Now Max, this cock is SMALL, this one is FAR AWAY…

One day, whilst nearing the top of an escalator into a shopping centre, a complete stranger standing behind me put his hand between my legs.

This bears repeating:

In a completely open and busy shopping centre, a man I had never met before or since reached his hand out and quite deliberately grabbed my vagina. I had no chance to protest. He just grabbed, released and then shot off into the distance. I was so shocked that I did what came entirely naturally; I buckled over into hysterical, stomach-clutching laughter.

It’s not exactly the proper response to a sexual assault, granted, but one has little control over immediate reactions to an action so utterly fucking barefaced and yet so unquestionably wrong. That man just grabbed my Jack and Danny! What the fuck fuckity fuck? In hindsight, I should’ve reported the living shit out of the bastard, but I was stunned and, most shamefully, quite, quite used to such things happening.

There was that time that a man I’d never seen before quite randomly grabbed my tits in a pub.

Another time I sat on the only spare seat on the bus and the bloke next to me tried to shove his hand between my legs.

And the hundreds of times I’ve had my arse pinched, slapped, groped and, yes, even BITTEN. Whilst standing in a car park, a man sloped up behind me and bit me on the backside. I kid you not.

I didn’t report any of them and I never will, which makes me a) a complete and total twathead and b) part of a huge self-perpetuating problem. I didn’t report them because it never occurred to me to do so. I’d never known anyone else to do it, despite knowing dozens of women who have experienced sex crimes up to and including rape. No-one called the police. It just wasn’t the done thing and it was generally assumed that no-one would believe us anyway.

Women go through their daily lives running an abuse gauntlet. Protecting ourselves with keys through knuckles, trying not to be alone in rooms with certain people, sitting on public transport with HUMUNGOUS and lethal-looking handbags covering our nether regions and reading techniques for taking out an attacker with fingers-in-eyeballs, small perfume atomisers, nose twisting and swift kicks to the bollocks. Stride purposefully, don’t look like a victim, don’t wear a ponytail or anything easy to remove…don’t do anything wrong, it’ll be your fault if it happens to you, prevention is the best self defence. Fucking moronic, dirty bastard, victim-blaming culture. A culture so shitty that what a woman wears actually has bearing on a rape trial.

But we are in the midst of a climate of shifting attitudes towards the idea of women being a fingerbowl for complete strangers. Projects like Everyday Sexism and the very vocal online community of women are rising up and challenging The Manosphere. Feeling empowered by this and hindsight being a glorious thing, I’ve felt of a mind to drag my gropers by the perineum to the rozzers (using barbecue tongs, of course. I wouldn’t want the shit-stained near-nut sack of a sex offender any where near my fingers). Of course it’s never going to happen because I don’t know where the fuck they are. I did not know their names, nor recognise them in the slightest. But if the man who forced his hand on my chuff all those years ago happened to be a nationally famous figure, I’d sure as hell be heading to talk to a member of her majesty’s finest constabulary about going through CCTV archives with a view to making him crack out his favourite Bic Biro and sign the sex offenders register.

“Fantasists and Opportunists” was how Max Clifford described the collected women who accused him of frightful sexual assaults. Well, clearly not Maxy-Boy, seeing as you and your over-exposed Penis of Publicity are now staring down the barrel of a stretch in chokey.

Some elements of the assaults were so consistent, repeated and familiar that the prosecution had a strong case against him. And penning a sodding book about what a screaming sex case he is is hardly a glowing example of good character. It’s unusual to have this level of evidence in a historical sexual assault case, so strength in numbers is so important. Sexual assaults, although mostly happening in isolation, are rarely isolated incidents. If no-one reports them then no-one is punished. If everyone reports them, the likelihood is that some of the same people will be named repeatedly. And even though it won’t change the nature of an offender, fear of prosecution might possibly make the groping bastards think twice before they stick their hands somewhere they shouldn’t. Max Clifford had a distinct way of operating that saw these brave women independently repeating identical evidence. To all intents and purposes, Clifford’s own gob bit him on the arse.

Which isn’t all that fun when it happens to you, is it Max?

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