2017 decided to turn itself in basically with the wave of allegations in Hollywood against sexual abuse and harassment and I am struggling with a really bad feeling in my gut. On one side while I am smiling at the situation as it is revealing itself like an erupting volcano, on the other hand it shocks the shit out of me. The amount of #metoo hashtags I saw in the past months makes me sick and sad, but I also do not feel that enough is being shared at least for those who might learn something from it, because it leaves an impression it happens to almost everyone and there is no need to talk about it as the #metoo hashtags do not leave enough stories. As if it became an instagram photo of a morning coffee. It is just there and there is a lot of it and we should live with it, but I do not want to and neither do you…
I can say I feel blessed I have never been raped or abused in a sexual way, but I do have a dozen of harassment stories to share for the #metoo revolution because we all need to finally talk and share. I have been lucky otherwise. Working for 11 years at big corporations where managers have always been disciplined enough not to do anything inappropriate. The employees were assholes many times, but none of those harassers ever reached any promotions and I hope none of them will ever reach a powerful job. I have been discriminated, yes, but that is a story for next time.
The fashion world is a different piece of cake, there you have an island of super sexual open people who are used to working with beautiful men and women, they are used to objectifing them and all of us in the industry and that is considered somehow normal because why shouldn’t a photographer joke about your boobs. Yeah? No. I would love to hear some stories from my model friends who travelled all over the planet…Maybe it would be worth it to collect some.
But for now, let me share my first ever story…
When I was 11 I was a really naive little girl. Don’t get me wrong I was a horrible badass, but I knew nothing about men. I was unable to understand Hungarian so the magazines I read like “Bravo” and all that vintage shit meant nothing to me and I could only guess by the photos. There was no internet, no books on this subject, friends were too young to talk about it and my mom did not feel it should be a topic. But neither did I. I was 11. The only times I occasionally saw anything was in some 90s Hollywood movie or when I managed to stumble upon weird literature. It was the time when I was technically too young aka no periods yet.
Every morning I took the usual bus and the one stop by tram to get to my school bus that picket us up at certain locations. It was a routine job and it was an American school with uniforms. The American dream crap that we all know. Little skirt, stockings and a white shirt. All dolled up for the psychos out there. I am all for school uniforms but yeah I have some feelings.
I had my usual morning “to the school bus travel” when I went up on the tram peacefully standing there when suddenly somebody appeared by my side and grabbed my ass. I was 11. It was a huge hand.
And guess what… My first extremely naive thought was “That must be an old man who has nothing to hold on to and that is why he grabbed me”. That thought lasted for 10 seconds and that is when I started to reach a state of pure shock…I was standing there, I did not dare to look to my right to see who the man is. I just stood there. I could not move and I could not do anything. I just looked in front of myself and waited for the doors to open. I knew what was happening but I did not know why. It felt like an eternity until the doors finally opened and I ran out never turning back to see the monster’s face.
I was so shocked I was unable to speak about it for many years. For many many months I did not understand why this has happened. All I knew is that it was horrible and that I was scared to even imagine I would need to take the same route to school again and again. I wondered why it happened but to this day I can not comprehend why a man would touch a little girl. I felt extremely dirty and I cried about it a lot.
To this day I have the most vivid picture in my head about what happened and the door I was staring at for minutes to open so I can hide away.I stopped believing in violence and all I wish in this situation is that I get a chance to speak to that man and tell him how I felt and what he did with just that one touch. For many years even imagining a touch of a man felt extremely wrong. It made me suffer thinking sexuality is a horrific thing taking me back to that horrible moment.
I wish today little girls and boys would know what to do if this happens to them. To scream and get the harasser kicked off the public transport, or to move away and not get scared. I wish mothers today would speak to their little children about these situations. Please do. I will. I wish I was not as clueless and did not have to suffer later for so many years…And even then I know people who even as adults have gotten so shocked they could not move or scream just like I did at 11.
And that was not the last time I got grabbed, or was shown privates or have seen someone masturbate in front of me for me. I was older then and was able to action, but all these have left a very very horrible feeling in me. I remember many years ago I was having a girl meet up with my friends and we were openly discussing these public sexual harassment situations and it was BAD. Every single friend at the table had many stories to share about getting touched and sexually harassed on public transport. To this day the first thought that comes to my head is what would my father say, what would our fathers say to this? How shocked and sad would they be that they can not protect their little children from these horrors and the little girls and boys have to learn to protect themselves. That these children have to grow with it and might not be able to share it…
Today I am 33 and I dream of a day when something is done about it. I need and I beg parents to take care of their children and to get them ready for this horror show until something is being done. For women and men of all ages to be able to share their stories without consequences against them. I wish calling horrible names on the street and getting grabbed would have serious results and I wish this would be made completely illegal just like stealing.
Talk to each other, talk to your parents, be the parents that you wish your parents were. Share share share with me and others even anonymously, but do. Write it down and burn it, but get it out. Get it out and show what a serious issue the world is facing at the moment. It is hard to protect your children when you are far away and I see no other option but to prepare them to let them know what needs to be done if a man grabs your daughter in public. Realise how often sexual harassment happens and protect your children and yourselves.