S’ Story: Fear of harassment is nothing to be ashamed of

This happened a couple of years ago. I’m a middle-aged woman, and a little chubby. I was dressed in jeans and a tshirt. I certainly don’t consider myself that sexy anymore (but that’s another issue)…
I’d sprained my ankle about two months before, and my physical therapist was seven blocks from my house.
I think I was still in a walking boot when I was walking home that day. On one side of the street is a tiny little strip of stores and a parking lot – the same side my home is on, and the physical therapist. As I neared this area, a little old man walked toward me on the sidewalk. He was probably around 70 years old, maybe older, shorter and smaller than me. He locked eyes with me when we were about 30 feet apart. I began to get nervous but figured he was harmless. I kept looking away – both to watch the ground (sprained ankle!) and to try to lose the creepy feeling… As we passed each other, he muttered something like “Ay! Mamacita!” and waggled his tongue at me.
I seriously was freaked out by this and hobbled as quickly as I could away, looking back over my shoulder, thinking “well, at least he didn’t grab me”…
I stopped at a coffee shop before going home, hoping that he wouldn’t follow me or watch where I went.

My partner later told me this particular old man has done the same thing to her, as well as some young (middle school?) girls coming from the private school down the street. The girls also ran into that coffee shop to hide.

I haven’t seen him since, but I’ve been ashamed at how frightened I was of a little old man.

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