We spoke to girls in Edi about their experiences of sexual harassment in the city
How is this behavior still being brushed off?
When you go on a night out, you expect dancing, drinks and fun with your friends. You most definitely don't expect to get sexually harassed.
Unfortunately, for female students in Edinburgh this is horribly common, and almost every girl has a story of sexual harassment in a nightclub.
I reached out to some of these people, hoping that they'd give me an insight into their experiences in Edinburgh.
Flora, Social Anthropology, third year
I went out with my friends at Bourbon. Someone's friend from home kept trying to hit on my mate even though he had a girlfriend. He got more drunk and kept asking me for permission to get with my friend.
Later on in the night, he broke me and his friend apart to say "look how horny I am" and got his semi-hard penis out and showed it to me. His friend explained that "he's always like this" and when I later confronted the guy, he denied it and called me a liar. I felt incredibly violated and sick that he gets away with this type of behaviour regularly. I wish I'd told security but I was just too shocked to do anything.
Amelia, Social Anthropology, third year
I was out in first year at Rascals, pretty close to the start of the year, when I ran into the president of a society I regularly attended. He proceeded to grope my bum multiple times and when I told him I had a boyfriend he didn't stop. As I tried to walk away, he pulled me onto his lap and started to feel up my chest, before a male friend saw and pulled me away. At the next society event I made it very clear I had a boyfriend but still didn't address what happened.
Next time I ran into him on a night out, also in Rascals, he groped me again. I didn’t say anything to the bouncers because I was embarrassed and upset, and as a fresher I didn't want to ruin my chances at being involved in the society. I stopped attending the society after the second harassment and haven’t been back since – even though he's graduated.
Grace, English, third year
I had two guys repeatedly pinch my bum in Lulu's and I asked them to stop but they wouldn't. I told security and they immediately kicked them out and banned them for the near future. I felt really respected by the bouncers and empowered that they had such a strict policy, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the night.
Molly, History, third year
I was in Creme Soda in first year with some boys I knew. One was showing me something on his phone, but then just put his hand up the back of my skirt and started fondling my bum. I just walked away and felt really creeped out.
Helena, fourth year, English Literature
Last New Year's Eve, we'd just left the club at about 5am and were trying to get a cab home. These two guys passed us in the street and my friend, who has a habit of just talking to people, started talking to them. I was tired and just wanted to go home, so I tried to hurry her along. As we got in the cab, one of the guys whacked me on the bum really hard. I ran after him, slapped him and yelled at him. I was really shook up because it really hurt. I think he did it because of what I was wearing, and was trying to say things like "you'd be lucky to have me".
Lola*, Medicine, third year
I've had boys put their hand up my skirt twice at Hive. The first time, I was in second year, and the bouncers saw. They detained the guy and called the police, but nothing was done. The police came to my house unannounced a few days after to interview me and swab my skirt for DNA, but sweat doesn’t have DNA so this was useless. I still haven’t gotten my skirt back.
I lived with my parents in second year, and thank god they weren't there when the police came in full gear with a police car. I got multiple letters saying the case had been dismissed due to lack of evidence; apparently CCTV footage wasn’t enough. I expected that outcome, but the whole process was pointless. Both times I'd been out for a friend's birthday and the incident just ruined the night.
Whilst the response from clubs and bouncers has massively improved, this behaviour needs to stop. Women are too scared to speak up for various reasons and this behaviour is brushed off by too many men. Let's hope things get better in 2019.
*Some names have been changed
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