I work at a military installation and have always felt safe and respected by my coworkers, other employees and service members at the installation. Until last week. I had dropped off some paperwork at one building and was headed back to my office when I crossed paths with a man who says to me “How you doin’, gorgeous?” This alone wouldn’t have bothered me as much, but it was what he said and did next that infuriated me. As I looked at him in what had to have been obvious anger, he looked me up and down, leering at me, and asks, “Do you need anything?”
I was so furious and I responded with, “How dare you talk to me like that! It’s disrespectful! Don’t talk to women like that. They. Don’t. Like. It.” He looked back at me sort of stunned and continued (thankfully) walking the opposite direction from me. Part of me wanted to follow him and find out which office he worked in, but I decided it just wasn’t worth it.
The other part that enraged me was that there was another man, a little bit older, who had to have overheard this interaction, and just kind of looked at me like I was a crazy bitch when I responded. It reminds me of just how far we have to go in educating our communities on bystander intervention and appropriate ways to support people who are being harassed on the street (or victims of any other sort of crime).
I was thankful for the self defense classes I’ve been to that have helped me have smart little “comebacks” prepared, but I still hate that I always come up with a clever retort hours, or even minutes, later. In this case, however cliche it might’ve been, one “afterback” I imagined was – yeah! i need you to leave me the fuck alone! Afterbacks get me every time!
Submitted by ECR on 2/14/2011
Location: Military Installation
Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)
Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.