Women beware women

by

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were in a local club. As we squeezed past a group of men, one of them reached down and squeezed my arse. I was wearing daisy dukes, so his hand basically slipped under them – it was pretty much a full on grope.

I froze for a second, then realised that my choice was between causing a scene or feeling awful about myself for not saying anything. So, I turned around and screamed “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

Another girl, who had nothing to do with either me or with the guys in question grabbed both me and my boyfriend. She told me to “calm down, yeah? Just have fun, yeah?”

My burst of anger and self-confidence fizzled out, and we left a few minutes later. I did mention the incident to the security guards on the way out, and they were extremely helpful and supportive, but we couldn’t locate that group in the club, since it had been a few minutes.

Silly me, for causing a scene. I’d forgotten that women are supposed to suck it up and just “have fun, yeah?”. Guess it must be #MFIF.

Kali, Birmingham, UK

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20 Responses to “Women beware women”

  1. Luna_the_cat Says:

    Christ.

  2. Gail Says:

    christ, that ef-ed up.

  3. Em Says:

    I hate that so much – your reaction is not the problem, Kali and I know how bad it feels to be chastised for ‘reacting badly’ to being sexually assaulted.

    Maybe if you’d whipped out an Uzi and riddled the guy’s hand with bullets, we’d need to talk about your anger issues. But even then, I’d have your back – because after all how much of this can any woman take? the fact remains that no matter what you did AFTER this guy sexually assaulted you, your reaction is still not the problem. The problem is swinging arseholes whose misogyny leads them to sexually assault women around them. Grrrrr.

  4. SkyHawk Says:

    OH MY GOD WOMEN DO NOT WANT TO BE GRAB-ASSED?!?!?!?

    /sarcasm

    Anyway, at least the security guys were responsive to your situation. But that empty threat from that other girl. Ugh.

  5. BranchMonster Says:

    That’s awful and I sympathize. One of the most popular clubs in the backwater student/military-flooded city of my undergraduate days was full of guys who would line the “traffic lanes” of the jam-packed floors and grab whatever they pleased while women were forced to squeeze past them just to move around. It was infuriating and helpless. Whenever I remember it, I wonder what would have happened if I’d grabbed one of those hands and twisted the guy’s thumb.

  6. Pavlov's Cat Says:

    I assume you may actually have been having fun right up until some stranger sexually assaulted you. Which is a fair enough reason to declare things not fun any more in my view. What a pointless bunch of people.

  7. dj Says:

    There are so many times I’ve wished that every man who ever does that will pull back a broken and bloody body part, if he ever got it back. It makes me furious. Only once has any man ever stepped in to stop it.

  8. jesurgislac Says:

    Another girl, who had nothing to do with either me or with the guys in question grabbed both me and my boyfriend. She told me to “calm down, yeah? Just have fun, yeah?”

    Gawd.

    I mean, you reacted exactly right. You reacted, verbally and strongly, to a sexual assault, letting this rotten dick of a creep know his behaviour was not acceptable. Well done!

    This creepy little girl who thinks that a woman blasting off a sexual assaulter ought to be told to shut up and “have fun”? The vindictive part of me wishes you’d groped her and told her “Calm down, yeah? Just have fun, yeah?” The better part of me says no, that would be WRONG, but what a stupid kid.

    dj: There are so many times I’ve wished that every man who ever does that will pull back a broken and bloody body part, if he ever got it back.

    Oh, me too. I’m pretty much a non-violent person, at least the better part of me is, and most unwanted approaches can be met with (as this OP so splendidly did) a yell in the face. But the temptation to just grab the offending hand by the wrist and jerk the rotten creep off his feet and then maybe a good, solid kick where it hurts worst, finish off by spitting in his face? Not that I’ve thought about it much. Really. Only when it happens.

  9. vee Says:

    In defense if the girl, I had that happen before when I try to stop fights I usually go in between people and sometimes turn towards the louder person (regardless of their sex) first. So maybe she did not see what really happened. If she did, no excuse.

    • BranchMonster Says:

      I think that’s a fair consideration, albeit unfortunate. I hope this helps Kali feel less like the incident stacked up against her.

      “Women watch out for women” could be a slogan to thing about. It suggests that women are looking out for each other and reminds us that there are still women in the world who feel like they (thus, we) are inferior beings.

      Kali, this doesn’t mean I would expect you to stand there explaining to this other woman what had happened. You had every right to call attention to yourself and that creep.

    • pope suburban Says:

      I was thinking that she might not have seen the incident either, especially since she was described as having nothing to do with the group of men. Some people play peacemaker and really do want others to feel better and have a good day. I would hesitate to say YFYF in this situation, because for all anyone knows, this girl was just trying to be helpful and missed the boat.

      I agree that your reaction was totally appropriate, though, and I would change my tune in an instant if it turned out the other girl did see what happened.

    • Kali Says:

      I’m not really seeing why stepping in the way was any of her business in either case. Why would someone not consider that the person shouting has a reason to?

      • pope suburban Says:

        It’s not necessarily about her thinking the person shouting doesn’t have a reason. It may be about the random girl trying to make someone feel better by proving that not everyone is a total asshole. Some people are just like that– pushy but well-intentioned. The ass-grabber sucks, sure, but why be so quick to judge someone who probably didn’t know what was up?

  10. Matt G. Says:

    Don’t feel bad about your reaction. That was a perfectly appropriate time to start channelling the goddess of destruction.

    To BranchMonster: I expect a knee to the groin would have more of a deterrent effect than merely twisting a thumb.

    • BranchMonster Says:

      Thanks for the tip, Matt G. As you’ve probably noticed, it isn’t easy for women to determine what is or is not an “appropriate” reaction to the various forms of assault or abuse we’re subjected to. I recently read a book called “Self Defense Decisions for Women” and I strongly recommend it. The book discusses ways that women can look out for themselves and effective methods for countering assault. It suggests that there are four levels of “force” used in an assault and that a woman ought to respond to an assault with the same level of force that was delivered to her – or the next one up if the situation is very dire.

      On more than one occasion, I have told my friends “if he does that again, I am going to have to hurt him. I just want you to be prepared for that.” Since the days of that gropy dump, I’ve wised up about where someone else’s hands may and may not be and I have already decided how I will react if I am assaulted again.

      “Self Defense Decisions for Women” recommends that women spend serious time thinking through possibly dangerous situations they could encounter and deciding ahead of time how they would handle themselves. In the instance of being grabbed in public, I am glad you suggested a method with “more of a deterrent effect.” Just now, I had to consider that a man would commonly have greater strength in his hands than I would, so yes, twisting a thumb could yield no results or worse – he could then grab me by the hand and he would then have escalated the force level of the assault – which would mean I would have to respond in kind.

      Ladies, I very strongly recommend looking into well-written, insightful books about how to make decisions to protect yourselves. I can’t name a single woman who hasn’t “been through enough of that.”

      • jesurgislac Says:

        Hi Branch, One method of response I’ve found works quite well in a situation such as you describe – where the guy’s hands are going where they damn well shouldn’t, but it’s close-up enough that the guy MIGHT claim “Oh, it was an ACCIDENT”, etc – is to use feet, not hands.

        What I did in one situation was to move my foot forward on to his foot, and bear down, hard. He was wearing running shoes. I’m no lightweight. I deliberately pressed and ground, with all the force my weight could bring to bear.

        He yelled. And he tried to step back away from me. I was polite and lifted my foot and let him go, and he retreated like a bunny. (I sincerely hope his foot hurt for the rest of the day.)

        Depending on what shoes you’re wearing versus what he’s wearing, this may not work, but in a club… I think if you kick his ankles, it could still be claimed to be an accident. And he can’t grab your foot if you kick the way he can grab your hand if you grab his hand.

  11. I Says:

    i tend to ask if they’re angling for me to cut off their tiny penis in those situations. more to the point, a very effective (and fairly legitimate) thing to do is mess up the offending hand.

    basically, grab the fingers and pull them in different directions (eg, pull the little and ring finger to the left, the middle and index to the right). it will hurt like hell but is unlikely to do any damage they can sue you for, and it can reasonably be said to come under “he grabbed me, i pushed his hands off me”.

    and the look of bewilderment is hilarious.

  12. Raven Says:

    “realised that my choice was between causing a scene or feeling awful about myself for not saying anything.”

    I will remember this choice next time something similar happens. I can’t think of a case in which Option 2 is the wrong choice. 🙂 Thanks.

  13. Dove Says:

    There is really no pleasure to be had from a quick groping of an unwilling passerby so I have always assumed that this behavior was more about asserting dominance than anything. It is a deliberately provocative act and, while it is nowhere near as horrific as rape, it stems from the same motivation – a desire to assert control and superiority over another person through an aggressive act.

    It was clearly sexual assault. You were absolutely right to speak up and your outrage was entirely justified.

  14. Katherine Says:

    Bending fingers back can be very effective; most men of an average size can’t do anything to you if you have them like that. Just one of the middle ones. I just tested this on my boyfriend, it works well. The only thing would be to watch out for their other hand, but if they are caught off guard (likely) you should be ok.

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