Wednesday 18 July 2018

Surely I'm not a victim. But then again...

Elizabeth Day did not think she had ever been sexually harassed. But then #metoo made her look at the past through a new lens

'Later, in the workplace, there were always the male colleagues who wanted more than friendship, but I never felt threatened by them.' (stock photo)
'Later, in the workplace, there were always the male colleagues who wanted more than friendship, but I never felt threatened by them.' (stock photo)

Elizabeth Day

It was a depressing week for women. Another one. The #metoo campaign on social media, whereby female users shared their stories of sexual harassment, caught my attention for the sheer weight of responses.

Well, I thought confidently, I've never been a victim of sexual harassment. I'm one of the lucky ones. But then I started reading strangers' stories - of lewd bosses making unwanted advances; of groping incidents on public transport; of feeling threatened by groups of men catcalling in the street - and I realised that I'd experienced all of that. Obviously I had. Wasn't that simply part and parcel of being a woman?

It's an age thing, I think. I'm 38 and part of the sandwich generation of feminists. We consider ourselves lucky to be standing on the shoulders of those pioneering women who fought the big legal battles against gender discrimination: for suffrage, for equal pay (ha!) and for workplace recognition.

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