Tina’s Story: “Harassment has to stop”

As a white woman with a lot of curves, I have received a lot of attention while growing up. The attention started with honks from truck drivers when I was 13, and has continued through my high school, college, and post grad life.

The most off-putting and infuriating experience was at Towson Town Mall in Towson, Maryland during my first year of college. I had an errand to run, so instead of going with a group of friends like I usually would I went by myself. While taking an escalator down to my next stop, a man at the top of the stairs started shouting. “Damn, white girl! Look at that ass!” I presume that he was referring to me, but I was not about to turn around to check. When I didn’t not respond, he shouted again- “Girl, I’m tryin’ to holla at you! Turn around” By this time I was getting off the escalator and started walking a bit faster towards my next stop and he shouts again- “Bitch, I’m talking to you. Turn the fuck around.”

I’m feeling threatened by the point in the “conversation” and steer my path in front of two security guards, hoping they would interfere and ask the man to leave me alone.

Instead, as I walk by the officers, still being followed by the shouting man, the two security guards say “Oh damn, girl. How you doin??”

I quickly turned into the closest store, and hid behind stands to get out of their line of sight. I still think about that moment, 5 years later.

How could it be that NO ONE interfered? Not one bystander said anything. Not one security guard said anything. I didn’t say anything. This is NOT something that I should feel ashamed of.

What I find most frustrating about situations like these is that when I debriefed and told a group of college friends, at least one reaction is:

Well, Tina. You have to learn not to go to the mall by yourself anymore.

or

You do have a really large ass, so I can see why he would say something.

Harassment has to stop.

I've got your back!
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