As a young woman, sexual harasment is something I’ve been experiencing since I was very young. Most girls experience it around the age they hit puberty, which is mostly around the age of 12/13 years old. Well, for me, I hit puberty at a very young age, my breasts started to grow and my hips got wider when I was 7/8 years old. My sister experienced the exact same progress going on in her body growing so fast, we got both send to the doctors but they couldn’t find anything. We were exceptions in this case. But there we sat at school, as mini-women who didn’t liked their changing bodies at all.
I didn’t get harassed on the streets back then, but at school. The other kids noticed I had growing breasts; they made fun of me by groping them multiple times or calling me ‘Big Boobs.’ Not only boys would make fun of me, girls would do the same thing. Laughing behind my back with it, gossiping around it (there was this one gossip going around back then that I would have gone to the doctors and had surgery to make sure they wouldn’t grow any bigger anymore) and also groping my breasts as well.
I felt absolutely horrible about having breasts and wide hips at such a young age. Being a 7/8 year old, I should have been enjoying childhood, not having to worry about puberty, and I didn’t feel like a child anymore. And the bullying went on and became worse every year. At the end of Elementary school I didn’t experience harassment anymore since the other girls of my class had grown a good pair of breasts and wide hips themselves, I didn’t felt alone anymore, however- the years there for where a hell to go through.
Once, a girl who was a bit younger than me, got her brother and his friend to insult me and they groped my breasts, walking away laughing, how they liked insulting me with doing such a horrible thing. I went to the director’s office to tell him what happened; a lot of people had seen what was going on, I couldn’t be lying. The man reacted shocked and told me it was absolutely unacceptable for those kids to do something like that to me. But has he ever punished them for what they did to me? No. Did the kids get punished for groping my breasts, laughing in my face for it? No. I didn’t tell my teachers what was going on, but I’m sure they secretly knew I was getting bullied because I was becoming a woman. No one did ever interfere when some kid groped one of my breasts again at the playground. One time the teacher used me as an example to say why I couldn’t breastfeed yet because a boy in my class said: ‘Sophie has breasts, that means she can feed a baby already!’ Why use me as an example for a subject like this?
I also remember the times we went to the swimming pool and I got a lot of stares from kids from other schools. My classmates didn’t ask about it after a while; they were used to it by then. But kids from other schools got curious, they stared at me, pointed fingers at me, laughed with it, you name it. I always hided my breasts behind my arms until I got into the swimming pool, once I got out of the water, they got hidden again.
I will never forget the day my period once came though on a school day, I was 9 years old. Every Friday we went to the swimming pool for swimming class, unfortunately my period came earlier than expected, making me forced not to go swim anymore. Everytime I couldn’t go swim I said to my classmates that I wasn’t feeling well, they didn’t got suspicious since they didn’t knew what menstruation meant. But this time, I was in tears because I looked forward to go swimming and I was in complete shock that my period had come this early. But it was a few months later and one of them knew what it was. The guy told everyone I had my period, in just a few minutes the whole school was aware of my little ‘problem down there’. Then people asked me what a period was, people stared at me, and whispered while I walked by, giving insults, you name it. All that because that ‘time of the month’ came too early for me.
Around the age of 11/12 years old the honking, catcalling, etc from strangers started. The stories about all the street harassment I endured during the years is too much to sum all up, but it made me feel even more horrible about my body and myself. I didn’t understand, I wasn’t provoking anything, I was a child who didn’t wanted this at all. I never asked for this sort of attention, not as a little girl and not as a young woman!
Is this the price I had to pay to be a woman? Breasts getting groped by other kids, gossip going around about me, getting nicknames like ‘Big Boobies’, etc. I had to endure all that because I hit puberty earlier than all the other kids, because I was becoming a woman, and apparently I needed to get punished, as I still get punished by men for walking down the street. I only just realized ever since the sexual harassment-stories are coming up I’ve been sexually harassed ever since I was a little girl.
I wish I could send this story to all the kids who bullied and groped me back then and let them think of all the horrible things they did to me and that they are no better than the men who still honk at me down the streets. Hopefully they became better human beings than they were back then. I really do.
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