Tuesday, 30 August 2016

How Sexual Harassment Impacted My Life | #SpeakUp

How Sexual Harassment Impacted My Life | #SpeakUp blogger lifestyle beauty UK feminism taboo subjects

When I allowed Claire to write a post on sexual harassment for the #SpeakUp series I didn't really know what to expect. I have been fortune enough not to have to go through something as horrible as sexual harassment. If I'm honest, I didn't know much about sexual harassment before I read Claire's post. I am an advocate for supporting the importance of consent and believe that I am pretty educated when it comes to what consent sounds like, but when it comes to sexual harassment, I'm pretty clueless. 

Sexual harassment is "harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks." but I we all know it can be so much more. The impacts of sexual harassment can be devastating and pretty horrific for the victim. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and can last for varying periods of time. Someone who knows all too well about this is Claire.

I'm so proud of Claire for sharing such a personal story in such a delicate way. Sexual harassment is definitely something which is not spoken up about enough in the blogging community or in society in general. Whether that's because women ( or men for that matter) are embarrassed to talk about it in the fear they will be told they are making a fuss about nothing or if they don't even realise It's a problem, to begin with. You don't have to go through sexual harassment alone. Tell someone and keep telling them till something is done about it. I'm so proud of Claire for writing this post so please be kind and so her some love. 

I've not yet seen a blogger speak about this topic; I'm pretty sure it will have been but I've just not seen it, I think it needs to be openly spoken about more because I don't think it's spoken about enough. It is a thing, and it does happen, and it can have an emotional impact on someone's life just like it did with mine. 

Sexual harassment is just as damaging as sexual abuse or rape. I didn't like the attention, and I couldn't stand how it made me feel one little bit. Which is why I wanted to talk about my experience with sexual harassment in hope to raise more awareness and make people realise it's not a cool thing to do, and you're making the victim feel extremely uncomfortable. 

I was sexually harassed. It sounds so weird saying out allowed but it took me some time to come to terms with it. I wasn't harassed physically, but I was harassed verbally which is equally just as serious. It happened when I was 19 in my workplace. It started when I was leaning over to tidy up the products on the shelf, and one of my other work colleagues openly told me he stopped walking to stare at my bum as I was slightly bending over. 

He told me he wasn't, he was wondering what I was doing. Apparently, I looked like I was messing with my hair bent over. An hour later he comes to me pushing and pushing attempting to speak to me but I just completely blanked him because I wasn't interested. He then turned round and said to me " You not talking to me now, a girl like you should enjoy the attention, you're very attractive". I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet here this is exactly what happened. So by his comment that just clarified to me, he was checking me out, and he was making inappropriate comments which weren't invited. 

From then on I didn't want him anywhere near me because when he did approach me it was like I just curled right back up into my shell, I felt extremely uncomfortable, in fact, I was terrified. As disgusting as it is I started to sweat I was becoming that anxious and I was rather shaky because I honestly didn't know if anything further was going to happen like he'd make 'a move' or anything, then would have been in a situation I didn't want to be in. I also tried to not position my body in the same way I did previously when he was around so he wouldn't make any other inappropriate comments.

I even try not to do it in general in front of other colleagues and customers now. After a few more shifts he then made another comment which drew the line then because I was willing to let it go considering it was only one comment. But then he made it two comments; he said something along the lines of "Ooh I'd go around that arse in so many days". At that point, I'd just had it, and it nearly caused me to break down crying in work, but I held it in until I got home.

I then decided to report it to my boss and this time, thank the Lord I had a witness. Someone had heard the second comment and already reported it before me, So whoever it was ( I still don't know because it became confidential) I'm so thankful you had my back, and it was recognized, I really appreciated it because then I wasn't able to be accused of lying and trying to cause trouble. I was told they take things like this seriously, but I really don't think it was. Even though the comments and behaviour have stopped and he doesn't speak to me anymore, which obviously I was happy about but I was never spoken to about it since I was never asked if I'm okay or how I'm doing or even how I feel about it afterwards. 

I was basically left alone to become more paranoid and deal with it on my own. This is the first time I've spoken about it since not even my boyfriend or mum knew how I was feeling afterwards. This is a big step for me talking about it on social media where ANYONE can see this. 

I still feel sick to my stomach; I still feel disgusted in myself, and I feel like it was my fault for bending over in the first place. I shouldn't be blaming myself, but all these things still run through my head. I have a rubbish confidence anyway but this just made my confidence plummet so low. As much as I tell myself he didn't have a right to do any of that which is the truth, I can't help but still feel that way because it's not a nice thing to go through when you don't give permission, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. 

If you've gone through anything like this or currently going through it, even for future reference if you do experience it (touch wood you don't) please, please tell someone because it's not fair to deal with it alone and it is sexual harassment, it's out of order, and it's not okay. It's important that you report it so it can be dealt with, I just hope it's taken seriously.

If you have any questions, or you want to speak to me privately then you can DM on Twitter: @mylittlememoir_ or you can Email me at mylittlememoir@gmail.com

I was honestly shocked reading this, at how poorly Claire's sexual harassment incident was dealt with. But I hope that by speaking up about her experience with sexual harassment it will make others more aware of what sexual harassment is and how you can deal with it. If you would like to write a post for the #SpeakUp project about anything that affects young people's health and wellbeing. Please email: speakup.campaign@mail.com and I will endeavour to reply to you as quickly as possible. 

Thank you for reading, as always X 

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  1. Well done for speaking up about this Claire - I'm so proud ❤️ men (even women) shouldn't be allowed to mistreat another being with spiteful words or acts of assault but it won't stop without talking about it like now in order to raise awareness and instil others with the confidence to also speak up, great post! Lily xx


  2. This was such an interesting post to read, thank you so much for sharing xo


  3. It's amazing that you're raising awareness for such an important topic, Claire! I never experienced sexual harassment but I know friends who did and I can only imagine how awful it must feel. And I know that it's easy to blame yourself, just like we often blame ourselves when we're bullied - but the problem lies within the bullies or the offenders, not us xx


    1. I'm sorry your friends had to go through that, I hope it was dealt with in the appropriate way and they got some support. Thankyou for reading Mira xx

  4. This is so inspiring! I love the post:)


    1. Thankyou for reading Irene, I'm glad you liked it

  5. Thankyou for having me on your blog Nicole, Really appreciate it ! And thankyou SO SO much for your kind words xx

    Claire ❤| My Little Memoir

  6. I loved this post, Claire and Nicole! Great message! xx


  7. Thank you for sharing your story Claire, I've touched on sexual harassment on my blog, and was very vocal about it at uni where it unfortunately happened a lot. Maybe not all unis have it, but I think many in the UK have this sort of Lad Culture, it makes me sick. And because it's so common to be groped while on nights out many of us just accept it, or don't know what we can do about it. On my first night out ever in my first week of first year some guy was grinding on me and I didn't know how to say no, then he kissed me while I tried to push him off. After that I became more vigilant, spinning round whenever someone dared touch me. Ugh. I might save the rest for a blog post of my own, it's pretty miserable to talk about. I've lost count of the times I've been sexually harassed to be honest. The words, the groping, ugh. It's so normalised and I hate it!

    Thank you again for sharing your story and reminding me how important it is to be vocal about it. I don't want other uni freshers to feel how I felt. I want to help them see and know what I didn't when I started uni three years ago.

    Lots of love to you xoxo

    Amber Love Blog

    1. P.s. just checked out your blog and love your writing so far! Followed you on aaaalll the social media hehe :P

      Thank you Nicole for introducing me to so many more amazing like-minded bloggers through this #SpeakUp series! <3

    2. Ugh that does not make me feel more relaxed, I'm going to uni in 2 weeks and I've already been a panicky mess over it all. So sorry this happened too you. I think it's ridiculous that it's normalized, would love to know why people think it's acceptable to be have like this without consent. Thankyou for reading x

    3. Oh no I'm so sorry I didn't mean to worry you! :( uni was actually the best thing for me and these experiences didn't take away from the amazing new friendships I made and things I learnt. Most unis have a feminist society too which is a great supportive community to join! Good luck with starting uni, try not to panic too much, it's the next chapter! <3 sending love and good vibes xxx

  8. So brave of you to post this, sexual harassment needs to be taken a lot more seriously and the best way to do that is by writing posts like these xx

    1. I agree, got to start somewhere, I just wish more people spoke about it xx


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