– a co worker 13 years older than me told me with no prompting that he “likes big women” and looked me up and down. I was 18 and in a committed relationship. – my mother told me its not an issue when 50 year old men at work flirt with me and tell me to “smile”. I was 18. – a man followed me and my mother back to our hotel in a country thousands of miles from home, he only stopped when a man we knew met us on our way back. I was 10. – I told a guy I was a lesbian (it was a phase but still valid) he looked me up and down and said “I still would”. I was 16. – the librarian in my high school told me to not wear a skirt because “no one wants to see your flabby thighs”. I was 15. – more people than I can could told me before I was 16 that my shorts and skirts were too short – my sister and I walked down the street, both wearing shorts in 25 degree heat, a white van drove past and honked, we flipped him off, he circled the block and drove past us again to scare us. I was 12. – a man 21 years older than me stayed on the phone to me for 2 hours at work (call centre) calling me every name under the sun and telling me repeatedly he was flirting with me. he even looked up my office while on the phone and went through it all on google maps. I am not allowed to end the call. – a was 15, I went on my first date, I wore a nice blouse and some floral boots. my date told me I looked “like a lesbian” when he got on the bus to leave the bus drover told me I have a “nice rack” my date saw no issue in that – a stranger on tinder messages me a vile sexual comment about what he wishes to do to me. His comment is the same as a hundred others. – I get out of the shower to find a message from a boy at school. He’s asking to finger me because he heard I’m not a virgin. I was. I had never spoken to him before. I was 14.
I am a Woman in her early 40’s. During my childhood I was repeatedly beaten and spit on by older teenagers for wearing skirts and makeup. On many occasions this gang would pull my underwear down, sometimes in public. I have been burnt and had chunks of my hair cut off. I tried to tell my mother about this but she said it was my own fault for dressing and behaving as I did. I have been beaten up multiple times in the street and to this day I occasionally get threatened with violence. As a young woman I was bundled in the back of a van by strangers who gang raped me and tried to murder me calling me a freak through out. My parent and siblings, the people I love the most in the world and am desperate to be close to, refuse to speak to me and exclude me from all family events. The reason all these have happened to me is because I am Transgender. I was born in a Male body but have known I am a woman and dressed in skirts all my life. Every person who has targeted or rejected me has told me that this was why they were targeting. The reason I am writing this is because I heard a group of women saying that Trans Women are treated better in society than “real” women and are just men who want to be able to enter female spaces. If you believe this please reread the last few paragraphs and imagine having all these things happen to you just for saying you are a woman. Why would I put myself through all this if it wasn’t who I really am?
When I was 14 I was groped by a man on a bus. I am in my mid-twenties now and when I think about that day I still have that lump-in-my-throat-stomach-swirling-anxiety that I am sure most women have experienced at some point, probably several points, in their lives. I was in year 9 at the time and used to catch several buses to get to school. It was late spring time and the weather was warm, which meant our school allowed us to wear polo shirts, rather than the normal shirt and blazer combo. Like most teenage girls at my school, this normally meant the trusty school skirt came out of the wardrobe too. On this particular day the bus was unusually busy, so I went straight to the back row of seats and sat by the window. A few stops later a man sat next to me. He felt uncomfortably close to me, but I ignored it and looked out of the window to avoid any awkward interaction. Soon after I noticed that his elbow was sort of leaning against my boob, but again thought nothing of it because of how crowded the bus was. He then proceed to rub his elbow against my breast in circular motions. He was looking directly at my face as I looked out of the window. He was grinning. I was frozen and scared. I was questioning whether it was intentional, but my gut told me I should be frightened. When I think back, it feels as though this encounter lasted hours, but in reality it was probably minutes, if not seconds. He then slipped his hand behind me on to my lower back and began rubbing, before attempting to put his hand down the back of my skirt. At this point my reactions kicked in and I stood up quickly to move away. I didn’t say anything, I just sat in the nearest free seat which was on the other side of the bus, but opposite the man in question. I was holding myself together, knowing that I would be getting off the bus soon at the main bus station. The man stared at me for the entirety of the journey. He didn’t take his eyes off me once. The bus was pulling in to the station so I grabbed the handle to stand up and, in synchronicity, so did the man. I rushed to the front of the bus to be the first off and he followed quickly behind me. I ran off the bus and he followed me. I had to catch another bus to get home and when he realised this, the man turned around and left. I stood at the bus stop waiting for my bus and sobbed. I remember rolling down the top of my skirt because, like most girls in my year, we’d roll the pleated school skirts up to make them more fashionable. At the time I lived with my Dad and so the whole journey back I was putting together how I would tell him what had happened and what we could do about it. I got home, my Dad was still at work, and I sobbed on my bedroom floor. By the time he got home I had convinced myself that I was to blame, and that he would be angry at me for putting myself in that situation. So when he asked me how my day was I smiled and told him it was fine. I still haven’t ever spoken to either of my parents about what happened. When I think about what happened, I feel angry. Angry at myself for thinking it was my fault. Angry at myself for not speaking up and always wondering if I could have stopped this, or something worse, happening to another girl. Angry at myself for rolling my skirt down as if that was the reason for that man’s actions. Angry at myself for still not having the courage to talk about this with my family, or anyone really. What I have realised with time, however, is that he is the one I should be angry with. He is the one who decided to assault a 14 year old girl on her way home from school. He was the one who followed me and made me feel as though I was in danger. None of that is my fault, I know that now. I also feel great sadness that on a bus full of people, not one adult asked me if I was okay or stepped in to help me. Now, as an adult, I can see that this is all part of the systematic sexism that is ingrained in to us from a young age. We shouldn’t talk about these things that happen to us because it’s uncomfortable. That message was given to me loud and clear when every person around me, a sobbing 14 year old, looked at their feet rather than face the uncomfortable truth. As an adult, I realise that this uncomfortable truth is something women and girls have to live with on a day to day basis. I’m not alone, and we should be talking about it. I hope one day I have the courage to talk to my parents about what happened, but until then I am glad I have had the courage to finally share my experience.
I feel completely overwhelmed when I think about how sexism has impacted my life. I have lost jobs, been harassed, assaulted, silenced, belittled, dehumanised, criticized and ridiculed because of the biological sex that I was born into. I really don’t know how to deal with it, there isn’t the support there, and most of my guy ‘friends’ are adamant that it doesn’t exist and that I need to separate my work and private life. It’s exhausting having to explain to people that when you’re born female you literally don’t have a choice, you’re politicised everywhere, in every way every day. It feels insurmountable to the point where I cannot stop crying when I think about it, and the more I think the more suffocating it is. None of my female friends have said that they’ve felt like this so if there’s anyone out there feeling alone with it, you’re not, and I get u <3
I got on a bus with my baby in a pram. There was an elderly man sitting in the special seating section, which is the only place I’m allowed to put my pram. The bus driver asked him to move. After first refusing to move, he then sat in the regular seating a couple of rows back, and when he disembarked a few stops later, walked past me shaking his head and said “these aren’t meant for people like you!” No one on the bus said anything to correct him, and I was too shocked to reply. Because of this, I’ve chosen to no longer catch the bus with my baby.
I live in Mumbai. Our trains are really crowded. So, when I do get groped, most of the time I don’t know if I am being groped or who did IT. Which sucks because I can’t report it or say something to the person. It’s just frustrating.
I have way too many stories, and I just turned 18 in February. I have a kind of amnesia since childhood, and if someone would have told me the reason or it a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I noticed men find me attractive pretty early, when I was followed home at the age of 10. I wore simple jeans, and had even a coat on. It went on this way. I was followed sometimes, and was catcalled, even though back then I didn’t know anything about it. I just got depressed. They called me a slut even in school. When I was 14, I got into a psychiatric clinic. In the meanwhile I still couldn’t step out of the house without recieving catcalls, being groped or followed. Even my first class master sexually assaulted me, though it was “only” petting my thigh and keep on getting intimate even with small touches. The vice-president of the first aider group I worked with also made comments about me, and tried to flirt. He did it to most of the newcomers. My first boyfriend abused my body in my sleep. Everytime we slept together he’d do it. And I forgot it daily. I woke up everyday, reading through my notes to learn where am I or who I am exactly. I didn’t notice all these because my mind went blank, and I basically was like a zombie. I didn’t dare to think. Also everytime I went to a party, someone tried to get me. Since my ex was real jealous and controlling, we only went to parties together. In one I still got drugged. My period is irregular, and once when it came after 2 months. It always hurts like hell to the point that in the begining I can’t even stand up, so I usually complain about it a lot, and so I did to him. He said he already thought I was pregnant. “How could I be? We use condoms”- I said to which he told me the condom ripped once. When I managed to gather my courage and break up with him, I already had sight symptoms of PTSD. I also only then realized he wanted me pregnant to make sure I won’t leave him. Later on with the help of therapy (took four years until now) I found out what caused my amnesia throughout my whole life. A friend of my dad raped me at the age of 5. I still don’t know how to deal with my flashbacks, and this whole thing. I don’t dare to talk when I need to, because I feel ashamed and all used up. I can’t get myself to talk, because whenever I try to, I feel that it’s too much for people. Uncomfortable. So I keep silent about my needs. But at least I now have enough confidence to stand up for others, and that is why I must thank you. All of the people who are raising their voices. You saved my life, and not even just once. Thank you for all the support you give to us.
I was at a train station in the city (early morning so people were getting to school and work so it was a bit packed). nothing happened on the train luckily but when i got onto the platform i noticed a middle aged man and his friend following behind me and whispering to each other. I just tried to let it go but as I was walking up the stairs i heard photos being taken and i looked behind me and one of the guys had upskirted me, i started going faster up the stairs and they laughed and followed me quicker aswell and then the friend pinched my bum hard enough that i had a little bruise and said something like “mmmm nice perky jiggle on that one”. when i got to the top i moved to the side where the transport officers were so they would leave me alone… they did. but after i had waited to make sure they were gone i started walking to get my bus when these two other guys that were sat smoking whistled to themselves one of them said “look at the rack on that one” and the other shouted out at me “nice tits baby” infront of a mcdonalds so it was really packed. no one said anything, some people looked at me as if they wanted to say something because they could see i had tears welling up in my eyes but they all ended up just pretending they saw nothing. I was 15 years old and going to therapy for my issues which include PTSD from sexual assault, so that really diddnt help me get better.
I was on the train once coming home from meeting up with a friend. the train was pretty packed because there was a football game happening so i had to stand up and hold on next to a door. well little did i know that there was an emergency stop button behind me and my bum accidentally hit against it and the train stopped. the conductor came over the intercom asking about the issue and i was so embarrassed and upset and everyone just said “accident dont worry” and the train started again. we were stopped for 30 seconds tops but this really big beefy tattooed guy decided to have a go at me. he called me (14 at the time) A “huge slut” “stupid bitch” “attention seeking whore” “stupid little girl” and got up and came close to me and grabbed my hand and said “Dont pretend it was an accident you just wanted attention from all these guys” and stared at my boobs. I broke down crying having a massive panic attack for the entire rest of the train ride and no one said anything, no one helped me, no one gave me their seat because i couldnt breathe, no one told him to leave me alone. most people just looked at their phone and pretended like it diddnt happen. I was too scared to take transport for a couple moths after that
I was around 20 when this happened. I was studying and went out to the club with my friends. I didn’t want to take a bus home, so I ordered a cab. Made a mistake of sitting at the front next to the driver. He was a young guy, probably in his 30s. He started with commenting my outfit and saying how he can see my chest and how he would love to masturbate while looking at my breasts. Then he said that I can get back home for free if I hold the stearing wheel and let him masturbate. I was so stressed I wanted to open the door and just jump out of the cab. When we got to my address I throw all my money on him and run away. Since that time, I never sit next to the diver in the cab and always feel uncomfortable in the cab.