Submitted by Rose

I’m 9. A boy from school chases me around the McDonald’s playground, pins me down and says he wants to kiss me. I kick him off and get away.

I’m 12. My creepy teacher is always trying to get me alone in the classroom with him. Then he invites me to lean against his chest. I say no, shaking in terror.

I’m 14. Walking home from school. A group of about ten boys from my class swarm around me in a tight circle. They ask me what my vagina looks like. About my clitoris. About all the boys I’m supposedly sleeping with. I’m a desperately shy virgin. Male teacher laughs and tells the boys not to do that again.

I’m 15. Wearing a school uniform. A middle aged tradie wolf whistles at me while he drives by.

I’m 16. A boy in science class gropes me, then follows me onto the school bus and does it again.

I’m 18. A boy at school slips his hand down my uniform and starts sliding my bra off. When I push him off he replies coyly that he’s “Just keeping his hands warm.”

I’m 20. A man who slows his car down and shrieks “I’d f*** you!” at me as I walk down the street.

I’m at my friend’s 21st birthday party. Her grandfather makes a pass at me. Later on comes to find me and rubs himself against my body. I look at him with wide frightened eyes. He laughs.

I’m involved in filming a music video. The producer reaches for my chest asking where my boobs are because I’m the only one on the shoot wearing a high necked top.

I’m 21. The only passenger on the bus. The middle-aged driver doesn’t open the door at my stop. He tells me I’m hot. I have to ask him to let me out.

I’m 23. My 46 year old co-worker asks about my sex life even when I truthfully say I’m a virgin. I ask him to stop. He calls me a bitch. He tells me I need to start having sex to get the dicks out of my brain and into my life. On a business trip he gets blackout drunk and screams at me for two hours calling me stupid. This goes on til one in the morning. He won’t let me leave. I’m crying, begging him to stop. He won’t and tells me to go rest my brain because I’ve finally used it for once. I end up fleeing the apartment. He tells me I’m mentally unstable and emotionally suppressed and that it’s my fault. He admits to inappropriately touching a woman. Then creepily turns to me and says “You know, I’ve never hit a woman before….”
I go to report him. He’s sleeping with the company head. She refuses to listen. I receive abusive phone calls from her calling me a liar and the perpatrator. They erase all evidence that I ever worked for them.

I’m 24 and trying on swimwear. An old man walks in and asks if he could take over the fitting. The older sales assistant starts lamenting my generation and how we don’t like “those comments” anymore.

I’m walking around the shopping centre/mall dressed as a Christmas Elf for work. A man slips his hand up my skirt.

Shared anonymously

  • I’m in 5th grade and have been chosen by my teacher based on my good behavior and leadership skills to be part of the after-school safety patrol. I wear skorts to school as part of my school’s standardized dress code. On my first day, I’m standing by the bus lanes proudly wearing my reflective vest and some of my male classmates shout out to me that they’re going to put their hands up my skirt. Throughout the school year, they make comments to me at lunch and recess. They say that they saw me showering the night before. That they know where I live and saw me through my window. I tell my teacher about the harassment and she has meetings with their parents. I remember one day, her eyes welled up with tears as we discussed the problem as a class. I wasn’t the only girl they were doing this to.
  • I’m at my first middle school dance in 6th grade, standing in a huddle with my friends when a male classmate runs by and slaps me on my butt and runs off laughing. I’m furious and embarrassed but my friends go with me to confront him. We get into an argument and I punch him in the face. He lunges to hit me back when a parent separates us.
  • I’m 16, sitting on a couch at a party when a friend of a friend (a senior boy) walks over to sit next to me. He puts his hand on my stomach and I move over. He does it again and then I get up to go find someone else that I know.

Submitted by Sam

A year ago today, October 29th, 2016, I was going to Montclair State University for my freshman year of college. I was a molecular biology major who was really into her studies.

I wanted to be a doctor so bad because both my aunts who I grew up living with were nurses and they desperately wanted me to be in the medical profession.

It was the Thursday before Halloween and every Thursday the only parties most of the freshmen knew about was at NJIT fraternities.

All of us would hop on the train and ride it into Newark. It was like a herd of animals walking down to frat row with cops lining the streets, waiting for something to happen.

I thought it would be fun to dress up and go with my friends as a schoolgirl, being that I went to Catholic school most of my life and my friends couldn’t believe that when I would tell them.

So all of us rounded up the group with our cigarettes in hand and start walking to the train station. We smoked a joint or two going to the train station, trying to pregame before getting to the train so they could enjoy the 40-minute ride.

When we all tried to get off it was like a stampede. Everyone was rushing to get to frat row to go to the party of their choice.

When my friend group got to the party, it was packed. It was around 400+ people in this party.

When I saw one of the frat brothers I was friends with, he immediately took me upstairs to do some shots with the rest of the friends of the brothers. By that time, with all of the alcohol and pills and pot in my system it was hard for me to move.

Nevertheless I struggled down the stairs to the party and got in line to get more beer. At that point I was holding onto the wall when someone came behind me and started groping me and rubbing the front of his body on my back.

I tried to stumble away but his grip was too strong as he made his hand down my skirt and started to touch me.

I kept telling him no and to let me find my friends, but he kept pulling me through the house, trying to find a place to fuck me. We ended up outside in a corner where he finally got my panties down in front of everyone.

No one helped. Instead they pulled out their phones and put it on Snapchat.

That was until I saw my friend on the other side of the lawn and called for her. I used all my might to push him off as I walked over to my friend and sat next to her.

The guy followed me and told her that I was a bitchy drunk and walked away. I was sobbing on the way to the train station and called the guy I was seeing at the time and he offered to take care of me.

I got to his dorm and I was just devastated. That really hit me hard after that day. I ended up failing that semester after going to pills and booze to forget.

I’ve been hospitalized twice since then. I am no longer with the guy I was seeing and I lost all my friends from college.

I felt worthless. I still feel worthless. Sometimes I sit at home with my present boyfriend and cry thinking that it was all my fault.

If I just didn’t wear such a slutty costume or if I just didn’t drink too much, but then I realize it wasn’t my fault. If a man was shirtless in front of me or had something sexy on I wouldn’t just go and touch him or grab his junk. That would not be okay.

So then, why is it appropriate if a man did the same to a woman? It baffles me that people make others feel that bad.

I’ve never shared my story to people that didn’t know me at that time, but I think it’s time for people to know. People have to wake up. They need to know how women are being treated. And I am finally ready to tell my story.

Submitted by Amy Taylor

  • From as early as I can remember, my pediatrician fondled my genitals every year at my well-child checkup. At the time, I thought what the doctor was doing was just part of the exam.
  • When I was 8, two male friends disrupted my third-grade class by arguing loudly over which one would get to be my “boyfriend.” My teacher responded by calling me to the front of the room, where she instructed each boy to kiss me on the cheek in front of the class. At the time, I was interested in Strawberry Shortcake and the Muppets, not boys.
  • When I was 13, a group of girls at my high school started a rumor that I had “fingered myself” during an off-campus band concert weekend. At the time, I had no idea what “fingering” meant. The rumor was still circulating four years later, when I was a senior.
  • When I was 18, I attended a party and was handed what I now believe was a spiked drink by my male next-door neighbor. I remember being semi-conscious on a bed and saying no when another guy, who I’d known since kindergarten, pulled down my pants and had sex with me. I drove myself home after the next-door neighbor refused to give me a lift. At the time, I assumed I deserved it for getting drunk at a party.
  • When I was 21, my family physician inserted an ungloved finger into my rectum, without warning or explanation, during a physical exam. At the time, I thought all doctors did this.
  • The appropriation of a woman’s body at any age affects her for the rest of her life. Staying silent helps no one.

Shared anonymously

  • I am 17 and flying alone. It is my first time being on my own. An older man sitting next to me takes an interest in talking to me. We talk about how I like to write, and he says he has people with whom he can put me in contact with who can help me with my writing. I am excited, and give him my home number. The conversation turns personal and I am uncomfortable, but I lack the assertiveness (or headphones) to escape the conversation. I was raised to be respectful. Not to challenge my parents. Not to question authority. Do what I am told, without question. I am ill-equipped to handle this situation. By the end of the flight, he has begun to stroke my face, and tell me (and all my acne) that I am beautiful. I tell my mom about that guy, and when he calls that evening, she tells him to never call back again. He doesn’t. (Thank you, mom!)
  • I am 16 and working at Schlotszky’s. I am wearing my very trendy choker necklace while working drive-through. A man and his friend pull up to the window. He says, “I like your necklace. Does it come with a leash?”
  • Older guy, maybe in his early 30s works at Schlotszky’s – I’m 16. He’s always asking me out on dates. I continue to refuse. He asks until the day I quit. Coworker at Schlotzsksy’s asks me one day, “Yo, Kerry, when we gonna stroke?”
  • I am at a bar with friends, who know the owner. I’m up in his office talking to him about school, and he asks me to stand up and turn around. He comes up behind me and I hear his pants unzip as he starts pulling up the back of my skirt. I, as a guest who is drinking for free at the bar, laugh uncomfortably and jump away, and “Ha, no, no.” He says, “I just want to see something real quick …” I go downstairs and rejoin my friends.
  • I am 19. I am with a guy who is 10 years older than me. I’ve dropped out of school and am depending on him for everything. We don’t have a place – sometimes, we stay at his parents’ house, and sometimes we sleep in his car. He loves his meth. And when he’s on it, he wants to have sex. I quickly learn that saying no doesn’t work. He’s going to, anyway. If I resist, it isn’t good. And I have nowhere to go. He says all I have to do if I don’t want to, is just lie there. I often do.
  • I am 33 and pregnant — but have just found out that the baby’s heart stopped beating. I can’t stand the thought of possibly carrying around the baby for days or possibly weeks while I still have morning sickness because my body hasn’t figured it out — but have to wait for an appointment to get medication for my body to begin the process of miscarrying. In the meantime, I have to take a flight to take my child to spend the summer with my parents. Miserable flight, thinking about the baby I’d wanted so much – and that now it is dead and *inside me*. Then the guy next to me, who has his arms crossed, seems to overextend his hand to start touching my side. I lean away, more toward my child’s seat. A few moments later, I feel his fingers on my side again. I’m already teary, and I know if I confront this guy, I’m going to lose my sh*t and it will probably be the kind of situation that will probably get the plane landed. I don’t want my kid to see me lose it. I fake a cough and jam my body back up against his hand HARD, then squeeze so far away in my seat that he can’t reach me unless he is less subtle about it.
  • It’s last Christmas Eve and I am standing in line at Walmart. A guy turns to me and makes small talk about the warm weather. I say I’m not fan of sweating in December. He says he likes sweating any time of the year, any time of the day, and he’d like to make me sweat, too.