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Were it so easy...
1 year ago
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I'm a Women's Reporter covering gender issues, activism and sexual violence for HuffPost. My beat includes reporting on sexism, sexual violence and feminism in entertainment, sexism in politics, high-profile sexual assault cases, sex workers' rights, sexual abuse in sports, and other systemic issues including violence against women, America's rape kit backlog and abortion rights. Recently, I've covered the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, the perspectives of his survivors and the subsequent reckonings of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Between Nassar, Bill Cosby and the recent #MeToo movement, the voices of sexual assault survivors and our cultural perspectives on sexual violence has never been more important. I'm happy to answer questions about these topics or any related ones!


EDIT: This AMA has ended — thank you all for your thoughtful questions!


That's what the cashier at CVS said to me yesterday, as I was wearing a sexy, sexy stained t-shirt and jeans, seeing as I had just been cleaning the fridge before my fiance triggered himself a migraine. So here I was at CVS, seducing this guy with my unwashed hair and purchase of sexy Excedrin.

Like, okay, none of us here is a stranger to being hit on, of course. We all have stories of being hit on while we're just trying to be at work, or trying to exercise, or trying to ride the bus, or trying to buy some goddamn Excedrin because said boyfriend is out in the car seeing rainbows in his fucking vision.

But what I want to talk about is how much his pickup line pissed me off. I get that it's just a 'subtle' way to figure out if the gal in question has a boyfriend, but what a shitty, misogynistic way to do it.

"Hey, does the man who owns you know that you've been allowed outside, where other men might see and covet you?" It's SO GROSS.

It just made me so mad. I don't have a problem politely letting guys down easy when I'm politely hit on in public, but between the fact that this was especially tone-deaf (I am, again, buying migraine medicine and nothing else -- read the room, dude) and the way he said it, my gears are thoroughly ground and it was almost a full 24 hours ago.

Anyway. I just needed to vent, and I knew y'all would get it.

EDIT Apparently I have to clarify! I don't actually think he was literally saying he thinks my boyfriend owns me. I just think it's a really gross way to hit on someone, and an incredibly disrespectful way to open up the conversation. "Hi, how are you" and "Are you seeing anyone?" are things people are capable of saying. It is not impossible to express interest in someone, or to feel out if they have an SO, in a less degrading way.

More to the point, it was inappropriate for a cashier to hit on someone who came into his store. I don't care if that offends all you dudes who just want to have free rein to tell any lady any time what you think of her appearance. It was inappropriate, and it made me feel gross, and if you're defending it, maybe take a look at why.


A lot has changed for me since I was ‘the fat girl’ at the gym.

I am still working on my health but the gym has become a place of peace for me. I don’t fear going anymore. I got a strong support system and they push me to be the best I can be.

Today I ran for 60 minutes. That is huge for me! It might be a small goal for others but every goal counts!

If you were like me and feared the gym but wanted to get healthier, do it! Push through the fear. Go with a friend! If you’re in my area, join me!

I feel so much better about myself and I wish everyone could feel this.

You are beautiful how you are but your health is important! I am not trying to shame anyone because they aren’t skinny. It’s not about size, it’s about health. I didn’t realize this until I lost weight and started feeling better.

I have lost ~70 pounds since starting my journey and want to lose at least another 70.


I hope this is the right place for this.

My girlfriend, Amy, and I heard the couple that lives downstairs screaming and what sounded like the guy hitting the girl. We went downstairs and knocked on their door. He answered with no shirt on and looked “calm”. Like a guy who just composed himself in the last three steps to the door.

We said we heard some screaming and physical fighting. He said it was fine and apologized, but Amy looked for her and he called to her. She said yes she’s ok and apologized, but we never saw her. We went back upstairs not knowing what else to do.

Amy just left for work and took our car. What do we do now? Should we call the cops? It’s been about an hour since it happened and quiet since we came up. We are worried about her safety.


earlier today, i got stuck in an uncomfortable situation with my friend. we were on a bus heading back home when a guy who was sitting next to her started talking to us out of nowhere. just to preface and contextualize the rest of this post, he was an adult man that seemed to be around his mid-thirties whereas both my friend and i are fifteen. before he started talking to us, i suspected that he was listening into our conversation because he would give more than the occasional and lingering glance at us. i didn't actually expect he'd try talking to us, though. it was initially small talk which i didn't mind too much but then he started asking about when we'd get out of school. i answered politely, telling him we had already gotten out. the conversation came to what seemed like a natural end but it was clear my friend was uncomfortable with the guy. we both started talking a bit more when the guy tried to talk to us again... which, again, was kind of sketchy because he knew we were teenagers but this one question was when i wanted to get the hell out. he asked us where we were going and at that point, i kind of just froze at that point unsure of how to answer and whether it was possible for me not to without being seen as "rude".

suddenly, this random guy who had been standing in front of me the entire time looked at the guy who was trying to initiate conversation with him and told him to cut it off because it was clear we were uncomfortable. the guy who was making us uncomfortable tried to defend himself by saying he was only trying to make conversation but he stopped. both my friend and i quietly thanked the guy who told him to cut it off. he was with a friend and they both eventually left but i wish i was able to have more of an opportunity to thank him. while it may have seemed like nothing and maybe it was, he saw that both my friend and i were stuck and he took it upon himself to do what my friend and i wanted to but couldn't.

while i'm still kind of shaken by what had happened, i am so incredibly appreciative of the stranger that helped out. he didn't have an obligation to but he still did and it just makes me really happy. :)

i don't know if the guy who tried to talk to us was just socially awkward or if he was an actual predator but i don't how i would have handled it otherwise especially since it was the first time i had ever encountered that kind of situation.



I'm a 19 year old, white guy who works at a fast food joint. I had something I thought was pretty "cool" happen at work the other day.

At the place I work we bring the food out to the customer's table. I was minding my own business sweeping the floors and my co-worker was manning the front counter.

My co-worker was helping this group of about 3 highschool seniors. After taking their order and getting the food ready she called me over. She asked me if I could take the food out to the group.

I of course said "sure", it's no big deal, it only takes two seconds. When I came back I asked why she had ME do it.

She told me that the guys were hitting on her and taking pictures of her. Which is pretty messed up. Nobody wants that.

Anyways, I really appreciated the fact that she asked for help. I hope everyone realises that you can always ask for help, and more often than not you'll find someone willing to help.


It's not that I have to wait that makes me cry, it's that there are currently 16 other people doing this exact thing right now, sitting in front of their computer crying because someone raped or abused them. I hare people. Why.


I'm going to preface this by saying this has what worked for me over the last year of my relationship, this does not apply to everyone. You can reach out to me if you need an anonymous ear. I'm on mobile so my formatting will be trash.

1) During your first week to month start building trust, the faster you do it the easier it gets.

2) Put sex on the backburner, the last thing you want to do is make them feel uncomfortable and trapped. Anything remotely sexual can be a trigger. Always let them initiate.

3) Until you get a general feel for how they are, always ask before touching and announce what you are going to do.

4) When you eventually start doing sexual things, let them control it and be ready to jump off and console them. Periodically make sure they are okay and make sure you give them the love they need if they have a flashback. Do not pout or guilt them if you have to stop what you are doing.

REMEMBER IF THEY HAVE A TRIGGER IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT OR THEIR FAULT. YOU NEED TO BE STRONG FOR THEM AND THEY WILL NEED YOU TO HELP THEM THROUGH. I started blaming myself and my SO was able to pick up on it. My relationship is at the point where I do not have to keep my distance during a dissociation haze. I can touch her hand and hug her shortly after.

5) You need to keep your head high and make sure your SO is getting better, it could take months, years, or they might not get better. What matter is that you love and care for them.

6) If it gets too much, you can leave. You will be on an emotional rollercoaster, you will have many times when your desires are not fulfilled, and you will be pushed away if they become uncomfortable in that instance. Just know if you stay it will probably get better and the relationship will only get stronger. Good luck friends.


I found out this week I will be graduating with a first class honours BSc in molecular biology :) I dropped out of my first university after being manipulated by my ex boyfriend, and then dumped him after my first year at my new university. He was emotionally abusive for six years, and raped and sexually assaulted me throughout that time too. I eventually reported him to the police and attended counselling.

My new partner was there for me throughout it all and was just amazing. But he because seriously unwell and was suicidal for half of last year whilst he was at university. He did amazingly well in his exams but he had to apply for extenuating circumstances, and we found out today (after a year of waiting!) that's he's also graduating with a first class honours degree!

I'm so happy I cried :') he doesn't want me to tell anyone yet but I had to share this somewhere. We've been through hell and back these last few years but I couldn't be prouder of us :)


This feels petty but, I need to vent, and this felt like an appropriate place.

I have always gone to PP. when I wanted to get the HPV shot, PP. When I went on birth control for the first time, PP. When I decided on Mirena, PP. I didn’t have insurance and they covered it. I donated when I’d be there, I donate now. I support PP for so many reasons. This is what makes me frustrated that I’m frustrated.

I called in March because I knew my Mirena expired in April. The woman I talked to told me I didn’t qualify with the old plan I had (which is fair, I definitely have advanced within my career) but it would cost 400$ to do it. She could hear the ‘holy shit’ in my voice and well, because I said ‘holy shit.’ I have insurance now, so I knew it was an option, but I always appreciated PP. She reassured me that my IUD has actually been approved to last six years, so I had time to figure out my next plan for birth control and cost.

About 2/3 weeks ago I started bleeding, spotting more like it, but still different for me. I never really had any issues. After about a month with my Mirena, my period disappeared. I noticed but figured ‘it’s probably because it’s older now’ well, yesterday, I started bleeding heavily. I reached out to my friend who works in a GYN office and figured out my heath insurance faster then I ever had and made an appointment for today. My IUD was definitely expired. My cervix(uterus? Honestly I can’t remember) was swollen due to the IUD but other then that everything was A-OK.

Now I’m back on the pill. I hate the pill. I hate getting my period. Im frustrated that I didn’t take the time to look into it, look into other forms, etc. My bf and I plan to have kids in the next year, so ultimately I may have gone with the pill but, I feel like it was so rushed to get it taken out that I could’ve made a different choice.

I’m just so flustered. My reproductive health (especially had I gotten pregnant) could’ve been effected.

I apologize if this isn’t the right place to vent about this but everyone else I’ve talked to is just like ‘meh you’re fine it’s not a big deal’ but it just feels like one, nonetheless.


Not sure if this is the right place to post, but kind of needed to let some stuff out. Sorry if this is the wrong subreddit!

I cut off all my hair and am rocking a pixie after years of insecurities due to trichotillomania, and I feel fantastic. I gave my two weeks notice to an awful job after getting a new, much better job that's more aligned with my career path.

My relationship is really struggling and it's holding me down and pulling me into a depression and triggering insecurities in me, because my partner is falling out of love with me and I'm not brave enough to leave.

I hope with everything else going right in my life, either my relationship starts to improve, or I improve myself enough to leave.


I’m 22 and a virgin. My mom is sick and we need money. I got a good offer.

I’m just scared. I’m not very experienced. And I feel like I’m about to do something that will change me forever.

I haven’t even said yes yet. But I’m leaning towards it.

Edit: I have decided not to do this. Thank you everyone. I may delete this later.


This happened almost three weeks ago. I've been meaning to share it on here but this is the only actual time that I felt ready. I was scared, even if it wasn't as grave as the other situations here.

So let's begin. I was waiting for my SO in a mall that day. We were communicating through facebook while I waited. Suddenly, this guy approaches me.

He did not look harmful. The things he said weren't harmful. He began with a compliment : "Sorry I couldn't help but notice you. You look very nice and simple." He says I look like his ex that he was with for 6 years. He says I don't quite fit the mall as I was too "chill" (whatever that means). It appeared to me that he was trying to flirt, but I don't like assuming things.

Then he moved on to ice breaker questions (coffee or tea?), then he asked why I was at the mall. I explicitly mentioned my boyfriend. His response was asking whether my boyfriend would be mad, and then assuring me that he only wanted to be friends (to which I responded with a polite laugh).

My responses to him were very short, but I was polite. When I answered coffee, his response was "Let's have coffee when your boyfriend's not here."

I was VERY uncomfortable and I wanted to escape the conversation so badly. I felt so cornered. I blasted my SO's inbox telling him to hurry.

Suddenly the guy gives me his phone, which has Facebook open. He wanted to add me on facebook.

NOW, my brain told me to say NO so many times. But I did not know how to. I was so afraid with how he would react. He added me on facebook then.

Thankfully, my SO arrived. The guy even had the courage to shake his hand and introduce himself to my SO.

The same day my SO deleted the request and I forgot about the guy.

After a few days, I receive a message on fb: "BITCH"

I open it up and see that it was that guy. He actually sent a couple more messages from the day we met. I wasn't able to see them because they all went to filtered messages.

It began with "Hi", "Take care!", to "Enjoy", and then simply my name, and then that last message. I was thoroughly disturbed and blocked him immediately. I was scared that he may have looked through my profile and found personal information.

Looking back, my actions were very irrational. I was ready for my SO and my friends to blame me (of course some of the latter did), but they were very much supportive.

I'm sharing this so others wouldn't be like me. Listen to your instincts. Learn how to refuse. Say No, even if it's just the little things. Get out ASAP if you're uncomfortable with what's happening.


Seriously go fuck yourself. You don’t deserve an OUNCE of my attention. For the past 2 years I’ve been upset to admit that I’m terrified of running into you. I don’t know what reaction I would have. I don’t know what reaction you would have. Would I grab the nearest blunt object and take a swing? Would I curl up into fetal position and have a panic attack? I hope I don’t find out.

You fucking piece of shit. You stalked me. You showed up to my house when you knew I’d be home alone. Because of you I haven’t felt 100% safe IN MY OWN FUCKING HOME FOR TWO GOD DAMN YEARS. I’m moving in two months and the thing I’m looking forward to most is a peaceful night’s sleep. I’m looking forward to not having a baseball bat directly beside my bed. I’m looking forward to not being ultra fucking paranoid every time I hear a creak in my home, or when I think something is misplaced.

So fuck you for super liking me. What the fuck was your goal? That we’d get back together? Or were you just trying to get under my skin you sack of shit. It took every ounce of my being to 1-not go to the cops and file a police report over a stupid fucking tinder like. And 2- not swipe right on you specifically to call you out on every last fucking thing you did to me. But no. I put on my big girl pants and just reported your profile.

You shouldn’t be allowed to date anyone you abusive shit head. You deserve to die alone. I fear for the women you date in the future. I wish I could warn every single one that you’re batshit crazy. Nobody deserves to go through what you put me through.


Long post ahead... warning. So I work at two restaurants (owned by same person). The one nicer restaurant I work at more, and have worked there a lot longer. The casual restaurant is on the lake, and I usually have a couple shifts there a week. In the wake of some people quitting, they have given me 60 hours/week between the two places.

Now here's what I need advice about. I called in to work last week because of intense pain, and I had to miss work again twice this week. Then yesterday, while I was expecting to be late to work due to going to the doctor to pick up a prescription, it ended in being a full blown appointment where I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I ended up as a no call no show that day. What should I say to my boss? I don't like to disclose such personal info to managers, but I almost have to in this situation because I need to be taking on less hours.

Thanks in advance!!!!


Have any of you had a perforated IUD? I’m seeking any personal experience on the surgery to remove, if you know what caused it, did you take any legal action, etc. I recently discovered that I have one, I received it 6 months ago, 12 weeks postpartum. Just had an X-ray done and it is completely outside of the uterus, almost escaping my pelvis, hanging out around my hip bone. I’m kind of blown away by all of this; happy that I checked in with my gyno when I did (couldn’t feel the strings and was having persistent cramping on one side), but also just depressed and tired of having my body invaded- having a baby, then having a piece of plastic shoved up there while my uterus was still recovering, now it’s on the loose and surgery is inevitable, possible tube tying in my future. UGH. On that note, any body with an experience in getting your tubes tied? If anyone has any questions for me as well, I’ll happily answers. Thank you ❤️


It hurts bad, I’m not fishing for compliments, I know I’m not pretty. I’m the girl guys go to for help getting a friend, not the one guys like. Just tell me how. How does one accept being the ugly girl in this appearance-centric world?

I’m not sure if this post is allowed so I’m sorry if this is inappropriate for this sub.


He lives with my grandparents who are genuinely nice and wholesome people, but pretty conservative and religious, so he is very sheltered. It's as bad as my grandma not letting him watch or play Pokemon because apparently that's worshipping Satan. He's also not allowed to have a TV or computer in his room and stuff like that.

So this summer break I've been sitting him for my grandparents because of private family reasons. That evening he was watching TV in the living room while I was going to groom myself. I went into the shower and forgot to lock the bathroom door. After a while he came in to ask me something, not expecting me to be naked. At first I didn't notice him, but then I turned towards the door and he was standing there, visibly nervous, but not leaving. I asked him what he wanted and he just asked what I'm doing. I told him I was showering and since I already applied shaving cream to my armpits he asked what was up with that, so I explained to him that girls gotta shave too, just not their face. He said he didn't know that, so I told him where most girls remove their hair and whatnot.

It was a surprisingly relaxed conversation at that point because he didn't really make any of it awkward. Then he asked if he could watch me shave. At first I was kind of reluctant about it, but then I figured it wouldn't hurt at that point and agreed, so he sat down on the toilet. After I was done shaving my first armpit, he asked if he can do the other one and I agreed. He did a pretty decent job and after he was done with it, out of nowhere he asked me where the milk came out of the boobs, because there were no visible holes. He couldn't wrap his head around it.

Next I started to put shaving cream on my leg and he did the same with my other leg before shaving both of them. During the whole time he only cut me once and that was on my ankle, a pretty difficult spot for myself too sometimes. He asked why I needed to shave my legs and I said that most girls prefer it that way and guys usually find smooth legs on girls more attractive. To which he asked me if he should shave his legs too and I said that girls usually prefer hairy legs on guys.

After he shaved my buttcrack and my bikini area was up next, he asked lots of quesions about how female genitals work and I gave him a quick rundown. He was completely oblivious to the existence of the clitoris and had a hard time processing the info about it.

After he was done shaving me, he returned to the toilet, I finished showering while we were talking a bit, I got out of the shower, dried myself off, got dressed and we went to the kitchen to make dinner.


When I was 13, I was molested and taken advantage of by a 16 year old guy whom I trusted and loved. Im 15 now and I don't know why, but its been stirring inside of me for the past few months. I never, ever considered myself a victim. I always told myself that if I didn't want it, I should have explicitly said stop it, or no. But the boy told me that I would enjoy it and that if I didn't do things with him, I "obviously didn't love him", amongst other lies. I didn't want anything that he did to me, but it happened and its over now..

I'm just recently coming to terms with the fact that I told him no several times and that I didn't want it whatsoever. I never told a soul after he touched me (on many different occasions), because I 100% believed that it was my fault. I still believe I should have been firmer with my no.

My question is, do I tell my boyfriend of 5 months what happened? This new realization eats away at my happiness.. Its been 2 years since the boy touched me. My loving bf is going away for a month and a half and won't be back until mid august. I have the opportunity to tell him tomorrow, as were going out before he leaves. I don't want to worry him, and I'm afraid it will turn him off, make him percieve me as "used" or dirty.. Idk why. I also don't want him to leave on a bad note. I'm not going to text it to him, and his birthday is coming up on August which is when I will most likely see him again. Im not going to ruin his birthday with this news. No way. But I just want to tell someone I truely trust (not my parents- that's another story..). I dont exactly have close friends either.

Any advice would be much appreciated!!


This has never happened before in my life. I had a period two weeks ago. Then, yesterday I started spotting. Now I’m bleeding but not enough to soak a pad but enough that I have to wear one. This has never happened to me before. Wtf. My doctor said it is not cause for concern but I am very concerned.


My new line manager is a mother like me and is overall great, but I have been struggling recently overcoming the assumption that being a working mother is SO HARD. I really appreciate her consideration and respect for my responsibilities outside of work, but I wish she would just let me decide what I can handle on my own.

I was recently advised to not take on an additional task (that could provide me more visibility and maybe future opportunities) because "I already do so much - balancing everything."

I know this is a "first world problems" kind of thing, but I am just tired of feeling that I will not be pushed to excel by this manager or that she won't recommend me for opportunities because I am a working mother of two. It is moments like this I wish no one knew I was a mom at work.

Also - this is (another) bad side effect of people insisting being a mom is "the hardest job in the world." If it is so hard - no one will trust you to do anything else or try to "help" you by making everything easier for you.

Anyone else been through something like this too?

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