Ciara’s Story: “These creeps walk around with impunity, harassing and intimidating and victimizing people, yet confronting them means preparing for violence.”

I was on my way to the bus station today, walking behind a woman on her cell phone, when I heard a man say in a leering voice, “Well, hello, beautiful.”

The woman in front of me ignored him. She didn’t seem to notice that she was the target of his attentions.

“Hey!” He yelled, growing belligerent and glaring at her. “I’m talking to you!” She glanced over, fearful, and kept talking on her cell phone, trying to continue ignoring him.

Apparently satisfied with her reaction, the man snickered loudly and walked ahead of us. I was filled with rage and wanted to step in, yell at him to leave her alone (as I often wish someone would do for me), but I realized that I was one small woman in a secluded road behind the post office, and he was a large man who already didn’t care about women’s boundaries. For safety’s sake, I didn’t intervene, but I felt sick, sad and ashamed for my entire bus ride home.

I am normally on the receiving end of these encounters more than once a week. This time, I was not actually the target of sexual harassment, but seeing it happen to someone else was just as bad. What I wouldn’t give to be able to DO something without endangering my own life. These creeps walk around with impunity, harassing and intimidating and victimizing people, yet confronting them means preparing for violence. I hate to give them even more power by not stepping in, but what can I do?

The man met up with some of his buddies at the bus station. I snapped a photo from behind.

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