Public space

Anon

As a woman, I have been trying and failing to understand why some men want me to do certain things on command and behave in certain ways for their titillation. My boyfriend was kind and caring at first, but after a few weeks, he made it no secret that he watched porn on his devices. He would talk about porn openly with his male friends during the middle of the day and discuss the porn inspired things he wanted to do to me with his mates. I don’t have cloth ears. I told him that what he said was making me feel uncomfortable but he just laughed and said “calm down darling”. When we were alone, he would would say: “Now baby I want you to…you’ll enjoy it…” and would state explicit acts that I was not comfortable with. He would sulk when I said “No”. He suggested that I “should” perform some of these acts on his lonely male friends. I firmly said “No” and he became upset and that I should do what he said because I was his “property”. Also he said that he had promised his male friends (without consulting me first) that I was going to perform for them in certain ways. He said that he was trying to “train” me to basically give lap dances on command. His lonely male friends had requested to him that I should lap dance for them. I figured out that was why he had kept telling me to sit on his lap, sometimes tempting me with food. When I did sit on his lap out of choice, he’d pat me on the head and say “good girl” and feed me a crisp. When I wasn’t in the mood to sit on his lap he would get very angry and sulky with me saying that if I really loved him, I would try to make him happy. I would not get fed a crisp and be called “bad girl”. It seems so stupid looking back on it now but he was basically training me to be a lap dancer using circus dog training techniques. He gave me a crisp and called me “good girl” when I took my jumper off because it was hot indoors. He then said “Now take off your shirt babe”. That’s how stupid things became because he had promised his male friends (without telling me) that I would strip for them. Thankfully I never did.

Twinkle

I was in a movie theatre and the front 3-4 rows were empty. Our tickets were of back rows but my little sister liked to see from first row, so I accompanied her there and after some time this guy sat on the adjoining seat to me and started touching my leg but he couldn’t proceed with his intentions because he was called out by his manager (I think he worked there because no adult wants to sit in front rows). But I got so scared. Now when I look back I still want to break his fingers for not only disrespecting my boundaries and making me uncomfortable but also now that I realize he could have done that to my sister too. I don’t think a monster who preys on children should be roaming free in society. PS I was 13 and my sister was 7.

anonymous

When I started reading the book I spoke to my sister about it and we both exchanged stories of sexual assault/harrassment, and when our mum came in the room she told us of an instance of assault that we didn’t know about, as well as one her friend recently shared with her. These instances were just the ones that had stuck in our heads because they were the most disturbing/scary/memorable but I made a list on my notes on my phone later that night of all the instances I could remember and split it into sexual assault and sexual harrassment. JUST in the sexual assualt list I had over 20 instances that I could remember starting from school years, and I’m almost certain its not an exhaustive list. It was actually effortful to remember all of the instances and made me realise how I’d actually dismissed most of them and how I’d normalised them. But actually writing them out and reading them back made me extremely emotional and brought to light how utterly fucked up it was. Most of the instances I felt I couldn’t speak up because even if people believed me nothing would be done anyway. So it’s easier to stay silent.

Enough

I told a man about sexual assaults I’d endured. He told me I was lying and a man-hater trying to make men look bad. Sad thing is, I’d only told him of three of them.

K

I was stretching after cross country practice and a man yelled at me to “stick my booty up, stick it up.” I told my father and he said: “Well you’re a girl, get used to it.”

Veja

I was shopping for Christmas presents for my little sister with my mom. My mom went through the boys toys aisle to get to the girls toys aisle and I saw something my little sister would like in the boys section. My little sister loves space and science. The thing is anything at all related to science, technology, engineering, math or education was all in the boys section. All of the STEM stuff was in the boys aisle and nothing about education at all was in the girls section and the only thing at all in the girls section was stuff about taking care of fake babies and decorating and makeovers.

ivy

One time when I was in high school, I went to the beach with some friends and we were all playing a game in the water. I was really grossed out by the seaweed so one of my guy “friends” proceeded to grab a handful of the seaweed and shove it down my bikini top and grab my boob. I was obviously pissed so I pushed him away and all of my friends just laughed it off, I didn’t even think about it until years later when I realized it was incredibly messed up.

Fran

On a train into central london. The carriage is not busy, there were about 10 other people in our section, all male. A homeless man gets on the carriage and asks for people to help him to get £18 to get into a shelter. I kept my mask on and my head down, as did everyone else in the carriage. I would usually help, but we are desperately saving up for ivf. We had actually learned that morning that our first round had been unsuccessful. As the homeless man walked past me, he turned back to look at me and said “fucking whore”. He then walked down the carriage, turned round, came back and again said “fucking slag” right at me. The man didnt say a word to any of the men in the carriage and not one of the other men said anything, though they would have heard. I couldn’t keep the tears back.

KJ

While at the ATL airport I was riding the trolley to my gate and the trolley was very packed to the point where you had to stand pretty close to people (pre-COVID), and suddenly while standing there I felt something on my ass, and just assumed that someones luggage had bumped me, but no it was the guy behind me literally grabbing my ass. Someone that I had never even met my. I swatted his hand away, called him nasty and told him to get the fuck away from me! No one else on the trolley was even bothered by it except an older black woman, im black myself, and she told him to leave me alone and wedged in between us, so that he could no longer touch me. I was pissed and felt violated for the rest of the day!

A.H

I was at a party with my friends, having a good time. I stood outside by a car with some friends and I was dancing with them, just minding my own business. Then some guy comes up on me from behind and grab my breasts, then just leaves. I did not even see his face. On top of this my boyfriend, who saw it all and saw that I did NOT want that, got mad at me and threw me out of the party.