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I studied abroad in Spain last summer (I am originally from the U.S.). While in Segovia, a relatively safe and suburban city, my roommate and I experienced daily street harassment, in the form of a greeting typical to Spain: “Hola, guapa” or “Hello, beautiful”. At the beginning, we found it charming; it was always in the middle of the day, they kept their distance, it was very non-threatening behavior, and it is just a custom of that region. Towards the end of the trip, however, our impressions began to change. We were there during festival seasons, and everyone seemed to be much rowdier. We are both very chesty girls, so that was the focus of all the harassment – once a man came up to us and just said “pechos” (“breasts” – oh, how well spotted). One evening, around 8pm, we were walking down the streets and talking about how we were growing tired of the male behavior (this was just after a man older than our grandfathers passed us on the street and gave us the lingering “up-down” glance while licking his lips). We saw a young man walking towards us with a shit-eating grin on his face, we knew he was going to be inappropriate, so we just ignored him and continued talking to one another. As he got closer, he continued to smile and began gesturing to his chest. In my head I thought “ha-ha yes, we have breasts, thanks for pointing out the obvious”. We were both very pointedly ignoring him, but right as he passed us he said, in English “really big tits” and kept walking. My friend and I both stopped immediately in our tracks and our jaws dropped. We were both so mad we actually could not move for a few moments, by which time he had already moved on. I loved Spain and would go back in a second, but it kills me that this experience, as well as the other street harassment moments are the ones that I remember most vividly.
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