chips and this guy who had been standing in the entrance to the very small shop had instantly begun gawking at my sister and staring her up and down. Bear in my mind my sister had a small stain on her white top because she dropped ice cream from earlier on whilst we were out. So this guy continues staring with no shame at all and at this point is in a very small vicinity to us. There are lots of people sitting on benches around us and it’s busy in the market. This guy’s friend realises what this guy is doing and just laughs, and continues to laugh whilst this other guy is blatantly staring at my sister looking particularly at her top and licking his lips. He stares as if he’s been deprived of food for 5 years and finally encounters some. This continues for another minute or so whilst we try to get in the shop to order, which btw he is blocking the entrance to. And then as we attempt to move past him he reaches out to touch my sisters arm saying excuse me miss whilst staring and smiling at her. Bear in mind my sister is under 20 and giving no response at all and i even gave the dirtiest look to the guy and said have you got a problem and he still continues to look. Eventually he realises he better leave before i start to raise my voice and embarrass him. I’ve experienced so many incidents like this where strange men feel entitled to own women’s bodies with their eyes and have no shame in not lowering their gaze

Vi

It took me several months to write this and post it here. I had to overcome myself to take out my pain. However, I know for sure, this resource www.everydaysexism.com is of paramount importance since it helps to destroy sexism. Everyone who writes here is a hero. Women and men who share what is inappropriate to speak openly are heroines and heroes of our time. I’m especially grateful to those men who found the courage to admit their mistakes and apologize, it deserves respect. I was six. My fourteen-year-old cousin has seduced me twice. I remembered that nightmare forever. A little helpless girl struck with horror. I’m half a meter from his lowered pants. He repeats in an unctuous voice: “Come here, touch, kiss…” I came closer and realized that he wanted me to do something bad, but I didn’t understand how bad it was. It’s very scary for a child to refuse an adult. I remember the state of numbness when you want to scream, to run, but you can’t move. I had the strength to overcome my stupor and escape. He waited for a while and tricked me into his room again but I ran away immediately. I was a six-year-old child! He calculated the situation to create an alibi for himself. My father had just left the family, and there was no one to protect me. Hardly anyone would have believed me. Of course, my mom would defend me, but this would be perceived as baseless accusations against my father’s relatives. Since then, this bastard kept his distance from me, and I kept my distance from him. He was even afraid of me; perhaps he subconsciously recognized my strength. Who else became his victim? He’s a general now. Sometimes psychological abuse is more powerful trauma than a physical one. The child’s psyche hides traumatic events, represses them. Decades later, I remembered EVERYTHING. The memory began to extract events and experiences from childhood, youth, and all my life from archives. My memory is very powerful, I remember all the details and feelings, emotions, and sensations. My thirteenth birthday. Me, my sixteen-year-old friend, a fourteen-year-old cousin (the younger brother of the pedophile), and a neighbor boy of my age went for a walk on the beach. It was in May, almost summer, at 4 p.m., a huge public beach of a large industrial Ukrainian city with a high crime rate. However, what ‘A’ grade girl thinks about crimes? There were no sunbathers, but there were enough people to wait for trouble. It all happened quickly. More than a dozen teenagers sent our boys away, I could see them turning their backs. They just left. I saw how a friend of mine, surrounded by ten guys, went to the bed of rushes, and two more took me to other bushes. I didn’t immediately understand what they wanted from me. I haven’t yet had my menarche. They began to explain what I should do, vaguely and confusingly, but I understood it quickly. My first expected reaction was a cry for help. Several warning strong slaps in my face, ringing in my ears – I calmed down. They didn’t know, neither did I that unjust physical pain triggers specific psychological and physical mechanisms in me. I distinctly remember how my mind began to perpend the situation; using the search method, I analyzed the chain of possible events. At the same time, I was thinking about my friend: where is she, what’s going on with her? The worst scenario was that they’d beat me, and I’d bite with my teeth into their stinking flesh until I gnaw through the main vessels of these bastards. I didn’t like this option, I hate the forcible touching, and even more so physical violence against my body in any form. I already knew that. I nodded, pretending to be listening to their instructions, subconsciously trying to stall for time and looking for an option with minimal losses for myself. To run away was perfect, as I already had a junior category in track and field athletics, so they wouldn’t catch up with me. I understood that they didn’t need any fuss. They thought they could handle me quickly and easily. With my peripheral vision, I found an opening in the bushes leading to the path, but I didn’t turn my head so as not to give myself away. A God of the universe, chance, or fate favored me. I noticed the silhouette of a woman with a dog. They noticed her too. When the woman came up with this heck of a place, they became silent for a moment. And I took this chance. I ran faster than any sprinters in the world and yelled louder than Krakatoa. I never turned around. I saw people turning and heading to me. I ran and continued to study the surroundings, looking for help for my friend. Several truck drivers rested on the shore, I headed to them, explained the situation as I could, and pointed my hand in the direction of the second hellish place. The men grabbed big tire levers and ran there. Everything worked out well. Was it a HAPPY-END? My friend, “our” boys and I never discussed what had happened. They probably still think we were raped. I didn’t tell anything to my mother – I knew that she’d find them. Did those bastards stop at least for a week or two? My child’s psyche took this situation for granted, as a norm of life. Is this the NORM of life on planet Earth?

N

In my first year of uni I was out with friends and was turning to leave a bar when a much older man reached his hand under my skirt and grabbed pretty much everything. I had gone to karate classes for eight years but in the moment just turned and looked at him in disbelief. He and his friend just leered at me. I was too afraid that I would get kicked out of medical school if I hit him, and as I was on a night out I did not believe the police who were always stationed in a nearby traffic calming street would care. I had become so used to getting grabbed in various places by people my own age in secondary school and a wider variety of men at uni on nights out that I thought it was just normal. Education for all children is the best way forward I think, people need to learn what the parameters of appropriate touch are from a young age.

Aditya

I am from sangli, Maharashtra (India),now I am 19 years old BOY.When I was 11 years old that time I faced such abusive things and I still remember that and I never shared that abusive matter happened with me to anyone still today’s day . There was one man besides my home ,he asked me for coming with him to his farm.i didn’t think that it will happen with me ,he just told me that he needs help of me ,I went there with him and after sometime in the farm he started abusing me like he was trying to kiss me that was not normal,and he told me for shaking his penis it was so horrible . Still I can’t believe that happened with me This happens with me almost 3 or 4 times in one year by same person . Now this is the 1st platform that I am sharing my such things Now feeling little bit better 🙂

Emma

The security guard at my local supermarket constantly stops me to engage in conversation and has asked me out so many times (each time I politely decline) that it puts me off going there. My heart sinks every time I see him on his shift. It’s a clear abuse of power and I wonder how many other women he does it to … one rejection should be enough to get the message.

Stella

This is a couple of years ago now. I was waiting for a friend outside a dockside cafe, I had a glass of wine and was just sat on a bench looking at the boats. It was early evening. There were a bunch of men hanging around. One of them plonked himself down on the bench next to me, grinned, then just scampered away. I smiled at him politely,didnt give it a moments thought. Then my friend arrived, and she pointed the same group of men out,so they were actually a stag party, going in and out of pubs round the docks. The one who had sat down by me was wearing a strap on, and the others were taking photos of him accosting as many women as possible. I expect some found it hilarious and posed for selfies with him I am a 5ft 1″ disabled 60 year old women. I wasnt even aware of what they were doing – I didnt even notice (I dont go around looking at people’s crotches!) but there used to be a name for this,’outraging public decency’.