My friend recently told me about a project on Tumblr called But What Was She Wearing. This site shows the outifits women were wearing when they were catcalled, harassed, or sexually assaulted. I love this idea because I think it highlights the fact that not all women who are harassed are dressed “provocatively”. (Now I know that men get sexually harassed and assaulted, and this should not happen and it is as serious as when a female is sexually assaulted and should be treated as such, but this post will just be focused on women because that is something I can personally relate to).
I don’t feel that as a female I should have to cover up every inch of my skin to protect myself. I agree that both women and men should dress appropriately. So if you’re at school you shouldn’t wear skirts that show off your ass, and you shouldn’t wear your shirt so unbuttoned that your boobs fall out. But if you’re going clubbing you can be a bit more liberal, and if you want to wear a mini skirt or a crop top then that’s your right. No female (or male) deserves to be harassed or sexually assaulted. And no one is ever “asking for it”.
Back to my original point. But What Was She Wearing shows that sexual harassment can happen to females of any age, race, religion etc. and that it a part of our everyday lives. I clicked on a random image and this is what I saw…
This woman was at a concert and a man grabbed her and touched her sexually, he then dragged her away from the crowd while she screamed for help. Guess how many people rushed to her aid? Yeah, none. This makes me so damn angry!
I went to a party to celebrate finishing college, I was there with my boyfriend and classmates and all my teachers. I had an amazing night, but I was only 17 so I couldn’t drink and I’m glad I remained sober the whole night. And for those of you who say I was asking for it because I was in the pub very late. Fuck off. The owner of the pub, the bartenders, and the security knew my age and they knew I was there for the college party and they were happy to make an exception for this one night as long as I didn’t drink. From when we arrived at 5:30pm to when we left at 11pm I had to deal with six different men:
- The first one asked if I wanted to do some shots, I said no thanks and he replied with “Whatever, slut”.
- The second was okay and he just said hello, so I said hi back. He then came to sit down next to me, but I made an excuse and left. The reason I felt uncomfortable was because he was very clearly drunk and must have been at least twice my age. Now I am one of those people who have a baby face, and I could quite easily pass for a 15 year old so he knew I was very young.
- I got up to dance and mid-way through a song I look over and there was two guys standing in the corner watching me. One of them licked their lips and the other waved at me and mouthed “Come here”. I shook my head and went to move to the other side of the floor, so the guy who licked his lips put his middle finger up at me and the other yelled “You’re missing out!” across the whole pub and motioned to his penis. Now this really upset me so I spoke to the security guard who went over to talk to them. They left 5 minutes later.
- Then I was dancing again and a guy grabbed my hand and started trying to dance with me, so I pulled away from him and one of my guy friends stood in front of me and him.
- Lastly, I was sitting down and a guy offers to buy me a drink. I say no thanks and point at my lemonade. He then stands up and stands over me which I found really intimidating. But just at that moment my boyfriend comes back from the toilets and the guy left.
Now, these incidents didn’t ruin the night for me because I expected things like this to happen. I find that a shame, that as a young female I go out and expect to be harassed. I am repeatedly warned by my parents, family, and friends to never leave my drink unattended, to never get in a taxi you haven’t booked yourself, to always go out with friends and preferably at least one male friend. I was with my boyfriend for 99% of the night, and all of these happened when I was without him. But maybe I was asking for it? Maybe I was dressed too “provocatively” and these men just couldn’t control themselves? This is the outfit that I wore that night:That’s right ladies and gents, I was wearing a summer dress, leggings, and black flats. Now I’m looking at the picture I can see how unbelievably sexy that is, I mean come on I can barely control myself. I didn’t make this post to say all men are perverts who like to sexually assault women, because that is not true. But there are a lot of men out there who do this, and I want to bring awareness to how common everyday sexism is. I want to be able to go out without fear that a guy will put drugs in my drink, I want to be able to go out and get in a taxi by myself without being scared the driver is going to assault me, I just want to be able to walk down the street without feeling scared of men walking towards me, and to not feel like I’m just a place to store someone’s dick.
I have an extensive history with sexual assault. That is something I refuse to elaborate about in this blog, maybe someday I’ll talk about it. But not now. I’m not telling you so that I get sympathy, because I don’t deserve it. I just want you to know so you can be respectful in the comments and so that you are aware that this is a subject very close to my heart. And although my situation has improved, I am still subjected to everyday sexual harassment which I am sure many of you reading this have been through too. This shouldn’t happen. This is not okay.