Meet the women speaking out about their experience of sexual harassment in nightclubs, and telling us why we should care about it
Why do we treat it as such a casual, expected thing?
Nearly all of us – 91 per cent, in fact – have experienced groping, harassment or unwanted attention in a nightclub. It’s become so common place that we now just dismiss it, people call it “banter”, an expected and accepted part of a night out, even if it’s not a welcome one.
Few of us would ever even consider reporting it. But the more we normalise the experience of what is effectively assault, the more at risk we are of it. It’s a depressing reality now, but it doesn’t have to be in future. Babe spoke to several women who shared their experiences of assault, groping and harassment in nightclubs, and told us why they aren’t going to let it slide as just “something which happens” anymore.
It’s not just a bit of fun, it’s a crime.
I was a fresher and had some friends from home come up to visit me. I was really keen to show them what a cracking night out but it didn’t end up that way. This guy was really really drunk and just wouldn’t leave me and my friends alone. He came up to each of us individually, groping us, coming behind us and feeling us up. We told him to leave us alone and moved to another room of the club, but he followed us.
He then came up behind me, put his hands up my shorts and did actually touch my foof. I was, as you can imagine, both shocked and furious, and my first instinct was to shove him really really hard away. He was then really angry that I had shoved him (I’m quite strong when I’m pissed off) and went to attack me but his friends held him back.
He had a glass in his hand (luckily it was plastic thank you health and safety for knowing what drunk people are like) which he threw super aggressively at my head. I was so upset and shocked I obviously just ran to the bathroom and cried for about 20 minutes. My friends told a bouncer and he got kicked out, but I’m really reluctant to go back to that club now.
I didn’t know the guy before it happened to be honest the whole situation was very weird. I was in a bar in my hometown getting a drink when a lady complimented me on something I was wearing. Turns out she was only doing it to wingman her friend next to her, he was a lot older than me so I politely declined saying that I was only 18.
He must’ve been in his late 20s. Later on in the night I went to the main nightclub in Harrogate. On the dance floor I could feel someone repeatedly grabbing my bum. I felt so awkward and turned around as he was there. I had to move away and sort of glare at him to stop. I felt so uncomfortable especially as he was older than me and wouldn’t get the hint that I really really wasn’t interested.
Getting groped in a nightclub is so common so the stat doesn’t surprise me at all. It happens on such a casual basis that often you don’t really know who did it or why.
I was out once, and a guy kept touching my bum – I asked him to stop various times fairly politely and he wouldn’t – so I told him to fuck off, and he spat in my face.
I went out in Southampton with my sister recently and my boyfriend had lifted me up and was dancing with me and a guy slapped me so hard on the arse. I obviously confronted him and he just ran away – then after we left the club he came up to all my sisters friends and my boyfriend confronted him again saying it’s not okay to slap girls arses in clubs.
The most shocking thing about it though was how my sister and her friends were saying “it’s fine because it’s a nightclub”. I was so bemused, like obviously it’s not fine just because we’re in some skanky club.
When I used to go out clubbing, even though I didn’t have a boyfriend I used to change my wallpaper with a photo of me and a boy so when I say no and people kept harassing me I could say “look, I have a boyfriend”.
I was in a nightclub one night in Birmingham, when someone pushed up against me and grabbed my arse so firmly that it was pornographic. I felt absolutely violated. I challenged the guy and called him out loudly on his behaviour; hoping to humiliate him. The truth is that he was not fazed by the public announcement and he laughed at me in the most sinister way.
A bouncer nearby saw me shouting and pulled me away from the man, in an effort to protect him. I calmly explained my assault to the bouncer, who openly laughed at the word ‘assault’. His advice to me, was to ‘calm down’ and stay away. The girls that I was with, although sympathetic, also encouraged me to calm down. They, and the bouncer all shared the attitude that ‘this is what happens and it is the norm’.
In hindsight, I wish I had taken my complaint further, but the attitudes around me belittled my experience and made me feel as though I was erratic and hysterical.
I’m currently living in spain and was out one saturday night at a club where they have these tall speakers that you can dance on. I was dancing on one and a guy in the crowd below kept trying to get me to come down to him and I kept declining. He didn’t listen, was repeatedly asking “why not?” and ignoring my responses and then actually started grabbing at my ankles (which were at his eye level) to literally try and pull me down to him. I ended up just climbing down so I didn’t end up getting hurt, but still had to spend the rest of the night avoiding him.
A guy once tried to stub a cigarette out on my arse, only to be punched in the face by my flatmate for trying to assault me and making comments about how my bum was good enough to grab.
I was at a nightclub in DC with a guy I was seeing, my friend and her boyfriend, and the guy I was with went inside to go to the bathroom, so the rest of us were just waiting by the bar. A guy kept coming up to me and first he was just complimenting me, but then he got very touchy and I said I was with someone. He went away, but a few seconds later I felt a firm grab on my butt.
I assumed it was my friend joking around, but then a security card came up to me and was like “Did you know that guy?” and I was confused but then realized what had happened. The security guard kicked him out, and on the way to the car we ran into him sitting on a bench. My guy started beating him up, and as he held him on the ground and slapped the fuck out of him and said “I guess it’s okay to touch people how you want”.
If you’d like to submit your story email firstname.lastname@example.org.