I never understood it. As a woman, I’ve had to become increasingly hypervigilant to my surroundings and situations. The onus is always on us to do so. I’ve spent my life — minding my own business— just walking down the street to get somewhere or for exercise, and (yeah, yeah, I get it SOME not ALL, calm the f* down) men have (without provocation)…

  1. peeled their car off the street, jumped out, and run up into my personal space to “chit-chat.” Had to give up listening to my headphones because I had to be more aware (during daylight hours in my own neighborhood) because of guys in cars pulling up alongside and following me. Hell, I’ve been followed home driving back from the grocery.

These same guys don’t get how disturbing it is. Instead, they are offended I react by being guarded, anxious, or when I ignore them. They are pissed I’m not eager to give them my time of day, my name, and my number.

Hello? We’re told as kids to panic when a stranger approaches us [from a car, for example]. Having this happen as an adult is just as frightening. I don’t know you. You might not have ill-intent, but your actions are offputting to ME. Your failure to recognize it, to be inattentive to what your actions are doing to those around you, hints at your privilege. You’re thinking, “What’s the problem? I’m a super nice guy.” You might be, but I don’t know you. Stop being so oblivious and think about how your approach might be misinterpreted as a sign of danger. Perhaps you should ask your mother, sisters, former girlfriends, your female friends how it makes THEM feel when someone has done this to them. I promise you. They’ve all had something like it happen, some guy who made them uncomfortable and reacted poorly when they didn’t respond the way the guy wanted. Instead, we’re told to be “nice” and accommodating, else we’re a bitch.

2. I’ve had guys in the park, playing ball together or hanging out in their driveways stop and yell awful, sexually derogatory things at me as I stroll or jog by.

3. I’ve had guys step up, purposefully keeping pace next to me and begin bullying me for my phone number and personal information, refusing to let me go about my walk in peace, alone. I DO NOT KNOW YOU. I AM MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS. NO, I DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU WHERE I LIVE, WHERE I’M GOING, OR GIVE YOU MY NUMBER. I shouldn’t be expected to, else be threatened or called names just because you didn’t get your way you entitled prick. I am ALLOWED to say NO, just like you. I’m allowed to have an expectation of privacy and be allowed to mind my own business, unaccosted.

4. Of course, I’ve been accused of being an “uppity bitch,” or told I’m being rude, or outright threatened for simply not engaging because the other person thinks they are entitled to my time. Rude? Rude? What you are doing is RUDE. Approaching someone, then threatening them when they don’t want to “chat” or “hang” is dangerous, selfish, and rude.

5. I’ve been grabbed or struck by drunk guys (on the ass mostly) and nearly knocked to the ground a time or two. On at least 2 occasions, I was underage and they were old enough to be my grandfather. Gross. Groping me, drunk or not, regardless of my age, is a crime. But people blow it off, excuse it away as something I should be flattered by. Being manhandled by a stranger is not a compliment.

Oddly, my only saving grace is now that I’m older, I’m essentially invisible. I don’t get catcalled or grabbed or hassled other than by people who are panhandling. But I do see it happening to my SO’s daughter. Same shit, next generation of victims. I’ve been in her life since she was in middle school (now she’s in college). I’m disgusted by the number of men, most of them old enough to be her dad or granddad, who followed her, harassed her, yelled explicit things at her, try to mislead or bully her. These guys have no business approaching an underage girl. I have to assume your intentions are nefarious. And she does too. Her hackles go up and she does what the rest of us do: tries to ignore it, argue against it, say no over and over, is accused of being a bitch, being threatened, and sucks up yet another day of aggressions she didn’t ask for or deserve. Now that she is in college, it is only getting worse.

Written by

Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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