CONTENT WARNING: THIS POST TALKS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT.
Today, a friend of mine posted to her Facebook that there are some guys who she went to high school with who are skeptical that women are harassed or grabbed by strangers, and so she invited people, if they were comfortable, to share their stories. Despite the Yes All Women and Me Too campaigns, it seems that people (and let's be honest here, the hypermajority are men) are either not paying attention or not caring.
One person commented: "Are they seeking further titillation? Why do they demand even more stories of women being sexually harassed/assaulted? There are already so many out there. Once again men require women to relive sometimes truly awful experiences, and for what?
If they refuse to believe the hundreds of thousands of #metoo‘s out there, why should *my^ experiences change their minds?" She then clarified, "Nevertheless, rather than them going and doing the work themselves, women are once again being asked to relive some awful experiences because men are privileged to not personally have been victims - ergo the problem doesn’t exist."
So, as Emaelia Norman and I have already written a Me Too post, I am going to take a number of events that I did not include and put them in this post. After talking to the friend who was looking for stories, it was decided that it would be a good idea to have all of these written down in one location to show to people - perhaps, as men are skeptical of women's [Note 1] experiences, they'll believe the experience of another man [Note 2].
This happened in Downtown Minneapolis. This is a direct copy from the Facebook post that I made after it happened:
Damn, some people need to learn to take a hint and realize when people are uncomfortable.
Context: I'm waiting for the bus, reading my book, when some guy bikes by, talking about some random thing. I pay him no mind, until I realize that he's still jabbering about something to a pair of women whom I happen to be standing close to. They both seemed to be uncomfortable with the "conversation" (he was actually talking at them).
I decided to step in front of him, having them at my back, and picked up the other end of the conversation. He acted amused at first and kept talking, but he also kept trying to maneuver to get around me. Every move he made, I countered.
Eventually, he compared me to the secret service (I think - his speech was also a bit slurred), said some unintelligible things, and then rode off.
The other two expressed their relief when he left.
Some dudes need to realize that women are not their solely for their enjoyment.
Some time ago, in Uptown Minneapolis, I was going to meet my advisor about my academic performance. Some dude started cat-calling, and I told him that she doesn't need to hear that. We were going back and forth about it for a bit while she made her escape.
Another time, while waiting for a bus, a car pulled up. "Yo," one of the guys called to the woman beside me, "is he yo' boyfriend?"
"No," she respond.
"You wanna ride with us, baby?"
"Come on - we can show you a good time."
Different bus stop, years later, similar experience. But I remembered what had happened the last time.
"Hey, girl, is that your boyfriend?"
I took a step so that I partially blocked her. "I am."
"Oh. Sorry, dude." They drove off.
"My apologies for imposing," I said to her as I went back to where I was.
"No, it's okay. Thanks for helping."
Once while walking, I overheard someone harassing someone else. "Hey, I'm here with my boyfriend!" She pointed to me. Quite the gamble.
"Yeah, back off, man!"
"Oh, sorry man, didn't know that this was yo' girl." Ever notice how the men are apologized to when women are harassed?
When the dude left, she asked me to escort her to the store, just in case there were more creeps around.
This also happened in Downtown Minneapolis. This is a direct copy from the Facebook post that I made after it happened:
I just don't understand some people. A trio of drunk people were making someone obviously uncomfortable at the bus stop. I caught her eye and did a head jerk to indicate that we should switch spots. They then started to talk to me and ask about the book that I'm reading (Shadow of Victory) for a moment, and then left both of us alone.
Eventually her bus came, and she was able to use me as a shield to get on. The drunks got onto a different bus (the bus that I happen to be on, but they have been getting off individually so far). Seriously, though - this society needs an enema.
I wrote this as a Facebook post, some time after one of the times that I've intervened:
I hear far too many men go "I don't see it" when talking about street harassment. The most recent time when I witnessed it and stepped in, dude reached into his coat. I thought that I was going to get stabbed. Fortunately, he went for a bottle and took another drink before going away. Left me thinking, "you know, he could have gone for a gun and shot her for trying to evade his harassment."
This society needs an enema.
Please feel free to share this. Know that this is a real, ongoing issue that needs to be dealt with. Tell people to believe women when they come forward. Teach men and boys to not harass and assault others. We, as a society, need to do better.
RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Love Is Respect: Call: 1.866.331.9474; TTY: 1.866.331.8453; Text: loveis to 22522
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
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