I know it’s not all men, but I have been accosted in a lifts by more than one man on more than one occasion – so forgive me for waiting for another lift if you are alone in it.

I know it’s not all men, but I have been manhandled in the street because I did not respond, responded with laughter, responded with anger and responded with dismissal, by guys who cat called to me. So now I’m weary of all men who cat call. No, I do not see it as a compliment.

I know it is not all men, but more than one man has tried to forcefully have sex with me when he took me home after a date. So now I prefer to go in my own car until I am sure of THIS man.

I know it’s not all men, but three male teachers touched me inappropriately and said inappropriate things to me at school. Forgive me for not automatically trusting male teachers.

I know it is not all men, but some of my parents’ male friends and even uncles cornered me when I was alone in their presence. So forgive me if I don’t trust all male family members or all my parents’ male friends.

I know its not all men, but I had countless male customers (I was a rep) and many many bosses and colleagues suggest that I would get the order, or get promoted, if I went away with them, or gave them a blow job at the office. Forgive me for not wanting to be in a closed office with a male colleague or client.

I know it is not all men, but on two occasions I was at the movies by myself where a strange man came and sat near me, or next to me and started masturbating during the movie so I had to literally run away. Forgive me for moving to another seat if you come and sit too close to me.

I know it is not all men, but I have had three intimate partners who have physically beaten me up. And these were men who claimed to LOVE me. Forgive me for not trusting you immediately.

I know it is not all men, but I have walked past many groups of men who have often commented on my arse, my tits, my legs, my body shape or suggested stuff that they would like to do with, and to, bits of my body and then they laugh and laugh. I’m told by male friends that I should take this as a compliment. Forgive me for commenting negatively on locker room talk.

I know it is not all men, but when I comment on rape jokes to men who publicly think it is funny and cover this with “only joking”, who then get aggressive because I am angered or outraged. I have been raped you see – and it is NOT funny. Forgive me for ALWAYS making jokes like this unacceptable.

I know it is not all men. but let me tell you, EVERY WOMAN I KNOW has stories like this. I might not be all men but it is EVERY WOMAN I KNOW.

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If you live in South Africa, buy Hilda’s book here: https://lkpublishers.co.za/product/love-versus-fear/

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