It has taken me several attempts to write this piece. I want to stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers who have shared their stories of sexual harassment and assault. In the aftermath of the scandal that is currently rocking Hollywood, we need to encourage all victims of sexual assault or harassment to come forward and tell their story and not vilify them. A person doesn’t ask to be raped, they don’t ask to be made to feel uncomfortable by the advances of someone else or have to listen to crude innuendoes. We need to stop passing it off as boys being boys.
On Friday I took to twitter to talk about some of my own experiences of sexual harassment but I didn’t share everything, there was one instance at a gig that I felt embarrassed about but after seeing the #MeToo hashtag reach almost 340k tweets from women and men (at the time of writing this). I debated with myself for most of the day whether I wanted to talk about the incident as I’ve never told anyone not even my husband. I have read some truly horrifying and upsetting stories over the last 24hours which has given me the encouragement to share my own story.
By all accounts what happened to me isn’t the worst thing that could possibly have happened but it was horrifying and without realising it has left its mark on me.
It was about 2005-6 I went to a gig in glasgow with a friend to see my favourite band at the time InMe. It was a small venue that was really busy, we found an area to stand and enjoy the gig. There was a couple of lads near us who we got to talking to, they were a bit rowdy but we didn’t find them a threat. At some point during the night one of the guys approached me I thought to chat, but no he grabbed at my crotch. At the time I was shocked and laughed it off as both me and the guy had been drinking. I never even told my friend.
Afterwards I never really thought about the encounter, I brushed it off as a lad being drunk, like I had done when any other lads grabbed my butt on a night out or suggested something sexual. THAT however is not an excuse!!
I wish that I wasn’t so naive at the time and dealt with the situation then and there and make it clear that it wasn’t ok for him to grab me or any women for that matter. Women are not on this planet for men’s gratification. We should be treated with respect and not handled like a piece of meat to be picked up and dropped whenever they want. We have our own minds if we don’t want to we don’t have to and that doesn’t give you the right to take advantage of us.
I am hopeful that with the #MeToo hashtag more victims of sexual assault or harassment will come forward to tell there stories whether to the authorities or someone they can trust. I also hope that the hashtag will shine a spotlight to any man who may have pinched a girls bum, thinking that it was innocent playful fun, making them realise that it touching without permission is assault.
If you are or have been a victim of sexual assault or harassment please know that there are others in your shoes and it’s not your fault. Speak up and get the justice you deserve where possible.