She smacked a guy who groped her at a club. His response exposed a double-standard that needs to end.
via Harribowley / Twitter and Pexels

A brave woman in Sheffield, England stood up for herself on the floor of a dance club and not only was her reaction satisfying for many, it brought an ugly double-standard to light.

Harriet Bowley, 21, was at an unnamed dance club when a man grabbed her somewhere around the waist. Bowley responded by turning around and smacking the man who seemed "genuinely furious and shocked" that she would retaliate.

It's incredible the man was shocked that a woman would respond violently to being groped. Didn't he understand that sexually assaulting her was an act of violence, too? Although she probably wasn't physically hurt by his actions, the mental and emotional trauma of having a man touch you without consent is far more traumatizing than her response.

It's also strange that he was "furious" that she retaliated. What did he expect?

It seems the man thought he was having some innocent fun and was awakened from his sexist fantasy by a slap in the face.

Bowley completely understands the double-standard. "So it's absolutely fine for you, as a stranger, to touch me up without consent but not ok for me to touch you in self defence?" she asked.

Of course, there were some men who blamed Bowley for being groped because of what she was wearing. But Bowley points out that she wasn't wearing anything revealing. Even if she was, that doesn't give anyone permission to sexually assault her. Just because someone is showing some skin doesn't mean it's an invitation to be assaulted.

This guy clearly didn't get the message.

Bowley ended her first tweet with a call to action: "Normalise girls standing up for themselves when they get groped."

A large number of women responded to her tweet by saying they have no problem standing up for themselves after being groped at nightclubs. They shared vivid accounts of times they were groped and retaliated.

I must note that this post isn't celebrating violence in any way. The story simply illustrates how some men feel so entitled to women's bodies that they are genuinely shocked that one would have an aggressive reaction to being touched without consent.

These men were hiding behind the guise that groping is innocent fun and isn't serious enough to warrant a violent reaction.

This post calls attention to a serious problem that needs to be stopped immediately. Men need to learn that just because they're in a dance club where people are having drinks and dancing close together, that it doesn't give them permission to try to inappropriately touch someone.

Groping is sexual assault, case closed. There should be no excuse for it and it should be taken just as seriously as any other form of violence.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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