/ Women and Street harassment
Pretty horrendous statisitcs. How have the ladies of UKC faired with this kind of harassment in the past. How did you respond?
Sadly I have found myself having to interveine in the past, usually on a late night train or bus. The problem when these kind of (usually drunk) men are publically challenged by other blokes over their behaviour is that it often escalates the situation beyond sleazy intimidation towards the women and into threats or actual violence towards the intervening man.
Nobody should be surprised at official statistics showing that one in five women over 16 in England and Wales has been the victim of a sexual offence. Just before last week's report was launched and in response to a flurry of post-New Year accounts of harassment, the Everyday Sexism Project invited women to share their experiences of harassment on Twitter using the hashtag #ShoutingBack. Some 3,500 did so within the first five days.
The frequency of incidents reported is alarming: "Every day since I was 14 …" "I've lost count of the number of times …" "Called a bitch, whore, slut, slag on the street too many times to mention," were just a few of them. One woman said: "On street, bent to tie my shoe, man walks pass, sticks hand inside my top, into my bra & squeezes breast." Another described being "force kissed by a stranger in the street in broad daylight". One woman, a cancer patient, told how a man openly elbowed his friend as she passed and said: "You missed it. Totally bald. Proper dyke."
Many incidents happened on public transport, from "a man … putting his hand up my skirt and stroking my legs" on a packed tube, to a woman who tried to get off the train only to have a man grab her breasts and tell her "this isn't your stop, love". Another victim said a man "asked me to get off and f*** him … then tried to force my head into his lap".
The theme of harassers becoming aggressive upon rejection was also repeated again and again. One woman said shouts of "Hey … come here", switched to: "You whore, I'll beat you so hard," when she refused. Another described being "followed by a car of teenage boys who then tried to reverse into me when I wouldn't talk to them". In one case, "harassment started on the street, asking if I was married, ended with sexual assault on my doorstep at 3pm".
Threats of violence and sexual assault, such as "If I knew where you lived, I'd follow you home and rape you", were frequently reported, as were actual physical assaults. One woman was "Chased to my door at 11.30pm by two lads who 'Didn't want to hurt me.' I ran faster."
Nat Guest, a 26-year-old digital marketer from London, was walking home from a party on the morning of New Year's Day, when a man came up behind her, making "sexual overtures". When she didn't respond, he told her he had a knife and forced her to face a wall before masturbating into the back of her dress.
Although the police were supportive, the male officer said: "Usually I'd tell you to avoid walking around on your own late at night, but, you know – New Year's. You have to get home somehow." As a young woman in London, Guest experiences sexual harassment so frequently ("most days") that when she reflects on the incident, she says: "Theoretically, I feel angry about it but emotionally I don't feel much at all apart from resigned. But the fact that I feel resigned to this type of thing makes me feel angry."
Most worrying of all was the number of accounts that described the sexual harassment and assault of young girls. One said: "While walking home last year, a man inside a parked car ask[ed] me for a blowjob. I was 15 and in school uniform." One recounted "being told by my parents not to stand up for myself because that will get me raped".
Holly Kearl, founder of the US-based organization Stop Street Harassment, says: "Street harassment is often an invisible problem or one that is portrayed as a joke, compliment or the fault of the harassed person. In reality, it's a human rights violation."
As one of the male supporters of #ShoutingBack tweeted: "We have the power to stop street harassment. Don't do it. Don't let other men do it."
Until they stop, we will keep shouting back."
Its a constant worry of mine.
I have a beutiful wife and daughters (one of which has blossomed into a stunning young women). When she and her mother go out into town on Saturdays for a bit of shopping they inevitably come back saying that they were shouted out by idiots fagging it outside pubs or worse. Bearing in mind that when she was 14-15 she looked much older - as most young girls nowadays do - and had comments hardly befitting her age, despite what she may hear from schoolboys her age at school. Getting this from grown and sometimes middle aged men makes me very uncomfortable.
We in Newark have the enviable notoriety of having the largest population per capita of 'travellers' that any other UK town. These static travellers, alas, fit the typical stereotype and have many times made my girls feel cornered in shops as they travel in gangs and are very abnoxious to say the least. One time my wife and daughter had to leave their lunch as they felt threatened in a cafe.
The police are powerless. What can be done.
This made for grim reading: http://hiyalouise.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/sexual-assault-and-me-and-so-many-others.html
A few years ago a friend of mine was being continually harrassed by a bloke in a nightclub, trying to touch her up etc. She eventually got so f*cked off with him that she kicked him in the nuts with her very pointy shoes. He was carted off in an ambulance a short time later with a perforated bollock.
I've had a few incidents.
One of them, I was walking home late at night - I must have been about 17, and had to cross a footbridge over a motorway, then follow a path through some woods and around a lake, OR walk about 5 miles further.
As I crossed the bridge, a man was standing, looking down at the traffic. As I passed, he asked me the time, then fell in step with me. "Aren't you scared of rapists walking home on your own like this?" he asked me. "Not now I have you here to protect me" I cheerfully replied, giving him a friendly thump on the arm. Inside I was quaking!!! We carried on walking, getting to the woods. He pulled me down onto a bench to sit, but I told him that my dad would be worrying about me, and convinced him that we should carry on. We got to my house, and I unlocked the door and went in, and he put his foot inside the door, stopping me from closing it. I opened it fully, and said cheerfully that he would have to leave as my dad was upstairs, and luckily, thankfully, off he went!!!
I phoned the police right away to let them know what had happened, but nothing ever came of it. I think if I hadn't acted so cheerfully or if I had panicked and run, then things might have ended very differently.
I've also had people just grab my breasts as I walked past them in the street, flash me, say things like "Phwoorrr look at those melons" etc.
I'm not easily intimidated and I usually cycle around (I've never been accosted when cycling, no matter where or when, apart from kids saying "did you know your wheel is going round?"!) I'm quite a big woman and confident, but many women I know simply don't walk around after dark on their own.
I have never been harassed
> I'm quite a big woman and confident, but many women I know simply don't walk around after dark on their own.
When I lived in Liverpool I stopped walking round alone at night. I'd been fine with doing this when I was a student in Norwich, but some of the grief I got in Liverpool made me feel unsafe. Never mind that the worst of it tended to come before 9am, when I was on my way to work...
The worst I think I got was, when walking home from a lunchtime waitressing job in my village, I was invited to sit on someone's face. I must have been about sixteen at the time. Pissed up wankers, yes, but upsetting nonetheless.
DrunkenBakers - countering discrimination with more discrimination is lame.
> This made for grim reading: http://hiyalouise.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/sexual-assault-and-me-and-so-many-others.html
Oh - I had forgotten about the bloke wanking on a train! The creepy thing was the way he was looking at me. I just got up and moved seats.
Oh yeah - and I've had someone put their cock in my drink in a pub. I made them buy me a new drink (it wasn't anyone I knew).
And once, I was lying on a sofa in a pub with my eyes closed, when a bloke put his flaccid cock on my mouth!!! Eeewww!!! I really didn't have time to do anything at all about that.
Brave lady. A good tactic if you have the front to do it.
The verbal assaults are easy enough to take with a pinch of salt but some men seem to delight in using their size and gender to intimidate - standing staring in a pub, for example. I suspect they have small penises.
See, for most men, they have to stare up at me. It really doesn't have the same effect. :-)
I was quite shocked the first time I listened to a group of women saying how they wouldn't walk anywhere on their own in the dark, and they were even scared of going from their car to their own front door.
> DrunkenBakers - countering discrimination with more discrimination is lame.
I think you have misunderstood what I was saying and I can only judge by my exprience. Until you have more experience on the local dymanics than me then I think it best that you reserve your misguided opinion. This is hardly the thread to engage in this.
Having said this, in the line of my work on an emergency ambulance it is not uncommon to recieve sexist or sexually abusive comments from patients and their hangers on. The worst situation I've been in was a druggie/alchie who had a head injury from the previous day and his friend that wanted to travel in with him (a male first response paramedic on a car had said that the friend could travel, prior to us arriving, I don't think I would have let him on the vehicle otherwise as I had a bad feeling about him from the start!!). En route to hospital he made numerous inappropriate sexual suggestions, took photos of me on his phone and told me he was texting them to his mates, and generally made me feel very intimitated and uncomfortable for the 30minute journey. We would have stopped and kicked him off but much of the journey was on a section of contraflow/roadworks, making it dangerous to stop and tell him the F*ck off my ambulance. It's hard when putting it down in writing to describe how unpleasent, scared and angry it made me feel.
Other, older male patients, feel that it is acceptable to grope the bottoms of female NHS staff, I've had my breasts gropped by elderly patients who 'possibily' have dementia.... although they seem very consistent and targetted with their actions, but no point putting in any kind of complaint with them as it wouldn't go anywhere!!
Since when did a ukc thread stay on topic? That is the beauty of an online discussion, the conversation can go all over the place. :-)
Travellers are individual people, each of whom is different. You can always use a few qualifying statements, such as 'I may be wrong, in my opinion, many, some, etc.
> Brave lady. A good tactic if you have the front to do it.
> The verbal assaults are easy enough to take with a pinch of salt but some men seem to delight in using their size and gender to intimidate - standing staring in a pub, for example. I suspect they have small penises.
It’s interesting to note the reaction of some of the blokes that I have accosted on the train for being tw*ts to women. You can see them sizing me up and the conclusion of that exercise determines their response, this can range from an aggressive squaring up to me with a “what the f*ck are you going to do about it eh” through to a total climb down and a ‘matey’ “Awwww its alright, just having a laugh, you don’t mind do you luv”. When I got seriously into my rugby and was training and hitting the gym like trooper I was quite a big chap and in turn that gave me a bit of a confidence boost when dealing with these situations. Its depressing that these guys would use their physical size to bully and intimidate random women and only back down if the same tactic is used against them. Cowards. These days if I am out with Mrs Cú Chullain and we see such behaviour we just ask the women concerned if she would like to sit with us, usually works.
> Since when did a ukc thread stay on topic? That is the beauty of an online discussion, the conversation can go all over the place. :-)
> Travellers are individual people, each of whom is different. You can always use a few qualifying statements, such as 'I may be wrong, in my opinion, many, some, etc.
I bow to the voice of reason.
OK, I requalify, I am judging matters from a personal perspective and the experience of both myself and my family, plus the experience of my brother in law whom is a local Detective. This includes numerous sexual harrassment incidents from known local persons of non static origins towards the females in my immediate family and the constant local battles between residents and both static and non static members of this community. I should add this includes a personal burglary from two local males of the same minority group on November 22nd 2009 at 11:30pm when me and my family was at home in bed.
Anyway, back on thread....
You know how you feel when you hear a woman say, with all sincerity, based on her own experience "all men are bastards"?
Sorry for being arsy. I just get a bit twitchy about those stereotypes because various people of my acquaintance round Huddersfield/Bradford blame all sorts on 'Asian lads' in a similar way to labelling 'travellers', without having any personal experience to qualify what they're saying.
> You know how you feel when you hear a woman say, with all sincerity, based on her own experience "all men are bastards"?
Im normally empathic and ask why this women would feel that way which often relates to a bad experience from one or two men.
I accepted your point the first time so lets get back on thread..
What a depressing thread too! I am really quite shocked that this sort of behaviour seems so widespread - some pretty horrible stories above.
...but, but, we haven't got the Nazis in yet, or religion....
When I used to walk to work everyday I would often end up walking several yards behind a woman just out of chance as we were going the same way. Their discomfort was palpable and that would make me feel uncomfortable so I would cross the road so as to make them feel more at ease. I always wondered why so many would feel obviously uncomfortable. I'm not threatening looking or particularly burly and I wasn't walking very close to them, just passing the same way. I rationalised it as fear whipped up by the media that there are rapists round every corner when in fact, I thought, it was very rare. As a young bloke I was always getting threatened by other young blokes, blokes in cars, coming out of pubs etc. and thought that to be much more common.
But it all makes sense now if there are so many men who are as creepy as this! What the hell is the matter with some people, why can't they leave other people the hell alone?
I now feel in equal measure, ashamed to be a bloke and wanting to shout out that we aren't all like that!
Genuinely shocked, however naive I may be by the stuff written here and how common it is.
I don't think many women go around talking about it.
I haven't listed absolutely everything, because quite a bit of it I have just forgotten about. I've been remembering different bits as it is now in my head, like the repeat wanker that used to lurk outside my work most evenings - we called the police each time, and they would arrive with sirens blaring, so that he ran off. huh.
and the flashers at various times.
> I now feel in equal measure, ashamed to be a bloke and wanting to shout out that we aren't all like that!
I don't take some creeps (which must be a real minority, given how many men I have known over the years) to be representative of all men.
I would say that don't match pace with a woman behind her - it really is a bit scary, cos you don't want to look around behind you, so you can't see what the person looks like! and don't walk up fast behind her either! Crossing the road is a good idea and very kind of you! :-) I am not easily scared, I can assure you, but in a quiet street, it does set ones imagination aflame.
I get this quite often. I walk fairly quickly, so anyone who's in front of me is likely to get overtaken. This means that if I'm behind a woman, then she'll hear footsteps approaching fairly quickly. I'm very conscious that this can be worrying, and I'll cross the street if possible, but it can mean I would end up crossing a street multiple times, which is frustrating and also looks somewhat odd! I'm not sure there's a sutiable solution. I did think of shouting "unassuming man with no inappropriate intentions coming through", but thought that probably wouldn't work either :-)
This tread has got me thinking as to what I would do if I witnessed one of these incidents. I'd like to think I would intervene and hand the assailant over to the authorities but as a slightly weedy 5'9'' geek I suspect I would manage nothing more than inconveniencing them.
What about skipping, so that your footsteps sound frivolous and non-threatening? Or would that make you seem even odder? :-)
It doesn't matter as much if it is a busy street. It is the quiet ones that are the scary ones.
Welcome to our world.
No, we know not all of you are ike that; but enough are to make it a very real problem for women.
One of the most upsetting things I read was the honest comments posted on some sort of internet page from men who rape, asking for their comments. There was a depressingly common amount of "she deserved it" "I wanted it even if she didn't" comments, among others. Enough for me to realise that, pretty much, for many men they really are ruled by their dicks in a very sinister way.
To leaven this, my peronal thanks to the gentlemen out there who do intervene and do their best to behave in a way that puts us at our ease.
Match the pace of a women in front following closely behind making a throaty growling noise whilst burning holes in the back of her head with your starey eyes.
Drop off her pace, overtake with a wide berth, cross the road or remove your phone from your pocket and absent mindedly look at it whilst walking with an unthreatening gait.
Camouflage clothing, black gloves, balaclavas and wolf t-shirts.
I've read all of your post but not clicked the link yet as I know it will upset me . I've witnessed a few incidents of this nature it infuriates me.
9 times out of ten I've intervened & think I've helped diffuse the situation .
I was outside a nightclub once when a man fitting the description of somebody who was wanted for serious sexual offences, one of which was against a friends 17 year old daughter turned up with a young girl & some other friends they were at the back of the que , it was dark I'd never seen him before this night ( only been given a vague description ) , I rang my friend to ask if Natashas attacker was around 6'0" & looked like Akon & is knocking around with Amelia & Rob ?
I was looking straight at this Aaron Venna when Bruno said yes thats him !
Venna realised I was on to him turned & ran , he was quick I lost him after a chase across a busy dual carrige way ! A few of us looked for him for a few hours afterwards , never found him .
A few weeks later he went on to murder a 26 year old woman when she was walking home late at night .
Thats why I don't hesitate in these situations anymore .I may not prevent much , but if it makes one person stop & think then I believe its worth the risk . And yes I've had hidings for getting involved in certain situations but atleast I tried . Better to live one day as a lion than a thousand days as a lamb in my humble opinion .
And good on you Cú Chullain for doing what you think is right , most people don't seem to care so much these days it seems . Whatever happened to love & respect of people I wonder ?
> Sorry for being arsy. I just get a bit twitchy about those stereotypes because various people of my acquaintance round Huddersfield/Bradford blame all sorts on 'Asian lads' in a similar way to labelling 'travellers', without having any personal experience to qualify what they're saying.
Take your point, but I think it's fair to say that the travelling community are very old-fashioned in their view of women - and I'm talking from experience of knowing a large number of them.
To TLM - bloody hell!
A few years back at work I had a male attack me (I dodged so no physically injury to me) purely because I am female (he was no issue when my male collegue first apporached him, I appeared a minute or so later having been sorting something on the ambulance, hadn't even uttered a word and he then had to get passed 3 men to get to me). It was a violent, not a sexual assault, just targetted because of my gender, if that makes sense. There were 2 previous similar incidents that I am now aware of with this male, neither of which had been reported to the police.
He eventually pleaded guilty, his excuse being that he was drunk and couldn't remember what happened and was now sorry (like that makes it okay?!). Because he pleaded guilty I didn't get the oppurtunity to give my story, and as much as I understand why this is better for the victim in many situatons I would have loved to have had my chance to say my piece to him in court. He was given 6 months community order, I really have no idea what that is supposed to achieve, and how this can even be deemed a punishment. The police seargent who dealt with the case pushed for a higher charge to be given but it was watered down by the CPS. I wonder what else he is capable of, and what might appear in the local news in the future relating to him.
> Take your point, but I think it's fair to say that the travelling community are very old-fashioned in their view of women - and I'm talking from experience of knowing a large number of them.
I am shocked at this. I feel very fortunate that it's never happened to me, although I practically never use public transport which does seem to be one place that it happens a lot judging by the stories here. Initially when I read it I was thinking, why wouldn't you speak up. But then I thought further and actually I do get it. Almost everyone hates making a fuss. I would be too embarrased and could well see that I might not say anything.
I did used to walk home through back alleyways as a teenager as it was much quicker, and I carried my keys in my fist with the keys sticking out between my fingers. My thinking being that if anyone did try anything, I would have half a chance of doing them some damage if I flailed around enough. Fortunately I never had to test it though.
What about lurching in an Igor stylee and mumbling about master needing fresh brainses?
This thread makes my brain put up big walls.
Please stand up when you see people being harassed.
My wife gets tooted at by white van men pretty much every time she goes out running and occasionally gets chatted up here and there, but not "harrassed" as such.
Someone once tried to pull my sister by putting his business card down her bra in a nightclub - I think he made a full recovery eventually!
I'm surprised that the stats are 1 in 5. From the age of 12 to my early thirties I was routinely verbally abused in the street by sexually aggressive men- the usual, builders, passers by, etc etc, i think you'll find that any young woman in an urban area is used to this. I've been groped on tubes more times than I can remember, flashed at and followed. My scariest encounter was in a night club when i was 19 when a man grabbed me and tried to drag me out through the doors- past watching doormen who did nothing. He was a giant and I was completely overpowered. I was terrified at first but then something inside me snapped and I managed to get an arm free and punched him under the chin. The bigger they are, the harder they fall! Only then did the doormen accost him and threw him out- police not called. Now I'm in my late 30s, I don't go night clubbing and live in the country, all I get is occasional slimy comments from drunks in my local. Unpleasant but not threatening!
A shocking confirmation of what many of us will have suspected all long while hoping they were wrong.
Behavoiur like this and hooliganism on public transport is a very good reason why our roads are so choked up with cars containing only one driver; people would rather suffer the traffic than risk being assaulted.
Disclaimer: My personal experience.
You are probably right that they would not harrass females from within their community but see outsiders as fair game.
Double disclaimer: My wife and daughters personal experience.
I remember getting on a train with a group of my rugby mates headed for a night out one evening, it was relatively late and the train was empty aside from a man and woman sat across from each other, when we got on the woman instantly jumped up ran over and started making conversation. I never gave it a second thought until now.
I'm genuinely disgusted that this goes on, I had no idea this sort of behaviour took place in a supposedly civilised society, I shall be keeping an eye out from now on.
I also will be encouraging my girlfriend to join me at my Krav Maga class.
Rubbish, all country pubs are like the Woolpack, arent they?
And equally if I draw on my own experience I'm surprised that the figure is as high as 1 in 5
However it's hard to have a sensible discussion about such different experiences. To even try to understand why some people can be targetted so often and others not at all can come across as trying to make out that those affected are responsible in some way when they can never be in any way responsible.
I would second both of those sentiments. I've had my share of the more aggressive stuff, including violence as well as lesser abuse; but what really upsets me is the amount of all this that goes on at a much lower level, everywhere, all the time. Three different men - all of whom would consider themselves civilised - told me that they couldn't think of any use for women apart from the obvious, and one of them added that he couldn't see why rape is a crime. Another perfectly respectable 'friend' drove me to an isolated car park when I was an innocent young thing and with impeccable manners made me understand that he wasn't taking me home until I'd said yes to him. There was the landlord who came on to me when I was the only tenant in his block of new flats, assuring me that as I was recently divorced I must surely be gagging for it. The boss who fired me so he could seduce me. The foul names some men use for a woman who says no when she finds she's allowed herself to be cornered into a compromising situation -
It's wonderful to read what you guys say above, and thank you for it - but how about those other posters in UKC who think it's okay to reduce women to sex objects without feeling a need to regard us as human beings? It's harmless enough in itself, and I don't want to be too precious about this, but it's the first step on the ladder to abuse and I mostly stay out of the non-climbing parts of UKC now because I can't bear to see it.
> And equally if I draw on my own experience I'm surprised that the figure is as high as 1 in 5
Same here - I can't recall ever being harassed in this way. I've been shouted at twice while out on my bike near Cambridge in the past couple of years. The first time it was a group of kids, who made no reference to my gender, they just called me a w****r and made a vague attempt to knock me off my bike. The second was a couple of guys in a Polo on my way to work, and I didn't hear what they shouted as the overtook me!
In terms of the harassment though, it maybe helps that I've generally lived in rural areas or smaller quieter cities, and don't tend to use public transport much or go out at night.
Not really had much happen 'on the street' at normal times.
Though did have someone lean out of a car and shout 'nice arse' while I was cycling once.
But have had my arse groped and pinched enough times when out on evening.
Had them press up against me in a sexual manner - and a similar incident at work. Had all sorts of sexist jokes at work.
And this is wearing 'normal' clothing, if I was wearing something a bit more risque (tight shorts, shaved legs, say) I would expect more*.
Of course, I'm a man and all the above was by women, so it's ok.
And it is for me, though I'm less impressed when it's someone I don't/wouldn't fancy - though the said woman pressing her self up against me (so I would let her go for a smoking break) I wasn't so pleased with - she got her break because I wasn't sure how else to deal with the uncomfortable situation that second, not because I was enjoying it.
* I should point out I've never shaved my legs and don't own any tight shorts :).
> I've been shouted at twice while out on my bike near Cambridge in the past couple of years.
I grew up in Cambridge, and it was well known that there was an issue with sexual violence against women in the town ranging from unpleasant comments to assault and worse. The received wisdom from the authorities was that because of the university there is a relatively high level of young women in the town which in turn attracts a higher proportion of undesirable males/ behavior.
It was pretty grim being 12/13 and basically a child and having to run the gauntlet of lewd behavior to and from school.
> Of course, I'm a man and all the above was by women, so it's ok.
Is it ok?
Sexist jokes at work are an awkward one. I've endured a lot of this from a number of colleagues over the years and not complained, for fear of rocking the boat, as it hides behind "banter". I get teased for being a woman, and the next guy gets ribbed for being fat or bald. Where is the line where banter becomes bullying?
But did the look in the eyes of any of these women make you feel like they would rape you given a very slight differences in circumstances/ environment?
Manipulation/sexual harrasment from women towards men is not appropriate, but where I work the women generally give as good as they get and when workig with the majority of male collegues it makes the shift go quicker.
The examples given in the article and by people above, are not jokes or attempts at manipulating the opposite sex, many of them are precursors to serious sexual assaults.
It happens the other way round too, and that's no better. I was in a headteacher's office at the start of the school day, and she said to her (female) deputy, naming two male teachers - 'Okay, so the world's ending and there's just those two left. Which one?' They both fell about gagging and giggling and saying they'd rather stay celibate. I left. I happened to like both those male teachers as human beings - was that prudish of me?
In reply to snoweider:
A couple of the incidents I mention happened in Cambridge. There is the further problem of those men who hate women more intelligent than themselves because they can't take the insult to their manhood or something.
no both are wrong
However as a rule women are going to feel more threatened by men than versa eg i aint overly concerned by people walking down a dark street near me since, although my appearance is a tad deceptive i do look like a candidate for the crimewatch wanted poster and so they are more likely to be worried about me.
There are exceptions eg a woman boss abusing the power of her position but its more likely to be the other way, particularly physical threats.
I have had my arse pinched, cock grabbed and have had 'assertive' women push up against me in clubs, I have been whistled at while out running. All of it was unwanted, uninvited and at times a bit embarassing, especially when you get accusations of being 'gay' or a tw*t becasue I did not reciprocate. The KEY difference though is that I never felt that the situation was beyond my control or physically threatening and if they continued I could quite literally push them away and tell them to piss off. Similarly I dont get scared getting the last train home or intimidated when hearing the footsteps of someone walking behind me down an isolated path. Women acting like tw*ts is not acceptable either but lets not pretend they pose the same threat that blokes do when they decide want to 'take things further'.
That all sounds pretty grim to me! TBH, you get used to a lot of it. The comments and gropings are all unpleasant interludes that are quickly forgotten. They were part and parcel of living and working in Cambridge then London. I got pretty streetwise and learned to shrug it off. I had a good tactic with sneaky the tube gropers, who prey on your embarrassment, which was to turn round and tell the entire carriage what they had done. They soon leave. Lost of urban young women are not powerless victims, but streetwise and proactive and able to stick up for themselves.
The scary stuff is the physical violence, like the guy in the nighclub, and being followed, which is thankfully rare, although I expect that most women have experienced this to some extent if they live in a city.
Its worth pointing out that the majority of violence against women is from people they know, ie domestic violence and abuse. Also, a young man is more likely to be physically assaulted in the street than a young woman, its just that the violence is rarely sexual.
I think it should be mentioned that I have only experienced the above behaviour in a club/pub/party situation when everyone is half pissed. Does not excuse it but half explains it. I have never once been felt up on public transport or in the street (by a man or women), something women seem to get with alarming frequency, now that would piss me off no end.
Oh yeah- it does piss you off. Thats what the announcing it to the carriage was all about really. Tube gropers generally don't want to be identified, and they rely on you feeling humiliated. Its good to turn the humiliation round on to them.
Thankfully I'm now old and boring looking and this is a thing of the past. I used to get enraged by my mother who would wistfully say "I remember the days when men used to touch me up... you'll miss them when they are gone". I dont.
I used to regularly get hassled when I was living in Stornoway for being slightly 'different'. I had long hair, piercings etc and lost count of the amount of times folk used to start on me. I used to meekly just take what was handed to me until I finally lost it and pinned one of them to the wall by his throat and threatened to end him there and then. I remember Aberdeen being pretty nasty in the 90s and Union St was like running a gauntlet of pissed up psychos looking for a fight.
My teenage bro and his mates got beaten to a pulp one night on a weekend in France. It was his first adventure away from home. I think young men have a horrible time of it.
> I have never been harassed
I had one very bad experience when I was 19 and that just strengthened my resolve to not be intimidated. And since that point, I haven't been, whether because of the attitude I project, luck or possibly something to do with my height (6'1).
> I also will be encouraging my girlfriend to join me at my Krav Maga class.
Don´t bother. 400m track is much more useful...
> All of it was unwanted, uninvited and at times a bit embarassing, especially when you get accusations of being 'gay' or a tw*t becasue I did not reciprocate. The KEY difference though is that I never felt that the situation was beyond my control or physically threatening and if they continued I could quite literally push them away and tell them to piss off.
I have had similar, and I do find it intimidating and threatening. Can you guess whose side people and the police will be on if you push a woman away and she screams assault? I think that men can be put into fairly difficult situations, but I do agree that the consequences are likely to involve less physical violence and violation that a woman may experience. It is wrong to brush it off as benign and simply embarrasing though.
I'm guessing you are quite a big bloke. As a fairly weedy and cowardly male, footsteps following you down a dark alley definitely raise the heartbeat!
Thus the next; that it was ok for me (but may not be for others.)
I'm unsure about whether how a 'victim' feels should or should not be considered in punishment.
Is it 'justice' for two people to be punished differently due to the 'luck' of the strength of the psyche of their victim?
Lets say in the situations where I've experienced it that I DID feel in danger, for whatever reason - would that mean the act of the grabbing of my buttock changed from a triviality to a pretty major criminal offence?
When working in the offices of a big corporation I was amused to see anti-bullying posters.
I could certainly recognise most of the listed items in the 'banter' in the department of my small company. Except that in a good proportion of the cases it would be self-depreciating humour.
Nelson from the Simpsons saying 'stop bullying yourself' came to mind.
I'd suggest the first target, were you to try and stop such things should be comedians.
It definitely DOES seem to be accepted by society that a lot of things that would be unacceptable for the rest of society to say are ok "because it's comedy, innit".
I am actually certainly not the sort of person that would do what's being discussed.
But I do see cases where it 'works' - where the women do like it, just as men like it. Where it does lead to the men 'getting what they want'.
So I'm hoping that you don't mean that in the way that it sounds.
I think if someone put their cock in my drink then they would be wearing it. Likewise if someone tried to touch me on the tube I would probably slap them without thinking about it, sensible or not.
I did have an unpleasant experience a while back with an elderly neighbour, I thought he was just being friendly, and he tried to kiss me *ewww* it shook me up a lot at the time because I felt I had put myself in a dangerous situation. I think I handled it OK, I spoke to him in the same way I would a naughty teenage boy and reminded him that he had a wife then left.
I don't mean 'rape' - I do mean consensual sex (or some further drunken fondling, at least).
I heard about this on the radio a while ago, where women can post accounts of street harrasment happening to them and where they happen. In theory if there's hotspots, police can target those areas, but it could help to stop feelings about harrasment being internalised to some degree as well I guess.
Most of my close friends are female, and very very unfortunately nothing mentioned on this thread is shocking to me. In fact I made a number of similar points on a thread a long time ago and got shouted down and told by a number of people I was making up the level of verbal and physical sexual abuse.
There is a large proportion of the male population, I suspect a majority, and when drunk certainly a majority which appears to feel that verbally and physically abusing and assaulting women is acceptable.
Personally, I think they should be taken outside and shot. Where they should be shot is entirely up to your imagination, but I know where I would aim.
In terms of stepping in, my general rule is that my stepping in (as a bloke) is an absolute last resort, because its most likely to result in a fight, and when the police turn up they won't give a stuff "who started it". Most women - again unfortunately - are a lot more experienced and better than us blokes at dealing with this kind of thing peacefully, because they get much more practice.
My orders from Lady Blue are basically let her handle it unless its getting out of hand. In 7 years of being together that's only occured twice, and in both instances my wandering over and giving her a kiss and the bloke a vicious look did the job and they evaporated.
Sadly, because I haven't been the aggressor.
Ie, someone that claimed I spilt their drink on them when crossing the dance floor - maybe I did, but only because someone else knocked me as I was leaving - I was knocked in to a few times.
He head butted me with various witnesses in the pub and I didn't respond (generally not aggressive - big enough/don't have a glass jaw too), mentioned to the bouncers on the way out.
Bloke followed me out of the pub and was trying to start on me again as 4 police came up next to us with him still trying to start a fight. Plenty of witnesses and CCTV in the pub to his violence - I left as advised by the police, but they certainly didn't seem to have any intention to take it further.
If it had happened in other circumstances, you'd expect a lot more would happen. Not the only time I've seen similar inaction.
I should point out I am certainly against people being made to feel uncomfortable or worse and it's certainly nothing I'd do.
But I do think the issue is way more than just black and white.
> It happens the other way round too, and that's no better. I was in a headteacher's office at the start of the school day, and she said to her (female) deputy, naming two male teachers - 'Okay, so the world's ending and there's just those two left. Which one?' They both fell about gagging and giggling and saying they'd rather stay celibate. I left. I happened to like both those male teachers as human beings - was that prudish of me?
Godsake's NO you're not being prudish, I feel your deep rooted angst at that instant stemmed from sheer jealousy at not being included on the world ending to shag list!
I had to run to escape from people a few times, before I became more streetwise, it was a wayward phase where I was out a lot, so it was perhaps more likely to happen, pretty scary at the time.
I'm not female, though I've had the odd case of what may be sexual harassment. Once a homosexual man started following me home, initially as this person slowly caught up behind me I was expecting a mugging, though when confronted it was evident he was just some pervert.
Being out in public, especially say Friday night in town, or any night in a pub, has in my experience been a likely avenue for all manner harassment. Be it people yelling abuse at you, wanting to fight, [uncommonly] going as far as starting physical altercations or even just people driving past throwing or yelling shit.
Personally I don't go out much at night to areas with a lot of people, and when I do I expect conflict. *Especially* when alcohol is involved.
But, I grew up in a different culture to you brits.
Let me echo Snoweider here: So I'm hoping that you don't mean that in the way that it sounds.
> Personally I don't go out much at night to areas with a lot of people, and when I do I expect conflict. *Especially* when alcohol is involved.
I happily trek alone for days on end out in the wilderness, camping miles from people without a moment's fear, but I will always avoid walking alone on a dark street.
See... I think that. but at the time, I really just was so shocked that I didn't do anything at all! Of course, afterwards, I thought of all the things that I should have done, but by then it was too late.
Me too. People can't understand why i am more than happy taking the dog out at midnight on snow-covered fields just for the hell of it, citing that I might get attacked. By whom, exactly?! It's the middle of nowhere, it's a quiet time of day, it's achingly cold and my route quite random. But I feel distinctly unhappy in an urban environment, and feel quite worried where there are lots of people, especially men.
Sarah, you really need to meet some of the lovely, kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent men out there who exist in abundance! Are you mates with any blokes at all? Aren't any of your relatives male, or aren't you friends with people with lovely kind borthers/partners/male friends? don't you work with any kind nice men?
> Me too. People can't understand why i am more than happy taking the dog out at midnight on snow-covered fields just for the hell of it, citing that I might get attacked. By whom, exactly?! It's the middle of nowhere, it's a quiet time of day, it's achingly cold and my route quite random. But I feel distinctly unhappy in an urban environment, and feel quite worried where there are lots of people, especially men.
The thing is there are men who don't like being out in urban environments or in places where alcohol and drunk people are around as well.
My own approach is to try and seem as inoffensive is possible, and like I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I tend to find drunk blokes who seem like the could become aggresive quite worrying.
My theory is they tend to latch onto people who go against the 'vibe' of thier drunkeness, who seem like spoil sports or like they have a problem with them. I'd rather it wasn't something to think about.
I can still go out and have a good time, and pretty often do, but I have my feelers out as it were as well.
I think knowing an urban area well enough to know where is likely to not be dodgy could perhaps be helpfull for you.
A pal of mine was flashed in the local park by a creep when she was coming home from school one day many many years ago.My pal told us how she'Quickly dipped into her school bag and pulled out a fishin knife before shouting'Ya f++kin bastard!' and chasing after the f**ker,who shat himself and bolted with his wullie still swinging about.
You grow up being groped,flashed and shouted at all the time especially if you go out clubbing frequently,for me Ibiza is the worst it's as if you are just there to be groped.If you were to slap every guys face in clubs that come up and grope you then there would be a lot of sore faces around.It is really bad over there.
> The KEY difference though is that I never felt that the situation was beyond my control or physically threatening and if they continued I could quite literally push them away and tell them to piss off.
This is true, you are an adult man.
There are plenty of situations where women are in charge of vulnerable people and children, who can't push them away.
1 in 6 boys suffers some kind of sexual abuse below the age of 16
80% of boys sexually abused in childhood report at least one female perpetrator. (many boys report both male and female perpetrators)
Rapists and paedophiles exploit a power differential to perpetrate their crimes, be it a physical size difference, or an age difference.
I think that people commit sex crimes, and that the idea that men are more likely to be perpetrators enables female paedophiles.
On the dog walk - walking through a particularly rough part of town (and having heard of plenty of stories of a big history of general violence, often based on race though generally calmer now) I was wondering if it was that great an idea.
Then I remembered that not only was I wearing both a hoody (so might fit in) and army boots with an Air Force great coat (possibly not someone to be messed with), am a well built 6' skin head and was walking the land lady's Akita (she's a bit of a wimp, but the breed has a reputation of violence amongst scallies.)
I decided that on the balance of probabilities I was probably going to be fine :).
But, the point was that I certainly was 'concerned' and there's certainly places that I would be 'more cautious' with.
Being male (and fairly well built etc) can have it's own problems - others can feel the need to try and 'prove something'.
Though I realise it's not quite the same as being evidently female and feeling like a potential target for rapists or men wanting to cause harassment. There can be risks connected with being yourself.
We all have to think about cr*p like this it seems, and must try and stop it happening through challenging negative opinions and actions when we come across them, where we can do.
Ive also been stalked by guys I work with on 2 separate occasions, I thought they were friends and gave them my phone / facebook then they started texting me 20+ times a day, if I mentioned going somewhere on facebook they would turn up there, if they saw me talking to another male friend they would phone me up saying things like 'oh I see you have a new boyfriend now, hope your happy' and would wait for me in the dark car park at night to try to 'talk' to me. In the end I had to cut contact with them altogether and avoid being alone with them at work.
That was illuminating.
As with you being stalked i experienced a similar situation when i moved to a new area 12 years ago.This older guy in the local Co-op,waited on me to come out of the shop then started asking me if i was an air stewardess and you don't see many girls like you around here,before following me home.I'm dead friendly so thought nothing of it,until my neighbour said he had been asking about me,where i worked and that.Turned out he could see my flat from his and he always appeared when i stopped work as i was coming out of my car.He would persistantly ask me to come up to see his paintings and where is this BF of yours that i never see.It went on 3 and 4 times every week and i couldn't get away from him when he started talking even though i would politely tell him to beat it but back he would come.Even leaving me a valentine under my windscreen wiper and i'm 100% sure he put a dent in my wee MG convertible to after i was abrupt with him.At that point i got my then BF who was a very big nightclub bouncer to have a wee 'chat'with him.
I have two friends who have been raped a long time ago,one by an ex and the other by 4 boys in a park when she was 15.In both cases they didn't tell the police.The latter because her Dad and brothers would now be doing time for attacking them. Even though she is sickened by the fact that every now and again she sees one of them with their children.My other pal just didn't think she would be believed.
I must add that anytime my pal has seen one of these rapists she sees total fear in their eyes as if to say 'please please don't say anything'.
This is the problem. Newark is an an anagram for wanker. Move somewhere less shit
> That was illuminating.
In what way, illuminating in the first thing he thought of were the most likely situations it could happen, or that him not expressing empathy and thinking of the statistics showed him to be an unfeeling man, or that he as an individual showed he couldn't grasp how difficult it can be to be female?
He'd have only been representative of himself, which ever it was. Not all men are the same.
I do that too, or hurry up and walk past them quickly, giving a wide berth, if crossing isn't an option.
> I have had my arse pinched, cock grabbed and have had 'assertive' women push up against me in clubs, I have been whistled at while out running. All of it was unwanted, uninvited and at times a bit embarassing, especially when you get accusations of being 'gay' or a tw*t becasue I did not reciprocate. The KEY difference though is that I never felt that the situation was beyond my control or physically threatening....
When I was 15 I had a holiday job as a driver's mate on a "pop" delivery round. One time when the round passed the driver's home he said we'd have our break there and get a cup of tea with his "missis", which we did.
SHE then started coming onto me (in his presence) in the most obvious way and eventually it became clear that he wanted me to get it on with his wife while he watched. A schoolboy's dream, you might think, but I DID feel the situation was out of my control and in danger of getting physically threatening. I managed to slip out of the door while supposedly going to the toilet, and just sat in the van until he came out. As soon as we got back to the depot I asked to be assigned to another round, which didn't appear to come as a surprise to the manager.
Turned out later that this occurred with virtually all the "van lads" on that round. We were almost all under 16. Some stayed with the round for a while, but most asked to be shifted after the first week. Management knew exactly what was going on and never did a thing.
Aged 17, on my first holiday with friends in Paris a man on the train exposed himself, started masturbating and then wiped his penis on my friends arm.
On more than one occasion I have been groped on my bottom, thighs and breasts, been subject to witness obscene gestures and hurled abuse and rude comments. And worse.
It's really f*cked up that women can have to put up with this.
Elsewhere on the site
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more
In tonight's Friday Night Video, we see Alex Honnold soloing Heaven 5.12d in Yosemite Valley. The route starts 3000ft above the... Read more
The B.D.V. — short for Black Diamond Vertical — jacket and pants are Black Diamond’s most versatile climbing... Read more
This streamlined, midweight thermal layer has an incredibly speedy moisture wicking ability and dries ultra fast if it gets... Read more
October 21, 2014 – Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry,... Read more