I was inspired to write this tonight after seeing a post on instagram and it stuck with me. This was the post.
This isn’t an easy topic to talk about, but it is one that I feel needs to be talked about more. I know recently there has been a lot of girls coming forward saying they’ve been groped or sexually harassed. I am not writing this to take away from their stories but this is an issue that has no prejudice. It is something I have experienced first hand. Sexual harassment has no limits, gender or race. Nobody is immune to it. We are all at risk of it and we are all responsible in removing it. Unless we all work together and keep each other safe it is going to continue to be a problem.
This is something that is happening way too often. You should be able to go to a bar and not have to worry about who might touch you. You should be able to go to a music festival and not have to worry about someone trying to drag you into the bushes. Written down it sounds extreme but that is just the beginning of some of the horrific things people are experiencing every day. It is something that is becoming more and more of a problem and in all honesty it makes me not want to go out anymore. But enough is enough and it’s time it STOPPED.
We live in New Zealand in the grand scheme of things New Zealand is a pretty safe place. There is always someone in a worse situation but this is beyond a joke. In the last month 3/4 times that I have been out I have been inappropriately touched by strangers. I haven’t really been drinking lately but didn’t want that to get in the way of my social life so I have still been going out with friends. Towards the end of last year I was out with a group of friends at a bar. I was dancing with my friends when a man came up and grabbed my crotch. One of my friends saw what happened and told him what he had done wasn’t ok. This man saw no problem with his action and began getting violent with my friend asking him what the problem was. At that point the random man punched my friend in the face. The following events escalated multiple punches were thrown. I was pushed to the ground. It got to the point where I ran from this bar and hid in my car which was parked around the corner. After I took a few moments to gather my thoughts I went back to make sure my friends were ok. This man is a coward. He is disgusting. I will forever remember his face and never forget the feeling that he made me feel. It’s hard to explain what it felt like. I am not making any excuses for him but I know this is nothing compared to what some people go through. I felt objectified, in no way had I provoked this man. In no way had I led him on. I was 100% sober and before he grabbed me hadn’t even made eye contact with him. What I find finny about this situation is the fact that often when something like this happens to a female people are quick to bring their clothing choice into the situation. Clothes have nothing to do with consent. You should feel safe to wear what ever you want to wear. You should be able to show as much skin as you want without having to worry about cowards who can’t pluck up the courage to have a conversation with you. People who take matters into their own hands, literally. I was dressed head to ankle. Literally the only skin I was showing was the skin on my ankles between my rolled up chinos and my shoes.
This isn’t the only time I’ve been grabbed and unfortunately I don’t think it will be the last. I’ve experienced it from both genders. I remember being out with a group of friends and walking up the stairs this time at a concert when a girl grabbed my bum. Yeah it’s not as intrusive as being groped on the crotch but at the same time I don’t really want anyone just grabbing at me. It is my body and I should have the decision who I want to share it with. You might think something is playful but not everybody wants to be somebody’s play toy.
Unfortunately it isn’t just strangers either. I have had friends trying to convince me into situations that I wasn’t comfortable with. It’s safe to say these people are no longer my friends. In this situation NO MEANS NO. You shouldn’t ever try and pressure or convince someone to do something that they don’t want to do. Don’t be offended by somebody saying no. Appreciate their honesty. Respect their decision and try and understand their perspective in the situation.
If you’re reading this you might be thinking it’s all well and good coming out and telling your story but why didn’t you do something about it. The situation at the bar was the tipping point for me. I don’t ever want someone to experience what happened that night. I don’t ever want my friends to have to defend me physically because someone else is so selfish. I laid a complaint with the police and unfortunately they haven’t been able to find the guy that did it. I just want to say how supportive the police were. I was concerned laying the complaint that it might have just been a one off thing and he had made a mistake. The truth is people don’t just randomly out of the blue decide to do this kind of thing. If they’ve done it once chances are they’ve done it before or they will do it again. If someone makes you feel unsafe or pushes you into a situation that makes you feel unsafe you have every right to lay a complaint. You should be able to walk through life and feel safe. No matter where you are, what you are wearing and who you are with nobody should ever touch you without your consent. This isn’t something that is going to end on it’s own. We all need to stand together and say NO to sexual harassment. Don’t be silent. If you witness it do something about it like my friend did in the bar that night. I’m not saying you should turn to violence but let your boundaries be known and support those who are struggling to use their own voice. Together we can create positive change. Speak up. Speak out. Don’t back down!
You can find more information and support at the links/numbers below.
(09) 623 1700
Call – 0800-376-633
TXT – 236