A few days ago twitter had one of it's little viral hashtag things going on. Women were tagging events in their lives where they were 'grabbed' by men. It was to demonstrate the way women were, and often still are, treated. It made me think. I reflected on times I'd been grabbed too. I tweeted one of my experiences.

It led to a couple of replies from men. Which was nice! Telling me what I should have already known. Being grabbed wasn't my fault.

Today over breakfast I discussed it with Mr TM. He agreed that it was prevalent in the 70s and 80s, neither of us go clubbing now so can't comment on today! But it led to an interesting conversation.

I mentioned that the reason women went to the toilets in groups, at least when I went to clubs in the 80s and 90s was because leaving the group to go alone was dangerous. Walking across a club alone would leave you open to cat calls, and grabbing. You would often be surrounded by a 'pack' of guys, touched, kissed, generally leched over and the only way to cope was to laugh, to join in and to look like you enjoyed it because saying no or trying to push them away turned the 'banter' into aggression, cries of 'frigid cow' or 'touchy bitch' or 'I wouldn't want to shag you anyway' , which would often turn physical. I was grabbed when I went alone to buy a drink.

So when men are joking about women going everywhere in packs including to the toilet maybe think about why.

When we were talking Mr TM also said that while he never joined in when his mates behaved this way, he also didn't stop it, because like the lone woman, a lone dissenting voice in the pack will be turned on too, and anyway, the woman is laughing, she looks like she likes it...she doesn't. Now he realises his mistake.

So two things, why women travel together in groups in clubs, and women might look like they are having fun when they really are not. (and that the laughing and apparent enjoyment can apply to men too)

These packs of men turn usually normal friendly blokes into bullies. That's what they are, arrogant show offs, bullies.

Have you experience of this sexual bullying? Does it still happen? is it worse or better to be a woman at a club these days? I'd love to know because DD is 14 and soon she'll be wanting to go out with the girls..what are you teaching your sons?


  1. Really interesting post. It's interesting to hear Mr TM's view too. I can't comment about how it was when you were clubbing, but I have been surrounded on the way to the toilets when going alone from 2006 onwards and it was scary.
    I think it's important to instill confidence in our young women to not laugh along and create a fuss to attract help if it gets out of hand, and of course to teach our young men to not try to scare women into letting them grope them, because that's often how it feels.

    1. Thanks for your comment, there is a fine line between 'victim blaming' and teaching some common sense and defence moves! I agree that teaching that it's not OK and that girls should feel able to shout out and say stop is good but they really need to know that other men will step in too..men need to know that laughter can be fear and not agreement

  2. Teach the sons and the daughters won't need to learn! People aren't animals!

  3. I was never into clubbing in a big way. The type of behaviour you mention just never happened in the pubs and clubs I went to. At least I never saw it. I was once grabbed in the genitals by a young woman whilst I was working at the back of a supermarket. I had no idea what to do, so did nothing! This was about 1966. Re Rushy's comment. People are animals, that's why we need to learn to act as if we are not

  4. Given my experience last week, I would guess that they're teaching their sons this very predatory behavior: Last week, I was catcalled by a preteen in his parent's car, and when I turned around, his parent drove away, enabling his harassment. The parent looked like they were laughing, which would've been condoning it.

    That? Is how men learn to think of women as things. They're taught to.

  5. Still happens - my daughter is 19 and regularly (ie weekly) tells me how she's been grabbed while out with her friends. Thankfully, she knows better than to blame herself but she doesn't always feel safe enough to call the grabbers out. And she often gets abuse when she politely rejects a chat up. Nothing has changed in twenty years.

  6. I've never been grabbed except consensually by my husband, no idea how I've avoided it.... All girls school and going to clubs with a lot of male friends I guess. I was however, stalked and assaulted in the street. This led to me training in martial arts so I would have the choice to defend myself in the future should I want it. All the kids going to regular karate classes so that they will have a choice if anything should ever happen, and not be frozen into in action like I was.

    We also teach them about enthusiastic consent respect for an individual's bodily autonomy - both the boys and the girls.

  7. This rarely happened to me, but I didn't go to nightclubs full of strangers, but to places where I knew everyone. Also I mostly wore 'don't mess with me' clothes, which probably helped :)