‘You should dress accordingly’, ‘You’re showing too much skin’ or ‘That skirt’s too tight’ are only a few of the gruesome compliments women get on a daily basis. Three women’s stories will show you that to assume an educational article or a so called empowering speech could change the environment we’re forced to live in is pretty close to pathetic. I believe that a victim’s point of view could do better than any other person’s who just wants to talk about a taboo topic, because it’s trendy.
From a badass woman to all badass women out there.
So this is how I’ve come across three brave women’s stories, who courageously agreed to share their bitter experiences with me. For the sake of confidentiality, I have chosen to replace their names with fictitious ones.
Greta, 25. Groningen, Netherlands
“I was fifteen years old, I didn’t know much about men, women or even sex. I used to be a very introverted girl. My mom took me once to the mall to buy me some clothes… I just passed a very hard exam and she wanted to spoil the shit out of me.
While she was looking at some blouses, I was inspecting some jeans. A man came to me and asked me if I was looking for a particular pair of jeans. I asked ‘Yes, do you happen to have these on size eight?’ noticing his shop employee collar. He signed for me to come to the back with him. He wanted to ‘correctly’ measure my waist, hips and legs. I was wearing a skirt. He started lifting it up and touching my legs, inner thighs and before I could realise, he was inspecting my underwear. I immediately screamed and rushed back to mom.
Horrible moments, I used to cry myself to sleep for months. But I’m okay now, obviously. After all, it’s been ten years. I happen to be a lucky girl. I know other girls who have been through so much worse and they still don’t know how to cope with trauma. I’m so cool with it now. To me, at the moment, it’s just a story. Not a traumatising event, nor a sad event in my life. Just a simple story.”
Olivia, 21. Luton, UK
“In high school I used to live with my parents on the country side, in a small village near Oxford. So basically I had to take the bus to school every day. It wasn’t that bad using the public transportation. Until it was. In eleventh grade I would finish classes around seven p.m. so I’d get to take the eight p.m. bus. It was December, therefore as dark as it could be at that hour. I got on the bus and immediately noticed that there was only one unoccupied chair at the very back, on the last bench. I had so many bags with me and that would’ve been the last bus, therefore I couldn’t miss it.
I made my way to the back, hoping I didn’t make myself too visible. It was a three seater bench. My seat was in the middle, between a man and a woman. Five minutes after I was seated, he started touching my right arm in a disgusting manner. I looked at him and he looked me right in the eyes, making his way to my legs, when I immediately screamed and the thing that really traumatised me was what happened next. Well, what didn’t happen, to be more precise. Nobody said a word, moved a muscle or even blinked. He started laughing and wanted to come closer. At this point he was practically almost on top of me.
I started silently crying as I effortlessly tried to push him off of me. Then the bus stopped. A guy got on the bus and his eyes landed on my desperate ones. He started rushing to the back of the bus to physically throw the man down the chair and as far away from me as possible. I guess the real problem with my trauma is the unbelievable level of ignorance people seem to show to such events. I was eighteen years old. The best part is that the guy who helped me is now my boyfriend of three years and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.”
Samantha, 32. Idaho, USA
“A rather hard story for me to tell, but if, by any chance, could help someone else cope with their own traumatic experience, then it’s worth sharing. It happened a long time ago. I was 20 and my dad just kicked me out of the house. They were super catholic people so of course they disliked the fact that I had sex with my boyfriend of 2 years, a week before. As if my parents kicking me out wasn’t bad enough, my boyfriend broke up with me few days later. ‘I can’t stand the constant stress you come with’ he said when I asked for an explanation. A stupid reason, if you ask me.
Anyway, I decided to move in with Lara, a girl I knew from the drama club. A very sweet girl, nothing to worry about. When it came to her. She had this boyfriend of hers, Jack was his name. He was an architecture student, two years older… ‘such a dream‘ she used to say. But the thing she never knew about him, not even to this day, was his unfaithfulness. As soon as I moved in with her, he walked up to me and said ‘nice ass’ or something like that. As if, ugh!
One time, Lara went home to visit her parents, in London. Jack was supposed to go too, but he said he had an emergency at home and he couldn’t go with her. Lying asshole. The minute she left the door, he called my name from the top of the stairs. I answered, hoping he’d announce his leaving. ‘I hope you’re wearing that hot lingerie I keep seeing you sleep in’. As soon as he finished the sentence, I wanted to jump out the window, but he was already at my door.
He rushed to lock the window and quickly got himself undressed. He tried to undress me as I continued screaming at him to stop. Long story short, without any form of consent from me, he managed to cheat on his girlfriend that night and to leave me feeling like an absolute piece of garbage. I felt like I’ve betrayed the girl that didn’t let me starve and die on the streets. I felt like my life was a joke and everyone but me was laughing. That night I left and slept on a bench in the park until Lara was to come back.
Lara eventually came home two days later. She asked me what I did while I was gone. I just told her I visited some friends. I’ve never seen Jack since that night, nor Lara. It’s been 12 years and we’re still friends. It’s been so long and I still can’t muster the courage to tell her what happened and why exactly her perfect boyfriend disappeared. I hope I will one day, for her. I’ve healed, even though it took me a very long time. Now I’m happily married with two wonderful kids. I’m extremely happy.”
Use your voice, it’ll only bring you comfort
While talking to Greta, Olivia and Samantha I’ve noticed two similar aspects: firstly, all three of them eventually found out how to cope and heal the wounds and secondly, they’re all happy and content with what happened. Their scars have faded and now they live the so called best life. That is, in fact, the real secret of happiness. To learn how to cope with sadness, so happiness can find its way to you. No matter how hard it might seem, remember that after every rainy day, there’s always a rainbow waiting to make an appearance. And speak up! Your voice is as important as anyone’s, don’t let social media fool you!