By Stacey June
When I was clubbing like it was an Olympic sport in the early noughties, it was sort of expected. Just like smoking inside and bongos in the corner. But it’s 2015 now, guys. I thought we had progressed.
I was on a rare night out with friends recently, cutting loose on the dance floor to some 90s hits. It was my shout and I was walking back to my girlfriends with two drinks in my hands when it happened.
In front of his four mates, a dude pinched my a*** so intensely that fingers were felt up into the middle of my crutch. He only pulled his fingers away when I turned around with a glare. He looked like he had seen a ghost.
WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED!?
What surprised me the most was the shock. And the sadness. The shock that this is still happening. The sadness that my little cousins heading out to the club still have to stand up for themselves and yell “GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!” to men who touch them.
I wanted to know more. Was this happening everywhere? I turned to my friends and listeners of our Thinkergirls podcast, who confirmed my fears.
One woman told me it had just become a part of going out. A girlfriend said that as well as the pinching, there is also the slow brush behind, “as if you need to connect your pelvis to my a*** to get past me.” One woman on our Facebook group wrote: “It’s easier to just to keep walking and let it go”.
This is exactly why I said something to this guy. I said sternly, “You will never, ever do that to a girl again. What gives you the right to think you can go around touching body parts belonging to people you don’t know? How (enter profanity) dare you. Did you wake up in the wrong year? No actually, in the wrong century?”
I thought I’d made my point. That was until his friend muttered, “Shut up you slut”.
How have we not realised that bum pinching is part of the huge issue of sexual assault and domestic violence in this country? That this kind of behaviour can lead to other sexual attacks, toxic attitudes and abusive behaviour? Judging by the attitudes of the women I spoke to, it’s no surprise that approximately 85 per cent of sexual assaults never come to the attention of the criminal justice system.
After looking into the issue further, I found stories popping up all over the web where bum pinching was employed as a joke – something of “harmless comedy”.
One story that stood out was about UK Digital personality and Big Brother contestant Sam Pepper. He’s got 2,400,000 Youtube subscribers, 141,000,000 views and 870,000 Instagram followers. In the video he posted, Sam goes up to a series of women and asks them for directions. Getting in close to them as they point down the street, he reaches that hand out from underneath the hoodie and pinches them on the bum. He then looks around and pretends someone else walking by has done the pinching. That’s the end of the prank.
Yeah. I don’t get it.
So I have a message to the guys who stood in that pack and guys who have witnessed this type of behaviour before.
Shame on you. Shame on the guy who pinched my a***. Shame on the guy who called me a slut. Shame on all of you who have witnessed this behaviour, but sat back and said nothing. You are doing a huge disservice to the women in your life.
Bum pinching isn’t — and has never been OK.