Sexual harassment in the club? It’s still sexual harassment

(Courtesy Creative Commons)

(Courtesy Creative Commons)

I’ve talked to so many girls who have been through this: getting harassed by some random guy while in a club. Many of us go to nightclubs to dance, drink and enjoy the atmosphere, and we certainly don’t ask for a night of being groped or trying to escape the grasp of someone when we are clearly not interested.

This is something that happens so often that people now tend to accept it as normal and unavoidable. I can say that every single time I’ve been to a club in Toronto (which, I’ll admit, isn’t every single weekend, but enough) I, along with my other girlfriends, have been harassed by guys.

I recently turned 21 and thought that I’d get together with my closest friends and go to a club on a Saturday night. It took about five minutes of us being in the room for some creep to approach me and the two other girls I was with. And when I say approach, I mean invade our personal space.

With an expression that can be described as keen, he was right in my face, pressing against me before I knew what was happening. After a sturdy shove to the chest (sturdy by my petite standards), I figured he’d get the picture. But it took me and my friends pleading with him to leave us the hell alone for him to back off. And even then, he was lurking in the background for most of the night. I’d keep looking over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t getting a little too close, when I would have preferred to be completely relaxed and focused on my friends and the music.

To be honest, I’ve had worse experiences. I’ve had random guys trying to cop a quick feel, rubbing past me when they walk by and unwanted hands on my body. It’s often subtle, but this kind of thing still leaves me, and so many others, feeling violated and shaken. And it wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realized that this is sexual harassment.

But we never really do anything about it. It just seems like it’s not worth it to make a fuss about it when we’re just trying to have a good time. I mean, are we seriously going to cause a scene and report it? He could easily deny it, or slip away, or pretend that it was unintentional. What’s the point? But saying nothing is just perpetuating this culture.

Women should be able to go out and not feel harassed. We should be able to wear our outfits, dance, drink and not be looked upon as land ready to be conquered. There’s no harm in checking someone out and seeing whether they’re interested. But the rules of respect still apply. And of course, no means no.

I’m not entirely sure that I would be brave enough to report someone the next time it happens to me. But I suppose my way of speaking up is writing this. Getting people on campus thinking and talking about this can’t hurt.

Hopefully someone reading this who goes through the same thing or witnesses this type of behaviour is braver than I am.

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