Madeline’s Story: “How is this any way to talk to somebody!”

I needed to walk two blocks away from my house to the gas station to get a drink. It was ten pm-ish on a friday night. I had been wearing an open back dress all day that showed a lot of skin. I figured since it was late i’d dress down a bit, to attract less attention to myself. jeans and a t-shirt.

I walked down the street and it all went downhill from there. one block away from my house a man crossed the street, walking towards me and aggressively yelled “where you fixin to go, ho1?” ( REALLY!? HOW IS THIS ANYWAY TO TALK TO SOMEBODY! HAS THAT EVER WORKED? SERIOUSLY. I AM SHOCKED.)I kept walking but turned around and yelled “excuse me?!” end of that. I walked another block and into the gas station. Behind me in line was a seemingly inebriated older man. I bought cigarettes. Then I realized, after I paid, that I needed a lighter. I bought a lighter and the man behind me started screaming at me in front of everyone about how I was going too slow. I was taking up time on purpose. And some comment about how I was a racist? which made absolutely no sense at all…I looked around because this stranger was yelling at me in front of 5 or 6 people. No one did anything. I just looked at the guy behind the counter and he kind of just shrugged at me. WHAT. I just start yelling back “this is the 2nd time in 5 minutes that i’ve been harassed by a man! (I think I also starting shaking my finger..it got weird) this is not ok. it’s not ok for you to do this.” I started crying a little so I left quickly.

As I was power-walking home I actually started crying. 1 block left. I can see my house. There are several men in the street. One stands in front of me on the sidewalk as I try to pass and say’s “can I talk to you for a second baby?” and i walk past him. I’m crying a lot at this point. I start walking up my front steps and a car stops at the stop sign right next to my house and a man yells at me from the car, “damn girl! nice legs!” I cry hysterically….I’m not crying because I’m scared or sad. I am so angry that this is “normal.” I get harassed everyday. It happens to everyone. And nobody is doing anything about it. I can’t even take a five minute walk without having four harassing encounters with men. This is not ok. This should not be normal. The worst part about this is that before I went on my journey to the store, I changed my clothes. I took off my dress and I put on something more “decent.” We live in a victim blaming, rape-culture and for that one moment, they even fooled me. They fooled me into changing my clothes and thinking that I could to something about it.

I've got your back!
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