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Sexual Harassment - When is enough, enough?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by JosieWhitehead, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    It's not even funny, finding them bound and gagged with oranges stuck in their mouths was mildly amusing and begged the question was the intention actually sexual?... Sorry couldn't resist. :oops:
  2. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    That's been exactly my experience. I can't imagine ever getting lucky otherwise and neither can I imagine how any relationship get off the ground and become a lasting one without mutual respect.

    Here I think it's worth considering the influence that free pornography has been having, since we never encounter conversations like that in any other medium.

    It's certainly not normal behaviour. I can understand how it would be intimidating and frightening, but some perspective on how common it is needs to be given.

    A degree of respect should also be given to the vast majority of men who would happily beat seven shades out of any man who treated a woman as poorly as you describe.
  3. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    This doesn't surprise me at all. My sister recently had to go up against the police in court. The behaviour the displayed by the officers who were supposed to be witnesses for the prosecution towards my sister (who was just doing her job as the officer who brought the charges) outside the courtroom was absolutely outrageous and petrified her (kicking her chair as they walked past, pretending to throw things to make her flinch, barring her way as she tried to walk down the corridor and refusing to move forcing her to push through them etc), not least because the officer who was the defendant kept saying her full name over and over as he gave evidence, as if to say 'they're on my side really and we all know exactly who you are'. Not sexual but the entire point was to show dominance and intimidate her. Her male colleague did not get the same treatment. But when it's the police doing it, who do you complain to?

    Just like any abuse, catcalls can range from the mildly amusing to downright scary. Men whistling out of a moving car aren't so bad because in a split second they're gone and you know you're safe, but the drunk guy who followed me down an empty tube platform when I was 14 making lewd comments about my breasts was frightening.

    Around the same time, I had my first experience of a hand making its way between my legs on a packed tube - I didn't know whose hand it was and was too frightened of confronting the adult men around me to do anything but awkwardly try to shuffle away.

    At school when I was in year 9, there was a boy who used to put his hand up my skirt, or grab my boobs as we passed each other in the corridor. Fleeting contact but definitely deliberate. After months of this, I told the head of year, who suggested that I should try to be nicer to him, not wind him up. He's just excitable, you know what boys are like.

    So I never told my parents about how my piano teacher suggested that we share a bed when I was on a trip to perform in France when I was 15. I wasn't even sure what he was suggesting, but I slept in the chair with my head on the desk instead, because he'd only booked 1 room. He was in charge of me and I didn't even really comprehend what sharing a bed might actually entail (I mean, I knew what sex was, but it still wasn't really on my radar as something I'd actually do myself anytime soon. It was for grown ups, not kids like me) but I knew it was weird and made me uncomfortable.

    Probably also why I didn't make a fuss when I was 19, and I had a boss who mocked up a reference for me when I was leaving, which referred to me as top heavy and discussed my 'assets' in detail, then read it out to the office. That was viewed as a hilarious joke by the 30 or so people in the office so I figured it was just me that found that kind of stuff mean. Plus, I needed the proper reference to be good so suck it up and smile sweetly while a load of men old enough to be my dad laughed at the comments about my body. I'm probably just being over-sensitive right?

    At my first job out of Uni, my boss would refer to me as her (yes, her) wench, with a little wink at the guys. So respectful. The men loved her coz she was one of the guys.

    More recently, I've had guys think it's ok to put their hand inside my bra at a pub, with their mates laughing and egging them on. I've been picked up, dumped over someone's shoulder and physically carried outside by someone who wanted to kiss me 'in private'. I've been pinned down to a pool table by a guy who was pretending to dry hump me as a joke (that I was not in on, I was just a prop). Hilarious 'banter'. I've been followed home.

    Couple of months ago, a very drunk guy approached the table I was sitting at with my friends, decided I was 'lovely' and wanted to kiss me. When I recoiled, he grabbed my head and licked my face from my chin to my forehead then called me a stuck up *****. What a compliment! My friends chased him off while I washed my face but that's just his way we were told by the bar manager, he gets like that when he's drunk, he's a good guy really.

    And why don't we fight back? I've had guys who've emptied a pint of beer over my head on a night out because I told them to eff off when they've got 'handsy' in a bar. That was fun. When I told the friend of a friend who got his penis out under the table and tried to put my hand on it to get the hell away from me, it was me that was called a liar and then subjected to a tirade of abuse from him and his mates for the rest of the night. Speak up when it happens and you're not believed, you're just being a frigid cow, it was a misunderstanding, he was just being friendly, it's was meant as a compliment. Don't speak up till you feel safe and you're making a mountain out of a molehill because if it was really that bad, you'd have said something at the time.

    Now, none of these incidents were anything to do with being chatted up or trying to initiate some kind of relationship with me. I mean, how many relationships have started after a woman chased down the guy who screamed "nice ****" at her as he drove past, so she could throw her number in through the car window while he was stopped at the lights? What true love story starts with a drunk stranger licking a horrified woman's face. Sorry guys, whipping out your todger and expecting a handjob under the table as you chat to your friends is not a chat up line.

    I'm not a shrinking violet at all. I'm gobby and outspoken (I know, hard to believe) especially when I've had a drink, and it takes a lot to offend me. I've been chatted up, in what in other circumstances might be seen as a crude and rather vulgar manner, but that was perfectly ok because believe it or not, it's quite easy to tell when a guy is just coming on to you in a very clumsy manner because he actually fancies you and wants to get to know you, and when he sees you as nothing more than a random body that can be used for his own amusement/sexual gratification/power games in front of his mates. It's only the latter that is horrible.

    I refuse to change my behaviour because of my experiences (of which these are only a selection), because I am doing absolutely nothing wrong in being a woman or drinking in a pub with friends then going home, but I am often scared and always, constantly wary.

    This whole idea that every interaction with women is becoming dangerous for a man who might unwittingly be harassing her without realising it is nothing more than an extension of the myth that women are hysterical monsters who use their sexuality to lure men in just to enjoy punishing them for daring to be interested. It's nonsense. If a guy worries he doesnt know how to interact with a woman without being accused of sexually harassing her, then it's him who has the problem.
  4. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Lead commenter

    The whole way it's being dealt with is also a fiasco. The M P who finds out he's suspended by reading it in the media while he has no idea that he's been suspended or why because he hasn't been informed by his party. Clive Lewis M P being interviewed by the press while he's supposed to be under investigation.

    And Jeremy Corbyn refusing to talk to the media while out getting cardboard cups of drinks. Has he not got a kettle in his house?
  5. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Wow. Sorry. Realised reading that back I might have become a little angry about halfway through. :oops:
    Noja, marymoocow, InkyP and 2 others like this.
  6. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

  7. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    I understand the myriad reasons for not reporting any sexual offence against oneself, but at the end of the day silence is basically self-protective and allows the perp to go free.

    Having said that you could have made any number of complaints in the 70s and just been told to get over it.
    monicabilongame and emerald52 like this.
  8. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

  9. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Lead commenter


    I'd be out with a shotgun if anything like that ever happened to me.

    I'd just go berserk. I'd find out where these people lived and I'd make it my mission to destroy them in every way possible.

    I'd be smashing their house up. I'd smash their car up. I'd tell everybody what they had done. I'd make sure I screwed up their job and their family life. I'd destroy them.

    But I suggest you go to the police if it ever threatens to happen again.
    emerald52 likes this.
  10. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    You did, and well done for recognising it. Anger can never be suppressed forever. We all get it and deal with it in our owns ways, but at some point in time, it all gets too much and it gets unloaded, frequently of people who don't deserve to be recipients of it.
  11. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Senior commenter

    I'm not surprised Orkrider2 I felt very angry on your behalf .
    It took me a llooonngg time to be angry about what happened to me because I was taught that anger was wrong .
    Yes, if you want to smash someone's face in I agree that's not helpful ( to say the least and totally wrong ) , , but being angry about what was done to you and how it made you feel enables you to "heal" in a way . Or at least that's what it did for me . It let out the pent up frustration and validated me as a person , whereas before I felt I was invisible and didn't exist .
    One thing I do hope, is that in all of this , standards of behaviour will improve for women and men alike and that this will encourage positive strong relationships between the sexes .
    emerald52 and bonxie like this.
  12. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Crikey, Ork! That makes horrific reading.

    I don't think men realise that we women always have to be on our guard. It doesn't matter how old we are, or what we look like, or how we're dressed, we're always aware that we might be a target for unwanted attention when we're out and about. It's not even a conscious thing; it's just there. Antennae up.
    emerald52, Orkrider2, vannie and 3 others like this.
  13. elledriver

    elledriver Lead commenter

  14. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    Yes @Orkrider2 .... a lifetime of harassment and being made to feel uncomfortable.
    In between year 3 and year 4 (old money) I had a growth spurt. On returning to school it was commented on by all and sundry. Teenage boys can be like that .... but I didn't really expect my Computer studies teacher to join in. I was 14.
    At the same school the boy's PE teacher used to encourage the boys to give us marks out of ten.
    I learned pretty quickly to expect this kind of treatment.
    I have been flashed, groped, curb crawled, hands up skirts, hands down tops, had messages left on my car, notes put through my door .....
    And then of course you face the lottery of how they will take your oh so gentle rebuff. You might get sworn at, berated, insulted .... a friend once got smacked in the face.
    I also had the knee stroking driving instructor.
    I had the seedy shop owner who liked to tell me about his sex life. I was 16.
    I had the garage manager who used to turn up unannounced when I was doing the night shift. That gentle rebuff cost me my job. Working in a shop with other young women made us feel like sitting ducks. The door would open and we'd groan inwardly. Then we'd smile at them because the customer is always right.
    Ironically when I worked in a very male dominated profession I was never harassed by colleagues. They could get a bit protective but I never felt uncomfortable.
    A lifetime of putting up with this
    c rap.
    Someone will possibly come back and ask why did I put up with it? Experience taught me to put up with it rather than tell these strangers to **** off ( like I wanted to) because I was afraid of what they might say or do.
    A lifetime of harassment and I don't think I'm that unusual. I am also not Claudia Schiffer.
    Noja, InkyP, emerald52 and 4 others like this.
  15. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    I'm not actually angry about these things happening. I'm angry that my kids are growing up in a world where there are people who are still willing to make excuses for that kind of behaviour. I'm scared that my daughter will still have to put up with people making excuses for this kind of bad behaviour. The 'he's a nice guy really', the 'he just gets like that when he's drunk', the 'it's a compliment' nonsense. That's what makes me angry (and don't worry, I'm not offloading anywhere except for going off on long rants on this forum - something that you are familiar with surely, DOY)

    It's easy to tell women to report it to the police or tell someone, it's much harder to tell your mates to pack it in when their behaviour is clearly making someone uncomfortable or stepping over a line. In my experience, while guys might step in if it's a stranger, most guys find it easier to shrug it off when it's their mates. Maybe they justify it as giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they don't want a row with their friends, maybe they don't want to insert themselves into a drama. But ultimately, I think that's the only thing that's going to make this behaviour unacceptable. It's like drink driving, or driving without a seatbelt, or even smoking. It's not seen as socially acceptable anymore, so fewer people do it.
    I don't think that every guy who makes a clumsy pass and inadvertantly (or not) makes someone uncomfortable should be prosecuted. Apart from anything that'd never happen, and perception is everything so it's all just too subjective for the threat of punishment to ever be an effective deterrent.
    I just want there to be a shift in expectations of acceptable behaviour, which can only come about if people start believing women when they talk about behaviour that upsets or frightens them, calling out their letchy, handsy, mates, and stop laughing at 'jokes' and 'banter' that makes the women present feel objectified, humiliated or intimidated.
    Noja, Flere-Imsaho, emerald52 and 6 others like this.
  16. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I can remember discussing with a friend which was the best way to walk home from school - whether to walk along the main road and get the catcalls from van drivers or cut through the slightly wooded side road and try to ignore the flashers. Thus kind of decision eventually becomes so embedded you don't know you're doing it any more.
  17. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    In my girls' grammar school there was a fashion and beauty contest every year. One poor girl who developed much earlier than the rest in her year was compelled to enter the beauty contest every year.
    It was judged by the male members of staff.
    Can you imagine that being remotely acceptable in schools these days?
    Noja, InkyP, emerald52 and 2 others like this.
  18. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Unfortunately this is very often the case.
    Duke of York likes this.
  19. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    This 100%. Last year, I was walking to meet a friend at the other end of town. I had the choice of taking the road route, or going via a short cut that involved about 400 yards of quiet footpath behind some houses alongside a canal, cutting about 20 minutes off my journey. I caught myself checking my clothing to see if I would be seen as a credible, blameless victim if anything nasty happened while I was walking the dangerous, secluded route (and then I was horrified that this thought had even entered my head). Like you say, it's so embedded you don't even realise that it's become part of your decision making process half the time.
  20. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    And this too. Absolutely same here.
    vannie likes this.

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