I wanted to go for a walk; instead I got sexually harassed

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      This weekend, I got harassed by a man. On a residential street. In broad daylight.

      Not 10 minutes into a leisurely Saturday afternoon walk in the Victoria-Fraserview neighbourhood, I was stopped by a man who looked at my completely bare wrist and asked if I knew what time it was.

      “Yeah, for sure,” I replied. 

      As I fumbled through my bag for my phone to check the time, he started staring me up and down.

      Then he said the words I loathe the most from strangers: “You’re beautiful.”

      “Uh, thanks?” I said warily, not making eye contact while I stepped back from him to look at the time.

      “It’s five to two,” I informed him, and hurried to shove my phone back in my bag.

      During this interaction, the man continued to stare at my legs and my tits, murmuring over and over, “You’re beautiful. You’re so beautiful. What a beautiful woman.”

      I ignored him and crossed the street as quickly as I could, practically running down the sidewalk.

      I was, in a phrase, really fucking creeped out.

      What am I supposed to do in this situation? The man, maybe in his late 40s, hadn’t touched me. In fact, one may argue he was giving me a compliment.

      You know, a wholly unsolicited compliment while licking his lips and sizing me up like a pork chop.

      Even now, I feel dirty, ashamed, and angry at myself. Am I not a woman who knows how to shout down a creepy asshole? Why didn’t I scream, “YOU’RE BEING GROSS! STOP IT!”

      Why did I even pause to give him the time of day? Shouldn’t I have ignored him completely?

      I wasn’t dressed inappropriately—knee-length jean shorts, a long-sleeved white T-shirt, and a cardigan—yet this complete stranger made me feel like I was showing way too much skin on a sunny fall afternoon.

      So, thanks dude—for reminding me that I’m not even safe from harassment in my own neighbourhood in the middle of the day. 

      And that maybe I should just buy a watch.

      Comments

      51 Comments

      omg

      Sep 29, 2014 at 2:54pm

      shut up already, we get it YOU'RE A FEMINIST. Sorry someone called you beautiful and LOOKED AT YOU, your life must be real difficult. If only you had some soapbox to complain while standing upon...oh wait you do. If you want to die old and alone, this is how you die old and alone.

      Dan Udey

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:04pm

      This is just disgusting behaviour. I don't know why some men feel it necessary to impose themselves on a woman in such a ridiculous, exaggerated way. Whatever happened to starting a conversation and interacting like a human being, rather than some rapey lunatic? It's pretty pathetic.

      Ivan Curtis

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:11pm

      Yep, there are fucked up people walking among us at all times. People who know no boundaries... people who get a kick out of being confrontational... people who simply don't understand how to function around other human beings. It's probably very unlikely that the experience of interacting with this kind of person, or other ills like theft and murder, will ever be eliminated from the experience of living in a metropolis. There are 7 billion of us. There's bound to be some bad eggs out there. I don't know if that can ever be changed.

      matrix

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:22pm

      What's stuck up omg's bitter ass? If ur bleating gainst feminism over a basic understanding of a feeling of insecurity and threat/confrontation leading to possible assault that is real for every woman, then that says what a salty ass wretch u are. It's common sense, fool. What, u actually think anyone would interpret that as a compliment that is actually bc its intended for a compliment? Anyone with a brain obviously sees that it's for the pure gratification of the man. Get ur salty whiney tears outta here u incompetent feck.

      K.J.

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:40pm

      Also it is sad that you have to mention what you were wearing. As it shouldn't make a difference. But it does still. First question when incidents like that happen are often- I wonder what she was wearing to trigger that? If the outfit includes highheels or a skirt it's your own fault. Of course. That's what gets me most angry.

      It happens.

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:40pm

      I was harassed by a woman on the weekend buying a bottle of wine. She came up to me and started chatting, but was very uncomfortably in my space asking me questions. When she left she ran her hand along my waste. It was really uncomfortable. There are idiots out there and gender does not separate them.

      DH

      Sep 29, 2014 at 3:51pm

      RE: OMG's comment

      Your remarks are truly distasteful. If you aren't a woman, then you have no right to say what you said. If you are a woman, then perhaps you have never been 'paid a compliment' that made you feel uncomfortable. There is a difference between someone saying 'you're beautiful' in a respectful manner and someone saying 'you're beautiful' in a crude manner. It was his leering and the repeating of 'you're beautiful' that pushed his "compliment" over the top. It's social interactions such as this that shut people out from society. You wonder why people keep to themselves. Why people rarely strike up conversations with complete strangers or why everyone is plugged into an ipod or their cell phone. It's because of social interactions such as this [article] that make us all put up a guard towards society.

      Uh

      Sep 29, 2014 at 4:45pm

      .... And? He complimented you and looked at you.
      Christ.
      I'm sure there will be a naked bike ride on Commercial Drive to protest this kind of behaviour.

      Miranda Nelson

      Sep 29, 2014 at 4:54pm

      @Uh,

      There is a difference between a sincere compliment and harassment. As an adult woman, I know the difference.

      He leered at me, tried to look down my shirt, basically eye-fucked my legs, and repeatedly muttered "you're beautiful" in an awful, predatory tone of voice until I ran away.

      Unsolicited comments on my body are NOT OKAY. Especially when you are licking your chops like I am nothing more than legs and boobs.

      I'm sorry you do not understand the difference and are so quick to condemn me. But I suppose a comment like yours means you've never experienced this form of harassment and for that I am glad.

      Hal

      Sep 29, 2014 at 5:03pm

      " If you aren't a woman, then you have no right to say what you said. "

      Yes, he has every right to say it. Wanna see the charter of rights? Feminists who continue to try and exclude men from this conversation are just bigots. I have seen and heard the same things, I've heard horrible men talk about women and may have some insight into why they do what they do. And I promise you it's more reliable than something written by feminists who have the nerve to say they understand why some men do what they do.