A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

I am young and single, but why are you touching me?

 
I wasn't going to write this post. I didn't want people to think I am a drama queen and writing about something ridiculous. But, I think I have kept my mouth shut on way too many occasions over the years, just so guys don't think I'm a "raging feminist" and basically, too much hard work for them.

Last night I went out with my friends. We had a great time getting ready and catching up over a few drinks before heading out. We found a spot in a bar and laughed about stuff and enjoyed our glasses of wine. After a while, we got up to dance.

A guy, who must have been in his 20's, began bashing into me for no apparent reason. Him and his friend were finding it hilarious and I asked him to stop. A minute or so later, the same two guys started pinching my bum and stroking my back. I moved away from them, but just a few minutes later, they were behind me doing it again. When I turned around and asked them what they were trying to achieve by doing it, they called me a bitch. I turned back to my friends and desperately tried to ignore them. Not long after, the two guys were with a whole friendship group and they were all taking it in turns to touch my bum. I moved again and they eventually stopped.

I stood with tears in my eyes. I was so, so embarrassed. I felt violated. I wanted to go home and have a shower because they had made me feel dirty. I was speechless. I had asked them to stop and they didn't, they encouraged all of their friends to join in their 'fun' and I was expected to stand there and just accept it.

I am a very self-conscious girl. I already think my bum is the size of Jupiter so I never try and attract any attention to it. I already feel 20 stone heavier than my friends, so I tend to not join in with grinding and slut drops because I know I look ridiculous compared to them. So when I am put in situations where the attention is fully on me and I don't even want it, I panic.

At a different bar, I found myself in an argument with a guy. He was playing pool and as we were sat next to the pool table, he kept having to invade our space with his pool cue. At first, I didn't really care. But after a while and after my friend asked him to stop, I spoke up. He told me that I looked depressed, that I should be more like my fun mates, that I was a loner for sitting at a table chatting rather than dancing. He told me that I needed to 'pipe down' and 'know my place'.

When I was 18 and had first got to university, I LOVED getting attention off guys. Having my bum pinched and boobs stared at gave me a huge confidence boost and it made me feel like a real woman that guys appreciated. One night in my first year of uni, my drink was spiked and a guy asked me to sit with him in a club. After a brief chat, he started to touch my leg. At first, it didn't bother me because, well, that's just what guys do I told myself. However, his hand went further up my leg and I soon found that he was actually touching my vagina in the middle of a club. I stood up and rushed out of the club in shock. I went home and never, ever told anyone because I convinced myself that I should have found it funny. I didn't want my friends and flatmates to think I was a drama queen and making a huge deal out of something daft. But I did decide that I would have to be a bit more sensible on nights out. I told myself that I should drink less and not dress so provocatively.

I know that both men and women can do incredibly inappropriate things, so I am in no way directing this post purely at men. But after thinking about last night today, I know that what happened last night was not OK. It reminded me of the naive 18 year old girl I once was. I remembered thinking that what happened in my first year of uni was my own fault - I was 'asking for it'. But, I wasn't. Just like last night, I wasn't asking to be touched. I never gave any of the guys permission to touch me, so why did they? Why is it OK to do that?

I could have been through anything in my life. I could have been a victim of rape, I could have been a victim of abuse. I could have been through anything. Yet, I was called a bitch, among other things, because I didn't want complete strangers touching MY body. Am I uptight? Should I see the funny side to this? No, I won't and I can't. Why? Because there is no funny side. Last night, I was a victim of sexual harassment. Just like I was when I was 18 and someone tried to take advantage of me. Anything could have happened then, anything could have happened last night. I am lucky that on both occasions, it didn't go any further. But for many girls and guys, it does. It goes much further.

You see, it doesn't make any difference as to what I wore last night. If I had welcomed the guys into our dancing circle and got chatting to them, it still doesn't make any difference. If I didn't say that you were allowed to touch me, why are you touching me?

I'm not stupid. I know that people go on nights out not only to see mates and have a laugh, but to pull and see whats on offer. But, just because I am single, young and one of the girls 'on offer', does that make it OK to be inappropriate around me?

Sometimes, I so wish that I was different. I wish that I could chill out more, not take things so seriously, see the funny side to things more often. I wish I could be the type of girl who embraces having their bum pinched and body felt by whoever wants it. But, that is just not me. If I was to accept the way I was treated last night, and when I was 18, I would be going against the advice that my mum, nan and almost every female family member has given me over the years. I would be going against the chat I will eventually have with my children, nieces and nephews. I would be going against what I believe is wrong.

Sexual assault and harassment is never OK and it can be reported. If you have been a victim to this, you can speak up about it and there are organisations where you can share your experience and gain advice on what to do next. By taking sexual harassment more seriously and speaking up when we believe that something is wrong, incidents like what happened to me will become more frowned upon and more unlikely to happen. No one should have to shrug off sexual harassment and get made to feel like they are just being over the top. I'm not being a drama queen, you're not being a drama queen. Lets do something about this.  

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1 comment

  1. It sucks that this is still an issue. No means no, it should be that simple.

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