Following on from my last blog post ((Bend Clit like Beckham)) I’ve found it has been so gratefully received in such a short space of time.
I’m going to talk about the invisible plague which effects every single one of us no matter what age, sex, race or gender. Sexism is so engrained in society that it becomes a norm which people adhere to. Until secondary school I wasn’t aware of sexism but it has always been floating.
I have experienced several sexist encounters and I’m going to share them; I can only speak of mine.It’s taken a while for me to write this because I haven’t know how to word it without being too vulgar or being to direct. Then I think at times we all need to hear the truth, because the truth helps us all understand what is right and wrong; there’s no beauty in truth unless your Keats. (Deep breath) The main reason I’m writing this isn’t for sympathy but to identity and possibly help other people who’ve gone through experiences to identity them and speak out. Even though my sexist experience s and assault has come from men, I’m not going to do is dehumanise and make monsters out of men because that’s what Feminism is not! Also most men believe sexism is wrong and it would be unfair to tar them with the same brush. Also my male friends have stuck up for me when experiencing a sexual encounter or assault.
Was it sexism when..
At the age of twelve you grabbed my breast and placed your arm around me whilst I was getting food in the local club? ((Just to clarify I don’t condone underage drinking ,it was a party)). But when I reported it you were drunk so got away with it and it made me feel like I’d done wrong.
At the age of thirteen I was told I wasn’t allowed to play rugby because it was too dangerous for a girl and I’d hurt myself.
At the age of fifteen I was touched up by a boy in science. He felt my legs , my bum, my hips. When this was reported I was blamed by the school for not reporting it sooner. Then the boy who felt me up (and his friends) teased me for telling because they were only messing about ;I was told not to take it seriously and I shouldn’t be so frigid.
Was sexism when …you marked us all out of ten when we filled out of the PE changing rooms and discussed who you would and wouldn’t shag? I was never the top of your list because according to you I was ugly , too nerdy and would never get a boyfriend.
Or when you used to slap the bums of the girls mine was always described as “Nice and Juicy.” But you were put off by my “thunder thighs.”
Then there was that time when we were going aerobics and you queued up at the door to watch.
At the age of sixteen I was ridiculed by my fellow female classmates for not shaving my armpits one PE lesson. Even though it was my choice to leave it because I didn’t want to conform to the beauty standards .
Facts and figures
- One in every three girls has experienced ‘unwanted sexual touching in schools
- 71% of 16-17 year olds say they hear sexual name calling such as ‘slut’ or ‘slag’ several times a week.
- The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at 26.5 per 100,000 ((I’ve put this statistics in because I feel that men are forced to be masculine and not supposed to express emotions even though they are human and have needs. Before we learn to talk we learn to cry, if you feel down speak up it may save your life! https://youtu.be/aSAeOhCrv_s)
- Tips: Firstly I’ll say that it is very difficult if you are the victim of sexism/ sexist assault in the spur of the moment because you may feel uncomfortable. However there isn’t anything that you did wrong to provoke them and there’s no right way to react.
- Have other girls and boys behind you supporting you not laughing along. Call people out who display sexist behaviour towards you.
- Come forward as soon as possible if it is in school or college the institution has a duty to protect you and demand they take action
- If this happens outside of an institution tell someone how you feel and if that’s too much effort report them.
Know your rights
Protection From Harassment Act 1997: Makes it an offence to engage in something which is harassing, alarming or distressing someone.
Sexual offences Act 2003:
A person (Let’s call them A) commits an offence if ..
(A) They intentionally touch another person.(B)
(B) The touching is sexual
(C) Person (B) doesn’t consent to touching.
(D) Person A doesn’t believe that B consents.
I’m hoping that this blog has helped you if you have faced sexism or sexual assault.I don’t think it’s the most eloquent account but it’s been bothering me and this was a way of expressing my feelings.