Alex’s Story: Breaking Away From Gross Carnival Harasser

In southern Holland, Carnaval is a big event sort of like Halloween minus the trick or treating. It’s basically a big party where everyone wears costumes, but it takes place throughout a large section of the city.

I’m studying here and decided I wanted to go, since it was one of those typical Dutch things I didn’t want to miss. I was with 2 other exchange students, and at the end of the night, we were walking back to the train/bus station. I definitely felt the alcohol at that point, but I wasn’t wasted or anything. Anyway, it was dark but the street we were on still had people scattered about. It wasn’t completely deserted. A man I’d guess to be about 30 physically grabbed me and blocked my path after calling to me and my friends and getting ignored. He started making kissing noises in my face while puckering his lips, his group of large male friends in the background laughing. I remember being terrified of what might happen and giving him a quick peck on the lips before running away, hoping he’d leave me alone after that.

No one did anything to stop it. One of the girls I was with even laughed while penalizing ME for kissing him, despite the fact that I did it solely out of fear that he’d hurt me if I didn’t. I changed the subject, but was reduced to tears the second I’d gotten home and had the chance to think about it.

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