Monday, 4 March 2013

Edited Lowlights



I’m sitting, hiding, in a small meeting room at work, because I don’t want anyone to see what I’m writing. Well, not right now, and certainly not till it’s finished. This is difficult to write for many reasons. I want to strike the right balance, not to appear ‘too angry’, make ‘too much of a fuss’, or be ‘too negative’, but still get my point across. I want to do justice to how I feel, and to how my experiences have affected me, but I don’t want to blame anyone. I want everyone to know, and I want no one to know. Most of all it’s difficult because recalling these stories is incredibly stressful- more stressful than I’d thought it would be.

So, in the interest of balance, here’s where I’ll start. I am aware that living in 21st Century Britain, I am literally one of the luckiest women to have ever lived on the planet. I’ve had a spectacular education, endless opportunities in my career, a wonderful family, and really supportive friendships. I have civil liberties, I’m supported by a wonderful welfare state, am able to travel, and dance, and go to the theatre, and live a largely free, happy and fulfilling life. For that I am incredibly (incredibly, incredibly) grateful.

Nonetheless, I have been moved to write this piece because despite all of this progress, we still do not live in an equal society. We still treat our young girls and boys differently, we place expectations on them solely based on their gender, we nurture them differently, and exclude them from each other’s worlds. Worse, when our girls become teenagers, we start to treat them as sexual objects, and place them in a scary and threatening world. I don’t know how much convincing you need on this point; I think it’s fairly comprehensively covered in the media.

I want to share my personal experience because I’ve come to realise how important it is that girls understand that they are far from alone when it comes to sexual harassment. It’s not something ‘other’ that’s happening to ‘those girls’ it’s happening to us, right now, and it’s really wrong. My story is far from extraordinary, and I know that many women (my friends included) have gone through far worse. Above all this makes me incredibly sad.

My first memory of sexual harassment was when I was when I was about thirteen, when an older boy grabbed my chest when I was walking home from school. It really hurt, but I didn’t tell anyone, it was too embarrassing. As an older teenager I remember learning to cross the road rather than walk past leering builders, or any group of guys. At 17 I had a pint of beer thrown in my face because I wouldn’t grind up against some guy in a club. It’s a rare occasion that I can go for a run without someone shouting out at me ‘keep going sexy’. I’ve been undermined in the workplace, with men openly drooling over me in meetings. I’ve been told that my boss only likes me because I am a young pretty girl, rather than because I’m good at my job.

The main problem with what I’ve talked about so far is the relentlessness of it. In these moments I don’t feel unsafe, mainly just angry and bored of it all. But it's become inconsequential, barely worth a mention. I think a lot of women feel like that. Harassment is just part of life. It’s the times where you feel in danger where the real damage is done.

I was at a conference in Germany when a guy approached me as I was walking back to my hotel. We got chatting and he invited me out with him that night. When I told him that I had plans he became more insistent and kept following me. He was moving closer to me and I kept backing towards the wall, he wouldn’t leave, and touched me around my waist. Luckily I was able to duck into my hotel to escape him. I didn’t like that he knew where I was staying, and I was fuming.

Deep breath.

On the way to work one day, on a crowded northern line, I saw a guy help a woman onto the tube. I’d assumed it was his girlfriend from the way he touched her on her waist and lower back. Kindly, he then let me on before squeezing in behind me. When I say that the tube was crowded, I mean it was about as packed as you can imagine- let’s say ‘arse to groin’ to paint a picture. That would be: my arse, his groin.

It wasn’t long before a started to feel movement ‘down there’. At the time I didn’t know what to think. I guessed he was getting aroused, and I thought about how embarrassing it must be for him. I certainly thought that he would find the opportunity to rearrange himself at the next stop, or get off the tube.  But the next stop came and went and I found him back in the same position. Or worse, somehow. Instead of just a bit of movement ‘down there’, I was starting to think that this might actually be a full hard-on. The girl he’d helped on the tube was giving me strange looks. Assuming that she was his girlfriend, I thought she had seen what was going on and was getting annoyed with me, I smiled back as if to say ‘sorry, I’m not doing it on purpose’. In hindsight I see that she was giving me the look of a worried fellow traveller. It wasn’t ‘stop grinding my man’ but ‘are you alright?’

At this point he’d started breathing heavily down my neck, I still thought that he must have been trying to get himself under control, and that he would be feeling mortified, especially with his girlfriend right there. But his heavy breathing continued, and so did his erection.

I honestly don’t know why I didn’t force myself away. I mean, it was crowded, but if I’d shouted loudly enough ‘would you kindly take your erect dick out of my arse’ I’m sure someone would have moved out of the way for me. I think it must have been a mixture of shock and disbelief, a lack of quick thinking, and perhaps a lack of courage too.

I was so pleased to get off the carriage, I remember the swell of fresh air, and the sweat I was covered in beginning to dry a little. I remember noting how unusually sweaty I was, it was even rolling down my legs. I wasn’t until I got to my desk at work and attempted to hitch up my tights that I noticed the long streak of cum down the back of my leg.

I had a nine o’clock meeting so I just cleaned it off and got on with the day. I reported it to tfl, acknowledging that they probably couldn’t do anything about it, but that I’d like a response, or some recognition that it had happened. They didn’t respond. My friends told me to report it to the police but I really didn’t want to, I didn’t fancy going through the whole story, and I knew they couldn’t do anything about it.

These stories are just a small taste of my experience, edited low-lights, there are many more I could share. But, as I said at the start, my story is not extraordinary, it’s the common lived experience of women in this country. As I’ve shared my experiences with my friends, they’ve come back to me with countless more, most of them repulsive. Sharing these stories empowered me somehow, it made me realise that I was not to blame, that I certainly wasn’t encouraging it, and that I didn’t deserve it.

Individual stories might not seem that traumatic, but when you live with it, or the fear of it, every day of your life, it becomes stressful and overwhelming. Let’s talk about this stuff openly, only then can we truly understand it and begin to make a change.

For International Women’s Day this year (Friday 8th of March), I will be going back to that tube carriage, and dancing in protest. Follow this blog for updates of how I get on.



I want to raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment in this country and challenge people to take a stand. Please share this story, and your own, so that we can make a difference together.

82 comments:

  1. I LOVE THIS. The dance almost made me cry! You are an amazingly strong, intelligent powerful and inspiring woman and I admire you a lot for this whole thing. Great writing, great dance and great idea. Huge hugs and motivation for more - Cathryn xxx

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  2. I second Cathryn above. This (the words, the dance, the inspiration) is beautiful. Much admiration. Catherine xxx

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  3. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME IN PARIS!!!

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    1. The message to Diana (below) is for you too! Thanks so much for sharing.

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    2. Funny, the same thing happened to me in Paris too, though not as bad as your stories as there were no secretions of bodily fluid, just a guy who, even when the train became less crowded and I moved, moved with me and continued to push his groin against my backside. Nice, huh?

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    3. From the ages 11-18 I travelled to and from school, an hour each way on the tube. I can't remember the number of times I encountered sexual in incidents. My friends also, but we never told our parents, our teachers or the police. This was the seventies. We all thought that this is "normal" for the tube, these things happen. We laughed it off, but it certainly left scars.

      Now that we are grown up, we have talked about it. None of us chose to send our daughters to a school that would require a long commute. My own daughter goes toa school in the neighborhood. We wouldn't let our children go through what we did..

      Ellie, I am so proud of you. But also ashamed that I never said or did anything about it.

      Judging from some of the comments about your clip on you tube, there are still a great many assholes around. Your dance was beautiful by the way

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  4. Same happened to me in New York, only it was two men, one in front of me the other behind. As I was getting off, almost crying, I turned around and hit one of them in his shoulder. I'm a tall girl, but I have never felt so small and disempowered. This is a scourge of our time that The Woman's Lib movement was trying to save us from. As I get older, more experienced, I can't help but think that we need to recusitate the movement to make any progress...

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    1. I'm so unbelievably up for a resuscitation, let's do it together. Lets get out there and share our stories.

      Its difficult to describe how much easier you and Amrit.K.Matharu (above) have made it for me to go and do this on Friday- I feel propelled, and I'm going to claim back the underground for all of us.

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    2. Wishing you all the courage for Friday and thank you for writing so clearly what I struggle to articulate to people when they tell me there is no longer a need for women's rights movements.

      You talk of the every day fear and what is more concerning is that in a public place, surrounded by others we are too afraid to say something! I know I would just suffer in silence like others who have commented have said they didn't have the courage to say something, and yet surely the majority of the people on a crowded tube would help you if you asked for help. Yet we feel guilty, we blame ourselves and thus we fear that the rest of the tube would think we were over reacting.

      I am all for making it common place to speak out about the sexual harassment that seems to just be accepted, so that people are aware that this does happen - it's not an over reaction - and that perhaps rather being a bystander who looks away, they can be someone to lend support and help.

      Thank you for making me realise that speaking up rather than ignoring is the only way to change this.

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  5. This happened to me in London, but didn't go as far. Like you I started off feeling that he couldn't help it, the train was so crowded. Then it became obvious that actually there was enough room for him not to be standing so close. Like Diana I too felt so disempowered. I wondered how to retaliate, without it looking like I was a mad woman. I thought if I hit him, or shouted an obscenity, it would look like I was the one with a problem. So I just turned and looked him square in the eye and said in a really loud voice 'stand back!'. I felt like an idiot, but nowhere near as bad as I had a few seconds earlier, and he disappeared at the next stop. I think what you're doing, Ellie, is fantastic and brave and heroic, and I hope your action will give other women the courage to stand up to this common harassement.

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    1. Wow, what courage. You've made me question my own experience- was it really as packed as I remember, or could everyone see? It's probably not worth thinking about, but thank you SO MUCH for sharing.

      If we talk about this stuff openly, perhaps it wont take so much courage to be able to stand up to in the future, and perhaps we might feel that its okay to shout on the tube.

      I'll be shouting for all of us on Friday.

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  6. I had a similar experience too, twice in two weeks with the same man (I'm a creature of habit and always get on the same carriage at the same time, evidently so did he). I reported it to the police and some plain clothes officers got the tube with me the week after, I identified him and they arrested him. Nearly a year later it went to court and I had to give evidence and demonstrate what had happened, in front of the man who did it. I can well understand why women would not want to put themselves through that, especially given that as part of my evidence I had to give information on where exactly I worked, making me easy to locate. Given the conviction rate for sexual assaults, i wasn't especially surprised he was found not guilty, despite pretty conclusive evidence. I'm proud of myself for going through it all, but I really wish I'd spoken out during the actual assault.

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    1. This is so brave, I'm in awe. Having the courage to take a stand in such a raw, drawn out process takes tremendous courage. I hope you had a lot of support and you didn't feel too alone.

      Lets NEVER stop talking about this. Share share share!

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  7. Last night a Dad from Scouts showed me a picture of his cock on his iphone and told me he could make my eyes water. My first reaction was to laugh, then when he said 'I'm sorry if that offended you', instead of saying 'actually you fuckard it did', I say 'oohh no don't be silly'. He's met my husband, our sons Scout together and for a second I doubted my feelings and thought maybe he's just being matey with me. I don't know whose behaviour I was trying to justify, mine or his.

    When I got home I was really upset and angry with myself. I'm a 42 year old women and I felt awkward saying that I was uncomfortable with him showing me his cock. Why is this???? Over the years, just like all of you, I have had numerous unwanted advancements. Whether it was a drunken grope, a boss talking to my tits, a leer of builders or a tube grind you do just shrug it off as part of life.

    I think this is why I reacted like that, trying to make it funny or innocent rather than what is really is, sexual harassment. It's easier not to take it seriously otherwise you have emotions to deal with and people to inform. But I am fucking fed up with sweeping situations under the carpet. I am annoyed for being doctrined into taking harassment so casually that I don't feel empowered enough to stand up for myself and I'm fuming with the men who think its a bit of fun love.

    Your tube story is disgusting Ellie and the fact that a) TFL didnt respond and b) you didn't think it worth telling the police is a statement of how insignificant authorities take this. No wonder why we don't take it seriously either. I should say why we DIDN'T.

    Ellie I'm going to tweet, blog, facebook and linkedin my arse off to spread this message. Do a press release, make more noise and let me know if you need any help doing it. You rock!!! Zoe xxx

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    1. Amazing! Bring it on! Find me on twitter I'm @elliecosgrave

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  8. I'm not sure you are one of the "luckiest women" ever to have lived on the planet. As a student and then later a worker in London in the 80s I experienced the occasional bit of verbal of harrasement but never anything like this. But the 80s were the time after women's lib and before the world of women turned pink, when pop stars wore clothes, when toys were handed down from brother to sister and sister to brother, before "Loaded" and other magazines of that ilk were published, before sexting and cyberbullying. Maybe I'm looking back with eyes made a bit fuzzy through old age (definietly not through rose-tinted glasses) but I do find it shocking that more people aren't screaming out about the new sexism that has crept into society. So I'm teaching my son and daughter to say "yes" if they are asked if they are feminists. I'm full of admiration for the people who start campaigns such as pinkstinks, let toys be toys , no more page 3, science grrls, everyday sexism and, of course, you. Go Ellie, I hope #takebackthetube encourages others not to accept the unacceptable.

    Jill

    (And for anyone as shocked as I was by Ellie's story but feeling helpless as to how to show your support (apart from retweeting her story and telling people) sign up to other campaigns working for change.
    http://www.pinkstinks.co.uk/
    http://www.lettoysbetoys.org.uk/
    http://nomorepage3.org/
    http://sciencegrrluk.blogspot.fr/
    http://www.everydaysexism.com/

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  9. From the previous generation (I'm 47) I implore you to SPEAK UP! Why did most of society stop using the "N" word for black people? Because we made it unacceptable. Why can women go to university and choose to study whatever discipline we want as a career, because we made it unacceptable to not let us.

    Always trust your gut instinct. This same story happens worldwide about 20,000 times a day, even more in oppressed countries. The defining moment came in my life on an overcrowded bus when I was 34. A man standing behind me fondled my ass. A moment of doubt entered my mind until I felt his hard on. I was filled with rage. I turned around and loudly said: Would you do that to your mother or daughter. He was mortified, stammered no... I said, I am a mother and a daughter. Don't ever do that again to anyone. Two men stood up and the aggressor pushed his way toward the bus door.

    Whenever I am faced with that type of situation, even if in what seems like a joking conversation. "I bet I could make you come in seconds, bla bla bla....: I stare at them hard and repeat those same words: Would you say that to your mom?

    We have been dehumanized and sexualized to the point where some men think of us as a "piece" and not a person. Give them some perspective and link it back to the woman who gave birth to them. You'd be surprised how quickly they apologize.

    Will this work on all men, never... but over my 47 years of life on this earth (and I work in a male dominated environment) speaking up does most of the time.

    Trust this old girl. Find your voice ladies and don't be scared to say: NO, what you are doing is not acceptable. Don't hesitate, don't worry about embarrassing yourself or worse "him".

    I want you to think about that young girl that was gang raped on a bus in India. The outcry from around the world was unanimous. Men in that country will begin to think differently as a result. Especially if the "gang" is convicted.


    Sincerely,

    Daughter & mother

    Johanne

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    1. You are so brave, I wish I could have done that!

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  10. Well done, Ellie, for sharing this. There have been rumours about me and my BSc, MSc and PhD supervisors (all guys) which is jolly boring, but I've never had any problems with sexual harrassment. I have had occasional flirty remarks but they are knocked straight back down and I have perfected a slightly deranged stare that says "don't you bloody dare"... I did, on one occasion in my youth, pin an unwanted admirer to the wall and growl "if you like your face the way it is, you'll leave me alone". That simmers inside me still whenever I hear these stories, I have waded into near-violent arguments before now where the woman appears at risk. No-one's hit me yet, but it'll happen.
    A man forcing his desires on you is a form of violence, and it makes me very very angry. I hope I will always feel able to give voice to that anger.

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  11. Have reflected further on my comment above, and realised how it saddens me that I too feel constantly under threat, that every nice remark or kind gesture has to be rejected unless I can totally trust its originator. Even though I've never been attacked, my 'resting state' around men I don't know is one of distrust and acute awareness of my vulnerability, and resulting defensiveness, anger and even aggression.

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    1. I've been working on my 'no-shit' scowl for quite some time. I don't want to have to live like that, smiling is so much better.

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    2. I'd love to. But you know what would happen if I smiled and he took that as permission? It'd all be my fault for encouraging him to abuse me. Particularly if I was wearing a short skirt.
      The law won't defend me, society will tell me I 'was asking for it'. So cold bitch mode is ON. Apologies to all you nice guys who just want to talk to me and make me smile, I can't take the risk.

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    3. A Williamz was me too, sorry.
      I have only just got over being really really angry and upset about what happened to you, so awful, so excuse me if I've not been that coherent.
      I hope it didn't come across that I'm suggesting you attract such attention by being smiley, young, pretty and single and I don't, because I'm not. Such unacceptable behaviour is dealt out to all kinds of different women, and responsibility for the offence rest solely on the offender.
      Just wanted to make sure that was clear, because you are amazing and no-one has any right to make you feel otherwise. What you did today on the Tube - incredible. Well done.

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    4. Thanks Heather- my point before is that I've learned how to do the cold-hard-face, even though its not a nice way to live. We need to change society so that women can smile again. Thanks for your support, I know you're with me! xxx

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  12. Dear Ellie,

    I thought that small developing countries have a higher rate of sexual harassment ( in all forms street, work, familial) due to 1) size was the reason 2) mindset and masochism but how wrong I was.. Reading your story, I remember how I would braced myself everyday before setting foot outside home on my small island (nevertheless of what I was wearing- dress, skirt, pants) comments would come as well swear words, disgusting words or gestures... Sometimes I feel guilty ( why on earth did I put this skirt? sometimes angry and I would eyed them with fury, sometimes tired, I would shrug my shoulders and go away quickly...

    Once there was a traffic jam at least 10 vehicles involves ( lorries, vans, cars) I didn't understand I thought there was an accident but it was because I had wear a dress, all drivers were looking at it instead of the road...I flushed, bend my head and ran away when I did realised...

    Oh Ellie, when me and my friends talked about it we feel relieved that we can walk safely in London...but as I read your story I am quite appalled...How could TFL not respond?

    I was approached by a stranger tonight he wanted my number , to end up the conversation as I said I am taking your number but I have no credit and will call when I put on money, he came back again, insisting I said I wanted to have the choice...to call or not...

    This a result of me being kind and trying to be polite with people in my surrounding...I was harassed by text by the vegetable seller who has taken my number and who texted I am hungry for love...I try not to hand in my number now and be more firm...

    I do not know if guys would stop doing that...

    Sometimes an umbrella can come handy, not for the bad weather but as threat for the guy who's erected penis is facing you...But I know what it is to feel numb, a guy on a motorcycle in my island once pinched my bottoms, I had my bottle in my hand but I couldnt throw it at him ; I was shocked...

    I hope someday all this would stop and if don't maybe we should make our voice sound higher....or reach a lot more women to raise awareness...
    Thanks so much for writing this account Ellie....

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    1. Your experiences sound incredibly stressful, I can't really comment on the difference between here and developing countries as I don't have enough experience. All I know is that it is wrong to be sexually harassed wherever you live. We need to stand up together and make a change.

      The thing about giving your phone number out to strangers in the street is a difficult one. I've been 'asked out' by strangers approaching me in the street middle of the day eight times in the last five years. Its mostly well meaning, but man are they persistent when you refuse to give them your number, that's how the Germany incident escalated (well no, actually, it was because he was a nasty guy, but you catch my meaning). I've taken to just giving them my number because it makes them leave. I then save their number in my phone as 'don't answer'. You don't have to answer your phone.

      I don't know if that's the right thing to do or not. I've been advised to stand up to it if I don't want to give a guy my number. Most of the time I simply cant be bothered, and I am unsure about how they will respond/ what would happen.

      Someday this WILL all stop, but only if we make it. I want to be part of that change.

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    2. Found this through a series of links starting from Facebook. As a guy who is acutely aware of the mindset that women have, if I like a woman and have approached her out of the blue, I don't ask her for her number. Instead, I offer her mine without reciprocation. I leave the choice to call or not up to her. Serves several purposes: Relieves pressure on her by preserving privacy, and if she does call, I know she's genuinely interested. I get a lot of no-calls, but the ones that do end up well.

      I try to spread the word through men about better ways to approach women that don't involve intimidation, intentional or otherwise, and general jackassery.

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  13. I wanted to share a story about a very similar experience on an extremely crowded Central train one summer - it was one of those first warm days (probably around Aug 4th 2011 in fact) , the kind where you brave not wearing tights, I was excited to be wearing a new dress to work and heading into the office for rounds of meetings as I did every day at that time. I was between Bethnal Green and Liverpool Street - in reality it doesn't take more than a few minutes but always feels like a lifetime

    The train was stupidly busy and as soon as the doors closed I could feel something *right* up my skirt - for a while I assumed it was someone's bag and tried to adjust myself away but it carried on until suddenly I could feel it was a strangers fingers trying to get into my underwear, from underneath.

    As soon as I realised I turned round and confronted him - a little, frightened looking man with a moustache. My shouts of 'what the fuck' were met with profuse and pathetic apologies. I was stuck facing him until finally we reached Liverpool St, as he ran away from the train as fast as he could, I hit him in the back of the head. It felt like a small vengeance but straight away I burst into tears.

    My husband and my (female) boss who I told urged me to report in to the transport police, so I did. A week or so later I was called in to give a statement, detailed explicitly what had happened. They were going to check CCTV, even take me to the same station at the time to see if it was him but I heard nothing. At least it's on record. The police said that he would be difficult to track as his normal journey was interrupted.

    i had to get on that very same train on the way home, there was no other way. Now it feels normal again but I was so angry that he robbed me of my usual confidence and made an every day task seem so difficult.

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    1. Wow, thank you for sharing, with the police too. It's important that we have these figures so that we can see just how common it is. I didn't report my indecent, I realise now that I should have, even if it feels stressful and uncomfortable.

      Thank you, and keep sharing!

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    2. Oh that is horrifying - what a lowlife (and saddo) that guy sounds. Well done for standing up to him. It must have been awful. I once got thrown off a train by a man who objected when I asked him to step aside so I could disembark at my station. I ended up in a heap, shocked and bruised, on the platform. What was almost more shocking is that *not one person* came to my assistance. I reported the incident to the station manager who called the police. Unfortunately, the CCTV cameras were not working that day and the guy was never caught.

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  14. Fantastic, shocking, blog post. What adds to the shock is that, within a few hours of posting it, others respond that they've had the same thing happen to them, too. This is not an isolated experience.

    Several things come to mind. Evolutionary psychology is rapidly becoming under-mined, as the argument men use that 'we can't help themselves, we're men' is proving to be founded on current societal beliefs.

    But by NOT standing up, by NOT reacting in a way which informs them that what they're doing isn't merely 'offensive' (ie, the 'worry' given by the guy who showed a photo of his penis to a fellow Scout parent, in the replies above) - which is based on arguable opinion of what's offensive or not - but a VIOLATION against who it's perpetrated AND genuine masculinity, then we're training guys to keep doing it. It's a 'risk vs reward' thing.

    By receiving no penalties, their desire for sexual validation (which underpins a number of male actions and impulses) is all win, no pain. No wonder they think they have carte blanche to repeat it and consider it acceptable behaviour.

    They're not receiving the feedback to prove otherwise.

    Does part of the solution lie in being more true to ourselves, respecting ourselves, listening to our instincts, and not playing 'nice'? Ensuring we know and make clear our boundaries, perhaps, and noticing how we show up in ALL aspects of our lives (where else do folks think they can get away with their poor treatment of us? Where do we not listen, respect, treat ourselves well?)

    I sense we need new strategies, practised and envisioned so that they become our instinctive response, which shows guys very clearly that their behaviour diminishes their masculinity.

    (This is tricky. When someone's identity is threatened, they may become aggressive, which is what many women fear about speaking up. Part of the answer may be to validate them, but clarify your own boundaries, and then out-line the penalties of continuing...)

    The 'would you say that to your mom' line works so well because it a) makes them think of their mum, instant desire-killer and b) gives them a glimpse of the alternative model of masculinity, which has been lost now; protection.

    When did masculinity equate to being a predator, not a protector? That's part of this issue, too; what masculinity means today. How can guys feel validated, quell their fears of not being a real man if they're not getting lots of sex etc, when that may be the only measure modern men have of BEING a man? Especially if they're feeling powerless in the rest of their lives?

    And finally; how can we unshackle ourselves of 'not if, when' when thinking about sexual assault? Because being on the defensive is exhausting, draining, and closes us down not just to sexual assault, but also to joy and the chance encounters that trigger new friendships, relationships, life-paths.

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  15. Wonderful Ellie! I know I've told you some of my stories, but I wanted to say something here. The first time something like this happened to me I was around 14 years old, wedged in front of a group of soldiers at a war memorial. I remember that everything slowed down and I wasn't quite sure it was happening, but I know his hand was definitely there. I had nowhere to move, but even if I had - I'm not sure I would've been able to. I couldn't even turn around. I didn't tell a soul until many years later and was quite sad for the rest of the day, and I quickly decided to block it out. When I examine my reasons for not moving - it was fear. When I look at why I didn't tell - it was because I was ashamed. Thank you so much for having the courage to speak out, and to inspire others to speak out - so we know we're not alone, that we have nothing to be ashamed of - and that we're not making enough of a fuss! This is unacceptable! I have had numerous conversations with friends over the last couple of days - and we all have something to tell. We must help each other realise that it's not our shame, it's theirs. If there is a next time someone puts their hand up my skirt on the tube - I will also shout at the man himself, not just those who laughed at me as it happened. Much love xxxx

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    1. Excellently said. Let's not be ashamed. Lets talk about this, and support one another. xxxx

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  16. I must say, these stories make me angry. And I know I am not the only man who gets angry about these things. Especially, because every time I see an article like this it states that women let it happen quietly. In this case, even the witnessing woman remaind quiet.

    It makes me feel powerless, because I can not help if I am not made aware of what is happening. Protest immediately and loudly. Make everybody around you aware that you are being harrassed. The crowd will be on your side! These guys get the kick out of jerking off in public without anybody noticing. You need to make sure they don't get what they want.

    Please stop acting like victims or you will always be. And that makes me very sad.

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    1. I'm sorry but are you serious? I know I've certainly seen violence on the tube and in public over seats and newspapers, let alone a vulnerable woman calling out a pervert. It's this kind of bullshit that perpetuates the oppression "oh if it was really that bad they'd say something". In the story above Ellie clearly states that she was giving the creep the benefit of the doubt. Had she turned around and seen his cock out I'm sure her first reactions would have been shock and fear rather than to start shouting about it.

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    2. So, you're numb with shock and terror because some guy is getting off on your body, your brain is stuck in horrified "does not compute! what do I do? what do I do?" mode, you freeze in terror... and somehow, that justifies what's happening to you, because you can't function enough to shout out?
      The reaction of the woman being abused doesn't justify the abuse. We shouldn't have to shout for men to keep their hands (and other body parts) to themselves.

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    3. In order to assuage your helplessness, you could help by:
      1) Refraining from assigning the responsibility for a crime to the victim of a crime.
      2) Remembering that these actions and their perpetrators do not exist in a vacuum. Those who commit acts of sexual harassment and assault are not easily identifiable weirdos in trench coats. Challenge the objectification and dehumanisation of women when you hear it or see it, which you will. Encourage women to talk about their experiences as it is this which helps us to become as brave as you feel we are obliged to be. Allow women to talk without fear of judgement or shame.

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    4. 'The Introvert PhD' - do you have any idea what it's like to be subjected to a sexual assault? It's humiliating and terrifying at the same time, and while some people find themselves able to speak out at the time, for the majority of us, a mixture of embarrassment, fear, revulsion and downright shock hold us back. Blaming a victim for his/her actions does not solve the problem; it just perpetuates a culture in which a victim is encouraged to think 'it was probably my fault, ergo anyone I tell about this will probably think it was my fault, ergo I'd better not talk about it'. The onus is not upon a person to avoid being subject to a sexual assault; the onus is on the perpetrator not to commit that act.

      The best way for you to stop feeling 'helpless' is to help create an environment in which victims of sexual assault no longer feel ashamed of what has happened to them. And that means not assigning blame to the wrong person, calling out sexism where you see it, and educating people that this sort of thing happens to someone, somewhere, day in, day out - because not everyone seems to realise that's the case.

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  17. A few of my friends were sharing this on Facebook so I thought I'd give it a read. I sat there nodding along to it all, until the last part. I'm sat her in a public meeting area at our uni with my mouth wide open, that tube story is single handedly the worst thing I've read in a long time.

    I don't even have anything remotely poigniant to add to this comment, because I'm so disgusted that something like this can happen in this day and age. Truly revolting, and I am so sorry it happened to you.

    http://pretty-in-pink-blog.com

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  18. Ellie,
    I find this so empowering, so inspiring, and so sad because its so horrible that you had to experience it.
    I remember when you first told me this story, and how it gave a room full of women the courage to talk about their own experiences, and now you have taken it another step where more than just a room can feel solidarity. I am so in awe.

    Your dance made me cry, and smile. I am with you all the way.
    I am aware and want to make a change.

    xx

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    1. I remember that conversation well Seish, and the stuff we talked about then was the start of all this. That's what I was talking about in this bit: "As I’ve shared my experiences with my friends, they’ve come back to me with countless more, most of them repulsive. Sharing these stories empowered me somehow, it made me realise that I was not to blame, that I certainly wasn’t encouraging it, and that I didn’t deserve it."

      Not everyone has such great friends, and we need to make this stuff easier to talk about. Otherwise we will never get out of the cycle.

      Thanks for your support ALWAYS x

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  19. Well done Ellie, Im proud of you.

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  20. It feels a bit wrong posting on here as a man, but as Frank has been brave enough to do it, so will I. This was a a fantastic post, which opened my eyes, as have many of the comments. Thank you. I may have something more considered to add later, but wanted at least to offer my simple support.

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    1. Hi Chris- I'm very glad you've shown your support, whatever gender you are. We can all be part of the change. Feel free to add more comments if you would like!

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  21. We'd like to thank Ellie for having the courage to speak up about her experience.

    Her blog highlights how difficult it can feel to talk to anyone about it. Our job is to ensure anyone can travel on any train - anywhere in the country - in safety and comfort, and we'd urge anyone who's had an experience like this to report it. We work closely with victims to gather statements, find witnesses, review CCTV and push for the severest sentences for those responsible.

    So if it happens to you on board a train, or you can see a passenger who needs your help, we’d urge you to make sure it gets reported. You may be able to find one of our officers on a train or at a station to help you. Alternatively use a station help point, call us on 0800 40 50 40, text us on 61016, or in an emergency dial 999. Anything reported to us will always be handled in complete confidence and we anything of this nature extremely seriously.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this information here.

      In the future I will always report these incidents. I'm sorry I didn't at the time.

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  22. 'I honestly don’t know why I didn’t force myself away. I mean, it was crowded, but if I’d shouted loudly enough ‘would you kindly take your erect dick out of my arse’ I’m sure someone would have moved out of the way for me. I think it must have been a mixture of shock and disbelief, a lack of quick thinking, and perhaps a lack of courage too.'

    This bit particularly struck me because when I told someone about a very similar situation which happened to me, they said 'Why didn't you say anything at the time? It's your fault that you let it happen.'

    Those are the exact reasons why I couldn't say anything. I felt paralysed by my extreme discomfort and gritted my teeth until I could get away. I felt very angry with myself later. Now I just feel sad, because it's not myself I should be angry at.

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    1. It's never the victim's fault. I found talking to my friends about it was extremely healing, and I'm glad you've shared your story here. Thank you.

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  23. How absolutely horrific for you, Ellie. Very similar story here - London Underground, a guy very deliberately pressing his erection into my buttocks. I was frozen with shock and I so wish I had moved or confronted him. The whole incident seemed to last for ages, until he ran off the train at the next station. He didn't ejaculate against me - I can't imagine how awful it must have been for you.

    Thank you for your honest and heartbreaking words.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story too. YAY for sharing!

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  24. This is horrible, Ellie, and it reminds me of something to happened to me many years ago. I was 20, at my University end-of-year ball. I was waiting to go into an events tent, that wasn't open yet. My friend and I were first in the queue. Directly behind me was my ex boyfriend. I'll call him Fernando - as that is his name. He was with his new girlfriend who I knew of but had never met directly. I felt very awkward with them just behind me as Fernando and I weren't on great terms, and it had always felt like our short relationship had ended prematurely (a mutual decision) and oddly. I still had some feelings for him. So, I was standing there trying to act all nonchalant when I felt something press into me. I shuffled forward but I felt the pressure in my back again. I realised with shock that it was Fernando pushing his erect penis into my back, but I told myself that as I was drunk maybe I was imagining it. I wanted to shout at him but I was very conscious of looking like the jealous ex and/or of humiliating his girlfriend, as well as myself given I was in a line of people who mostly knew me. Then his girlfriend said "Fernando stop pushing into Ness, give the girl some room, she can't go anywhere!" He laughed awkwardly and moved back and I shot him a look. I was hoping to get him on his own later to confront him but I never had the opportunity. Dick.

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  25. Let’s talk about this stuff openly, only then can we truly understand it and begin to make a change - Tikambilanie.

    Inspired - well, well done.

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  26. I can totally understand that there are many barriers to women reporting incidents like this to the Police. However, there is a very worrying progression for sex offenders who start off exposing, then start with some form of sexual assault and then end up actually raping someone. These progressions are more or less linear and often predictable. It's really important to prevent the really very serious crimes to make sure you report the "less serious" ones: although I don't want to trivialise offences such as exposure.

    It's important that women shouldn't live in fear of these crimes and the Police can only act on the information they have, so if you can bring yourself to fight the barriers and make reports, please do.

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    1. Yes, I agree, we need to find the confidence and energy to report these things. I see that now, I didn't at the time.

      Thank you,

      Ellie

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  27. Dear Ellie

    This is a film I made for One Billion Rising to explain why I was rising - and why for me, dance can always be political.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24MxIi1F9uo

    It felt too exposing and scary to use my face and name and actually dance. When I read the disgusting comments at the bottom of your youtube video (amongst the supportive ones), it makes me feel physically ill and it feels like people objectifying/assaulting 'you' over again.

    So, I want to say.... I hope you are ok. It was an act of incredible bravery to put yourself out like that. I suppose the responses show why it is necessary to reclaim the space.

    It was an incredibly powerful piece. Here's how one of my friends responded: "May she be released, resolved and truly liberated. & I thank her for her courage & bravery. Her single reaction has already touched my life and so by standing up, she's empowered not one but 2000 and rising."

    Thank you.

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    1. That film is so beautiful (EVERYONE WATCH IT PLEASE!).

      I've stopped having the youtube comments sent to my email, so thankfully I don't have to read them/ be reminded of them throughout the day anymore. This process has been (a lot) more tiring than I had expected, I'd not expected so many people to see it or to respond. But if I could, I wouldn't change a thing. We need to talk about it, and keep talking about it no matter what mindless comments people make. I'm glad that the comments on the blog have remained thinking, and open.

      At this very moment, your words mean a lot, so thank you for taking the time to share.

      Ellie

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    2. I'm glad. Yes, I can imagine, I got ill after OBR! I don't regret doing it though. Was time to retreat to take care of body and mind. Anyway, I salute you again! Take care.

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  29. Thank you for sharing this and for the stories from other girls. Maybe that will help to remove some shame from the victims of similar crimes in future, but maybe not. I can add also my story - nowhere as disgusting as Ellie's tube story, but still.. It was about 10 years ago, I still had had no sexual experience, nor was I a very confronting type of person (I still am not) which also contributed to me not being able to do anything about it... Anyway, I was on a 4 hour trip on an intercity bus, sitting in the windows seat, completely immersed in my book, people coming and going next to me, I wouldn't know. But suddenly there was this little ratty man sitting next to me and with a corner of my eye I noticed he had his penis out from his pants and was masturbating next to me. I didn't dare to do anything, but pretend I didn't see that. It was very hard to concentrate back to my book and I was very relieved when he left. Why didn't I do anything about it? What do you say in this situation? Why did it feel so shameful to me? I mean, I'm not the one who should be ashamed, he must! I still remember this and think I could have, should have said something, done something, kicked him out (while at that moment he was to me so repulsive I wouldn't have dared to touch him), anything, not just sat there and let it happen...
    I certainly admire the reaction of one of the ladies "Would you do that to your mother or daughter?" and I hope I never encounter something like that again, but that I could be brave enough to stop that happening to me..

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    1. It's seems the feeling of shame is a common theme, as well as an inability to respond at the time. I suppose these two things might be related, in part.

      I've found that sharing my story with friends helped to validate my feelings about the whole thing. Hearing other people's stories helped me to feel less alone in it, it showed me that it was okay to feel shocked and upset, and above all it showed me that it wasn't my fault.

      So, thank you for sharing your story here, I hope it never happens to you again, but if it does, try not to judge yourself on your reaction. It's not worth the pain.

      xx

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  30. Your bravery just astounds me. So much love <3 This dance needs to be shared and shared and shared until women no longer have to go through what you did.

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  31. I can't believe this happened to you; we all {meaning I} try really hard to consider our world equal.

    In all reality, I know it's not true && most likely never will be. There will always be perverts in this world, && creepy guys who can't control their erections.

    I am extremely saddened to read this post. I actually gasped out loud.

    I applaud your courage on writing about this; && I hope women all around the world can gain the courage to say something after reading your post!

    It's amazing. You are amazing!

    xo, Nykki

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  32. Dear Ellie,

    Thank you for sharing your story. While reading your post I was reminded of all the little incidents throughout my teen years from the man masturbating in the bushes, to the crotch grab at a crowded concert venue, and beyond. I was only ever too stunned to say anything in response to these situations, if I could even pinpoint at all who the culprit was.

    When I was in my early twenties and working at a restaurant a much older man bent over me while I was wiping a table, pressing his entire body into mine while grasping onto me about the waist. I had the presence of mind to say very forcefully, 'NO!' and the man stood up and moved away. He didn't apologise, however, and I didn't ask for one. Just thinking about it now some 15 years later makes me feel a bit icky.

    Best,
    bea

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  33. Wonderful. Your dance made me cry. I have learned to dance into my power, although I do it in private!!! I have abused sexually since I was 11 years old and as an adult became an abuse counsellor, but I still managed to be abused by men. I guess because of the world we live in and the constant objectification of women it is not surprising. One of the things I noticed in all of the comments above is that we are still immobilized by incidents of abuse. Why is it, that we initially have pity for a man with an erection and later, when we realise that he is doing it on purpose, we are unable to shout it out? Why does it immediately shock us so much that we cannot fight? I think we need to reeducate our daughters and sons. We need them to know that it is OK to express, in the moment, how we are feeling about what it happening to us. Its as though, in abusing us, the man is transferring his shameful feelings into us. We become the 'bad ones'. We are somehow at fault. Any court in the land will make you feel like that if it went to court (I used to be a victim support volunteer too!). Maybe that is where we need to start. It is not our shame but theirs. We definitely need a revolution but we need to re-educate our children and make it alright to shout it out.
    I remember an incident from when I lived with my Mother in Spain in the 70's. I was 13 years old and My Mother and I were walking back to our apartment block across a piece of wasteland. A man started to follow us and was 'playing with himself'. He walked so close to my Mother's back saying dirty things in her ear. She, a very attractive 30-something Irish Catholic,was unable to do or say anything. I, on the other hand, was so used to this behavior from Spanish men that I had learned to fight back. I continued walking with my Mother but told her that when I said to her to run that she was to run. No questions asked. I waited for a minute until I was ready, he all the while still whispering obscenities into my Mother's ear. Then I said loudly "Run". She took off across the waste-ground and I turned to the man and kicked him squarely between the legs, with my clogs!!! He screamed in pain and collapsed on the ground, writhing in agony. I was so angry. I stormed across to the apartment to my waiting Mother, who was trying to calm down. She was talking to the concierge. I began shouting to him about the lack of protection for women here and how dare that man even think of messing with my Mother. He found it all very amusing!!!!
    Oddly though, I could protect her in an instant but in returning to live in Ireland when I was 14 and living with my authoritarian father with his own sexual issues I lost the ability to fight and was like a stunned rabbit in the headlights when it happened later on.
    So it is possible to learn, and unlearn, how to protect oneself. We need to relearn it again and not be afraid of our power.
    Living in Egypt now we face this everyday. Reminds me so much of Spain, but now I can fight again. If necessary...
    Well done for your reclaiming of your power. Very moving...and incredibly brave!!!!

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  34. Ellie you are amazing - you are so brave! Thank you so much for sharing. Something similar happened to my daughter on the tube and only due to the fact that she was having a Really Bad Day already did this tip her over the edge enough to say in a loud voice 'get your crotch away from me!' Of course everyone else on the tube looked at their paper / at their shoes - but the guy moved and I really hope that hearing her speak up encouraged everyone who heard to be a bit braver if it happened to them.

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  35. Eva asked me to post this message on her behalf:


    Ellie, you are a very, very brave person by doing this. Your story has moved me, not because it shows the sickness of others, but because it shows your strength, your intelligence and leadership. You have transformed something really negative into a small revolution. You are a fighter against an invisible enemy: the general acceptance of gender aggression, and by doing this non-aggresive war you are already winning. I honestly think that this should be shared with more men too-they will be as outraged as women, after all is about a human undermining another.

    Eva Chavarri

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  36. Well done, Ellie , We all know it happens but speaking out shows the world it is not us who need to be ashamed. Your dance and statement was so powerful and moving. I would like to know how the other passengers reacted. Women must stick together and call out the abusers. Men who do not do this stuff should be a bit more aware and stop others who do it. Shouting at the time does make me feel better, but it's hard to do, but gets easier with practice. As an older woman I really don't care what other people might think.We must support younger women in these situations and not turn away.
    THank you again for your inspirational action. With love

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    1. Thank you SO much for your support! Here is the response I gave on the Guardian article about how people on the tube responded:

      It was mixed. Some chose to ignore me and avoid looking at me- an understandable response. A few people looked shocked reading my sign and continued to watch me intently. Many people, especially older women were extremely supportive. There were nods, and smiles, "I support you" "thank you" "well done" etc. Some people clapped.

      A mixture of people approached me to talk to me, to give their support, and share their experiences with me- I'd say it was a roughly equal balance of men and women.

      xxx

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  37. Thank you for doing this Ellie. I write this from Canada and unfortunately I have had experiences with having my breast being grabbed at a club during University when I was with my friends walking up the stairs. I pushed the person but was too stunned to do anything more. When I was in high school, a man on the not too packed subway car rubbed his groins on the binder that was on my lap and in full view. I didn't know what was happening then so say anything. These events happened 6-10 years ago but I still think of them, feel outraged that someone took advantage of me and wish that I'd done more.

    Hearing your story, and the stories of other women (and men) who have gone through similar seemingly "innocuous" situations is both saddening, empowering and maddening. I choose to focus on encouraging myself to stand up against uncomfortable situations and be assertive to tell people off. It is harder than it sounds but one day at a time.

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  38. This happened to my friend when we were on a crowded bus in Turin, Italy. Seems this is a worldwide phenomenon. She didn't really realise what was happening at the time, same as you, feeling awkward about being squashed against someone who was clearly aroused but never imagined that was happening. We managed to get her cleaned up before the dinner and she carried on with the evening. I was very proud of her that day.

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    1. It's amazing how many people have identified so closely with my report of what happened. I find that very helpful and soothing (and really sad too). I hope its done the same for others, thank you for sharing.
      Ellie x

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  39. Ellie, well done for speaking up. It's upsetting to hear that this kind of thing happens on the mode of transport I take every day.

    Victims aren't the only ones who need to speak up. The onus is on the world around to stand up and confront those who chose to objectify women.

    As an older brother it makes my blood boil to think that my sisters are growing up in a world like this.

    Lets hope it only gets better.

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  40. I think your dance is a fantastic protest and thank you for taking a stand. It was incredibly moving. The abuse you suffered hasn't happened to me but like a lot of women I feel an almost constant state of underlying anxiety and cautiousness when it comes to sexual harassment. It's both tiring and infuriating but it must been far worse having gone through such incidents. I hope you are OK and this dance has empowered you as much as it has others.

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  41. Your dance made me cry. Well done and what a fantastic spirit you embody.
    Sean Delaney

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  42. Dear Ellie,

    As many people have said already above, your dance on the tube made me cry. It was powerful.

    I just read your Guardian article which is what brought me to your blog. It was a very brave and inspiring thing to do. We all need people like you who, despite being scared, are prepared to speak out about these shocking incidents that are happening to women around the world every day. I was horrified when I read what had happened to you, but I was glad that you wrote about it. I was even more horrified when I read some of the comments left on youtube –in fact they made me feel physically sick. However, in a way, I’m glad those people wrote those awful things, because in doing so, they have unwittingly entirely validated your protest. If anyone watching your dance was in any doubt that this kind of thing is an awful one-off incident, reading those vile comments on youtube will show anybody that your incident is only indicative of a far wider problem.

    On the more positive side, the comments on this blog have touched me. Men and women from around the world coming together to support you and victims everywhere by sharing their stories and thanking you for what you did.
    Like you, (and like most women I now realise) I have my own set of stories that I have mostly kept to myself to date as I had come to believe that they were just a part of life that as a woman you had to expect and just deal with. I grew so tired of being angry and after a few bad experiences when I did choose to speak up, I became fearful of the repercussions of doing so (One man spat in my face after I challenged him, another reversed his car into my friend merely because she ignored his catcalls). I also didn’t really hear many other girls/women talking about these experiences and I came to believe that perhaps I was overreacting and should learn to 'lighten up'.

    Much of what you said about not wanting to make too much of a fuss or come across as too negative or angry about these things, I think is something that all women can relate to, I certainly can. I didn’t want to sound like a ‘man-hating whining feminist’(I love men!!). That’s how messed up our society is that I could even think that. I have always been a head-strong, independent person who stood up for myself and others and wasn’t afraid to speak my mind, so this approach that I adopted was completely out of character. It just goes to show that it isn’t just because girls are timid that they don’t speak out – years of daily harassment and sexism can wear even the strongest of people down into a state of acceptance. Coupled with the fact that few people ever help out in these situations if you do speak out (when the man spat in my face and was shouting at me that he ‘beats bitches like me’, I tried to get a passer-by to help, he told me that he didn’t want to get involved).

    Continued in next post - my post was too long to fit in the box!.....

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  43. (Continued from previous post)

    ....Now at the age of 33, having recently just been unfairly dismissed from my job of 4.5 years because I had a relationship with my boss (which ended and he then fired me) I have changed my mind. I do not want to accept as a part of life, 50 or 60 years of daily experiences of harassment/sexism/discrimination/misogyny to add to my personal catalogue, or those of my nieces or daughters or sisters or friends or women who I don't even know for that matter. And I am finding through this wonderful age of the internet, that millions of men and women feel the same way!
    These issues are all fundamentally intertwined and they need to be addressed and not brushed over. I for one, am no longer going to be ashamed about using the word Feminism.

    The fact that men in London and Paris and Canada and wherever else can think that they can get away with ejaculating on women in public, shows that there are some major flaws in our societies that run deeply and that need to be addressed head on. We all need to adopt a ZERO tolerance approach to all kinds of harassment, sexism, discrimination, inequality and misogyny. And that zero tolerance approach should apply to everybody, not just victims, but witnesses, passers-by, men, women, children, police, media, government. It is 2013 and it’s about time this nonsense was stamped out.

    It's a very liberating time for me, and reading your story and watching your dance on the tube has left me feeling thoroughly inspired! Thank you xxx

    Ps...Your dance made me cry in a good way :)

    Pps...I took my boss (the ex) to an employment tribunal, it took me 18 months but I have just received the judgment and I won my case  It was definitely worth the effort....

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  45. I'm not sure if it helps to read something from the following perspective, but maybe it will help in some way with the emotional healing from your horrible experience or at least not make things worse...

    When I was 20 (in my thirties now), working in London, there was a period of several months where I would sometimes do (or as I saw it, let happen) something on my tube to work that I've felt very ashamed of ever since. I'd get on a carriage and if it became packed and a woman positioned herself so that her bottom was against the back of my hand, or occasionally even my crotch, I wouldn't always make much or sometimes any effort to move out of the way. As a point of principle (rather pathetic in hindsight), I'd never actively move any part of myself into contact with a woman, but rather I'd let it happen by her own movement so I wouldn't feel too guilty, though if she was forced by the crowd into contact I'd reposition myself away. I even let myself believe that some women enjoyed it as it wasn't so packed that they couldn't move a few inches away. I knew I'd feel terrible even back then if a woman I was in contact with suspected I was willingly and enjoying being in that situation. In hindsight and reading things like your Guardian article, there must have been women who were bothered that I was in contact with them. So it was a weird period of lamely attempting to get a cheap thrill in the mornings without feeling guilty at upsetting anybody. I was a young, lustful, socially awkward nerd, and sadly and shamefully I couldn't resist this, my only source of physical gratification. But after a while, it dawned on me more and more how sad, self debasing, and immoral it was of me to do this, even if no-one ever suspected a thing and so I stopped completely.

    Ever since, I've been careful to move my arms and crotch well out of the way insofar as possible when I'm on a crowded tube train. So I went a step of the way to where the horrible man has sunk, and turned back from that kind of behaviour. I will feel guilty for the rest of my life. I fear though that for a few other men they progress (or regress) from one degree to a worse one. When I first read the guardian article I thought probably your train was so packed that the man simply had nowhere to go, and in such a situation a lot of men wouldn't be able to help getting aroused, and if it went on for long and was bumpy, even ejaculate (though I never did so), which could seep through their clothes onto yours. But reading the above more detailed account it seems that it was deliberate. I'm both horrified that there are people who do this, and at the same time it painfully reminds me of my shame at my own behaviour of a lesser degree at one time.

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  47. Bravo Ellie, your ordeal makes my "bad commutes" look like pleasant and civil affairs by comparison. I am shocked, like many, that this happens, and happens to many. I'm in my 30's now but in my early 20s (I was shy and nonconfrontational) I recall much more verbal abuse from male passersby than I am treated to these days. I never spoke back. After each incident my mind always went wild with all the possible amazingly effective things I COULD HAVE said. One day an older man hit me on the buttocks with an umbrella. I later told my mom and she seemed astonished. Although her (slightly naive) instructions to me and my sisters when potentially faced with a man threatening us were to "knee him in the balls" this isn't really practical or realistic in most harassment situations(!) Another situation in which I regret not speaking up was a classmate at uni who would casually put his hands on my hips. He had a girlfriend in the same course. Getting at the crux of the behaviour is to (loudly) ask why they are doing it. They won't have a sensible answer to this. 'Because I want to' or 'because I like it' are not valid answers, because WE do not like it. Nor were WE asked if it was okay to do X, Y or Z. I am convinced that men need to be educated to empathise with how it feels to be shouted at, leered at and felt up. And if they can't control themselves, I'd suggest they leave the country as we do not tolerate gender discrimination here in the UK.
    I hope everyone can bear this in mind: no matter the immediate or temporary fear or shame of any harassment, you can find support and will always become stronger out of it. I've survived bullying, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, poor self-worth, a controlling and adversarial boss. It's a fight, it took years, and I've won. I am happy, optimistic, confident and ambitious.
    Find someone wise that you trust and talk to them.

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  48. i am Stella and i want to thank Dr.Henry olu for bringing back my ex boyfriend, we broke up for more than 8 month and he told me that he will never want to see me in his life again. i love him so much to the extend that i could not think of deating any man again, i was confused and depress due to the love i had for him.i did everything i could do to have him come back to me but all went in vain. so i decided to contact a spell caster, i did not believe in spell casting i just want to try it may be it would work out for me. i contacted Dr Henry olu for help,and he told me that he have to cast a love spell on him, i told him to do it. after 5 days my boyfriend called me and started to apologize for leaving me and also he told me that he still love me. i was very happy and i thank Dr Henry oul for helping get back my ex back to my hands. his spell is the greatest of all over the world, it was the love spell he cast on my ex that make him come back to me. all you ladies who want back their ex back i want you to contact Dr.Henry olu for the return of your ex boyfriend and also your ex girlfriend he can also cast any kind of spell you want him to cast for you. his contact email is agagulovespell@yahoo.com just try him and their will be a solution to your case.

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  49. dr. marnish solved my relationship problem 3 days ago , i sent him some gift of appreciation for the Commitment love Spell he did for me, he made my lover to love me again. and to be committed to me again, i am very very much happy. dr.marnish brought me happiness, email dr.marnish@yahoo.com or call him +15036626930 he will turn your broken relationship around
    Rebecca Kemaya

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