I can never understand people who don’t think street harassment is a serious thing. Women and men alike. Apparently you’ve either never experienced it before or you have and don’t see it as that. Which I do not understand even more because if you have been harassed in the street and don’t see it as serious you are either:
1. lying to yourself about how uncomfortable and maddening it is.
2. so messed up that you actually think street harassment is ‘just’ harmless flirting.
3. or you are a complete simpleton. Unaware of or ignoring anything going on around you. Sometimes I feel I would love to be you but most times, not so much.
I am not about to try to define what street harassment is or isn’t. Personally, a ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, ‘have a nice day’, from a man or anyone else on the street does not bother me. I live on a Caribbean island. I am not trying to approve any tropical islander cliches here but we ARE relatively very friendly, outgoing people here. If you make eye contact with a stranger while out, for whatever reason, it is still the social norm here to greet someone, smile or wish them well. Yes, EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW THEM.
I do not and have never answered to catcalls simply because I am not a dog. And if you insist on calling me the same way you call an animal, I will ignore you til thy kingdom come. Even a ‘good morning, beautiful’ or ‘you look nice today’ from a complete stranger does not rub me the wrong way. If that bothers you well then okay. I can only speak for myself. I say ‘thank you’ to them, return the compliment if it seems fitting, but many times we’re both already on our way for any more words to pass between us.
However, if said stranger then proceeds to follow me and grope his private parts! We have a problem.
So somebody told me I shouldn’t talk to strangers and yes, if you are alone on a deserted road and the stranger WAITING FOR YOU could potentially be a man-eating wolf on the prowl in disguise that your mother specifically warned you about (red flags!!) then, you probably shouldn’t talk to them either.
Bustling throughout everyday life though? Is that what is left for us to do in society today then? To turn into these cold shouldered, unfeeling, empty-hearted bunch of drones who brush past each other without a care in the street and who stifle our own friendliness and eventually our compassion because the perverts cannot control themselves?
Now, I am not exactly the most social person in the world. I have been known to avoid social gatherings of any kind but I want to choose to do that because I would rather be home relaxing on my own. Not because I’m afraid that someone out there, or on the street in this case, will make me feel uncomfortable through social interactions.
I am unapologetic-ally NOT okay with that. Perverts cannot have that much power over me. And you shouldn’t let them have that much power over you either and kill your joy for meeting new people and your friendliness towards your fellowmen because you’re afraid that your ‘good day’ or ‘hello’ might be taken to mean something more and they might respond inappropriately to it.
Frankly that’s their problem and you don’t have to make it yours.
Because I have been harassed without ever saying a word to supposedly “instigate” harassment, and I’m sure a lot of people can agree with me. Just walking down the street, minding my own business and suddenly boom! Even sometimes while covered from toes to neck to wrists in broad daylight, so CLEARLY it’s not anything I’m doing. It’s them.
So I am going to keep doing what I’m doing, and say ‘hello’. It does not seem fair that I should have to be cold and unfriendly when these people will harass you either way, with or without you speaking to them.
And just because I like to mess with your heads because you know, at the end of the day you should decide how much you are going to let harassment bother you. I’ll show you this video of a show waaay back when I was a smallie. I was Gargamel thrilled by it!
Kinda creepy now though. Miss making a new friend by not talking to strangers or risk getting eaten by a wolf if you do. The reality is the wolf would have probably eaten her whether she spoke to him or not but a lovely social puzzlement all the same.
Just a side note here.
I’ll tell you what I feel like doing when I am harassed. The words can be ignored really and eventually (most times) they get the point and end up looking like an ass but you see those crazies that like to play with themselves in front of people. I really want to…
But then again.
I probably shouldn’t say that here. It may implicate me in a court of law someday. What I will say is that I am not one of those scream and run kind of women. Take care perverts and crazies. Go too far with me and it just may be your last time harassing anybody.
Seriously though, the thought that is always in my head…
What if this had happened to one of my nieces? Or some little boy or girl on their way to or from school, travelling alone. What would they do? How would they feel? I want to shield all of them from these people. This same pervert can torture someone else tomorrow who is not so adept at giving them the, “if you value your life, stay away from me” evil eye.
I literally do feel like taking them out! One less pervert on the street will make the world such a better place. Because it is uncomfortable to be going about your happy way in life and suddenly, this! It is upsetting. It is unfair. It feels as if the experience is being forced upon you whether you like it or not.
Even if you get away or make the person stop, it still already happened. There’s no escaping the after effects. It’s as if something was taken away from you without your permission and I think that is what they want at the end of the day. To feel like they got a piece of you. And all that’s left behind for you is just anger and frustration that you now have to write a blog post to get over!
Because you can’t strangle or maim them! There I said it. Put me behind bars for wanting to rid the world of this scum.
I think it has taken way too long for the conversation on street harassment to happen. I would like not to have to burden my bag with weapons in case I have to defend myself. Alright? So if someone says ‘good day’ it does not mean anything more than ‘good day’. Go have your good day and leave me out of it! It is not an opening for you to violate my right to live in a safe, stress free public environment.
That being said I will continue greeting people out on the street like my regular self. I am not going to stay home to avoid you but I think you probably should avoid me, if you value your life. I swear to God yu’all if you hear I’m in jail one day…. you know why.
But don’t let these crazies kill your happy walking down the street. Say ‘hello’ or ‘good day’ and keep walking. And if someone is mad enough to follow you introduce them to Smith and Wesson, Madea style.
Critics may lie!
– Written by Travesaou
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