This story was first published on Star Observer.
LAST WEEK, Star Observer published my monthly column in which I talked about incidences of sexual assault I had experienced in non-straight clubs.
In a nutshell, I have been groped without my consent in gay bars for years. In the column, which has since been republished on a couple of other sites, including the UK’s Attitude, I asked for men to stop it.
The first time I ever went to a gay club, was also the first time I went to any club. I was 15 and the club was the iconic 3 Faces in Melbourne.
This is important for a couple of reasons: 1. Seeing as I’m in my 30s, I’ve been regularly hitting up LGBTI venues for almost 20 years. 2. Revealing this fact means my mum is now going to find out what I got up to as a minor.
But my point is, the incident I was referring to was not a one-off because I have had years of experience in the LGBTI world, I got out a lot (maybe too much).
I knew my column would create discussion, but I did not expect the onslaught of attacks that would come my way. To no one’s surprise many comments were sexist, aggressive, victim blaming and completely missed the point. So I thought I would respond to the main ones here.
“Eww, but vaginas are gross, why would a gay guy be interested in touching a woman down there?”
All right guys we get it, you really hate vaginas! You love the D! Women should totally be ashamed of their anatomy!
Never once did I believe when my breast was being squeezed as I walked through a bar or I had a guy grind up against me on the dance floor that it was about sexual attraction.
It always felt like a sense of entitlement over my body.
Much has been written about the reasons why people sexually assault others and it is rarely about sex and attraction
“Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another,” the US Department of Justice wrote.
So fellas, those who have groped me didn’t do it because they hoped it would lead to fucking me, but because they wanted to remind me of my place in society.
This hashtag is my play on the #notallmen internet phenomenon that saw thousands of privileged men clapping back at feminism and the startling numbers of violence against women. It detracts from discussing the issue at hand and brings attention back to the men.
Obviously I am not accusing every single gay identifying male of sexually assaulting women when they’re in the club. I simply shared my ongoing experience of what can happen to people in gay bars.
I’m not suggesting this is an epidemic of alarming proportions with gay men descending to prey on anyone who dares enter Oxford St, but just that it does happen.
Many people have reached out to me to tell me they have had the same thing happen to them, so it’s obviously something that needs to be spoken about.
"But women do it to gay guys too!"
I’ll agree hens’ parties that choose gay bars for their night out are the bane of everyone’s existence, especially if there’s a drag show on.