Sexually assaulting girls in clubs isn’t banter, it’s a crime
So get the hell off us
by Ella Theaker
Picture this: you’re on a night out with your mates and you’re all dressed up to the nines. You’re dancing, having fun and generally minding your own business when a man who you’ve never met before comes up to you, puts his hand up your skirt and tries to get a finger in your vagina.
This happened to me.
When I confronted this total stranger with a vicious “fuck off” he genuinely looked offended, as if I should have felt flattered instead of utterly violated.
It ruined my night, I fumed about it all the way home, and rightfully so. What that man did to me was sexual assault.
The saddest thing is that it’s not the first time I’ve had an experience like this. This is something that we as young women are all too familiar with in this day and age, so I spoke to a number of females to hear about their experiences and their thoughts on the matter.
Lucy, 20, a Journalism student tells us: “I’ve been felt up by randoms in nightclubs multiple times. I’ve actually lost count. If we react badly to it, and tell them to get the hell off us, then we’re met with chants of ‘boring’, or ‘it’s just a bit of fun, love’.”
Because, you know, it’s so fun for us when a random man thinks he’s entitled to touch your body despite the fact you’ve never given him permission. Another told me: “It actually ruins my night if someone touches me without my permission or interest, I immediately feel vulnerable and want to go home. It’s really not okay and men who do it need to know this.”
Someone else talked about how it’s often linked to so-called ‘lad-culture’: “I really hate it when there’s a group of guys and one of them gropes you, but tries to pass off the blame on one of his friends whilst they all laugh. They don’t give a shit about how you feel. It’s actually quite intimidating.”
Boys, you might think it’s all fun and games but from our point of view it can be really, really scary. You might know that you’d never take things further than an unwanted grope (which is still gross) but for us we can’t help worrying you might mean to take things further. We don’t know if you’re just joking around or if you could be a rapist. It seems like an over the top statement but it’s a genuine worry for many girls.
Before someone valiantly swoops in and cries ‘but NOT ALL MEN…’ please just stop and re-evaluate your life. Yeah, I’m quite aware not all men go around touching women without their consent. But you cannot ignore the fact that out of all of the women I spoke to not one can turn around and say that she hasn’t experienced this behaviour multiple times.
Our culture teaches men that it’s okay for them to do what they want to women’s bodies.
One of the worst stories I heard was this: “I got punched on a night out by a guy who kept trying it on with me and I kept saying no and then he grabbed my head and pulled me to his face so I pushed him away and he hit me. I was so shocked that he thought he was entitled to do that and when I rejected him he was angry enough to actually hit me.”
It’s not on.
If you’re a guy and you’re offended by this, I have some advice for you: if a girl complains about guys touching her up in clubs don’t rant about how you’re not like that. Listen, sympathise, and make it clear that you don’t think it’s acceptable that she should have to experience that kind of thing. Ever. And if a guy you know thinks it’s funny, let him know you disapprove. That way you can be part of the solution, instead of the problem.
If you’re a guy and you are guilty of touching girls up without their consent, then you need to stop. It’s not flattery, it’s not flirting and it’s not fun: it’s sexual assault. And we’re fed up of it being the norm.