Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
It was a girl’s night. I was out with my friends and we were walking around the city town’s square around 9pm, scouting out stores we wanted to go into. I was walking in front, and my friends were walking and talking behind me. As we kept walking there was a group of 3 guys coming our way and when we were about to pass them on the sidewalk the guy in the middle says “oh yay hug” and forces himself on to me, giving me a hug thinking he is funny. I didn’t hug back, as a matter of fact I pushed him off of me and said “no” As I kept walking, I heard him go “what’s your problem?”, or something along the lines of that, while his friends laughed in encouragement. It angered me that a person, especially a boy I did not know, thought he was in the right by trying to touch me in any way. Out of annoyance and anger, I flipped him off and continued walking down the sidewalk without looking back. At first I sort of felt bad for being so harsh with this guy. I found myself not blaming him at all and making up excuses for him to my friends, saying “Oh he’s just a boy. It’s not that big of a deal. I overreacted.” But my best friend stopped me after I said that and started telling me I was absolutely wrong. That it was an extremely big deal that he thinks he can get away with harassing me in public when it was unwanted. She made the point to tell me that WE CANNOT MAKE EXCUSES FOR MEN, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE MEN (I put that in all caps because I think it is the most valid point of this story). And I believe what she said is 100% true. He was pushing boundaries, making me feel uncomfortable, and then acting like I did something wrong when I got mad. Thankfully my friend was able to help me realize that I wasn’t the antagonist at all. I now understand why it is wrong for men to think it is okay to whistle at women, or honk at them when they are walking by, or yell things at them, or even try and force themselves onto you. This is not right that women brush the situation off, while thinking “Oh he’s just a guy”; because it is still street harassment, and whatever it may be, it needs to stop.
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