A video caught my attention on Twitter today that made me cry. I am too old to cry at a video. But I cried all the same.
It’s an awareness advert regarding the kind of harassment that women get from a young age. And, I hate to sound so whiny, but everything in the video that happened to the female actors happened – and happens (although not so much now I am getting old) – to me. Aside from, to my knowledge, the up-skirting bit.
2 out of 3 girls in the UK have been sexually harassed in public.
It’s not a compliment. It’s not part of growing up. It’s not ok.
— PlanInternational UK (@PlanUK) October 8, 2018
The first time I had someone address me inappropriately due to my gender was when I was 7 years old. I remember, I was wearing a pink dress and running down a train aisle after having gone to the toilet. My dad and my brother were in the next carriage, I had been trusted to go by myself.
There were four or five lads who I’m guessing were in their late teens – certainly no younger than 18 – because they had beer cans in front of them. One of them had rested his legs across the aisle and as I approached, he didn’t make a move to remove this barricade. So, I stood politely waiting.
“Hello little girl,” One of them said cheerfully.
The one who was blocking my way laughed, and said “show us your knickers, little girl.”
All but one of them guffawed at this – he said “Stop it will you, she’s just a little girl.”
The young man blocking my way moved his legs, and I ran along the rest of the aisle. I remember specifically pulling down the back of my dress. I didn’t know exactly why I didn’t want him to see my knickers, I just knew I didn’t want him to.
I remember blushing and being flustered when I got back to my dad. He asked what was up, I said nothing, he got angry – as he often did when I wouldn’t say what was wrong – and I think I spent the rest of the journey home doing a jigsaw.
There’s other incidents which happened when I was too young to understand. But that’s the first time I remember feeling embarrassed to be female. I never wore the pink dress again.