Fierce

It’s Become The Norm For Women To Feel Unsafe At The Gym And Here’s Why That’s Not Okay

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Forgive us for stating the obvious, but women have to go through a lot of bullsh*t. Whether it’s unequal pay in the workplace, discrimination or sexism in the workplace, having to constantly deal with unsolicited advice about our bodies, getting cat-called out on the streets, being slut-shamed or whatever-shamed — women just have to deal with A LOT.

This is not to sound like we’re complaining (even though we have the right to), but it’s exhausting to have to navigate our daily lives this way.

So you can see why it’s even more infuriating that we can’t even feel safe when going to the gym because men always feel entitled to stare at women, try to make passes at women at the gym, or just be downright creepy.

Lately, more women have shared on social media their thoughts about feeling unsafe at the gym and how they cope with these feelings.

Twitter user @clarisa_leona shared on the platform that while she was at the gym, a girl came up to her and pretended to know her, gave her a hug and suggested she play along because she had overheard two men plan on following her to her car. “We need to stick together ladies,” she added in the tweet.

It’s experiences like this that leave a bad taste in a woman’s mouth and almost make us not want to step foot outside because of the fear that men will continue to make us feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

FIERCE also shared the tweet in an Instagram post in August and many women opened up about their own similar experiences. Many women commented that they too had also been approached by a random woman who was simply trying to look out for them at the gym, grocery stores, or just out and about. In some cases, men stood up for these women too.

“When I was pregnant some dude at the grocery kept following me around talking loudly about pregnant porn,” one Instagram user commented. “Two big high school football players in letterman jackets came up and said ‘hey mom, can we go now?’ and walked me out of the store. They told me their dad was also in the store and was making sure we weren’t followed.”

On Twitter, many women are constantly sharing their feelings about men approaching them at the gym or making them feel uncomfortable.

One woman on Twitter wrote that men should mind their own business and “stop staring at women that are just trying to have a regular workout.” Behavior like this makes women feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and men need to learn to just let women live.

Another woman on Twitter reversed the roles and tweeted that she wonders if men who also wear “tight pants” or “muscle tops” feel unsafe at the gym because they might be sending the “wrong sexual message to women.”

Women should be able to wear whatever it is they want when at the gym without feeling sexualized. Point blank.

Twitter user @zul_franchesca said in a tweet that she leaves places “IMMEDIATELY when [she] feels uncomfortable.”

“Never make eye contact and never say a word,” she wrote in the tweet. “I cannot go to the gym without getting looks and smiles. fuck this. I should never have to feel unsafe or scared. be very aware of your surroundings! & not just women!”

Men also go as far as taking photos of women working out at the gym which is downright disgusting and completely wrong.

“Enough is enough…. women should not feel uncomfortable or unsafe leaving their house to do everyday tasks,” Liera Bender wrote on Twitter. This is so true, it’s one thing to stare but to take photos and videos of women at the gym or to follow women around in other public spaces is just not OKAY. In what world is this ever okay?

But alas, the audacity of men is outstanding and we feel like a broken record trying to make our concerns heard.

“No one should have to feel unsafe while just trying to work out,” one Twitter user wrote.

Sometimes it gets so bad for women we even decide to switch gyms because they feel “unsafe” and “very uncomfortable.”

This woman shared on Twitter that she switched gyms because she was tired of dealing with the “same creepy-ass male stares and getting followed around the gym.”

Another Twitter user even shared the importance of being to communicate through sign language to gesture people to help you out if you ever feel uncomfortable at the bar or the gym.

“This is one sign I think everyone, especially women, should know,” the woman on Twitter wrote. “It’s a simple gesture that anyone can do when they’re feeling uncomfortable/unsafe at the bar, gym, etc.”

A woman on Twitter also shared that she has to go as far as asking the manager at the gym to let her know if the “coast is clear” for her to go to the gym.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, it’s not OKAY for women to feel this way. Hold yourself accountable, men,

Eight Women Opened Up About Their Sexual Assault Experiences And How They Survived

Fierce

Eight Women Opened Up About Their Sexual Assault Experiences And How They Survived

Content Warning — The following stories share details of physical and sexual abuse that could be triggering to some readers. Discretion is advised.

If you’re a woman, there’s a certain amount of extra care you have to take in our world. That’s why we go to the bathroom in groups and buy things like mace and self dense tools just in case we find ourselves the targets of attack. The numbers tell us this is a very possible situation. Statistically, 1 in 6 women are victims of an attempted or completed rape. Additionally, 1 in 4 women are the victims of domestic abuse by a significant other.  

Whether physical or sexual assault, assault completed by a stranger or a loved one, the suffering caused by these actions are very real and can lead to a lifetime of pain. We can do a lot to prevent these attacks but one of the most important things we can do for survivors after the fact is to talk about it. Addressing this pain and celebrating the strength needed to continue on afterwards helps with the difficult healing process. 

With this in mind, we asked our FIERCE readers to open up to us and talk about these traumatic experiences. What they shared spoke of the strength and perseverance of the corazón femenino. Here’s what they had to say. 

1. Healing but stronger than ever!

Instagram / @_sexual_assault_survivors

“My stepfather’s granddad molested me from 3-5 years old. He would tell me that if I told my parents they would be angry at me, so I kept it silent until 1st grade when a school nurse briefly explained what inappropriate touching was. I told her everything [and] my parents/police were called. The next morning my abuser was on a flight back to his country. My family who was supposed to protect me, instead protected him. I am still healing but stronger than ever! I refuse to let that hurt inner child shape my life.” — @rosyyaret

2. Your abuse does not define you. 

Instagram / @_sexual_assault_survivors

“I was 4 and it was my older brother. I became incredibly depressed and suicidal in high school due to the fact that I was silenced. I dropped out as soon as I turned 18. It’s taken many years of removing toxic people from my life, self love and healing. I am now a mother of two beautiful girls, I graduated high school last year at the age of 25 and I am now set to graduate from college spring 2020 with a degree in Spanish, behavioral science and sociology. I’m currently working on all my UC applications and my life is mine, I reclaimed it.

I hope that these words help someone, anyone. Your abuse does not define you or dictate your life. It gets better and you’ve got a group of hermanas and hermanos out here rooting for you. My inbox is open to anyone in need of a listening ear.” — @lichalopez__

3. We can overcome anything.

Instagram / @_sexual_assault_survivors

“4-5 year old me playing at the yard and my grandma’s ahijado abused me. A friend (6 year old boy) saw what was going on and started knocking and kicking the door until he opened it and I could run away. Had to look at this guy for years nobody knew nothing until last year that I told my husband. I’m a proud Daughter of God, a mama bear and blessed wife. We girls can overcome anything 💪🏻💪🏻” — @yulia2401

4. You aren’t the one who should feel ashamed. 

Instagram / @_sexual_assault_survivors

“In 4th grade, I was sexually molested by 3 class mates of mine. They pinned me up against a wall lifted my skirt and touched me inappropriately. They got 1 week of ISS (In School Suspension), because they were “just being kids.” meaning I still had to see them every day. I couldn’t attend school for nearly a month after. I felt so ashamed and dirty, kids looked at me funny because the rumors had started after.” — @kisssinpink

5. Ridding your life of toxicity is self care.

Instagram / @sexualabuserecovery

“I was 9 years old and it was my Godfather, we were at a barbecue at their house. I told my Mom immediately after it happened, she walked me over to her sister (his wife), and asked me to tell her what I just told her. She then picked me up, called my Dad over and told him we had to go. She didn’t tell him til we got home, she was afraid of his reaction as a father. They called the police and pressed charges, during the police report the officers asked my Mom, “what was she wearing?”

My Dad said, “excuse me?! she’s 9!” “I have to ask”, the officer replied…

My parents never doubted me, and supported me, our entire family turned their backs on us for “calling the cops on family”. My parents decided to move far away from their toxicity and it’s been just us ever since. I hold a lot of resentment towards him and them, that day I lost my primos, tias, tios.” — @goddess_divine_515

6. Find your voice and use it.

Instagram / @sexualabuserecovery

“I was molested by my mom’s brother from 3-7 years old and felt dirty and carried shame all throughout my childhood. At 21 I was raped in college and it felt as if my whole world came crumbling down. I could no longer try and push down what happened. I got therapy and through it I found my voice. I now have a PhD, did my dissertation on the post traumatic growth of Chicana/Latina survivors of sexual assault, and am a psychologist that has supported other survivors. If you’re reading this and you’re a survivor too, know that it is never your fault. Find a therapist or tell someone you trust. It gets better, I promise. 💕”  — @biancayesss

7. Addressing what happened with yourself and others will be healing.

FIERCE/ wearemitu.com

“I was molested from age 5-9 by a family member. To this date I can’t even say who or speak his name but he passed away when I was 13. Up until a couple of years ago I thought I was stronger than what happened to me and I wouldn’t let that part of my life define me. And the fact that if I said anything, my whole family would fall apart, I couldn’t bare the thought of doing that to them. That’s what I repeated to myself over and over. Until I started losing grip on my emotions and realizing I couldn’t keep a healthy relationship. Girls seek help. I’m finally not too afraid to not do so.”

8. Learn what abuse means and no it’s not your fault.

justiceforourwomenza / Instagram

It took me nearly two years to say anything. I considered him a friend in high school and completely trusted him. I blamed myself for being alone with him, for “putting myself” in that situation. Sex was never the same after, but I thought it was just me, trying to be more “godly”.. Years later, I was in a sexual abuse prevention training and learned the different meanings of sexual abuse. No means No. Abuse is abuse. Please remember it was NEVER your fault, no matter what anyone else says.

People Are Confused How Kevin Spacey Is Joyfully Singing ‘La Bamba’ In Spain After Sexual Assault Case Dropped

Entertainment

People Are Confused How Kevin Spacey Is Joyfully Singing ‘La Bamba’ In Spain After Sexual Assault Case Dropped

tunaderechosevilla / Instagram

Since Massachusetts prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Kevin Spacey for allegedly groping an 18-year-old busboy in Nantucket, Spacey has been doing some international travel. He performed a spoken-word poem in Rome about a boxer making a comeback, a blatant metaphor for what we imagine he hopes for his own acting career.

Then, Sunday night, band Tuna de Derecho de Sevilla shared several videos to their Instagram page of Spacey performing “La Bamba” with the band in the streets of Sevilla.

Apparently, Spacey was at a restaurant at La Plaza Nueva with friends when a member of the band approached him for a photo.

Credit: tunaderechosevilla / Instagram

It was 2 a.m., which, for Spaniards, is about the end of dinnertime and the beginning of a fun night. Band members told People that they went to the bar to sing for a pre-wedding party when they spotted Spacey. Band member Miguel Segura Cabellero told People, “I walked over to him and explained why we were there and asked if we could take a quick photo with him. He said ‘Yes, of course.’ To begin with, everybody was looking at him, but after a while everything became normal.”

At some point during the introduction, Spacey got up and started singing with the band.

Credit: tunaderechosevilla / Instagram

He picked up an instrument and starting strumming along to the tunes of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” and “La Bamba.” A crowd started to form, and fans started to dance alongside Spacey as he strummed along, twisted and shouted, and enjoyed the spotlight for a few moments. The band reported that Spacey was at the bar with a few of his friends.

It seems like Spacey is having a grand ole time on his vacation from #MeToo.

Credit: tunaderechosevilla / Instagram

La Tuna Derecho de Sevilla posted several videos to their Instagram Sunday night, captioning the videos with “Buena noche que pasamos en compañía de Kevin Spacey 👏🏻🍺” In other words, ‘it’s a good night when spent in the company of Kevin Spacey.’ Chillingly, that has not been the case for Spacey’s victims.

But Spacey’s alleged bad behavior isn’t confined to American borders.

Credit: @DanB6398 / Twitter

London’s Metropolitan Police have questioned Spacey over six individual allegations of sexual assault starting as far back as 1996. Spacey worked in London as the artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre for over ten years. In an internal investigation, the theater found “20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behavior” by the actor.

Spaniards are reportedly seeing Kevin Spacey clubbing in Madrid, and enjoying a true vacation from the bad press and recent criminal charges that were brought and dropped against him earlier this year.

CNN reports that District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the case was dropped “due to the unavailability of the complaining witness.”

Credit: @tiffany_blewss / Twitter

Heather Unruh, a former Boston TV news anchor, alleged in November 2017 that Spacey groped her 18-year-old son at the bar he was working in Nantucket in 2016. A year later, charges were filed. In January 2019, Spacey pleaded not guilty. The victim told police that he was texting and sending Snpachat messages when Spacey reaching inside his pants and groped his genitals for a solid three minutes. The victim was a busboy at the bar and had approached Spacey for a photo together. He told police that he lied to Spacey and told him he was a 23-year-old college student when he was in fact 18-years-old. The two drank heavily together and then Spacey assaulted him. When Spacey went to use the bathroom, the victim fled.

The day the allegations broke, Spacey took to social media to share a video that he alleges was “in character” as Frank Underwood from “House of Cards.”

Credit: Kevin Spacey / YouTube

“Of course, some believed everything and have just been waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all,” Spacey said in the video, allegedly in character as Frank Underwood. “They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved. Wouldn’t that be easy if it was all so simple? Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life. I can promise you this: If I didn’t pay the price for the things we both know I did do, I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn’t do.”

READ: Brock Turner’s Victim, Who Wrote Of Her Horrifying Rape By A Dumpster In An Impact Statement, Is Publishing A Book