For centuries, children across the world have been falling victim to sexual harassment, assault, or worse at very young ages.
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault/Harassment
To be completely at ease with oneself and one's surroundings is a luxury very few get to enjoy in life. In fact, about half the world's population is in a constant state of unease due to the rape culture established in our society by the actions of the other half. For centuries, children across the world have been falling victim to sexual harassment, assault, or worse at ages when they don't even have the emotional growth to understand or cope with the trauma. Without the means to identify or name the assault, they are yanked out of their blissful childhood and thrust into a world of psychological issues that haunt them throughout their lives.
A viral tweet from the outspoken Twitter user "feminist next door" recently shined a light on just how young this starts for many when they asked: "How old were you when men started making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your own body?" Hundreds of netizens flooded the tweet with heartbreaking revelations that make us wonder how on Earth this has been allowed to continue even today.
Here are 25 gut-wrenching responses to the tweet:
I was 11 and a man grabbed and hugged me when I was walking home from the tram stop. The police laughed at my dad when he reported it.— CSJ 🦄 (she/her) (@csestajacobs) October 18, 2021
...which was lucky, because he returned the following week... and got nicked & prosecuted by the woman detective who was with me when I spotted him.— Earth Mother Crone💙🧡 (@wildwalkerwoman) October 18, 2021
Eleven. Approached by a man in a car asking for directions and suggested I get in…there was a little girl in the back seat.— ♕ Kerryn Smith (@smithker75) October 18, 2021
I ran home and never told anyone. I often think about that girl in the back seat and wish I was brave enough to tell someone.
I honestly don't remember a time when they didn't.— ☠️Pepperannie 👻🎃💉💉double-jabbed; double sass🖖 (@PepperAnney) October 18, 2021
Pretty much for as long as I can remember, friends of my dad would talk about how they were going to take me away and marry me. Not just one man. It was always creepy. It made me uncomfortable every single time. I would cower behind my mother and they would call it cute.— kat_ripley (@kat_ripley) October 18, 2021
You didn’t mention sex so here goes. 5 when I became frightened of boys. 6 I learned about creeps. There were some dangerous men to kids in my area. Me and my friend Caroline ran away from them. As a teen I was stalked but I can’t remember my age.— Ben F Bridges (@Falconer084) October 18, 2021
In preschool there was a boy who always tried to touch all of the girls and look up our skirts. Teachers told him to stop but "boys will be boys" I decided to become his girlfriend so he'd stop doing it to everyone. He did and I punched him everytime he tried to even hold my hand— C. Trew (@TrewCourtney) October 18, 2021
Young - I remember being 5/6 and being told proper young girls don't "sit that way", "talk that way", "boys don't like girls who are bossy". It got worse as I got older. Pretty sure it took until my 40s to truly love me the way I am! I'm 51 now!— Tammy (Not really fr d’ Bay) Jakeman (she/her) 🍊 (@TammyJfrCowBay) October 18, 2021
5. A boy chased me around the playground trying to kiss me. I told a teacher and she told me that just meant he liked me. I remember being so angry, even at 5, that someone would think it was fine for this boy to do whatever he wanted and what I wanted didn't matter.— Carla (@sullivansims) October 18, 2021
When I first became consciously aware of those uncomfortable feelings, 6 years old, Creepy Uncle. Mid teens ran into “family friend” I knew as a 2-3-4 yr old, he went to hug me, I froze, felt sick. So yeah, subconsciously aware I was uncomfortable since I could walk.— Paula💗💜💙100%Vaxxed200%Awesome (@ShoreGirlyGirl) October 18, 2021
Not nearly the devastating stories in this thread... I've got a couple of those too. But the picture of me crying as my dog practically sits on me and growls at the man trying to pick me up stays with me. I'm not sure women every really get to feel safe in that way.— Jena in Real Life (she/her) (@jenarific) October 18, 2021
5. I still feel guilty about it. Funny, huh?— The Kawaii Slartibartfast (@thekawaiislarti) October 18, 2021
11/12 - followed in our local shopping centre by a creepy guy while I was buying stationary for the new school year. My father shouted at me when I told him for (somehow?) being unsafe. It was a great start!— Sarah Doherty-Browne (@SDohertyBrowne) October 18, 2021
I was 15; a cancer patient, a 90 pound weakling with no hair. A man howled at me as I was walking down the street with my sister. It was a jarring, horrible sound. As I was fighting for my life, some adult man decided to let me know that I wasn't "attractive".— Kait (kültür) (@kaitkultur) October 18, 2021
Mom went to neighbor for just a few minutes. I was home alone. The person was trusted, could walk in anytime. I was still outside when she returned.— 🌊Shush🗽WearADamnMask😷 (@ShushOrchid) October 19, 2021
That voice whispered to me a few times as a kid - even when I didn't sense danger, and I'd leave, and saw the danger afterwards.🤷♀️
13yo when a grown man who worked at the youth club was giving me a lift home & started talking about how masturbation is natural, & that if I wanted to do that it would be ‘so cool’. Then a few minutes later he offered to give me a Mars Bar if I’d give him a blow job. A Mars Bar!— Sarah Craft (@Squidhump) October 18, 2021
11. Male babysitter - came into my bedroom after bedtime.— kay ❄️ (@kay_oz) October 18, 2021
Never wore my favourite pajamas ever again. They had green frogs on them.
9. Mom and stepfather took me to a bar and we sat in a booth with a friend of theirs. I was sitting next to him and he put his hand on my knee/thigh. When I said something, my mom said, looks like you’ve got a boyfriend! I never forgave her for that.— Miss Lelaina (@misslelaina) October 18, 2021
My 6th grade teacher took me out in the hall to tell me that other male teachers were commenting on how short my shorts were. We were super poor and they were way too small. My stomach still hurts thinking about it. (33 years later)— MWBlues (@52Fury) October 18, 2021
6. I have red hair and it was long as a child. I was at my big sister’s band concert and the grown man behind me started running his fingers through my hair. He was rubbing my head and neck and petting my hair and I didn’t know how to get my moms attention or stop him.— Leeanna (@leeanna_sue) October 18, 2021
About 6 when 2 boys crawled under my school desk and both stuck their heads under my skirt, then at 14 when repair men were in our flat and made inappropriate sexual remarks about my body and would touch my hair. Those moments always stay in my head.— Victoria Rose Brown (@MissRosieBrown) October 18, 2021
My best friend and I were around 8 yrs old when a man exposed himself to us while playing at the park. We also had men follow us in their cars on multiple occasions. We were in elementary, it makes me sick to this day.— Ness (@VanessaLindstr8) October 18, 2021
Movers when I was twelve. One of them blocked my way on the stairs, laughing. It took a while to get past him, and my aunt was watching and laughing with a friend that it looked like she'd have to watch out for me. ME! I never felt the same way about her after that.— KK Lena (@meltedpotmama) October 18, 2021
Unsafe: 10. When I was sexually assaulted.— sara (@spokant) October 18, 2021
Uncomfortable: As long as I can remember due to constant comments about my appearance, even from my relatives.