Content Warning(s): underage, sexual harassment, sexual assault.
Submitted for Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Our Voices & Stories.
"My first cosplay was Rikku from FF X-2. Albeit toned down because I was FOURTEEN. Anywho-- I got creeped on HARD by this guy in his 30's. He made me feel grossly uncomfortable and only stopped when I pointed out I was GROSSLY underage.
I didn't dare to show off my body like that again.
Fast forward to 2016-- when I pull out my Lady Hook. I was finally comfortable showing skin again. Then this dude came up to me-- a guy who FREQUENTED my panels, and straight up asked if he could motorboat me.
He said ALL HIS lady friends let him do it.
I had to point out that A] I wasn't a lady and B] I wasn't interested in that. All seemed well until HE DID IT ANYWAY. I was legitimately shook and genuinely upset at how little others seemed to care when I told them about the situation.
It's left me shook to this day-- to the point where even when I dress feminine I try to present as masculine as possible in order to protect myself."
Anon, we're so sorry you went through that. We know that as cosplayers, we have special needs that only our community understands. Hearing that you were turned off from wearing cosplays similar to Rikku because you were made uncomfortable by this person is especially heartbreaking. You should never have had to associate that creeped-out feeling with expressing yourself through wearing a cosplay. [Trickssi: I know there are some cosplays I avoid wearing in certain venues or without large groups of people around me because I associate them with being harassed. It makes me almost afraid to wear them, which sucks, because I love every character I cosplay.] The fact that you feel like you have to present differently in order to avoid further harassment reminds us that being harassed even ONCE can ruin your time as a cosplayer and change the way you view yourself and the world. Please remember it's not your fault this happened, and you're not alone.