Alyssa Milano posted this statement on Twitter: If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. There was a massive wave of responses all across social media.
In this article I share with you my thoughts and my experience on this topic. Because #metoo has experienced sexual harassment.
I was thinking about this movement too. I have never been raped or physically hurt.
I have been harassed verbally and groped a lot of times.
Being groped in the club
There is one incident I can remember vividly. A friend from school turned 18, and we went to a club in Zurich to dance and have a good time. This was March 2011, and I was in a fairly new relationship with my boyfriend. I told myself that I would have fun without thinking twice about all the other people who will be there. All my friends were single at the time, and they enjoyed the looks and touches from other guys. I was having fun dancing on the dance floor when I felt two hands on my butt. I pushed them away. Suddenly I felt the hands on my hips pressing my body on another body. I pushed him away, and he tried it even a third time! I felt smudged.
I felt like a shame. I knew there is only one bus home every hour, so I told my friend I would go home by myself. It was only a forty minute back home. She wanted to convince me to stay because it was “sooooo” much fun. (She was dancing with another guy, being drunk and I knew this guy was using the situation to grope her even more).
I do not say this is bad if you agree with the action. Back when I was 16/17 and was single, I sometimes wanted to have some fun with boys too. I kissed strangers. I let them touch me. However, I agreed on the behaviour. But when I say NO, this is my boundary. It is when everyone has to stop their actions because I decide this.
Groped, touched and asked for intimate actions
Another incident happened during a foam party. Are they still popular? It is so gross to even think about it. I was groped a few times and tried to escape the situation. I told my friends I would come back in 5 minutes. I went in a circle, and two boys saw me and took me in their midst pressing their butts on me. I had a hard time not punching both in their jewels. I think I kissed a guy there who wanted to have a fling afterwards. He wanted me to come with him “to a quieter place”. He couldn’t understand why I said no.
These are only two incidents that are present in my mind, and they are really affecting me, even though I am in a relationship of almost seven years now.
Okay now comes the sad part. I do not know how many times I have verbally been harassed. If you know me, I have a quite large bust. Everyone thinks I am so “lucky”. Everyone likes me, and I am so successful with the other gender. If I am honest, I hate my bust. But it is a part I have to live with. Unfortunately, it is an indication of a lot of bad jokes and harassments.
I have to differentiate flirting, being silly and just harassing.
I work in an international metal trading company, and I did my apprenticeship in this industry. After a two year break, I came back into the recycling industry and have worked with a lot of men. The truck drivers are the worst guys. Not worse in harassing me but if you know truck drivers you know they have some pretty vulgar language. I learnt to live with it. I know they are not against me. I learnt to laugh about it.
We were like a family. I knew they wouldn’t even touch me. I told myself, as long as they are not harassing me directly with their words I am fine with it. Sometimes all I could was shaking my head and sometimes giggle.
There were a few times I had to tell them to stop. That this was too much. They respected it and tried to be better the next time. To be honest, sometimes I even was the initiator of such conversations if I wanted to “flirt” a little bit or make some bad jokes. When I can make a bad joke I have to be ready to receive a bad word back.
In the company I work now, there are truck drivers too. I really like them, but sometimes I have to distance myself from their chatter. I like people who speak their truth and do not slander behind other’s back.
Being friends with men
I often work in the office down in the factory/recycling hall. There are only two women working there, and all the other thirty people are men. As I do not dress in a working suit like all the people down there, it is normal to receive some looks. But they know who I am. I take the time to make jokes with them. I greet everyone even if I do not know their name. Everyone is waving when they see me. They know I am the “office” lady, but as I am taking the time to get to know them, they feel less intimidated to talk to me.
I speak a few words Italian and sometimes when I see my “best buddy” I make some jokes in Italian, and everyone thinks we are hooking up with each other soon 🙂 We always have a good laugh, and I still feel welcomed. They know they can make a bad joke too without getting a bad look from our boss.
Being silly is okay, as long as it does not hurt anyone. Making a compliment is okay as long as the other person does not feel ashamed. Being touched without agreeing on it beforehand is not okay. I got a really thick skin working in this industry. But I know that not everyone is made for it.
It is your decision
It is okay to stand up for your rights. It is your body. It is your soul. You decide who will touch you. Physically and emotionally.
It is your decision how you dress.
I love wearing dresses or nice shoes. I love my calves and my legs in general. I love to dress according to my body shape. But this isn’t the allowance for anybody to verbally harass me for being me. Having a large bust. Wearing a skirt. Feeling sexy.
It is my choice of how I dress. I am not a piece of meat. I am Jocelyne. I am a woman. I am myself.