Yesterday I experienced some of the worst sexual harassment I’ve had happen to me in a long time. I was standing on a corner, waiting to cross the street, and a man walks up to me and asks me if I’m married. I said yes, hoping the conversation would end there, which of course was wishful thinking. He asks for my phone number, I say “I’m married” again. Then, for about 5 minutes he proceeds to barrage me with questions asking if I will perform various sex acts on him, or him on me (i.e., “can I eat your pussy”, “can I fuck you in the ass”, on and on), while I’m waiting to cross. At one point he asked me if he turned me on, which earned him another “no”, but I hesitated because I didn’t want to piss him off and have him go off on me. He described sex acts I didn’t even know existed, and that’s pretty hard. He made comments about my body, my boobs, my ass, my pussy, etc. The light finally changed and I walked extremely quickly back to work, which was luckily not too far away. He followed me for a bit but thankfully went off in another direction.
This guy is homeless and hangs out around my work all the time. So now I have to be careful where I go, and make sure when I go for my walks, I use a main street. I actually filed a police report, which I didn’t even know you could do for street harassment. The police were really nice to me and the cop gave me his personal number and told me to put it in my phone so if he harassed me again I could call him right there. Although I feel kind of silly saying this (which says a lot about how women are socialized to accept this shit), it was actually a traumatic experience. I found myself depressed and anxious for the rest of the day. It was just really disgusting and demeaning. Which of course, is the essence of street harassment.
I called the police because I didn’t want to do nothing and have him continue to harass other women. Although I doubt just being talked to by the cops would make him stop, I just had to do SOMETHING, and I felt better knowing the law was on my side. I called to report that I knew where he was (because they were looking for him since he left the area where it occurred) and two police officers responded. My SO, who works with me, was extremely angry and decided he was going to take a picture of the guy next time he saw him so we could show the police what he looked like. His first impulse was to find him and beat the crap out of him (a nice thought, but I didn’t particularly want him to go to jail), so I redirected his passion to getting a picture of him. And he did, so I’m going to e-mail it to the cop.
I’m telling this story because it helps me to get it out, and because I wanted to share that I had a positive experience with the police in this situation. So if you are the victim of street harassment, calling the cops isn’t always a bad idea if you know the person stays in the same general area. I was surprised at how quickly they responded. But I suppose the police treatment you’ll get depends on your locale, so keep that in mind.
As my sis Snarky said, summer started early for me this year.