How are men harassed by women

Sexual harassment in everyday life: why don't men change?

When I was 18, I was groped and verbally harassed. That was a long time ago, but nothing has changed since then. It's time to get even angrier.

Action against harassment in Mainz: an activist writes down what women get to hear Photo: dpa / Patrick Seeger

Last week I was talking to a seventeen year old who was very upset. A man of about forty stood in her way, chatted stupidly, and then followed her. It happened during the day and she wasn't very afraid, but she was fed up, she explained, because something like this happens to her all the time. They stopped in the car next to her and commented on her body, they blocked her way and made her offers or told her what they would like to do with her. "Men are such pigs!" She uttered, perplexed, disgusted, desperate, and I had no solution ready either.

I am fifty-one years old and have such experiences less often. Perhaps I thought that the behavior of men has changed in the meantime, that there has been a development? When I had to work in agriculture at the age of eighteen, I felt it was "normal" that my bosom or buttocks were constantly being grabbed. It was "normal" in my world, where I believed men could not help it.

That was then. But how is it today? Today, I read in countless comments on similar reports by women, these women should be happy that “man” finds them attractive, desires them. By the way, those who say and think such things are assholes, regardless of gender.

When I was seventeen I went swimming once a week. I was a good swimmer, but there was also something very bad about those pool visits. Because I had big breasts. For this reason, I never wore a bikini, but always sturdy, sporty swimsuits. Still, the step from the changing room to the bathroom was always a very difficult one. Would there be a lot of men in the pool? Would they whistle and bawl again? I didn't let myself be stopped from swimming. But the humiliating thing about it, the anger and shame until I could dive into the water, I can't forget.

If a man on the street tells a complete stranger that she is "pretty," then he's an asshole

All of this is not only uncomfortable, it is a form of exercise of power, of violence. If a man makes remarks about her body to a woman with whom he has no intimate relationship, then he is already practicing violence. If a man comes along on the street and tells a complete stranger that she is "pretty," then he is undoubtedly an asshole. It's no different than when he puts his cock in her face, and it doesn't mean anything else.

But what should you advise a young girl now who no longer believes, as I did back then, that men “are just like that”, but knows that every man has the opportunity to choose between asshole and not asshole behavior? What use is this information to this girl on the streets of this city that are unfortunately still full of assholes? Perhaps does she not have the right to go her way unmolested? Of course there are practical tips and so on. But why does she need tips, why don't men change?

And that's just one of many things that just don't get better, even though we have this equality here. Today as I write this is International Women's Day. In the GDR there were cloves and brandy beans for our mother that day, in the morning before she went to work.

I don't know what was in the West earlier that day. In any case, there are currently a few women in the news who have achieved something or who have become something. Look at someone, a woman can be something too.

Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius, meanwhile, tells NDR about the development of domestic violence in times of pandemics: “The trend is upwards. That means: more action. ”The status quo: every third woman in the EU has already experienced physical or sexual violence. On Women's Day, I wish all women and girls that they never “get used” to these “normalities” in a woman's life, but instead stay angry and even become even angrier.