Almost all women have memories of going out to a nightclub with friends, enjoying drinks, and dancing the night away, perhaps even meeting someone new in the process. But unfortunately, many of us also have unpleasant nightclub memories as well.
In a now-viral tweet, one woman is sharing her experience with being groped in a nightclub but deciding to fight back against her attacker, and people online are applauding her move.
A Night Out On The Town
It’s a Saturday night and you’ve got plans with your girlfriends to hit up a trendy nightclub. Wanting a carefree night to enjoy a few drinks and dance your problems away with friends, you expect to end the night a little tipsy with some fun memories to look back on.
What you don’t expect is to be assaulted.
Harriet hails from England and is known on Twitter as @harribowley. She recently shared her unfortunate experience with going out to a nightclub in a thread that has gone viral.
In the tweet, she explains that she “smacked a lad last night who sexually assaulted me in the club, and he looked genuinely furious and shocked.”
The Attached Stigma
Whether in a nightclub by a stranger or by someone you consider a friend, being sexually assaulted happens more often than you may realize, and it is grossly underreported. In fact, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 81% of women reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
Whether it’s due to a fear of not being believed, fear of retaliation, or a sense of shame, it’s also something women often keep quiet about and try to forget. I know I did.
With this stigma attached, women will often keep quiet and not report their assault, but Harriet says that the only way to quash this kind of behavior is by holding the predators who do it accountable.
“Normalise girls standing up for themselves when they get groped,” she wrote.
Consent Is Key
Women shouldn’t go out to a nightclub expecting to be assaulted, and Harriet says that her assaulter’s reaction of shock and anger was due to never having faced accountability for his actions.
“So it’s absolutely fine for you, as a stranger, to touch me up without consent but not ok for me to touch you in self defence? Okkkk…” she wrote.
Clothing Is Not An Invitation
Harriet added, “Also the best part about this is I was literally wearing a massive jumper round my waist so wasn’t wearing anything ‘revealing’ at all. Before any idiots start to try justify groping strangers in clubs.”
With this in mind, it’s important to realize that it doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing a short skirt or walking around stark naked—clothing is not an invitation to be touched and it never translates into “she was asking for it.”
Reactions From Twitter
Harriet’s story went viral on Twitter with nearly 25,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.
It’s a story women know all too well, and many users applauded her for not only defending herself in the nightclub against the person who groped her but by sharing her story publicly, in the hopes it’ll help others.
Other women came forward after reading Harriet’s story and revealed that the exact same thing has happened to them before, proving it happens more often than people might expect. What’s worse is that as women, we’re conditioned to accept this behavior from a young age.
“What’s bad about it is that as a woman you get conditioned to deal with it. You get ‘used’ to it. But that in itself is gross, that it’s so normalized. Most women have been getting catcalled and harassed since before they were teenagers,” one user wrote.
Why Didn’t You Report?
However, not all comments on Harriet’s post were positive. One user replied by saying that perhaps victims should report their sexual assaults to the police instead, but people quickly pointed out why that’s easier said than done.
“Until these cases are prosecuted properly and women aren’t humiliated in the process, then women won’t report and I don’t blame them,” one user commented.
Unfortunately, the topic of consent is an issue still being brought to the forefront, and we still have a long way to go. But in closing, if you are going to a nightclub—or anywhere else for that matter—remember to keep your damn hands to yourself.
Otherwise, don’t be surprised if someone fights back.