So yesterday in many states and definitely in Melbourne there was a March for Justice. I am so proud of these women and some men who marched to ensure the Government understands our position. We are sick of the inequality of treatment! Sick of being unable to live our lives in a carefree manner and wear what we want, go where we want and work where we want without fear of being hurt or feeling in danger and afraid.
I have had enough of not being heard and also questioning what I may have done to warrant this behaviour towards me - I do know it's not about me but when it continues and you are not heard or taken seriously and no action is taken against the perpetrators, you do question yourself and decide to remain silent, while the perpetrators continue on with their lives!
This is the list of incidents that have happened to me which led to some of my issues;
A male friend whose girlfriend was my friend asking for sex. I was 16 and he said no one would know, he was persisting - we were in a car going to get drinks for a party, I ended up jumping out of the car at some lights and walking back to the party. Why did he choose me? He had a girlfriend... Did he think I was easy? I had a boyfriend.
This is 17 year old me -
When I started work I caught a train... It was maybe four stops from home and one day I smiled back at a young man on the train. I was 18 and could see movement near the window I was staring out of. I looked over and he was masturbating furiously - I was so shocked I jumped off at the next stop, but didn't know what to do and so it was never reported! But why did he choose me, was it because I smiled?
When I was 22 I attended a birthday party with a friend at his cousins house. It was interstate and I had gone to bed. It was late and most people had left. I woke up with a half naked man on top of me attempting to rape me. I screamed so loud my friend and his cousin came in and ejected the man. Why did he choose me, I had not spoken to him at the party... I don't even know who he was, maybe he thought I had glanced his way, maybe my outfit, maybe he thought I was drunk enough?
Around 23 I was bitten on the face by a man after I did not want to go out with him! Why did he do that? He had come to my door, I should have been safe at my home, I didn't even let him in! What made it ok for him to do that to me just cause I rejected him?
When I was 25 I was at a nightclub watching a band and was invited by a member of the bar to a private area for a drink. I went and he ordered a cocktail for us. I woke up the next morning naked in his bed and with no idea where I was or how I got there. I assume I was drugged. I was frightened, I have no idea what happened but found my clothes and my car keys which were in my shoe. This was pre GPS and so had to drive around until I could work out where I was. Why did he choose me? Why did he feel he had to drug me? I did not report this as I felt I would be at blame for allowing it to happen to me.
When I was 29 I had a boss who used to lock me in the office and ask for sex, saying he could do what he wanted as I needed the job and he would deny it so I wouldn't report it! He also stood in his office which was a little higher than mine and put his crotch through a small window into my office. Why did he do this to me, (and others I found out years later)? He threatened me and he was part of a 'boys club' that still exists in this company. What made him think it was alright for him to behave like this? Why did I believe him that no one would believe me about what went on?
I then went through a DV Marriage (enough said here) but again, why me?
In my late 40's I was walking the dog in broad daylight in a park and on the way out of the park I was followed. I didn't realise at the time but my dog started going crazy and dragging me down the path, and so I started walking faster which was when I realised I may have been being followed. I started to run and so did he and then I burst through some trees on to a main road and he turned back. It wasn't until friends said to report it to the police that I did, and then they made me feel liked I caused it by walking alone in a park - This angered me that I can't feel safe and walk where I want because men can't control their urges to hurt women!
As you can see these are the reasons we really have just had enough!!!
This is exactly what we need to get out there - I should feel safe, I should be able to wear what I want, smile at people without fear of them getting the wrong idea, catch a train and go to work and feel safe!
Let me also remind you that:
Sexual harassment is:
Any form of unwanted words and/or actions of a sexual nature that violate a person’s body, privacy, or feelings and make that person feel uncomfortable, threatened, insecure, scared, disrespected, startled, insulted, intimidated, abused, offended, or objectified.
The act of masturbating in such circumstances in NSW amounts to the crime of a sexual act, obscene exposure and offensive conduct each carrying heavy penalties.
And can I also remind you that this is very important:
Sexual harassment is never okay.
Sexual harassment is a crime.
It is never up to the harasser to decide what counts as harassment and what does not.
Sexual harassment is never the fault of the harassed. To harass someone is a choice the harasser makes and regardless of what the harassed is wearing or doing, and this is never an excuse for sexual harassment.
It is easy – the harassed is never, partially or fully, responsible for any sexual harassment that they are subjected to.
Please know change is on the way
ENOUGH is ENOUGH and everyone needs to do better.
I also say THANK YOU to all who marched yesterday... You are all amazing!
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