I remember getting ready for school that day. I was in grade 6. It was picture day. I put on my favourite dress, straightened my hair, and I felt good. Everything that day was going great. A lot of my friends were wearing tank tops or low cut tops with a cute cardigan over top. My friends were all pretty tiny and flat chested – so if they wore a low cut or a tank they usually got away with it.
When I was that age I had size 38C boobs.
It was hard to wear low cut stuff. This dress I was wearing was not low cut. That’s why it was my favourite. It was long enough to wear to school and the straps were three fingers wide and I had barely any cleavage despite having big boobs. My mom would also never let me leave the house to go to school if my boobs were out.
Fast forward to after all of our pictures were taken. I got called down to the principal’s office and I remember I was sitting a little forward with my elbows on my knees. The secretary looked at me as I was waiting for the principal and made a motion for me to pull up my dress so I looked down and pulled it up even though there was nothing showing. My male principal proceeded to call my name and pulled me into the office.
He said to me “girls with your body type shouldn’t be wearing that. It attracts the guys to look at you. Please don’t wear this dress again and cover up next time. You don’t want to draw bad attention to yourself”. So.. when I was 11.. I never thought anything of it. I thought this man was looking out for me. This man was not.
He was staring me up and down looking at an 11year olds chest area. Instead of asking a woman in the school to talk to me he proceeded to talk to me in a room alone with the door closed and the blinds shut. He commented on how my body type at this age shouldn’t be dressed the way I’m dressing it and how I’m “asking for the wrong attention”. These things are so wrong and distorted. I would have never thought when I was 11 that this old man, who I thought was a role model, would look me up and down like a piece of meat. It sickens me that so many young women and girls have and still encounter this on a daily basis with male teachers or principals.
Do you think if I knew what was wrong back then, would I have even spoken up ?
Probably not, because:
A.) He had more power than I did .
B) Too many people in society believe if you dress a certain way, you deserve unwanted attention and objectification.
C) People would’ve said I’m lying to get attention. And that’s what’s sad – a lot of us cannot or will not speak up because we won’t be believed or because our predator has a lot more power then we do.
-B, Fraser Valley
I went to a car dealership a couple months ago. As I was approaching the door, a man popped out from inside and walked up to me to greet me – before I even entered the building. Without hesitation, his eyes drew from my feet up to my chest and back down again. No eye contact until after he got two full looks in. Annoyed, I told him I had an appointment and I wouldn’t be needing his help. He proceeded to tell me that this is HIS dealership and added how sexy I’d look in a champagne coloured Volkswagen Golf R. I told him again that I’m fine and tried to excuse myself.
He let me walk towards the door then right when I was about to open it, he stood way too close to me as he took the door handle from me and swung it open. He held the door as I walked through and then followed me to the counter from behind and then continued to stand behind me about 2 meters back. I turned my head around just enough to see him eyeing up my backside.
My husband came in and joined me and so I used him as a shield. The man straight up moved so that he had a side view and continued to stare – with my husband right there! (Not that that should make any difference). When I turned to look at him, he wouldn’t meet my eyes. He was SHAMELESSLY staring at my tits or ass at all times. Quite pissed off, I asked him if he needed anything. He said again that id be sooo hot in this new car and tried to get me to follow him to the champagne car again. He made some sexist jokes about how my husband better buy me what I want to keep me happy. I got fed up so I went to walk to the bathroom so I could escape him. He followed me to the bathroom. When I came out, he was waiting for me and followed me back to my husband. I turned my head to look back and he was staring at my ass again. He never followed my husband or stared at him or treated him like an object.
I’D REALLY LIKE FOR WOMEN TO BE ABLE TO FEEL SAFE DOING SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS GETTING THEIR CAR FIXED. This is what we women live with. Constantly. Everywhere we go.
When I was in California with some friends a while back, we were walking down Venice Beach. Every few minutes or so it seemed like someone was either pointing a camera at me and my girl friend’s bodies, aimed DOWN AT OUR BODIES – not even capturing our faces – or, directly grabbing us. Walking 1km down the beach we had our bodies photographed twice and were grabbed three times. Men would just walk up to us and grab our shoulders or elbows. Mind you – our male friend who was with us got zero attention. This is a brilliant representation of how unsafe women feel at all times. Three humans walked down Venice Beach. The two women got harassed 5 times and the man was left entirely alone. When we were grabbed and our personal space invaded – the man who was with us – our friend – LAUGHED. Us women don’t think it’s funny to feel hunted all the time. To feel incapable of going for a walk fully clothed, peacefully and safely and without objectification.
-Anonymous, West Kootenays
I was coming home from a girls night at one of the local pubs. We we’re all waiting outside for our rides. Some had DDs (designated drivers), but myself & one of my other friends were taking a cab. We were catcalled more times than I can count while we we’re standing under the lit up pub sign.
“Hey baby, nice ass!”
“Who’s taking you home tonight?”
“Need a ride?”
It wasn’t even the people driving past that bothered me most… the cab ride was what really got me.
The actual ride itself was pretty quiet, I kept catching our driver look back at us through the rearview mirror. I could see his eyes glance down before they looked back up and met mine. He did this for the first 10 minutes of the trip. Eventually I got sick of it. I was drunk, but not drunk enough to ignore it.
I piped up and said “hey, could you watch the road? I can see that your eyes are elsewhere. I would appreciate if you could focus on driving us safely. Thanks.”
He looked shocked, maybe he’s never been called out before. The rest of the ride was extra awkward.
When we pulled up to our destination, he turned around and passed us the debit machine and waited for us to finish. In all my other experiences, the driver will turn back and give us privacy while putting in our card information, but this time, he had his eyes fixed on my chest. I remember looking at him and saying “do you mind?” and he kind of smirked and chuckled to himself.
I had ask him to unlock the doors, he had no problem doing so, but I remember my heart starting to race because the door wouldn’t open. The fact that that’s a legit fear that women have to have??? It shouldn’t be like that.
I remember the whole situation being so uncomfortable and made me feel so uneasy. I try to make sure I have someone I trust be a DD now every time I go out.
-Anonymous, Fraser Valley