“Don’t follow me!”

Classic case of a man being terrifying while insisting he isn’t. There was a man waiting at a bus stop as I walked past. As I approached, he turned to face me and started walking backward so he could stare at me. I ignored him. When I got about even with him, he kept walking backward, and said, “How you doin’?” When I didn’t answer, he started repeating himself over and over. Finally I said, “I don’t like it when men I don’t know talk to me, so fuck off.”

He started yelling, “What’s all this about fuck off! I’m just being friendly!”

Me: Yeah, well, a lot of guys aren’t friendly, so don’t talk to me!

[at this point, he is yelling and following me, at a distance of about ten feet, as I continue down the street]

Him: You got no right to curse at me when I’m being friendly!

Me: Yeah, well, I been through a lot of shit with creepy guys following me, so even if you’re not creepy, leave me alone!

Him: I’m not following you! I’m just goin’ this way! [remember that he was waiting at the bus stop]

Me: I’m just saying a lot of guys do and I don’t like it!

Him: Well, I’m sorry about whatever you been through, but I’m not like that!

Me: I’m sorry, too! If you see any guys being assholes, tell ’em to knock it off! That might help!

Him: I will!

At that point, I stopped moving, and he chose to walk past me in order to keep up his pretense of not following me. I don’t think I would’ve said “fuck off” if I hadn’t just come from a work shift where a gross customer was who trying to flirt with me (I obviously wasn’t allowed to tell the customer to fuck off), but I’m proud that I did. Even if that was really scary and non-optimal.

Submitted by anonymous

bus stop on New Hampshire Ave NW

Time of Harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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3 Responses

  1. B.

    The instant power-battle that always begins the moment a woman attempt to defend herself never ceases to shock, appall and frustrate me.

    It’s so unfortunate that we are constantly faced with either being a passive victim and “taking it,” or speaking out and risking retaliation, in all forms. –And this man arguing with you, following you, etc. was indeed his form of retaliation. He wanted to make sure that you knew he was entitled to behave however he wanted with you, no matter how uncomfortable it made you feel.

    The main point that always seems to escape these men is that it doesn’t matter if they’re just being friendly, it doesn’t matter if they think their actions are harmless, and it doesn’t matter if you are overreacting (which you weren’t). ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT THEIR BEHAVIOR IS MAKING YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, and that alone should cause them to stop.

    But again, sadly, it is a power-battle where they want to set the precedent that they have the right to behave how they want. In it’s own subtle but very real way, it is a ritualized way of maintaining a spirit of community dominance over women.

    I’m sorry this happened to you– I get it nearly every day in DC.

  2. ALIG83

    SMH. I hate when men do things like this. I’ll never understand why men will try and force a woman to respond to them. If I didn’t respond to your first “Hi you doin'” why would you keep asking?

    And if I have to hear “I’m just trying to be nice” or “You’re too cute to be acting like that” or “Shorty, you can’t speak?” one more time…

  3. Muk

    Any normal decent person would be mortified if they realized they were making someone uncomfortable. Instead, guys like this argue that they have some kind of right to treat you however they want. Good for you for standing up to him, but I keep running into that, too. Guys who try to argue with you about how you ought to feel about their creepyness.