an open letter to the guy who pinched my bum on a night out…

I’ve been thinking about you for three days now, but I can’t remember your face, and I doubt you even took a look at mine.

Did it satisfy you? One quick hand round the waist that I hastily brushed off, then sliding your hand between my legs from behind. What did it make you feel? Happy? Powerful? In control? It probably didn’t feel like much to you, but all I want to say is don’t ever do that again.

I want you to know that when a girl tells you to not to touch her, ‘why not’ and a wink in her direction isn’t an appropriate answer. The word you’re looking for is ‘sorry’. You turn around, walk away and don’t bother her again.

I understand, it’s hard to pull girls nowadays, right? And you probably think that meeting people isn’t as easy as it used to be, but that’s not an excuse to go about it in the wrong way. Smile at her, engage her in conversation and don’t be pushy – at the end of the day, you should grab her attention, not her arse.

Anyway, back to you. Was I the first of the night? Or were there more women you made feel like I do? It was late, and I was boozy – is that your reason? We were celebrating my birthday, and for the first time in weeks I felt care free and was genuinely having fun with my friends, but you took that away, and the sad thing is that you probably didn’t even realise.

I bet you didn’t think twice about me hysterically panicking, trying to catch my breath in the toilet cubicle whilst frantically wiping my tears so that the friends who wondered where I was wouldn’t know I was upset – did you?

I bet you never realised how isolated you made me feel, thinking that I was the one in the wrong and that I’d managed to bring it on myself by drinking too much and not caring enough – did you?

I bet you didn’t think twice about how you made me feel dirty, violated and ashamed, all because of one quick, inappropriate, unwanted touch – did you?

Of course you didn’t – but maybe you should.

I bet you went back to your drink, back to your night, back to your friends and forgot about me. Lucky you. But it’s about time you stepped up, respected the people around you and considered your actions before jumping the gun.

You know, I could have easily told my boyfriend what you’d done to me, and no doubt him and a couple of his mates would have spoken to you, argued with you or thrown a punch at you, then you’d have backed down. But why do you respect them more than you respect me? It’s because they’re blokes too, right? Probably because they’re bigger, tougher and stronger than you are, and you don’t want your masculinity challenged?

Instead of telling them, I had to sit and apologise to them on your behalf. I had to apologise for being upset and causing a scene, I had to apologise for locking myself in the bathroom because I couldn’t and didn’t want to face telling anyone what had really happened, I apologised for allowing people worry about me, when I said I was fine. But I shouldn’t be the one apologising, and I wasn’t fine. Unfortunately, I’ll never hear you say sorry.

A weak, vulnerable girl like me would never be a threat to you, would I – so my privacy doesn’t matter to you, right? Well, it should, and you should know that you have no right to take that away from someone.

Every time you lay an unwanted hand on a girl in a bar, in a club, on the tube, anywhere – you instil the fear of god into all of us. We’re already petrified of what could happen if our skirts are too short, if our lashes are too long, if our top is too low – and you’re only adding to that. Your brief touch sets us back a mile, puts us off going out and having fun with our girl-friends, stops us from doing the things we want to do just in case something happens – all so you can cop a feel of an arse cheek, or put your hand on someone’s waist – how dare you.

You probably didn’t realise that this is how it feels, you ignorantly think that we enjoy it – we have to act flattered by your advances so that we aren’t threatened, waiting for you to turn away so we can scurry off into the darkness of another room and hope that you don’t find us again. This is how it feels – to us, it isn’t a pinch of a bum, or a quick grab, or a slight brush – it defaces the way we feel about ourselves, it makes us question if we were wrong, it causes a paranoia that you can’t shake and makes us look over our shoulders constantly. All because you saw something you liked, but couldn’t approach her in an appropriate way.

So next time you think about laying your hand on a woman on a night out, I hope you think about me and how disgusting you’ve made me feel, how you’ve made my skin crawl and how you made me sick when I got home… and I hope it stops you in your tracks.

I will say it one more time – don’t ever do that again.