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Good news stories & personal strategies

The hundreds of thousands of testimonies submitted to the Everyday Sexism Project clearly reveal that many people are still dealing with harassment, discrimination and abuse on a daily basis. We feel strongly that there is never a right or wrong response for a victim in these situations – instead of telling a victim how to respond we should be preventing the abuse from happening in the first place. The survivor is never, ever to blame for what has happened and responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator.

We know that responding to harassment or abusive behaviour can sometimes cause it to escalate into worse abuse, especially for marginalised groups, and that many, particularly BAME and LGBTQ people, have had bad experiences when reporting due to systemic prejudice within institutions like the police and judiciary. Whether or not you choose to report harassment or assault is completely up to you and it doesn’t in any way change the fact that you are not to blame for what happened. It is completely understandable and right that in many situations it doesn’t feel safe to respond at all. Personal safety should always come first. The response that feels right to you at the time is the right one.

However we do often receive questions from people asking for suggestions on comebacks or strategies they can use in particular situations, especially because many people report feeling frozen or panicked when something happens and not being able to think of anything to say or do in the moment. These responses are completely normal and natural, and there is never any onus on a victim to ‘shout back’ or confront her harasser or abuser.

At the Everyday Sexism Project, we hear many heartening examples of people finding their own powerful, clever or funny responses to sexist comments or situations, or strategies that have worked for them in tackling discrimination, whether it’s as a bystander, witness or survivor. For those who have asked for inspiration or examples of possible actions and comeback, and the many people who’ve asked what they can do if they witness an incident, we wanted to have a place to share these good news stories and personal strategies.

Share your story in the submission form on this page. Or, if you prefer to e-mail us at info@shoutingback.org.uk we can upload your story for you instead.

Scroll down to read Shouting Back success stories

***Please note that these anecdotes are not intended as instructions and your personal safety should always be the first priority. ***

Getting rated a ‘7.5’ whilst in a queue because I have a ‘great arse’. I rated him back a -2 as he’s a chauvinist pig.

Boys in my class at school called the girls sluts and slags and rated us out of 10. Sometimes when we raise our hand in class they shout things like get back in the kitchen or make me a sandwitch. For a long time the girls started saying less in class to avoid the sexist comments, but then we started talking about it together and started our own feminist society. We have regular meetings and read books and feminist Tumblrs and blogs. The next time a boy called one of the girls a slag we all stood up to him together and explained why it wasn’t ok and we weren’t going to put up with it anymore.

Sexism is when two subcontractors walk into the site office, and ask for someone from my company. I step up to greet them, but they look straight past me at my (male) boss, to as him a question.
Feminism is when my boss looks at them, looks at me, turns his back and says,
“Ask Holly, she’s the site engineer.”
Victory is the feeling you get when you see the faces of the two subcontractors, as they realise a woman half their age is the one in charge.
Thanks boss. I hope you’re proud to call yourself a feminist.

Male colleague: “Don’t mind her, she’s on her period.” Me: “If I had to bleed to find you annoying, I’d be anaemic.”

I used to purposefully jam the copier so people would stop asking me to make photocopies for their meetings. I’m an engineer.

Guy at work used to think it was OK to only ever address me as big boobs. ‘Morning big boobs’ etc. I started addressing him as ‘small penis’ – he soon realised that maybe saying ‘morning Kate’ would be a better way to address me.

When I get harassed I always pretend I didn’t hear & say “what?” The more they have to repeat the sillier they sound.

I was walking to college when a group of thirty-something men approached me. One of them asked me, ‘Is it true you can get an orgasm from riding a bike?’ (I wasn’t even riding one). I replied, ‘I’m more likely to get an orgasm from a bike than you’. His friends all laughed at him as I walked away.

New job,1st meeting, only woman, suit asks where’s the coffee? Reply Don’t know, but when you find it mine’s white no sugar

A guy kept harrassing me for my phone number so I gave him the number of another sexist, figured they’d have a lot in common.