Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Guys, It Is Never OK To Grab


When I ask my girl friends if they have ever been grabbed inappropriately at a club the answer is almost always a unanimous ‘yes’. I want to take the opportunity here to explain that I do know that this is not a female specific problem. I personally know many men who have told me they too have been grabbed. That being said, it has happened more frequently to my female friends than my male friends, so these are the stories I am going to tell. This has been a problem since I first starting going out to clubs at 15 years old.

I’ve decided to write this post now because of recent events. As I said, this has been happening to me since I was 15. Over the last five or so years I would say I have been grabbed fewer and farer between, but it still happens. A couple of months ago I was in a crowded club with some friends and I was queueing on my own to buy a drink. I felt someone grab my ass and I turned around to see some guy and his friend smiling at me. I asked him ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing?’ and he laughed, said it was a joke and apologised. He started to talk to me about general things and then suddenly tried to stick his tongue down my throat. I told him, rather indignantly, that I have a boyfriend. He then said ‘I respect that, you’re staying loyal to your boyfriend, that’s admirable’ before trying to push his tongue down my throat a second time. It was at this point that I decided to walk away.

Later on in the night I was making my way to the toilet when I felt someone go up my skirt and grab my vagina. I turned around and there was the guy with a couple of his friends, all of them openly laughing at me. I was in shock. I have had people grab my ass over my skirt or trousers, but I don’t think I have ever had anyone reach up my skirt and grab me there before. They all just stood there, laughing.

A friend of mine recently told me she got grabbed at a club too. A guy grabbed her breast while his friends stood by and laughed. She was not wearing a bra that night because of the type of top she was wearing. She told me she ‘felt more violated than I normally would’ because of this.

Just a few weeks later in one of my group whatsapp chats a friend announced that she would like to have a little rant. She then proceeded to rightfully rant away, asking ‘why do men think it’s ok to harass women on a night out? Why can’t two girls dance and have fun on a night out without men non stop trying something? Why do they think it is ok to touch you?’. This rant was prompted by the fact that her and a friend were on a night out and some guys were constantly harassing them and wouldn’t let them just dance on their own.

What happened to me has really stuck with me. Straight after it happened I went to the club bathroom and regrouped, then went out to find the friends I was with. The guys were stood nearby and I was overly conscious of their presence for the rest of the night and I felt like I couldn’t dance or have fun anymore. I left shortly afterwards.

It was on my mind a lot for the following couple of weeks. For the first week I thought about it almost every day. It has been two months since it happened and I still think about it sporadically and feel upset and angry. Why does a guy and his friends think it is OK to grab girls on a night out, and I say girls plural because I found out later on he had grabbed several of the group that night. Not only do they think it is OK, they think it is entertaining. I wonder how much they have thought about it since they did it. If they even remember me out of the many girls they grabbed. If they felt a little guilty when they woke up sober or if it was just another funny anecdote for them to guffaw over.

To guys this could be be some ‘harmless’ fun that last for a few seconds. Guess what guys, these things stick with us. Most of my girl friends will say yes when I ask if they have been grabbed. They don’t say ‘I think it happened just the one time…’ They usually roll their eyes and wearily say with a look of disgust and annoyance ‘yes, so much’. This is just a part of going out for many women, something to be expected. It is sexual assault and it should never be expected. It’s the 21st century for crying out loud.

Guys, it is never OK to grab!
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  1. Half the reason I stopped going to festivals and concerts was because I was so fed up with guys constantly grabbing at my ass or putting their arm around my shoulders and casually resting their hands on my breasts. It's so invasive, degrading and infuriating and the fact the perpetrators think they're justified in their actions as they're "just joking" is the thing that makes me want to punch the smarmy gits in their face. I'm fortunate enough to have male friends who aren't afraid to stand up for any girl being harassed but there have been a few times when I've been standing with a now ex-boyfriend who has noticed someone grabbing at me and let it happen which in turn made me feel like I shouldn't say anything as he was totally cool with it.
    Why anyone, male or female, thinks putting their hands on someone else's body without consent is appropriate or funny is beyond me but I wish they'd get it through their thick skulls that it's horrendous for the victim and completely ruins not only the day/night but sticks with us every other time we're just trying to have fun.

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