Fierce

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

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,

Vanessa Guillen’s Family To Meet With Trump And Introduce Bill To Protect Military Personnel Reporting Sexual Harassment

Things That Matter

Vanessa Guillen’s Family To Meet With Trump And Introduce Bill To Protect Military Personnel Reporting Sexual Harassment

Army

Vanessa Guillen’s family participated in a live video with mitú. You can check it out below.

Update July 14, 2020: Pfc Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance and death have shocked the American people. The young woman was a soldier at Fort Hood when she tried to report sexual harassment attacks against her. The Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam is now pushing for a new bill to be passed to help other women in the military.

Vanessa Guillen’s family are preparing to meet with President Donald Trump, file the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill, and protest at the same time.

After Guillen’s remains were found following a search for the missing woman, the family got to work fighting to protect her legacy. Part of that is with the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill.

The bill, which the Guillen family attorney is hopeful about, will empower people in the military to seek justice for sexual harassment and assault. As it stands now, the way people report sexual harassment and assault starts with reporting it to the command chain. Advocates against sexual assault criticize this policy because it allows for the military to hide the allegations.

The #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill would allow military personnel to report these attacks to third parties. People, like Guillen, would no longer need to fear speaking up and facing retaliation. Instead, they would be free to contact law enforcement and have an investigation led by non-military personnel.

The family will be meeting President Trump, introducing the bill, and protesting in honor of Guillen from July 29-30.

Update: Human remains were found near Fort Hood Tuesday, according to several reports. The remains were found near Leon River in Bell County, Texas, and are likely Vanessa Guillen, according to family. Guillen was last seen on April 22 on the base and people have been searching for the missing soldier since.

Human remains have been found near Leon River during the search for Vanessa Guillen.

Human remains have been discovered in a shallow grave near Fort Hood, where Guillen was last seen. In response, Tim Miller, the founder and director of Texas EquuSearch, called off the search. The remains haven’t been positively identified as Vaness Guillen.

“If this can happen to my sister, it can happen to anyone else,” Vanessa’s sister Lupe said at a press conference. “My sister’s no joke. My sister’s a human being. I want justice and I want answers because my sister did not do this to herself.”

The remains were found 26 miles away from the location where the body of Gregory Wedel-Morales’s body was found. Morales went missing in August 2019 and the Army deemed him a deserter. However, the family is fighting for Morales to have a full military burial because he was not a deserter.

Update: Vanessa Guillen’s disappeared in April and there are still no answers. Investigations into her disappearance have not turned up anything but foul-play is suspected. Here is what we know so far about the case.

Vanessa Guillen has been missing since April 22.

The soldier was last seen on April 22 in a parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, at the Fort Hood military base. Guillen was wearing a black shirt, light purple leggings, and black Nike shoes. The personnel of Fort Hood have conducted several detailed searches on the base but have not found Guillen. It has been two months and there is still no answer.

Before going missing, Guillen did confide in her family about the sexual harassment she was experiencing.

Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family’s attorney, said that Guillen was afraid to report the sexual harassment she was dealing with on the base. According to Khawam, Guillen experienced two moments of sexual harassment from a superior. Once when she was showering and he walked in and the other time was a verbal attack with inappropriate language. These allegations are being investigated now.

Guillen’s case is gaining more publicity and the public demands justice for the young woman.

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@findvanessaguillen

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CBS News has reported that Guillen’s mother has demanded an investigation from the beginning but nothing happened. According to the mother, she asked Fort Hood officials to begin an intense search for her daughter when she went missing.

“They took too long to look for my daughter because I begged from the start for them to close the base and put their over 30,000 soldiers to look for my daughter and they didn’t do it,” she said in Spanish, according to CBS News. “Why put on a show now to say you’ve looked for a my daughter? Why now? I demand justice and I demand their respect and for my daughter as a a soldier.” 

Public pressure keeps growing with calls for justice for Vanessa Guillen.

The allegations of sexual harassment in the military are bringing up a past sentiment. The military first faced scrutiny for rampant sexual assault and harassment that came to light in the early 2010s. Women came forward sharing their stories and the nation paid attention.

Guillen’s case is putting the spotlight back on the military and sexual misconduct on bases. The lack of information after two months of pleas from the family to investigate hasn’t turned up any leads. People are demanding answers and justice.

Fort Hood officials are asking for anyone with information about Guillen to call (254) 495-7767. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information as well.

READ: NBC Says It Will Release The NDAs That Sexual Harassment Survivors Were Forced To Sign

Justin Bieber Was Accused Of Sexual Assault And Somehow Selena Gomez Got Dragged Into It

Entertainment

Justin Bieber Was Accused Of Sexual Assault And Somehow Selena Gomez Got Dragged Into It

Jon Kopaloff / Getty

Over the weekend, singer Justin Bieber was accused by two women of sexual assault. On Sunday, he took to Twitter to refute one of the allegations but has not commented on the other.

In a lengthy series of posts shared on Twitter this past Sunday, Bieber denied sexual assault claims made by a woman, known only as Daniel.

In a series of tweets, which were shared by the account PopCrave and have now been deleted, Danielle accused Bieber of assaulting her on March 9, 2014, after his performance at SXSW. She claims the singer took her to a Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, where he sexually assaulted her. In response to the tweets, Bieber said he’d been encouraged by his wife to speak up and claimed that “there is no truth to this story.” He also shared various receipts from AirBnbs and an article in an attempt to show that he had not been at the hotel mentioned in the claim.

“I don’t normally address things as I have dealt with random accusations my entire career[,] but after talking with my wife and team I have decided to speak up on an issue tonight. Rumors are rumors but sexual abuse is something I don’t take lightly. I wanted to speak out right away but out of respect to so many victims who deal with these issues daily, I wanted to make sure I gathered the facts before I made any statement,” Bieber wrote in his Twitter post. “In the past 24 hours, a new Twitter [account] appeared that told a story of myself involved with sexual abuse on March 9, 2014[,] in Austin[,] Texas[,] at the Four [S]easons [H]otel. I want to be clear. There is no truth to this story. In fact, as I will soon show I was never present at that location.”

In his claims, Bieber said that while he had performed at SXSW that year he attended the festival with his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez.

To back up his claims, Bieber shared photos of two of them together at the time. He also shared a series of email correspondences and receipts to show evidence of his Airbnb reservation. “I stayed with Selena and our friends at an Airbnb on the 9th and on the 10th stayed at a Westin because our hotel reservation at LÀ Quinta and not the four seasons was messed up. Here are the receipts for the hotel on the 10th,” Bieber wrote in his tweet.

Bieber also shared tweets from March 2014 that showed people had claimed to have seen him at the Four Seasons Hotel around the same time.

Bieber asserted that while he was at the restaurant he had not gone to the hotel. “Every claim of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously and this is why my response was needed,” Justin replied to the claims. “However this story is factually impossible and that is why I will be working with [T]witter and authorities to take legal action.”

In a separate claim, a woman identified only as Kadi also accused Bieber of sexual assault.

In response to Danielle’s claim, Kadi wrote “I believe Danielle, I am a victim of sexual assault by Justin Bieber too.” Kadi, whose tweets remain up, accused the singer of sexually assaulting her in New York City in 2015. Kadi claimed that after a brief encounter outside the Langham Hotel, where Justin was staying she was invited to his room around 2:30 a.m.

In her tweets, Kadi claimed Bieber’s bodyguard invited her up to his hotel to join a party where he took her to a separate area and assaulted her despite her asking him to stop. “I asked him to stop and continued to say that I cannot have sex whit[h] anyone prior to marriage (traditional and cultural thing) So Bieber started pushing me to the bed and have his body against mine, he pinned me down pulled my leggings down and his shorts and penetrated me (which is considered a very bad thing unless by the husband) it aggravated me and I pushed him and kicked him between his legs and run out to the living room,” she claimed