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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions


26 replies

GirlWithTheMouseyHair · 27/03/2011 09:01

has anyone come across this website before? I read about it and saw it and while it seems a good idea and utterly depressed because I just can't see street harassment changing.

Over the years (from I reckon the age of 12) I've accepted the few compliments of "nice smile" but on the whole have bowed my head in shame and embarasment thanks to the catcalls, wolf whistles, obscene remarks, consequent threatening shouts, being told to get my tits out or bend over so I can be given a good seeing to - throughout pregnancy and motherhood it's continued but it' always been verbal.

Last week I was physically groped on the street (wearing a cycling jacket and jeans) later afternoon/early evening on a Sunday. I was so shocked and was on the phone to DH at the time (who threatened to immediately call the police). I looked back to see the boys who'd done it waiting for my reaction. They laughed, made blow job gesticulations and sauntered off. Left me humiliated and angry.

But will it honestly ever stop?

OP posts:
QueenofWhatever · 27/03/2011 10:22

What a horrible experience you had. I read about Hollaback on the Guardian website recently and thought it sounded great. If I get that stuff, I go for the withering look and 'really? You think you're all that do you?'. Can't be doing with it.

Unrulysun · 27/03/2011 10:49

GWTMH what an awful thing to happen. IMO you should call the police - this kind of thing is an assault and should be reported and dealt with. I'm so sorry this happened to you. :(

GirlWithTheMouseyHair · 27/03/2011 11:57

i think i was too shocked at the time to think up a comeback or call the police (was already on the phone to DH at the time)

It's more upsetting I think that I have endured (and continue to endure, as do a huge number of women) this kind of street abuse even if it is 'only' verbal. I generally don't say anything back as I fel intimidated and don't want to engage with it.

OP posts:
BestNameEver · 27/03/2011 12:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AliceWorld · 27/03/2011 15:27

GWTMH - sorry to hear that happened.

I've heard of hollaback too. Looks a good way of women being able to share this stuff.

Unrulysun · 27/03/2011 16:23

Don't feel guilty for not responding. They're the ones with the issue not you. Pricks. Angry

would you be able to report it now do you think?

SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 17:34

GWTMH that is so shit, what utter little bastards.

Don't know what to say really. When that stuff has happened to me the sense of impotent rage has been really hard to deal with. I feel it now remembering stuff.

I think the only thing that could be done about this would be to make it so that women always reported it, and the police were duty bound to take it seriously.

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 19:05

I was in Golders Green London broad daylight cira 2002 and some man put his hand between my legs as I was walking along. I thought for second it was an accident (as you do Hmm ) so kept on walking and then suddenly up pops this chap:-
"you want to come to mine for coffee" (WTF???)
"um no"
"You are so pretty, I can take you out"
"no, thanks"
[i'm still being polite at this time-don't want to cause a scene-yeah I know]
"what's you're name pretty woman"
"sylvie,(fake name) ok bye"
[no idea why i'm still even talking]
Then he puts his hand on my bum

I walked two more steps and I saw a policeman. I told him that the man was harrassing me and had touched me.
To my absolute amazement this copper grabbed the pervert and body slammed him onto the hood of the car.

I don't know why but I didn't expect to be taken seriously.

He was arrested, charged and put before the magistrates. He pleaded Not Guilty. It went to Crown. The case was done and dusted when he decided that he wanted to speak in court and started ranting about whores and prostitutes while waving the koran about.

Gulity. Given Probation.
On the sex offenders register.

Thank you metropolitan police!

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 19:17

Compare that to the actions of South Wales police circa 1990. A man flashed me in a field when I was on the way to feeding my animals. At this time I had one of the early (brick type) mobiles. So I dialed the police and kept walking. The operator made it clear to me that he thought I was lying with lots of stupid questions "so you can see him now?", "yes he's 100m away with his penis out"
"and what are you doing?"
"walking away"
"you don't sound that worried" etc etc

The police arrived some 60mins later after they had first gone to my parents house (traced the ownership of the phone). They questioned my father as to whether I had a history of making fake calls.

Apparently the issue was I "wasn't frightened enough"

Well fuck you south wales police. How dare you! I was furious and felt violated but frightened? No I put a distance of 100m between us and I can run fast.

How fucking dare you tell me how I should think feel and react!

They didn't even take a statement.

Fast forward 6 months. The same man committed another offence. This time he attacked a woman with a child in a buggy.

It would seem we all have to weep, shake and cry for these things to be taken seriously.


SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 19:28

Your first post is so heartening sarah, the second appalling.

How did you find out that the same man attacked someone? Did the police contact you or did you find out another way?

I just remember when I was 16 one of my friends had a bloke jump on her but she managed to get away, teh police took a statement but weren't interested basically. A few years later she saw him in the paper - done for rape. They never got in touch with her - although surely it would have strengthened her case? My guess is that her original report was filed as "over-reacting teen girl" and never linked to the ,later attack (s)

SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 19:29

Strengthened their case.

cellini · 27/03/2011 19:37

my word, this brings back so many awful memories growing up in the Uk. it really is so depressing. too many incidents to recall but I have every sympathy and just wish people felt able to call the police and be believed and supported.

interestingly - or maybe not! - I live in Italy now where I can walk around town with my DS uncommented upon (apart from the usual greetings made to/by everyone) then if I go out in the evening, wearing the same clothes, in the same street, it's like I'm suddenly visible again and blam, the usual crap starts up again.

I think Hollaback is superb and salute women everywhere who speak up and out. Shame is a powerful tool, let's use it against perpetrators of sexual harrassment.

noodle69 · 27/03/2011 19:39

No one has ever touched me but some lads did shout something that annoyed me once but I just shouted F*K off u scabby little c*ts and they just shut up and walked off.

I have also tipped pints over mens heads in clubs when they have touched my bum. I would probably be described as a bit of a chav on here lol.

I have no problem when people say that I am pretty/gorgeous etc but if someone shouts something intimidating or touches me with out asking I will kick off.

Deliainthemaking · 27/03/2011 19:45

God that is shocking OP where do you live?

sorry you've suffered what seems pretty relentless and excessive harrassment.

SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 19:48

I'm surprised at the comments asking where the OP lives. Her experience is pretty similar to my experience and that of most women I know.

SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 19:50

thread which covered this here which was very cathartic for a lot of posters I think Smile

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 19:58

Your first post is so heartening sarah, the second appalling.

How did you find out that the same man attacked someone? Did the police contact you or did you find out another way?

The man who flashed me made a sort of high pitched whining/screaming noise to get my attention. I read an article on the front page of the local paper and it mentioned him making the same noise. Plus the second crime was not even half a mile away from where he flashed me. It was the noise he made. Pretty unique. I knew it was him because of the freaky noise thing

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 20:05

My experience of this stuff is simular to the OP's. It started when I was about 11/12 (this is in the UK). I remember the first time I was in a supermarket wearing jodphurs (just come back from the stables). Some man pushed me up against a shelf for the purpose of rubbing himself against me. He made a comment about my backside. I remember saying "sorry" when he did it. Again aged about 12 and wearing my school uniform some bloke making sexual comments and asking me out (he was about 30) and again at a bustop after school some guy wearing tracksuit bottoms wandered up and told me to touch his penis. Remarkably I laughed and smiled but inside I was confused and frightened. I was trying to be cool but I felt confused and so ashamed.

This happened for years until 4yrs ago when I put on weight and now I seem to be less visible. I don't like being so heavy as I feel sluggish and unhealthy but I dread the idea of losing weight because I know i'll be a target again

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 20:09

Just realised that the South Wales police incident was closer to 1996

cellini · 27/03/2011 20:25

yes, i'd be more interested in where this doesn't happen to be honest! it seems like the "norm" (wrong i know) pretty much everywhere in my and my friends' experiences.

it aggravates me now to think of myself as a schoolgirl, scared on buses, on the street, at bus stops (you're somehow so captive waiting there) and yet only once can i re-call another person (happened to be female) intervening (actually, think she was just an older school girl but it worked). as i got older, i remember lads being chivalrous enough to step in once or twice when things got ugly in clubs. i also remember becoming increasingly aggressive and paranoid. i like to think i've got a grip on these feelings now but i'm inclined to be disproportionately protective over my DS (actually, i think most parents are!!). one thing that repeatedly stopped me reporting incidents when i was a teenager was the worry i knew it would inevitably cause my mum.

SSS it is awful that you experienced that in South Wales and weren't taken seriously. It's no comfort i know but i can guarantee the attitude of Manchester Police was similar about 8 years ago when my teenage cousin was taken off the street, raped and left walking home, barefoot, after escaping through a second floor window.

Good for you for seeing through the Golders Green case, how vindicating.

SoSaysSarah · 27/03/2011 20:31

I'm sorry to hear about your cousin. My hope for her is that she is now mad as hell and spitting blood. I hope her anger propels her foreward

SardineQueen · 27/03/2011 20:33

SSS it seems to be a really deep problem with the police. They didn't take what happened to you seriously, he went on to worse crimes. If they had taken you seriously they might have caught him quicker / been able to use your case as evidence as well to make the prosecution easier, maybe he would have got a longer sentence.

Same as my friend.

And now we have just had just another serial attacker where it turns out that the police could have caught him years earlier if they had followed up leads that were handed to them on a plate Angry


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cellini · 27/03/2011 20:57

yes i think it's no surprise when these nutters "suddenly" appear: the truth is our culture indoctrinates young men and women to think that it is shameful to be a victim - i felt like "damaged goods" mentally (and was told as much by an ex - cheers!) for years. i had good female friends tell me how paranoid i was (maybe i was, but it doesn't mean it wasn't true iykwim). Hollaback seems like that first step to change - object and do it loudly, shine the light on the dark corners and see how brave these cowards are then.

SSS: my cousin is very well-rounded and not at all bitter apparently - she is pretty epic tbh.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair · 28/03/2011 22:01

sorry to start the thread then disappear (got a BFP inbetween so it's kinda taken everything else out of my head!)

I live in London, lived in Tufnell Park but went to school in Camden now line in Streatham....but I agree it's not a localised thing, I experienced the same kind of verbal harrassment when I was at uni in Bristol and visiting friends in other parts of the country. I don't come across it on a daily basis or anything, but certainly enough cases to have lost count a long time ago.

SSS can't believe the difference in your two stories - the real shame seems that it's so down to the police officer you deal with at the time.

My friend reported a flasher to the police in Euston on her way to work a few weeks ago, spent 2 hours in the station, outside pointing out the man (who claimed to be weeing in a public telephone) nothing of course got done about it but she shouted a lot and made an example of both the police and the flasher in front of a lot of city workers

The trouble is the feeling of shame and humiliation it conjures up in me, I never manage to respond but if I'm physically harrassed like that again I'll get my camera phone out and call the police

OP posts:
AbsDuCroissant · 29/03/2011 10:18

Interesting thread.

Did any of you see this article on the BBC? about how it's okay in our culture to harass women in the street, and it's so depressingly true. I don't know of many men who've had similar harassment (one friend was offered a blowjob by a guy, but that's about it).

Slightly different, but I went to India with DP last year and there is no way I would have felt comfortable being there without a man - I was constantly stared at, which was really disconcerting, and rather disgusting, overweight sweaty men hit on me in front of DP without any sense of shame. It was really horrible.

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