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This is a story about my experience one day while living in Buffalo, NY. It’s one of many examples of how women experience street harassment every day.
A few years back I lived in Buffalo, NY for a time. One sunny, breezy, and beauteous summer afternoon, I decided to ride my bicycle over to Delaware Park. I had the day off and wanted to get out in the sunshine and enjoy myself for a little while. I was thoroughly enjoying my leisurely ride around the pond when a Mr. I-wear-sleeveless-tops-and-drink-protein-shakes type passed me on his bike and made a direct kissy noise at me. Needless to say I was skeeved and annoyed but continued on my ride anyways.
A few minutes later I see the same douche bag riding toward me on the trail once again. And once again, he made the creepy kissy noises at me. I thought “Ok.. seriously douche, this has to be the last time you will do this seeing as how I had absolutely no reaction to you.” Well I should have known that I was wrong. This happened twice more before I got too mad and bothered to stay there. So I road my bicycle home. I was pissed. How dare this f*cking douche bag make me feel uncomfortable – so uncomfortable that I choose to end my leisurely bike ride on a beautiful sunny day because I didn’t want to pass him again and hear him make those disgusting kissy noises at me. I should be able to go somewhere by myself and not fear or be bothered by douche bags like this.
Fuming, I made my way home, enjoying the ride that was luckily douche bag free. Or so I thought. I had reached my street, and was riding down the center of the road about a block from my apartment. I saw a little boy of about seven standing on the sidewalk ahead of me. As I rode past him he screamed “Hey! I lost my teddy bear, can I sleep with you?” Which was then also followed up by “Nice ass.” This boy was seven. Seven years old and already harassing women on the street. I will admit that I chuckled a little to myself, just because it was such a cheesy line. But seriously. I was street harassed by a seven year old. What the f*ck.
You don’t have to be conventionally “pretty” or “thin” to be harassed on the street, Basically the only qualification you need is to have a vagina. My friends and I would talk about it quite frequently. They were also harassed constantly while walking around Buffalo. Seeing as how Buffalo is a fairly urban area, I noticed that I was harassed much more often than, say, my home town. Men would say the most derogatory things to my friends and me. All the time. It was just like they had free reign to make women feel as uncomfortable and skeeved out as possible. And what could we do? Talk back sometimes, yes, but often times that would just fuel the fire and make it even worse. However, I came to realize that expressing your distaste with the way you’re treated is better than flat out ignoring it. Women shouldn’t feel silenced and intimidated on the streets. So ladies, next time some low life treats you like a piece of meat on the street, holla back at him and let him know that it is NOT acceptable.
F*ck street harassment and f*ck any society that accepts it as standard behavior.
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