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In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, one thing has become pretty apparent: every woman I know has their own version of this tale — give or take the situation or type of sexual harassment. Grandmas, mothers, daughters, sisters: no woman is immune.
Most of us have more than one of these stories: a nice arse comment on the way to work followed by a slap on said 'nice arse', waking up on a long-haul flight to find an old man's hand on your breast, or a guy deciding a packed Monday morning commuter train is the perfect time to get himself off by rubbing himself against your back.
These are the ones I can remember as I type. But one incident stands out the most for me...
I was 22 when it happened.
My then-boyfriend was sitting right next to me. We'd been to Paris for the weekend visiting his family, and were heading home to our London flat on the tube. A journey we both made every day.
Two seats became free across from a guy on his own. He looked pretty nondescript, just your average mid-twenties English bloke with a phone in his hand.
We hauled our bags to the seats, chatting about our weekend and the things we needed to pick up from the supermarket.
Then I looked down.
It took me a second to register what was going on.
The guy across from us was no longer playing games on his phone. The camera was tilted toward me, filming straight up my skirt.
I froze as my boyfriend kept talking, not sure what to do next.
The guy looked straight at me and smirked. He knew I knew. But he didn't stop.
Finally I managed to spit out these three words: "He's recording me".
My boyfriend immediately got up and screamed at guy: "What the f--- are you doing?"
With that the train doors opened at a station and he jumped off, a still of my underwear on his phone screen.
I can't really remember what happened next apart from my boyfriend insisting I called the British Transport Police when I got home.
I've often thought about that day since.
What I should have said, how I should have run after him, the shock and shame I felt as a young woman going about her daily life in a city I loved.
As a journalist I've often thought about writing about it, too. But the time has never felt right. Until now. #metoo
This article first appeared on honey.nine.com.au
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