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Late on a weeknight in December, I was walking through the mall food court on my way back to the bus stop after buying Christmas presents. As I walked by the Sbarro (an Italian-themed fast food place), its solitary employee, a man in his thirties, yelled “that shirt looks real nice on you, but it’d look better off.” I didn’t respond and kept walking, but as I got farther away I turned to look back, and accidentally made eye contact with him. He then yelled, “that’s right, bitch, you look at me when I talk to you,” came out from behind the restaurant’s counter and began following me, yelling obscenities the whole way, from “I’d lick you from your toes to your nose,” to “just bend over the escalator and let me take you.” I didn’t want to run, so I walked fast, with him about ten steps behind me the whole way, terrified that he was going to hurt me. There was almost nobody in the mall at that time, and I didn’t see anyone around to help, so I began heading for the H&M, which I knew was still open and would have employees on duty. His comments got more angry over time, with things like “you stuck-up bitch” or “well, now i’m just going to have to hate fuck you, you know that?” Eventually, a female security guard appeared who yelled at him and told him to “go back where he came from,” telling him if she caught him doing “this” one more time she’d report him to his manager. Horrified, I asked her how often she had caught him harassing women, and she calmly responded, “he’s just a creep,” and told me to just go home.
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