Not Okay

Not Okay

I’d like to start this off by telling you 3 things about myself. 1. I am 30 years old. 2. I am happily married. 3.I love to dance. Stone cold sober or buoyed along by alcohol, on a night out, you will almost always find me throwing some “questionable” shapes on the dancefloor! A recent night out with my friends was no different, except this time my evening was tainted by one guy who would not take no for an answer.

When we arrived at the bar we quickly found a table in a prime position, right next to my favourite spot, the dancefloor. We put down our things and got straight down to business. The music was blaring out the speakers and the floor was soon packed with people losing themselves in the moment. At some point a group of about 7 guys took to dancing next to us, they seemed to have the same agenda as us, dancing until we dropped!

One of the guys in the group began dancing right behind me which didn’t bother me at first, after all by this point the bar and dancefloor was heaving with people. But then, the occasional bump turned into him shoving his bum at me and ‘grinding’ on me. I immediately stopped dancing, irritated that he was invading my personal space. He took the hint, backed off and I started up my dancing once again. Except that he hadn’t actually taken the hint and this routine of him ‘grinding’ followed by me standing totally still went on and on.Eventually I physically barged him away from me thinking that my previous approach had been too subtle.

This, more physical display of rejection occurred several times and by now I was more than a little irritated. Despite all of my attempts to push this guy away, he then started grabbing my bottom, not just a gentle graze (which, would still have been unacceptable) but several, full hand grabs. At this point I had truly had enough so I made excuses to my friends about wanting to go grab our traditional post night out feast and left the bar. Night out over.

At that moment I felt cross but really just wanted to get home. It wasn’t until the next day when I woke up and went over the previous night’s events that I really started to feel pretty disgusted about the whole thing. In the shower my brain was in overdrive and without realising I was doing it, I began justifying this guy’s actions. He had obviously just had too much to drink. He only grabbed me, it could have been worse. Had I been dancing too provocatively? Was my outfit too tight-fitting? Too short? And before I knew it I had blamed myself for the unjustifiable action of a guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

And then I felt angry and logic kicked in. Alcohol is never an excuse. Yes, people have gone through far worse but purposely touching anyone who doesn’t want to be touched is not okay! People should be able to dance however they like and wear whatever they like without it being viewed as an invitation for them to be harassed. I should have been able to do what I love, to dance, to let my hair down and to enjoy a night out with my friends. Instead my night, my enjoyment was tainted by a guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The day after this happened to me I had so many thoughts, regrets. Why I hadn’t said anything at the time? I should have told a member of staff or at the very least, one of my friends. The reason I didn’t? I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s night. Which now seems totally ridiculous. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

As a society, we need to change. We need to change our mindsets about what is acceptable. People need to consider their own behaviour and decide if it’s acceptable. If you can’t trust your own behaviour when you drink, consider if you should be putting yourself in that position. If you can see your mate is giving someone unwanted attention, have a word with them. By standing by and doing nothing, you are supporting them. You are as bad as them. Stand up for yourself, for your friends and to your friends.

Yes, it could have been so much worse for me but that does not make it okay. Harassment however you try to dress it up, is not okay.

A Guest Post from an Anonymous Writer

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1 Comment

  1. Liz
    March 26, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    Brilliant post and a subject matter that is becoming more topical by the day. One of the biggest things for me now is putting my daughter in those positions. What would I tell her to do? How would I feel if it was her? How would her brother/father/etc expect her to be treated. This has made us all think hard about our own actions and those of others, across a diverse set of experiences. Thank you for sharing, what you experienced definitely isn’t right but your description and the thought process you went through is too familiar. By speaking out, standing up and saying no, together, we can challenge and improve the future.

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