When I was a teenager, as a means of getting some fresh air and exercise, I would walk through my neighborhood. Simply walking through my own suburban neighborhood became an unpleasant thing as men would drive by, slow down and yell things at me or make me so hyperventilate (as a slowing car could be someone coming up to grab and kidnap me — which most boys never think of when they are walking along on a pretty summer afternoon). I wasn’t able to enjoy listening to music because I had to listen out for cars if they slowed near me. I also got to the point where I had to avoid certain streets because neighborhood boys, a little older then myself would take it upon themselves to treat me as though I was obligated to chitchat whenever I went by — yelling horribly illicit things otherwise when I would ignore them or try to go about a simple f*cking walk: in the daytime, more than fully clothed, no makeup, just wanting to be left alone so I could just walk in my own neighborhood for exercise and fresh air. Alas, I ended up having to stop walking once I started having grown men stop their cars and step out to the sidewalk to “chat” with me, getting into my personal space, and then acting as though I was the crazy one for asking them to leave ME alone or to please back away. Complete stranger. Walking up to a teenage girl who doesn’t know you from anyone. And you want think SHE is crazy for being uncomfortable? I think some men are completely oblivious to that vantage point and just don’t get why we’re so on edge when approached getting into our cars at mall or stores, or when we’re just taking a walk or run.
Thanks for the article. Inspiring read. I’m glad the movement got through to someone. I don’t know a single woman in my life who has been spared from some degree of harassment or assault — as my FB feed was full of #MeToo status updates. It is a rarely recognized but highly prevalent that women deal with some degree of discomfort on a daily basis, like subjected to conversations we don’t want to have, or be obligated to engage with men on the street when all we want to do is be left alone to go about our day like everyone else. But we are branded as prudes or bitches if we simply ignore the predatory barrage of cat calls. And at times, fear for our own safety when car loads of men are screaming and gesturing at us.