The last few days, reading people’s “me too” posts on Twitter, including my own daughters, most recent harassment/assault. Had me thinking about all the times, I had been harassed, cat called, grabbed or had men leering at me, especially when I was younger.
I tweeted that I am 50 and my daughter is 25, she has been harassed much the same way I was. So in 25 years nothing has changed, makes me wonder why and is it a generational problem? Has my generation and those before us, enabled this to continue for so long?
When I was younger I had a large chest, I still do but with gravity and a child they aren’t as pert as they used to be. I was always self-conscious of this and never wore anything to encourage, the looks the comments or the grabs. I got comments like, “we saw you coming, your boobs turned up before you”. I was called Dolly Parton, Sam Fox, asked if I was going to become a glamour model, how long it was since I’d seen my feet. I was grabbed, had my top pulled up or looked down. No man ever looked me in the eye, which is really hard because I’m just over 5ft 3”.
When I went to pubs or clubs, I was groped, lewd comments made, outright disgusting suggestions made. What did I do about it? Nothing, I laughed and went along with it. Why? Well it was just boys being boys, you get told to get a thicker skin, take no notice. You learn very fast to have great comebacks for the cat calls and comments. I still revert to these today, when really I should tell the guy it isn’t acceptable. But behaviour is so ingrained it is hard for me to change it, so to expect guys of my generation to teach there boys different, I have to change my habits and tell these guys, that it’s not acceptable, it hurts, it makes women feel worthless, like they are nothing to men but sex on legs for their enjoyment.
My parents were publicans and I worked the bar, plus other pub bars and the inuendo, the comments and the grabs were par for the course. they still are all this time later, when my daughter worked in pubs.You shouldnt have to put up with it, male or female. it shouldnt be expected of you to put up with it, because of the type of job you have. you get comments likeoh you’re only a barmaid. So what? It isnt an easy job, as much as some people seem to think it is. try it for a few weeks its bloody hard work, so why should I put up with men wanting something from the bottom shelf, so I have to bend over? why do I have to put up with having my boobs grabbed when my hands are full? I shouldn’t have nor should anybody working at their job, no matter what they job is, how much they get paid or how low you think they are on the totem pole.
I am not in any way blaming women for being attacked, verbally, physically or emotionally. Not just women, this happens to men too, have you ever seen a hen night get out of control? Worked for a female boss who likes a guy you work with? It doesn’t matter your gender or sexuality it happens. It also doesn’t matter what job you’ve got, a cleaner or a top celebrity it can and does happen to you. Age doesn’t matter either, I remember when my daughter was 4 and just started school, a boy in her class had grabbed her inappropriately and made her uncomfortable, this kid was 5 years old, how did he know what to do and thought it was normal. I reported it to the school, They looked into it and it discovered this kid had been porn and that it was “normal” to him. What happened next? They called both children into the office and basically said to the kid he wasn’t to touch girls like that and then tried pushing my daughter into describing what had happened, she felt ashamed and scared and was basically told she was being over sensitive. What did I do, that’s right, I got upset along with her angry t the school but did nothing, because after all you need to grow a thick skin.
The bravery of those coming out, telling their stories, good for you but not everybody can, will or wants to tell you. This doesn’t make their pain or experience any less valid or painful. It just means they heal a different way to you. People have to find their own catharsis and their own time scale. All I know is I was and wasn’t shocked by the amount of “Me Too” tweets.
So people of my generation really do need to stop having a thick skin, stop accepting these things as normal and speak up. If in 25 years our children are still suffering the same issues, we need to step in and say stop. This is wrong, I don’t want my child treated like this, it hurts and it lives with you forever. I did teach my daughter from early to talk to me, slap, kick punch, scream or do anything to get her out of uncomfortable situations. I don’t want her to have to teach the next generation the same. I want this to not be an issue in the first place.
Let’s stop it being acceptable, let’s stop teaching kids to have a thick skin, let’s stop letting other harass us or keep us quiet, LETS STOP BLAMING VICTIMS, lets stand up together to make those scared to stand up, be able to stand up and be believed and have a safe place to come. Be open, be willing to listen and if we all stand together, teach each other and teach those around us, we can build a wall of human kindness and stamp out those that think they have a right, to grab our boobs, to blame us for dressing how we feel comfortable and sexy.
We can dress to feel sexy for ourselves not for you, not for your pleasure but to give us confidence, to make ourselves feel good. Stop calling us sluts and telling us we asked for it. We didn’t, we don’t.
No More, ME TOO.