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I have had several disturbing experiences with street harassment. My most recent experience is as follows:
Last week I was exercising at the track around the corner from my house. I noticed a man loitering around between where I was exercising and the public toilets close by me. He was there for a long while just watching. I didn’t think anything of it and walked home with my music turned up loud on my ipod. A few minutes after arriving home I decided to go to the store. Outside, I noticed a couple of police cars but didn’t think anything of that either. As I neared the store, two police men walked toward me from a side street. They stopped me, telling me they were waiting for me to pass and needed to talk to me. They asked me, “have you noticed the man following you?” I responded that I had no idea and that I had my music on really loud. They asked, “has a man approached you this morning?” and I said no, no one had. They then proceeded to tell me that I must be extremely careful and alert all my friends that the man who was following me had been reported by several people, loitering around my house, and that he had been masturbating on the street.
It is frustrating to not feel safe doing a regular, everyday things like exercising and going to the store. What’s even more frustrating is some of the reactions to my experience from some of my close guy friends. Things like, “I can’t believe the police caught me!!” or “I know I shouldn’t laugh but that’s hilarious!” or “If that were me I’d take it as a compliment” or “You must be flattered.” Are you kidding me? THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY OR FLATTERING ABOUT BEING FOLLOWED BY A FREAK!
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