I just put the #metoo on my personal facebook… It took me a while to post it because I was not sure the time(s) I was harassed were actually ‘worth’ mentioning or even worth the #metoo tag given they were only ‘small’ harassments. I’m talking about the boob and bum grabbing sort of incidents.
One time it happened in the surf. I paddled out on my longboard in Bondi and one older guy paddled up next to me, said hello and thought it was hilarious to slap me on the bum…I remember feeling dumbstruck. I was totally caught off guard. I could not believe that actually just happened. I was not sure what to say. I blushed and kind of laughed it off event though it felt wrong and I felt violated.
I probably should have told him off and set a clear boundary but I guess I didn’t want to cause a fuss. In my head I made up excuses for him to make it ok…’oh he didn’t mean bad. He was just joking. Maybe it was my fault for wearing that swimsuit’…In the end, I was the one who ended up feeling embarrassed and ashamed.
I know that there are many women (and men) who experienced much worse so even as I’m writing this, I’m still fighting the urge to dismiss this incident as ‘not a big deal’ and just get over it.
So thanks to all the brave ladies and men before me who started to speak up to raise awareness about this issue that seems to be rampant in our culture.
Awareness will hopefully lead to action…and action to a kinder world. A world where my daughter can paddle out in the surf to play without being slapped on the bum and think it’s her fault.