Comments at the camel's balls blog:
I suspect that the spooky spam-trap resident would be surprised at what the women he hangs around with have experienced, in fact. It may not be all men doing it, but for sure it has happened to all women in ways big and small. It’s exhausting and circumscribes one’s life and professional opportunities when one has to weigh the risks of going somewhere and participating vs remaining safe.
I first became aware of the violent threats from men when I was seven years old and there was a serial killer in my town taking little girls.
When I was ten, my mother had me accompany her on an errand to drop something off at the house of a family friend because the dude used to corner her and she was afraid to be alone with him.
In high school, the girl who had the locker next to me was raped at a party (I wasn’t allowed to go to parties). Everyone was talking about it on Monday. She dropped out of school within the month and I never saw her again.
In university, I came close to being raped while listening to records with a guy friend at four o’clock in the afternoon. The door to his room was open and his parents were home.
There was a creepy dude who used to sit on a stone wall just off campus – because he was barred from the grounds – and he’d leer and say things to the women/girls walking by. It was intimidating when all you trying to do was get from class to the bus stop minding your own business.
I’ve seen at least three guys masturbating on buses while staring straight at me.
I went on a first date with a fancy symphony player to some charity thing. At one point in the evening, I was having a dance with one of the 70+ year old patrons and this dude came over, red in the face and got between us and asked me what the hell I thought I was doing dancing with someone else when I was there with him. He grabbed me by my arm hard enough to leave a bruise and dragged me off the dance floor. For some months afterward, he used to show up at my window, pacing back and forth and banging on it.
More than once, on a subway, I have been groped or pushed up against by a guy with an erection. Couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t tell who it was.
I was sitting in a laundromat once, minding my business, doing classwork while clothes were in the dryer. Some 50+ year old dude felt entitled to leave the street, walk through the whole place to the back of the laundry and tell me that I was a slut for having my legs up on the bench and flashing my “cunt” to the world. He said I should be glad he was a gentleman and not going to take what I was “advertising” but that not everyone was a nice as he was. I was wearing baggy pants and a sweatshirt
I was out for a nice walk with my cousin and all of a sudden a group of guys set upon us, and chased us right off a retaining wall with a 4 foot drop. For some reason, they went away, but if they hadn’t, well….. not much we could have done.
I was in an undisclosed European country once, sitting on a bench having lunch, and an 80+ year old gentleman sat down beside me and started chatting. I made pleasant small talk, but then without warning he lunged at me, grabbed my breast and slobbered all over my face.
I was with a tour group enjoying the sunrise over the Sahara when a bedouin camel driver kept inching toward me and put his hand up my skirt before I could slap it away. There were people sitting on either side of us. No one said or did anything.
I was in an undisclosed foreign country enjoying a tourist show and barbeque. The cowboy doing the horse tricks later came by, scooped me up under his arm, rode off into a field where no one could see us and started kissing me. I screamed until he took me back to the group. He said it was “part of the show.”
I was in a movie once and a guy sitting next to me put his hand on my knee and started moving it upward. I couldn’t change seats because it was full so I left the theater. Didn’t get to see the movie.
I was at a conference once and met a prominent guy in my profession. He showed up at the lobby of my hotel with a present for me and wanted to go out. I declined and didn’t come down. He continued to ring upstairs every ten minutes for the next two hours. I became trapped in my room because I was too scared to leave.
There are many more stories like this but you get the idea.
Yes, this. Every woman has stories like these. Quite often, the harrassment occurred in plain sight, in front of teachers, parents, random bus or tram passengers, etc… Hardly any of them intervened.
As for physical resistance, when I was in 5th grade, a boy who was a year older than me harrassed me all the time. He wasn’t the only one who did this, many of the boys were harrassing girls, some girls were harrassing boys, at least one girl was harrassing other girls. Most of the teachers ignored this, even when girls were groped in class in front of them. The principal would do something, if the issue came to his attention. But most of the time, he didn’t know what was going on.
One day, I’d had enough of this boy who’d been harrassing me all the time for months at this point, so I kicked him in the shinbone. A teacher chanced to walk by and guess who got a lecture about how kicking other kids is wrong? Me. And yes, I told the teacher (a leftist long-haired peace activist BTW) that the boy had been harrassing me for months and that I only kicked him to make him stop.
That was the most horrible school I ever attended, because sexual harrassment ran absolutely rampant there. The kids involved were ten to twelve years old BTW. And mind you, I’m not blaming any of the kids for the harrassment, because at ten or twelve, they didn’t know any better. But I blame the parents who never taught them that harrassing others is wrong and I blame the teachers who didn’t intervene. Nor do I want to see the kids who harrassed others punished (which is what the principal did, when a case came to his attention). But the teachers could have tried explaining the concept of consent to the kids (which is what I did years later, when I was a teacher myself) and why it’s not okay to touch someone without their permission.
So, what have we learned?
1. Authority figures will not help you. They are either clueless, powerless, or they don't give a rat's ass what happens. Or all three, at once.
2. When you defend yourself, you get in trouble with the System.
3. Lots of random people want a piece of you. You look delicious. Like a snack.
Dear Cora, yes, I know. If I might say so, you got off easy compared to the shit-show my school life was. I've got actual scars.
Two words I have for you: Home. Schooling. Or you can subject your kid to the same nightmare you went through, times twelve, because schools are a lot worse now than they used to be. I have in-depth knowledge. Home schooling. You have been warned.
What is your plan for when the person in authority is the one trying to take a bite of you? Do you even have a plan?