Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

The author is white woman, living in Toronto. I am a white, middle-class young woman, living in Montréal. I have lived through variations of all of these stories, except for the death threats (only because I am not a loud, prolific feminist writer. Yet.)

I view these stories as par for the course. Worse, I am grateful that this is BETTER than the States, where being female gets you shot (Planned Parenthood, anyone?). In our two countries, supposed bastions of democracy and equality, this is totally normal. Acceptable.

One of my friends, another white middle-class girl, has told me with a straight face that there aren’t prevalent gender issues in our society. She wasn’t being naive. She had honestly NEVER experienced anything like what I or Anne in her post below have experienced.

I was stunned at my friend’s innocence. Then I was kind of envious. Imagine a world where this shit isn’t the norm? I can’t.

The Belle Jar


I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

View original post 1,529 more words


  1. Omg yes, your friend is naive, because I, too, have been through all of this in some variation except for the death threats. It is the norm and it is disgusting and it should never, ever happen and yet it does, over and over again.


    1. You know what is wierd though, I was talking to her again today, and she maintains she has NEVER experienced ANY of it. It is so wierd, because we live in the same area (where I got flashed) and worked at the same company (where I have had clients harass me so bad, the partners had to intervene). Yet she still hasn’t lived through any of it!!!

      I don’t wish her to experience any of it, i just don’t understand what kind of lucky star she must live under.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nor do I…I work in a church and was harassed by a colleague there and had a guy masturbate in front me on a crowded 211 bus heading home to Beaconsfield back in the day and those would be places where you wouldn’t expect this sort of thing to happen. Bad case of denial?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Are these lists in the air? I just posted my second. Here’s the comment I left over at TheBelleJar, but I see I should have used the word “some” rather than “all”. (That is a frequent failing of mine I am working on. Hypocritically enough, a pet peeve when others overgeneralize.)

    This was not wonderful, but terrible and true, as you know, and truth for all of us women. Re: these posts of lists: Some of us are writing our own after being inspired by seeing those written by others. Some of us are writing lists not knowing others have written them. But each of us can always think of more entries to add from our own lives as we read each others’ lists.

    That, in the face of this, we women continue to be the glue holding the world together is impressive.

    (For the trolls, just one example: Imagine all volunteers not showing up for work for a month–hospitals, for example, would fall on their faces. What percentage of volunteer roles are performed by females? And, of these, what percent doing what would be paid work if males were doing it? Love to see a grad student take that on.)

    Great post. Thanks.

    –O. Babe


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