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IWW - Sexual Harassment **Trigger warning**


Torrie
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**Warning**

 

**If you would like to contribute anomalously, you can feel free to PM your story to me, Sooh or Ryrin and I will post it without posting your name** 

This is a very sensitive topic and will be moderated closely. If you are particularity sensitive to this subject please understand there are many different people contributing to this thread. Some comments may upset you. Some comments my upset others, but not you. Please be courteous and respectful. If you find yourself too engrossed in the conversation, please step back and take a breather.
 
I also think it is prudent to point out, this is not a hate thread toward men. Many men do not realize what women go through. Often they are blind on how uncomfortable women are when faced with certain situations or comments.
 
Nor is this a thread that will focus only on women. Men can and are harassed too. We don't often hear about this side of harassment and would love if some of the men reading this would educate us further.
 
 
 
 
This conversation is based on this meme, which was contributed by our very own Mother, Elgee!  
harassment_zpspkatfvph.jpg
 
The meaning of sexual harassment is widely debated and often is determined by the person who is experiencing it. Not the person doing the harassment. What is sexual harassment for one person often does not offend another. But the person experiencing it is still hurt. We ask in this thread if you would share any unwanted sexual harassment you have experienced.
 

 

 

 
One of the first experiences which comes to my mind is from when I was first married and is a rather obvious one in my mind.
 
My husband and I took my brothers-in-law (then age 5 and 10) to an arcade. My husband took the older child and I hung out with the younger. While playing a car game with him, this man came over to me and started talking to me. I was playing the game and just kinda brushed him off, but he kept coming back. I had no idea at the time what he wanted and tried to ignore him. Later I checked in with my husband and told him just to keep an eye out because this weird guy kept wanting to talk to me.
 
A little while later, the youngest and I were playing a shooting game and the guy came over and asked me to go play a game with him. I told him I was watching the little boy and he leaned over to tap on my brother-in-laws shoulder. When he leaned over, he actually started touching my backside and leaning against me. He had me trapped between the counter and himself. I was in shock and had no idea what to do. I just started looking around for my husband. My husband saw and immediately started in our direction. He got between the guy and myself and the guy backed off.
 
It's been over 16 years since this incident happened and I can still feel my heart racing and my breathing become faster as I am writing this. I haven't thought about this incident in years, but it still effects me. Not a life changing effect, but still an effect.
 
So, what experiences have you had with sexual harassment?

Edited by Torrie
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Posted anonymously: 

 

 

 

I have one sister who is years older that I. When I was 16 she invited me to spend the summer with her watching her 6 month old daughter while she worked and she would pay me. Her husband got home from work before she did and once he was coming onto me and wanting something I was unwilling to give. I took the baby and ran to the neighbors and called my sister. She came right home, read her husband the riot act, placed all of the responsibility on him, and he apologized the next morning. She asked if this was the first time and I said "no." She suspected one other time when I was at her home and he had done the same thing. I resisted both times. He had been drinking.
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It's so hard to pick 1 instance amongst almost daily ones, but here's an example of an ongoing problem:

 

I work for a letting agency (we rent out residential properties). It's just the owner of the business (female) and I. And elderly gentleman (around 70) owns quite a large amount of the houses which we rent out. He comes into the office a few times a month, and gropes both of us. If I try to make him stop, the chances are very high that he'll take his houses elsewhere, and without them we can just as well close our doors and I'll be without a job. He knows this very well and takes full advantage.

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Most of mine I can't share for a variety of reasons, one of them being its too embarrassing. I can mention as much that I was sexually abused when I was a child - it's not as embarassing as the other cases considering it happened when I was young and couldn't defend myself. I think its part of the reason why I feel awkward about sex in general and at times (though seldom) disproportionately disgusted by just thinking about it, due to what happened and the fact that the man who did it to me was someone I had trusted and was one of my only friends at the time. Its probably part of the rationale of why I rarely trust anyone. I'm celibate now, mainly for a religious exercise but as a side, I at least don't have to worry about the PTSD that sometimes accompanies sexual situations for me and that lack of comfort made it somewhat easy to give up.

Edited by WildTaltos
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I've never been harassed, but this happened to me jogging with a friend a few weeks ago:

 

We had just run down Boylston from Copley and were headed towards Beacon Hill/The Longfellow bridge. When we were at the intersection, i asked if she wanted to run around the parameter of the Public Gardens, or cut threw them, she said "Well, you're with me so lets go through them."

 

I stopped and asked "What does my presence have to do with it?"

She said "The Gardens aren't very well lit, and there are assults there from time to time."

 

#CheckYourPrivledge

 

I made jokes about me not being as attractive as she is, but it was shocking for me to hear that.

 

Also, I was running with another friend few a years ago through a sketchy part of town - we both agreed on that - so we weren't going to take any breaks. As we were running over a bridge a car honked as they passed and yelled something along the lines of a catcall.

 

This also shocked me, ans she laughed and said that "of course they were cat calling you."

 

 

Anway, those aren't stories of harassment, those are stories at me being shocked at harassment. 

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When I was in middle school, I was beaten and sexually humiliated in front of my classmates while we were waiting in the band room for our performance. Some of the kids at the time had the presence of mind to get a teacher and alerted them to what had happened but, either by ignorance or fear, the teacher gave the two boys a slap on the wrist and it wasn't dealt with by school administrators. She covered it up. I never brought it up to my parents because, well, I didn't really comprehend what had happened to me in terms of sexual assault. It was only years later did I understand.

 

My freshman year of high school, an older girl targeted and harassed me consistently on a daily basis. She would make a big display of grabbing my crotch in front of other students. This went on for about three months until she was expelled. This was in the 90's and the school district hadn't even begun to think about the anti-bullying programs that became mandatory after Columbine.

 

My first adult sexual encounter ended in rape. I was drunk and initiated contact with her but, by the end, I was covered in bruises. If I had done those things to her, I would have spent time in jail. I stayed in my room for three days and I only left to go to work. I didn't eat. I didn't talk to anyone, I didn't cry. I wrote about it once and it helped me sort out some very angry feelings but it's in the past now. I chose to forgive her even though I know she was sober and in charge of her actions. I refuse to be angry.

 

And I'm not angry about the things that happened to me in school, either. I know they affected me in ways that are still hard to quantify - I have trust issues. I have intimacy issues. I stopped trusting adults in middle school because they were only interested in their own careers.

 

I've never talked about this with my parents because... I don't know why.

 

Some day.

 

Don't bother telling me you're sorry, friends. It's not your apology to make. :)

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I've never talked about this with my parents because... I don't know why.

 

 

 

Same here. There were several incidences when I was young where I was sexually abused (by people known and trusted by my parents), and I was raped at university. I've not told a single member of my family. I'm reasonably sure they won't be supportive.

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I want to thank everyone for opening up in this thread. It takes a lot of courage to open up and speak about these types of assaults. 

 

For those still dealing with assaults, I support you.

I know many of you are in different parts of the world and there is not much I can do for you, but know that I am a strong voice against these actions and I try to take every opportunity to educate and try to get justice for those who are going through the same situations. There is not much I can say to help with all the emotions I am sure you are going through, but I am always available to listen and talk. There are people who care about each and every one of you. I am one of those. 

 

 

 

 

 

These stories are all very obvious sexual assaults and the effects are long lasting and only those who have faced this can really understand how deep these effects go. 

But what about the less than obvious assaults? Some of the things we do everyday can put a person in an uncomfortable position and be seen as a sexual assault by some. 

 

 

The example I think of is a woman I read about on FaceBook. She had gone into the store to buy a candy bar (or something) and the clerk would not ring her order till she smiled for him. She didn't want to smile, but he put her in a position where she had to complete his request or leave without her items.

Would the clerk have done this if it was a man trying to buy the candy bar?

Is this a sexual assault? 

 

Does anyone have an example of something similar to this?

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not assault but harassment. and she did not have to comply thought she was pressured to. in a situation like that I'd have gone to the manager or supervisor or the owner of the company immediately, because that was way out of line.

 

we have training in preventing sexual harassment every year at work. and every year people make fun of it and say they don't agree with this or that and the people in the training are wrong to complain about various situations and the workplace and their coworkers shouldn't have to deal with it.

 

and that in itself amounts to harassment because it creates a hostile atmosphere and makes

people reluctant to report things they should report.

 

some of the people making fun of the issues are in positions of supervision and they should not be. everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one is entitled to disregard the law. and at work no one should be entitled to disregard workplace policies.

Edited by Mrs. Cindy Gill
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Blaming the victim.  I understand that it happens and it's infuriating.

 

Why wouldn't someone who has been victimized sexually or otherwise be deserving of support and justice?  Deserving is even too mild a word for my liking.

 

I've worked in psychiatric facilities for children.  Many of them still walk through my heart.  I think of one in particular right now.  He was 7 years old.  Among the various forms of abuse he had suffered was that he had been sold out for sex by his mother.

 

We worked so hard with him but were unable to help him to the degree that he could function in the community and he ended up in a state psychiatric hospital.  One day he looked at me, while I was sitting outside of his bedroom door (he had trouble with sleeping and beds). He looked knowingly at me and said "you want to kill those people who molested me."  Obviously, I never said it, but he was correct.  What a little intuitive he was.

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I told my parents about what happened to me shortly after it happened and the result was my father beat the crap out of me and my mother yelled at me, and then I wanted to commit suicide for awhile after that. Nothing really happened to the man who did it - apparentlly it was my fault that I got raped. Wouldn't recomend telling parents basedon my experience, though might be different if you are an adult articulating what happened rather than a child. 

 

Find that if you are a male and you get raped, whether by another male or by a female, typical reaction is people are going to shame you, even those in positions of authority, because you were too weak to defend yourself, your upset over something you supposedly should have enjoyed, your not fighting your own battles, etc. Pretty much then learned to internalise everything and for some instances I rationalised on one level that I wanted to do it even if I really didn't because that made it have less of an impact.

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I've been thinking about what kind of harassment I've experienced as opposed to assault. There have been instances of assault but harassment is a different more subtle thing I guess.

 

The babysitting thing struck home. I can't think of any instant of babysitting where the father was ever there without the mom where he didn't get at least verbally inappropriate. I ended up quitting a few good paying summer nanny jobs without explaining why.

 

School was religious so sexism and a baseline of harassment was kind of the norm. Our skirts measured with a ruler from hem to knee. Dress codes and special meetings about being careful not to let anything show that might be immodest and distract a boy from prayer. Never swimming in the pool with a boy because we could get pregnant that way. A million little daily things.

 

When I was older there was workplace harassment. The opposite of what some of you have said but just as painful in its way. One job when I was at a low point. I worked in a gas station. They scheduled me to work a night shift alone and I refused, because I didn't feel safe alone with the cash in a bad neighborhood. The manager laughed at me and said, "don't compliment yourself, you think anyone would want to rape you?" As it happened I didn't but I wished I could have disappeared when he said that.

 

Women do things like that too, though they think they're nicer about it. I don't wear makeup or dress up fancy for work. Or fir anything. I don't care to, I don't enjoy it. And more than one woman who I'd considered friends politely and sweetly tried to get me to go out with them to gave a makeover. They never took no for an answer or saw how ugly they made me feel. My own sister who should really know better has tried to get me to agree to do some horrible reality show about turning slobs into fashion plates. Like I'm not good enough unless I meet some external standard of feminine appearance.

 

 

That's the kind of thing I think of as harassment. And it hurts and people should just stop it.

Edited by Mrs. Cindy Gill
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School was religious so sexism and a baseline of harassment was kind of the norm. Our skirts measured with a ruler from hem to knee. Dress codes and special meetings about being careful not to let anything show that might be immodest and distract a boy from prayer. Never swimming in the pool with a boy because we could get pregnant that way. A million little daily things.

 

Sounds like my school. I am still finding ways I was damaged by this upbringing. 

 

 

 

I face sexual harassment quite often. And amazingly, it normally happens when I have a bunch of kids with me. My house is the house where all the kids hang out and I'll pack them all in the car and take them with me if I need to go somewhere. 

 

The other day, I had a one year old in my arms, my two girls and the neighbors two little girls (both under five). I had my wedding ring on and the man who held the door open for us said "You need a man to help you take care of all those kids and take care of you. I could be him." 

 

I'm not sure why he thought this would work but my reply was pretty colorful and hopefully the four little girls watching the interaction learned they don't have to listen to this type of statement from men. 

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Find that if you are a male and you get raped, whether by another male or by a female, typical reaction is people are going to shame you, even those in positions of authority, because you were too weak to defend yourself, your upset over something you supposedly should have enjoyed, your not fighting your own battles, etc. Pretty much then learned to internalise everything and for some instances I rationalised on one level that I wanted to do it even if I really didn't because that made it have less of an impact.

I've found this to be true.

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I've had a few (2) experiences in which I considered myself a "passive participant."

 

I did not want the encounter, but wasn't concerned enough to stop it, and was extremely inebriated in both cases (as were my partners, not that that's an excuse).

 

I told one of the partners this the next day and they fell over themselves in shock and apology; the other I never told directly, but let my opinions filter out through mutual friends and I have been assured they are both aware of my opinions.

 

The topic has never come up again, and I still see them in social circles, and engage with them socially regularly.

 

Both cases were examples of the lack of positive consent - I never said "yes" but, then again, I never said "no", i just passively went along with what was happening - and i have been assured by both people (independently before and after the encounters) that had I said no, the encounters would have stopped, and I trust them.

 

The experience has made me very sensitive to getting positive consent.

 

Also, in terms of "male reporting" I'm definetly failing here; asides from tell one of the parteners, and lets other people "guess" what actually happened in the other case, I haven't actually "told" anyone.

 

Why? Well, that's an interesting question - the reason that comes to mind is some perverse male pride, I don't want to admit that the encounters were not fully consensual because what kind of man says no to sex?

Edited by Tyzack
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Find that if you are a male and you get raped, whether by another male or by a female, typical reaction is people are going to shame you, 

 

the reason that comes to mind is some perverse male pride, I don't want to admit that the encounters were not fully consensual because what kind of man says no to sex?

 

These are two very powerful statements. Victim blaming/shaming is somewhat of a hot topic with women now, but more and more men are coming forward and saying they not only experienced assault but also the shaming to go along with it. 

 

According to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University of Michigan:

 

 

between 9-10% of all rape survivors outside of criminal institutions are male (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994; TAAS, 2014).  Furthermore, estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease control (2005) reported that 16% of men experienced sexual abuse by the age of 18.
Additionally, while these numbers include only males over the age of 12, the Department of Justice records that a male's age of greatest risk of sexual assault is age 4.

 

https://sapac.umich.edu/article/53

 

 

16% of men will experience sexual abuse by age 18. If we break this study down, that is 16% of men and boys aged 12 - 18, but it is happening in much greater numbers to younger and older men. And those are just the reported numbers. This number is going to get much higher as more studies are completed and more men feel the freedom to come forward with their stories. 

 

 

Are there different reactions to male and female rape? Why? How do you think both reactions should change and what is the best way to go about those changes?

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Are there different reactions to male and female rape? Why? How do you think both reactions should change and what is the best way to go about those changes?

 

 

Most women are physically weaker than most men - see my story about running through a park at night with a friend, so female rape normally involves some sort of use of force against the victim, while male rape involves an acquiescence or surrender on the victims part. Though in both cases the core feeling - that your body is being used, without your permission, for the pleasure of someone else - is there. 

 

In my experinces I didn't say no because a.) i was drunk and b.) i would have been ashamed to say it, and give the deeply personal nature of these crimes, I can't at all speak for anyone else.

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Are there different reactions to male and female rape? Why? How do you think both reactions should change and what is the best way to go about those changes?

I think there are diferent reactions. There is shaming in a lot of cases with women though, at least in Western societies, it is seen as socially acceptable to seek justice for it and peers are more likely to feel sympathy and outrage over it. If your a male, though, people's typical reaction seems like incredulity, either in wondering how you let that happen or how could you possibly be upset over it when its sex, and while you can seek help through laws, lot of the shame and scorn is going to fall on the victim more than it is your attacker, doesn't matter if it was another man or a woman.

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I work with people who have developmental disabilities.

 

 

"Studies have consistently shown that 65% - 85% of adults with developmental disabilities have been sexually abused. Much of this abuse begins in childhood and continues into adulthood.

The overwhelming majority of the abusers are well-known to the victim. Common abusers include family members, acquaintances and paid caregivers."

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