Damn Baby!

You know that feeling. Your heart thumps more rapidly as you quicken your pace. You feel that it is getting difficult to swallow past the lump of fear growing in your throat. You wonder how it is going to end and what you can possibly do to MAKE it end or at least be less afraid.

Street Harassment.

Street Harassment

This happened yesterday afternoon as I walked by myself to an improv show. A guy comes out from under the bus stop shelter to comment on my boots, jeans and ass. He decides to follow me, walking directly behind me, making sexual comments about what he would like to do to me. Eventually his comments turned from that to what a bitch I was for ignoring him. He told me he would “beat the sexy right out of me.” I was 3 block’s from my destination, an eternity away, with him following behind me the entire time.  Fortunately the street was busy with other pedestrians and eventually I was able to duck inside the venue where the improv show was. I got away from him. Had I not been able to, how long would it have continued? How would it have ended?  From my experience, choosing to engage in any way makes the situation worse. If you choose not to engage, you are berated for not accepting the “compliment” and things also get worse.

Get a grip gentleman animals. My body does not exists for you. If you think it does, try making these comments as I walk with a man through my neighborhood streets.

ETA: I recently had a friend encourage me to make a grotesque face/sound in the direction of the perpetrator to stop this behavior, b/c what guy would be interested in a woman that did something like that? As if I had done something in the first place to ASK for this attention and I needed to do something to STOP this attention. My friends comment also showed me what a disconnect there was between what this feels like when it happens to you as a woman and what (this) man thinks it feels like.

In the meantime, ladies, tell me how you handle this sort of behavior b/c I know it happens to all of us.

 

 
 

7 Comments on Damn Baby!

  1. Camille
    February 1, 2016 at 10:00 pm (4 years ago)

    You can’t win that one…doesn’t matter what you do! …and it is scary. I had this happen to me on the metro once and the guy eventually got in my face and was threatening to punch me…i just got off at the next stop and looked for another train to get home. This in front on lots of people that were to scared to come to my aid…(and I had another girlfriend with me who was also targeted)

    Reply
    • Joanna
      February 2, 2016 at 11:43 am (4 years ago)

      That’s the thing about it, you think because you are on a fairly busy street or metro that you are somehow safe, when in reality you really aren’t. The only was I have found to stop it is to have a guy walk with me. I never get these sort of remarks if I am with a male friend, never. That is how you know these idiots on the street know what they are doing is wrong.

      Reply
  2. Marisol
    February 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm (4 years ago)

    OH GOD ypu should’ve named this “ay mamacita” lol bastardos. They do always get mad if you say anything & god forbid you say you have a BF or husband. Then they start with “he can’t please you like I can” or something like that. I was at Wawa a few months ago & a “man” kept talking to me as I headed to my car. He didn’t speak English well & the conversation was odd. Finally, as I started to back out & drive off, I understood what was goung on… he said “come meet me in my car & I pay you to have sex with me”! I was absolutely flabergasted. I wasn’t dressed like a prostitute. Jeans & a sweatshirt. Of course I had to say something so as I put it in reverse I said “why don’t you just go F#ck yourself, Papi? It’ll be free & your the only one who’d want that anyway, cabrón”!
    Later, when i told Victor, he had the nerve to ask me what I did to make the guy think I was a whore. Yeah that started a whole thing.
    You need to carry a shock cane or stick. You can buy them online. Better safe, right? Be careful. XXOO

    Reply
    • Joanna
      February 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm (4 years ago)

      In typical Marisol fashion: “why don’t you just go F#ck yourself, Papi? It’ll be free & your the only one who’d want that anyway, cabrón”!

      Good for you for saying that and the situation not escalate. You are braver than me! There are a lot of things I’d like to say in the moment but usually decide not to.

      Reply
  3. Katie Watkins
    February 3, 2016 at 2:46 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m really sorry that happened to you, Joanna. That’s so scary! This is something I struggle with a lot. A LOT. I talk to my friends about it, I talk to my therapist about it, I talk to anyone who will listen about just how much this impacts my (and many others’) everyday levels of anxiety and zen. My “strategy” is DO NOT ENGAGE. It’s not just a friendly hello, it’s not a compliment, and you’re right: it never ONCE has happened when I walked with a guy. So many times I’ve wished I could be invisible on what should otherwise be a peaceful solo walk around the city. Not engaging isn’t a perfect solution, of course, since, despite that, I’ve been threatened more times than I can count, physically and verbally.

    Anyway, I feel ya, lady.

    By the way, you said something really validating right after my cab situation and it meant so much to me, (especially in the climate of lots of victim blaming) and I still remember it, so THANK YOU for that.

    Reply
  4. Vanessa v.
    February 3, 2016 at 4:06 pm (4 years ago)

    Every day. The gas station, the grocery store, parking lots, the street (here in the suburbs too) which actually makes me feel even more terrified that I can be out for a run and no one might even see if the SOB slowing down next to me got out.

    Thankfully, it’s not ALWAYS to the point where the person is following you and becoming more aggressive, but how sad is that to be grateful that MOST of the time it’s not super scary, just offensive, violating and disgusting?

    I actualy do respond most of the time with a very terse, firm reply while I keep it movin’ of course. For ME, it helps me to project an air of confidence that seems to keep them from pressing on. (I usually “get into character” the moment I see them coming though…stronger walk, posture, etc…). When it comes to the guys like the one you mention though, they are likely to become even more aggressive. We just have to listen to our instincts.

    I’m sorry that happened to you. But thankful you’re talking about it. It’s, unfortunately, something every single woman on this planet can relate to.

    Reply
    • Joanna
      February 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm (4 years ago)

      I agree. Every day in all of those places and more. I think even worse in the suburbs for some reason, like less people to see and report or step forward on your behalf should you need it. Yikes.

      Yes, to trusting instincts on when to respond if responding at all. I wish there was a set of magic words or behavior that would just nip this in the bud as soon as it starts. Or better yet, that it doesn’t even start.

      Reply

I die for your thoughts. A thousand times.