After I did my short teacher training course I stayed in touch with several people. One guy I met up with on an irregular basis, purely as a friend. He was pretty geeky, but then so am I, so that was all fine. Then I found out from a mutual friend that he takes regular trips to the far East for sex tourism. The guy is in a wheelchair, so at first, even though the whole idea of exploiting impoverished women who have gone into prostitution in developing countries was obviously upsetting, I found myself making excuses for him to some extent. I know that this is not an excuse, however, plenty of people in wheelchairs have relationships, it is this man’s odious attitude to women that was the problem. Perhaps even worse, I found out that he upskirts women, and has probably done this in my presence when we went out, or has even done it to me. I cut off contact with him eventually, but it makes me sick to think that this man is teaching young women. I hope he has stopped paying to rape women and illegally violating their privacy with upskirting, which is thankfully now an offence in the UK.


When I was 19, I earned the role of assistant manager at a local community pool for the summer because I was remarkably responsible for my age. The manager to whom I was assigned, a middle aged, male gym teacher, didn’t like that I had gotten the job. On my first day, in front of the other assistant manager, a male that was 2 years older than me, he told me that I shouldn’t be there and that he could bend me over his desk and violate me with a baseball bat that was leaning next to the desk. The other assistant manager laughed. I stayed for several weeks anyway and tried to do the job but the staff was encouraged to haze me. My friends participated in messing with my food and damaging my car and personal items. I ended up quitting the job. I had no one to report it to. I had a very messed up home life where things weren’t much better. It didn’t even seem like that big a deal to me because I had so many other violations before that and since. I am 43 years old now and I’m grateful that we have come far enough for me to protect other women and confront offenders loudly and openly. I am damn proud to say that although it is unfortunate that my 17-year old daughter has had a run-in or two with sexist or violative behavior, she handled it like a BOSS and didn’t ever consider shrinking away in fear, shame, or acceptance that that’s just how it is. She asked for help and justice because she knew I had guns blazing to protect her and I prepared her for how to handle it.